Inside Ethiopia’s Endangered Wild-Coffee Forests


Walking into the montane cloud forests with a small group of coffee collectors, ducking under mossy, low-hanging branches, ropey lianas, and slender wild coffee trees broken by baboons trying to reach their sweet fruit, is like returning to a time when rivers ran unimpeded and great forests ruled the land. Hazy sunlight pierces the dense canopy. Black-and-white colobus monkeys sit quietly observing from above, heavy silvery-cheeked hornbills lift off from treetops with the deep whooshing of wingbeats, and electric-green mambas slither unseen. The steady drip of water from the morning rain plops down on coffee trees that are merely one part of the rich, biodiverse understory.

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