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Hana Yasin, Zerihun Kebebew and Kitessa Hundera

Abstract

The southwest Ethiopian Afromontane moist forests are recognized as one of the biodiversity hotspots as they are the centres of origin and domestication of Arabica coffee. But they are under threat due to deforestation and conversion to coffee farms. Coffee agroforests are believed to buffer the natural forest from these threats. The study was conducted to investigate the importance of coffee agroforest adjacent to Belete forest southwest Ethiopia. Vegetation data were collected from 68 plots (34 each) and socioeconomic data were collected from 136 households (68 each). The results showed that statistically, there were no significant differences between the natural forest and adjacent coffee agroforests in the species composition, species richness and Shannon diversity index of the woody species(P > 0.05). The socioeconomic benefit result showed a number of forest products that are collected from the coffee agroforest. There were statistically significant differences between the natural forest and coffee agroforest in the forest income and the Simpson Diversification Index of the households (p < 0.05). Coffee agroforests contribute to the conservation of woody species through the retention of woody species and reducing pressure on the natural forest. Therefore, the socioeconomic benefits of coffee agroforests must take into account the conservation of woody species in linking the conservation and development arena.