Effects of coffee forest management intensification on arabica coffee (Coffea arabica L.) yield, yield quality and wild coffee genetic resources
A key crop and global commodity in the agro-ecosystems of SW Ethiopia is wild Coffea arabica, a shrub species of the Afromontane rainforest and the ancestor of all commercially grown Arabica cultivars. With over 15 million people in Ethiopia deriving their livelihood directly or indirectly from Arabica coffee, Ethiopian wild coffee provides extremely important ecosystem services in terms of the direct production value of coffee, but also in terms of genetic resources for improvement of coffee cultivars worldwide. The increasing demand for land driven by increasing population pressure, paralleled by an increasing demand for specialty coffee on the global market, have led to intensification of coffee production in these forests, by intensifying forest management and by introducing locally improved cultivars. Despite short term yield gains, increased management leads to overexploitation and progressing ecosystem degradation, through changes in pollinator communities, in coffee genotypes and even in coffee taste. The objective of this project is to assess how changing production patterns of Arabica coffee in the Afromontane rainforest in SW Ethiopia are affecting the provisioning of high-quality coffee and of the conservation of coffee genetic resources for global coffee breeding.