Conservation value of moist evergreen Afromontane forest sites with different management and history in southwestern Ethiopia

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Tropical forest ecosystems harbor high biodiversity, but they have suffered from ongoing human-induced degradation. We investigated the conservation value of moist evergreen Afromontane forest sites across gradients of site-level disturbance, landscape context and forest history in southwestern Ethiopia. We surveyed woody plants at 108 randomly selected sites and grouped them into forest specialist, pioneer, and generalist species. First, we investigated if coffee dominance, current distance from the forest edge, forest history, heat load and altitude structured the variation in species composition using constrained correspondence analysis. Second, we modelled species richness in response to the same explanatory variables. Our findings show that woody plant community composition was significantly structured by altitude, forest history, coffee dominance and current distance from forest edge. Specifically, (1) total species richness and forest specialist species richness were affected by coffee management intensity; (2) forest specialist species richness increased, while pioneer species decreased with increasing distance from the forest edge; and (3) forest specialist species richness was lower in secondary forest compared to in primary forest. These findings show that coffee management intensity, landscape context and forest history in combination influence local and landscape level biodiversity. We suggest conservation strategies that foster the maintenance of large undisturbed forest sites and that prioritize local species in managed and regenerating forests. Creation of a biosphere reserve and shade coffee certification could be useful to benefit both effective conservation and people's livelihoods.

ZeitschriftBiological Conservation
Seiten (von - bis)117-126
Anzahl der Seiten10
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.04.2019