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The montane rainforests of southeastern Ethiopia are the cradle of wild Coffea arabica, the archetype of a large proportion of modern commercial coffee breeds. Due to the dwindling size of the montane rainforests the precious resource of wild Coffea arabica has become threatened.

The overall objective of the project Conservation and use of the wild populations of Coffea arabica in the montane rainforests in Ethiopia (CoCE ) is to combine
• conservation of the genetic diversity of wild coffee with
• conservation of the diversity of species and ecosystems within the montane rainforests.

During the first project phase (CoCE I), from 2002 to 2006, the diversity and the economic value of the Ethiopian coffee gene pool and its forest habitat have been assessed. Our particular objective was the measurement of the water relations of the different wild coffee populations. The second project phase (CoCE II), running from 2006 to 2009, focused on the development of implementation strategies of model character for the concurrent conservation and use of both wild Coffea arabica and its natural habitat in the center of its diversity, the montane rainforests of southwestern Ethiopia. During this phase, we evaluated coffee quality by chemical and sensory analysis of the wild coffee populations in dependence of environmental and management factors.