Abstract

Yeki-Godera Forest of Southwest Ethiopia is recognized as unique forest ecosystem, for its diverse biological richness and since it is the world’s birthplace of Coffea arabica that still harbors its last wild coffee populations. The natural wealth surrounding this unique forest ecosystem is therefore invaluable heritages for all mankind in general and the Ethiopian in particular.  Because it is still reserve of flora and fauna and a source of genetic materials for the adaptation and improvement of plant species presently in use, and those whose value is yet to be ascertained.   But Perennial cash crops such as coffee, tea, rubber and palm oil are expanding at the expense of the biodiversity and wildlife habitats; because in economic terms, there is little understanding of the value of the goods and services provided by forests.  It is therefore, more susceptible to being converted to other land uses which are perceived to be more beneficial. This unique forest ecosystem is therefore undervalued, but it produces many different products that are consumed in many unrelated markets often outside the cash economy. It produces many locally-marketable goods (e.g. wild coffee, forest food, spices, fibers, civet, and honey) as well it has environmental services (e.g. climate control, water regulation, soil conservation) that do not enter into the national economic accounts. ‘Downstream’ irrigation benefits of ‘upstream’ conservation are enjoyed but not paid by beneficiary estate farms; hence the unique forest ecosystem is viewed as ‘free commodity’. And there are still much unknown about the potential values of this forest, a consequence of the lack of systematic research. This paper summaries and place monetary values on the complex array of goods and services provided by the unique forest ecosystem. And suggest that before the decisions of conversion of the unique forest ecosystem to perennial export cash crop land uses, it explores the needs of a complete understanding as possible of the true values of all the goods and services that the unique forest ecosystem can provide.

 

Key Words:  unique ecosystem, wild coffee, cash economy, environmental services,