Insects are diverse and abundant in forest ecosystems, but poorly documented in afromontane rainforests in Southwestern Ethiopia where Coffea arabica L. originated and is distributed worldwide. Therefore, the present study was initiated to study the occurrence of coffee leaf damaging insect pests in the afromontane rainforest of southwestern Ethiopia. Accordingly, surveys on insect pest of coffee were conducted to investigate pest status and; their damaging intensity in three (Yayu, Berhane-kontir and Bonga) forest coffee ecosystems. Based on general uniformity of forest coffee population, each forest coffee was stratified into three forest sites and 16 trees were systematically selected for leaf insect damage assessment. Survey and damage assessment results reveal that, coffee leaf damaging insect pests in afromontane rainforests of Southwestern Ethiopia include 12 insect families from five insect orders. Mean incidence data showed, significant different (P< 0.05) during different survey seasons within and between three forest coffee populations. Among the frequently occurred and damage causing insect pests were Leucoplema doherthyi, Cryphiomystis aletreuta, coffee giant looper and Leucoptera species and had 72.20 ± 1.42, 14.41 ± 5.15, 10.73 ± 4.30 and 2.63 ± 1.24 proportion damage across forest coffee populations, respectively. There is also high variation among major coffee leaf damaging insect during different seasons (rainy, rainy to dry transition, dry and dry to rainy season transition season). Generally, there were differences in insect pest incidence between and within forest coffee populations with regard to coffee leaf damaging insects and relatively low incidence observed compared to other coffee production systems. The present findings complement other research results meant for the conservation of remnant forest and its biodiversity especially to explore the natural enemies in these forest ecosystems.
Key words: Coffea arabica L., forest coffee, southwestern Ethiopia, insect pests, season.
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