Coffee, wine, and wheat varieties are among the foods we could lose forever.

A type of maize tucked away in a mountain village in southern Mexico, very close to where maize was first domesticated thousands of years ago. Botanists arrived in the late 1970s and saw this 16-foot-tall stock of maize. It shouldn’t have been growing there because the soil was so poor.

A type of maize tucked away in a mountain village in southern Mexico, very close to where maize was first domesticated thousands of years ago. Botanists arrived in the late 1970s and saw this 16-foot-tall stock of maize. It shouldn’t have been growing there because the soil was so poor.

A type of emmer wheat that had been growing for 8,000 to 9,000 years. It’s been growing in high altitudes where it’s damp. If you put a modern wheat variety in that environment, fungal diseases would ruin the crop.

A type of emmer wheat that had been growing for 8,000 to 9,000 years. It’s been growing in high altitudes where it’s damp. If you put a modern wheat variety in that environment, fungal diseases would ruin the crop.

Historically, there were cultures in parts of Africa that had more distinctive types of coffee, including one called stenophylla that was prized in parts of East Africa up until the 1960s, when it pretty much went extinct because farming systems changed. It has greater disease resistance than arabica.

Historically, there were cultures in parts of Africa that had more distinctive types of coffee, including one called stenophylla that was prized in parts of East Africa up until the 1960s, when it pretty much went extinct because farming systems changed. It has greater disease resistance than arabica.

A man dries a rare and prized type of Venezuelan cacao called criollo. Dan Saladino

A man dries a rare and prized type of Venezuelan cacao called criollo. Dan Saladino

The extinction crisis that no one's talking about