In recent years, shade coffee certification programs have attracted increased attention from conservation and development organizations. The certification programs offer an opportunity to link environmental and economic goals by providing a premium price to producers and thereby contribute to forest conservation. However, the significance of the certification program's conservation efforts is still unclear because of the lack of empirical evidence. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of the shade coffee certification program on forest conservation.
The study was carried out at the Belete-Gera Regional Forest Priority Area in Ethiopia, and remote sensing data from 2005 and 2010 was used to gauge the change of the forest area.
Employing the propensity score matching estimation, we found that forests under the coffee certification were less likely to be deforested than forests without forest coffee. By contrast, the difference in the degree of deforestation between forests with forest coffee but not under the certification program and forests with no forest coffee is statistically insignificant. These results suggest that the certification program had a large impact on forest protection, decreasing the probability of deforestation by 1.7 percentage points.
Keywords: shade coffee, coffee certification, forest conservation, impact evaluation, remote sensing, Ethiopia