NABU protects unique wild coffee forests in Ethiopia
NABU (BirdLife in Germany), in cooperation with the Ethiopian Government and other partners, will run a special project to protect the last natural forests where the world famous 'arabica' coffee is produced. In the last 10 years, almost 43% of these forests have disappeared, as they have been transformed into arable land, causing a huge loss of biodiversity.
"The clearing of tropical forests is a major source of greenhouse gases. Over the past 40 years, 35% of Ethiopian forests have been lost through deforestation. If we do not act now, Ethiopia will lose all its forests by 2020", commented Olaf Tschimpke, NABU’s President, during a reception organised by NABU organisations and GTZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für technische Zusammenarbeit) at the Admiral Hotel in Copenhagen.
Experts estimate that today's remaining forest area, approximately 200,000 hectares, contains about 25 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in soil biomass. It absorbs 600,000 tonnes each year of the harmful greenhouse gas from the atmosphere which would then be sequestered in soil and biomass, by the remaining forest.
The NABU project will provide both the reforestation and restoration of 700 hectares of natural forest and cultivated areas with native wildlife and timber. "Fifteen hundred hectares of fast growing trees will be planted next to the villages, to ensure people will be living in safety. Furthermore, 10,000 wood-saving stoves will be introduced in selected communities", continued Tschimpke.
"If we do not act now, Ethiopia will lose all its forests by 2020” —Olaf Tschimpke, NABU’s President
The reforestation of 10,000 hectares will be jointly managed with the Biosphere Reserve and will strictly follow the principles of sustainable forest management. For years, this type of cooperation has been used in Kafa, helping people feel responsible for their land.
Special tourist infrastructures, such as animal and bird watching towers, outdoor museums and hiking trails will also be built. After receiving special training, local people will be able to guide tourists and explain the effects of climate change and agriculture practices. Thanks to this project, peoples’ living standards will significantly increase.
This project will also ensure the conservation of biodiversity in the region, especially of the Arabica coffee, which has almost 5,000 different varieties. It will be a model for other future international projects, combining climate and resources protection with sustainable local development.
The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) within the framework of the International Climate Protection Initiative.
Credits: NABU (BirdLife in Germany)