Productivity and genetic diversity of Wild coffee (Coffea arabica) in its center of origin, southern Ethiopia, in relation to forest management and land use


Wild coffee (Coffea arabica L.) is a shrub native to the Afromontane forests of southern Ethiopia. It is the crop wild relative of Arabica coffee, one of the most important commodities in the world. Highly valued for its exquisite taste, this crop is still traditionally grown under forest canopy. Wild populations in these forests also serve as a source of genetic diversity for selecting and breeding more productive and more disease resistant races. Unfortunately, forest fragmentation and degradation are threatening the high forests of southern Ethiopia, and thus, also the wild coffee populations.We expect that forest fragmentation is affecting pollination and seed dispersal and therefore limiting the gene flow between isolated coffee populations. Small populations are also more susceptible to the loss of alleles due to genetic drift. The introduction of remote land races into the fragments furthermore threatens the genetic diversity of Wild coffee due to the potential effects of introgression and outbreeding.Aiming to support in situ conservation of the genetic diversity of Wild coffee, we will provide answers to the following research questions:
Are the populations of Wild coffee in the Afromontane forests of southern Ethiopia susceptible to genetic erosion, and if so, can it be related to forest fragmentation, forest management or the introduction of remote land races?Is it possible to identify processes at the landscape scale that can be related to genetic erosion of Wild coffee (e.g. pollination)?Is genetic erosion also reflected in reduced productivity of Wild coffee?Field work is carried out near Jimma, Oromia Regional State, 280 km southwest of Addis Ababa, in collaboration with Jimma University and the Environmental Health and Ecology project of the VLIR IUC-JU program.


Coffea, coffee, genetic diversity, productivity, agroforestry, in situ conservation, introgression, crop wild relative, CWR, SSR, microsatellites, DNA


Name Role Amount
Post-doctoral Fellowship unknown


Name Role Start End
Aerts, Raf member 2008-10-01 2011-09-01
Lens, Luc promotor 2008-10-01 2011-09-01
Muys, Bart member 2008-10-01 2011-09-01
Honnay, Olivier member 2008-10-01 2011-09-01
Hermy, Martin member 2008-10-01 2011-09-01


Name Role Start End
Forest Ecology and Management member 2008-10-01 2011-09-01
VLIR-UOS Institutional University Cooperation member 2008-10-01 2011-09-01

created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:web

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