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Title Effects of wild coffee management on plant diversity in the montane rainforests of southwestern Ethiopia

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Short title Wild coffee management and plant diversity

Author(s) Schmitt, C.B.(1,2); Senbeta, F.(3); Denich, M.(2); Boehmer, H.J.(4); Wondafrash, M.(5); Demissew, S.(5)

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Institution(s) (1) Institute of Forest and Environmental Policy (IFP), University of Freiburg; (2) Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn; (3) Ethiopian Coffee Forest Forum (ECFF), Addis Ababa; (4) Interdisciplinary Latin America Center (ILZ), University of Bonn; (5) The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University

Keywords coffee yield; conservation; disturbance; tropical forest; ordination

Abstract Coffea arabica occurs naturally in the montane rainforests of Ethiopia and has been used locally for centuries; however, increasing land-use pressure is threatening the wild coffee forests. This study aims to evaluate the impact of local coffee management practices on wild coffee populations and plant species diversity in montane rainforests of southwestern Ethiopia. In 85 plots (20 m x 20 m) all vascular plant species were identified; plant height > 0.5 m, diameter at breast height > 2 cm and vegetation coverage were recorded. Coffee fruits were counted. Analyses show that in undisturbed forest with low management intensity, wild coffee density and coffee yields were low (max. 15 kg clean coffee ha-1 yr-1). In intensively managed semi-forest coffee systems, 30 % of the canopy trees and most undergrowth vegetation were removed. This stimulated wild coffee growth and strongly enhanced yields (max. 54 kg clean coffee ha-1 yr-1), but severely disturbed forest structure. Species richness increased by 26% due to increase in species adapted to regeneration in disturbed sites. In contrast, typical forest species adapted to shade declined. Management concepts are suggested that allow income generation for local farmers and the conservation of plant species diversity.

Congress Topic Coffee project

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Ref. No. 502