Importance for Climate Protection
Enormous carbon sink
The area of forest currently remaining, in the area of the Kafa Biosphere Reserve, totals up to 422,260 hectares, of which 152,000 hectares are mainly intact mountain cloud forest and seven percent bamboo forest. 33,000 hectares are degraded and 21,000 hectares strongly degraded mountain cloud-forest. According to conservative estimates, the aforementioned area of forest contains around 25 million tons of CO² in above-ground biomass. Other conservative calculations of the forests’ carbon-storage capacity reckon that the forest currently absorbs around 600,000 tons of CO² annually. Going by a current study, the annual deforestation rate in the Kafa Zone is approx. 22,500 hectares, whilst figures of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) pitched the deforestation rate between 1988 and 2008 at 11,000 hectares annually.
If these figures are used as the basis for a “business as usual” scenario the forests in the Kafa Zone will completely disappear within the next 10-20 years. This would progressively lead to the release of all the 25 million tons of CO² as well as a continually sinking carbon-storage capacity in the forest.
The preservation of Ethiopias unique wild coffee forests will aid the global community to avoid further greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation. The forests in the states southwest can furthermore be seen as the “green lung” of Ethiopia. Preserving these forests will secure the maintenance of a regionally important CO² store. It can secure the natural and economic bases of existence for the regional population in progressing climate change. Moreover, important regulatory functions of water supply and micro-climate are provided by the preserved rainforests.
Since 2008 Ethiopia is a member of the “Forest Carbon Partnership Facility” to decisively combat deforestation and forest degradation.