User:Raf Aerts/Notebook/Open Coffee/2009/01/19

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Field notes on the history of coffee in Geruke

Almost all Garuke fragments belong to the semi-plantation coffee system (SPC); at best, some less intensively managed parts of some larger fragments could be called semi-forest coffee (SFC). According to local forest owners, natural forest coffee (or bird-dispersed coffee, in Amharic “wof-zarash buna”) occurred at very low densities before the intensive coffee cultivation, which started around 1970. Most coffee plants in Garuke were introduced from other forests. A tentative history of coffee in Garuke was established:

  • before 1920: dense forest, few coffee, 60-70% forest cover
  • around 1920: assume introduction of wild coffee from Goma/Gera
  • around 1970: coffee cultivation became more intense
  • around 1990: introduction of improved varieties near homegardens

Enrichment planting and transplanting of coffee plants in a particular forest fragment is usually done with material from the same forest fragment. Farmers tend to collect berries for sowing and seedlings from the best plants in their own plot/fragment. This process of selection may have caused a decrease in genetic diversity in younger plants.