The role of Protected Areas and Conservation of Protected Areas

Topics: Mammals

The role of protected areas for conservation is undeniable; however, it has been recognized that protected areas alone are not enough to ensure biodiversity conservation (Western 1989, Ferrier et al. 2004). Hence, it is increasingly important to identify and develop alternative management strategies including forest ecosystem services that sustain and fulfill human needs and at the same time can provide incentives for conservation (Daily, 1997, Perfecto & Vandermeer, 2008). One of the services is agricultural systems that incorporate well-structured, diverse, and dense canopies capable of maintaining a high level of biodiversity comparable with natural forests while providing sustainable livelihoods for the local people (Vandermeer and Perfecto, 2007).

Several studies demonstrated that a shade coffee farm, planted under the tree canopy, is considered the archetypal example of such agricultural practices. A growing body of research has documented that such coffee farms harbor high levels of associated biodiversity (Komar, 2006) and are important for the conservation of many species of arthropods (Perfecto et al., 2003), amphibians (Pineda et al., 2005), birds (Raman, 2006) and mammals (Williams-Guillen et al.

, 2006).

The conservation value of these shade coffee systems relates closely to management intensity. As management intensity increases, the structure, composition, and diversity of species in the agroecosystem generally decrease (Perfecto et al., 1996, 2003; Swift et al., 1996; Altieri, 1999, Hundera et al.

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, 2012), indicating that increased management usually results in decreased conservation value (Vandermeer et al., 2002). In Ethiopia, farmers keep native tree canopy on their coffee farms for better coffee seed production (Hundera et al., 2012). Coffee farms are managed by selective cutting of trees, understory shrubs, and herbs, and additional planting of coffee seedlings (Petit, 2006; Hundera et al., 2012). As a result of the level of management,t the coffee farms show variation with characteristics like tree density and diversity, shade canopy cover, and other vegetation characteristics (Petit, 2006, Hundera et al., 2012, Senbeta, 2016). Based on these characteristics, in the area there are wide ranges of coffee management systems, growing in a variety of shade regimes: forest coffee, semi-forest coffee, semiplantation coffee, garden coffee,e and plantation coffee types listed with increasing order of management intensity (Hundera et al., 2012). Southwest Ethiopia harbors the most extensive area of different shaded coffee agriculture in the country and the area produces over 90% of the coffee nationwide (Ref). Even though the majority of the coffee production system in the area follows the traditional coffee management system; however, following a recent global trend towards unshaded coffee production in connection with the increasing use of mechanized agriculture, the historical traditional shade coffee production is under changing pressure. Large forested lands are given to investors for coffee production without any restriction on how to farm coffee.

Moreover, agricultural extension services oftHotspoten recommend the culture of coffee with limited shade trees to gain the highest possible yields and also compatible with mechanized agricultural practices (Gove et al., 2008). A growing number of studies in southwest Ethiopia reported that shade coffee farms, in which the native tree canopy is retained, are remarkable ‘‘bird-friendly’’ supporting high avian diversity (Buechley et al., 2015, Rodrigues et al., 2018) and sustain epiphytes (De Beenhouwer et al., 2015b). Some studies have demonstrated that diverse assemblages of mammals exist in agroforestry systems of coffee. For instance, recently conducted research in the area showed the mammalian species composition and diversity in shade coffee and natural forests were similar overall (Mertens et al., 2018). However, limited information exists on how patterns of mammal diversity change along a gradient of coffee management intensification. As most studies have contrasted forest and only one type of agroforestry system, or a variety of anthropogenic habitats that cannot be clearly ordered by changes in forest management complexity. Based on the criteria shade coffee systems are ideal systems to explore the effects of management intensity on biodiversity and ecosystem function, as management regimes range from diverse agroforests, which resemble native forests to systematically planted and well-managed coffee agriculture (Perfecto et al 1996, Moguel and Toledo, 1999). The study area corresponds to an important center of species endemism within the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot. The montane rain forest of Ethiopia is home to many mammals and accounts for 40% of the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot (Ref). Since mammals play different ecological roles and are of high conservation priority. They, directly and indirectly, affect other species throughout the food web, including as predators or herbivores acting as important seed dispersers and modifying abiotic processes involving nutrient cycles, soil properties, fire regimes, and primary production as well as indicators of environmental changes (Ref). Due to this, it is important to study medium and large-sized mammals as a choice for evaluating intensity in the coffee agroecosystem because Ethiopian shade coffee agriculture is widely praised by researchers as biodiversity-ffriendly coffee(Buechley et al., 2015; Rodrigues et al., 2018; Mertens et al., 2018).

Evaluating the coffee management types of medium and large-size large-sized abundance and diversity can have important implications for better management plans of the habitat and identifying those species most sensitive and affected by coffee intensification. Long-term conservation of mammals and other taxa will depend on the ability to manage agricultural lands so that they meet both production and conservation goals (Harvey & Gonzalez, 2007), making it critical to determine at which point along intensification gradients the medium and large-sized mammals are irreparably impacted.

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The role of Protected Areas and Conservation of Protected Areas. (2022, Jun 21). Retrieved from

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