Ethiopia’s cloud forests are home to 5,000 different kinds of coffee plant, the UNESCO biosphere reservation is a truly unique genetic treasure, boasting rich biodiversity. The region is considered to be the birthplace of Arabica coffee, one of the finest coffees in the world. It first grew here 1,000 of years ago wild in the undergrowth of the forest. Around 5,000 varieties grow wild in these forests – a tremendous range of genetic diversity.
In 2010, after a long battle, the wild coffee forests of Ethiopia were put under a conservation order. But the local population can live from the forest – in a sustainable way. Work done in the region ranges from securing the forest, to harvesting coffee, to tourist sector jobs. In addition, several hundred hectares of forest are being replanted. Educating the local population about such things as the benefits of using wood-saving stoves is important. But even more important is coffee, which - given the growing worldwide interest in diverse bean types - is a good source of income. The local population knows that without the forest there will b no wild coffee anymore.