Projects in the Kafa Biosphere Reserve help to support a wide range of sustainable development and conservation goals. The Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), in cooperation with the Ethiopian Government and other partners, has been implementing the following projects in Kafa:

Biodiversity under Climate Change: Community-based Conservation, Management and Development Concepts for the Wild Coffee Forests” (2014-2017)


Climate Protection and Preservation of Primary Forests - A Management Model using the Wild Coffee Forests in Ethiopia as an Example” (2009-2013)

The projects are part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.














Between 1988 and 2008, around 40% of the forests in Kafa have disappeared, mainly because of land use conversion from forests to agricultural lands. This has caused a threat to biodiversity and an emission of greenhouse gases. Therefore, the central aim of the above mentioned projects is the conservation of forests in order to protect the biodiversity and maintain ecosystem services for the local people as well as to combat climate change, as forests are crucial carbon sinks.

The projects are based on three main pillars:

-    Restoration and management of ecosystems

-    Regional development and sustainable use of natural resources

-    Communication and environmental education

So far, the projects have achieved the restoration of around 750 ha of natural forest with indigenous species. Ongoing measures focus on the reforestation of another 500 ha of fragmented forest area. Additionally, almost 300 ha of agroforestry areas have been established as well as 1,700 ha of community plantations with fast-growing tree species, which help to satisfy people’s wood demand and release pressure from natural forests. On an area of 11,600 ha, a Participatory Forest Management (PFM) system has been set-up, which involves almost 7,800 local people. An additional 4,500 ha are still in the process of being transferred into a PFM system. Furthermore, as many as 11,200 wood-saving stoves have been introduced to almost 900 villages in Kafa and 54 locals were trained to produce these stoves as a new source of income. Special tourist infrastructures, such as animal and bird watching towers as well as hiking trails have also been built to promote ecotourism in the Kafa Biosphere Reserve.

Detailed project goals and activities of the current project can be found here.

Download the current project flyer in English or German.


The above mentioned projects were preceded by a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Project, dedicated to a sustainable development in the Kafa region that ran for more than a decade and is now completed (1999-2009). In 1999, Geo Rainforest Conservation launched this model initiative with private and public partners, including The Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (DSW), German Development Cooperation (GIZ), Original Food as well as Kraft Foods Germany. The concept of the PPP Project: Long-term conservation of the Kafa forests can only be ensured if the livelihoods of local people benefit from their existence. When the project was initiated, the prime forest product of Kafa – wild Arabica coffee – had no access to the international market. Through the project, 27 cooperatives joined the Kafa Coffee Farmers Union and organized a professional processing and quality control of the coffee beans. Since 2005, wild beans have been exported to Europe at a price that benefits the farmers. This development was possible because Original Food imported the sun-dried beans and established an access to the specialty coffee market. From the 2006/7 harvest onwards, “wild collection” and “fair for life” certification enhanced the marketing success.

For further information, please find the PPP Project Flyer (in English) here.













Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) and Participatory Forest Management Project

A forested landscapes and livelihoods project, supported by Dutch and UK Universities and implemented in the Kafa Zone, aims at non-timber forest products marketing and research. Click here for more information.