Remote Sensing and Gis Assisted Participatory Biosphere Reserve Zoning for Wild Coffee Conservation: Case of Yayu Forest

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Addis Ababa Universty


The original habitat of coffee is the shaded understory of montane rainforests in southwestern and southeastern Ethiopia. The wild Coffea arabica populations in these regions display a complex geographical distribution pattern of genetic diversity with most regions possessing their own genotypes. This confirms that the Ethiopian coffee is important source of coffee genetic resources for the world coffee industry, however, the forests housing much of the coffee gene pools are being lost at an alarming rate. This necessitates in-situ conservation in the forest ecosystem housing coffee genetic resources. Yayu forest, apart from its high abundance of wild coffee trees, is also known for its high plant species diversity. This study aimed at identifying and mapping the core areas for in situ wild Coffea arabica and forest biodiversity conservation, along with the buffer and transition zones required to establish a biosphere reserve at Yayu. The study made use of Landsat 1973, 1986 and 2001 Remote Sensing Satellite Image analysis to determine the forest change extent and pattern, and Multi Criteria Evaluation in a GIS environment and community participation to come up with the final biosphere reserve map. Dense forest, disturbed forest, farmlands and settlement, and grasslands have been identified as the major land use/land cover types in the study area. According to the change detection analysis, though there has been overall forest reduction by 7.2% over the entire period, there has been an increasing trend since 1986 owing to forest regeneration resulting from displacement of settlers from near the forest to village centers, following the then vilagization policy, and semi-forest coffee expansion. The forest cover change pattern displayed distinct spatial pattern with complete clearance on the higher altitudes and forest disturbance in the lower to mid altitudes. The complete forest clearance is attributed to farmland and settlement expansion as a function of population growth and the forest disturbance attributed to coffee expansion. Forest disturbance risk, coffee abundance and species diversity distribution pattern have been mapped as a function of the influencing environmental variables. The core zone has then been determined to represent areas of higher wild Coffea arabica abundance, higher plant species diversity, less prone to human disturbance, and areas that have never been under private management. However, as the participatory approach in this study didn’t make individual based discussions, the output should never be considered as an absolute conflict free map; but rather a considerably socially resolved map that paves the way to a further detailed scrutiny, for a better conflict free map of the biosphere reserve. Key Words: in-situ conservation, wild Coffea arabica, multi-criteria evaluation, community participation, core zone



In-situ conservation, Wild Coffea arabica, Multi-criteria evaluation, Community participation, Core zone