Scientist, Author, Educator, Tree Canopy Biologist

Ethiopia’s Church Forests

Share

Saving the Forests of Ethiopia – one church at a time

Conservation of Ethiopia’s Church Forests

Project Overview
Debresena church forest- South Gondar, Ethiopia (Picture from Google earth)

Debresena church forest- South Gondar, Ethiopia (Picture from Google earth)

The ecology of Ethiopia is vastly understudied and also degrading rapidly due to human activities. Much of the natural landscape has been cleared for agriculture, with one notable exception: the sacred landscapes surrounding churches. These church forests comprise local as well as global “hotspots” as critical conservation areas for a large portion of Ethiopia’s remaining biodiversity. Vegetation surveys of church forests indicate that church forests house a large proportion of the endangered plant species of Ethiopia. Church forests provide important ecosystem services to local people, including fresh water, pollinators, honey, shade, and spiritual value. In January 2009, we forged a partnership with the Christian Orthodox clergy to conserve their church forests.

We propose two goals: 1. to survey the biodiversity of insects in Ethiopian church forests, creating relatively inexpensive, replicable protocols that can be utilized by local children; and 2. to fund simple perimeter delineation (aka, fences) thus preventing further shrinkage of church forests from human activities. Further, we will place special focus on assessing the ecosystem services that insects contribute to these remaining fragments of tropical forest ecosystems, creating a strong case for local conservation initiatives. Throughout our field work, we plan to engage local Sunday school children as future stewards of these church forests, utilizing the church infrastructure to educate and inspire local stakeholders about their local biodiversity. Results of the ecological surveys will be published in appropriate international journals, but a conservation plan utilizing the church (especially Sunday school children) as a focal group will also be disseminated, reflecting a culturally-sensitive solution. Preliminary estimates indicate that these last remaining forests could disappear in ten years time. We not only need to measure the shrinking forests and their biodiversity treasure-troves, but also to help the local people reverse this critical loss which would essentially make it impossible for their children to survive.

More info: Biodiversity of Ethiopian Church Forests Summary 2010 pdf

Ethiopia Photo Gallery
Ethiopia Video Playlist

Ethiopia Church Forests Conservation Cost Table
Ser No Name of the site Area
Ha
Perimeter
Km
No. woody Species
estimated
Total Cost of Fencing (stone  wall) USD Name of District/Woreda GPS Location
1

Zhara

8 1.6 46 Already fenced Dera

N110 48′ & E370 34′

2

Debresena

11.5 1.9 40 Under fencing Farta

N110 51′ &  E370 59′

3

Dengolt

25 2.6 50 17,400 Estie

N110 36′ & E380 04′

4

Mosha

13 2.8 53 18,700 Estie

N110 26′ & E370 56′

5

Woji

22.5 2.3 46 15,400 Fogera

N110 55′ & E370 48′

6

Mantogera

5 0.89 59 6,000 Libo

N120 09′ & E370 47′

7

Amstya

22.8 2 57 13,500 Ibinat

N120 01′ & E380 04′

8

Wuahir

8.4 1.4 62 9,400 Farta

N110 51′ & E380 05′

9

Gibstawit

8.7 1.7 52 11,400 Ibinat

N120 07′ & E380 05′

10

Qorata

48 2.8 69 18,700 Dera

N110 45′ & E370 26′

11

Dedim

36.6 3 26 20,000 Farta

N110 47′ & E380 12′

12

Wonkeshit

50 3.8 88 25,500 Dera

N110 30′ & E370 37′

13

Gedam Selase

15 1.9 99 12,700 Simada

N110 21′ & E380 10′

14

Gelawdios

100 6 48 40,000 Dera

N110 38′ & E370 48′

  Total       208,700.00    
Share

Connect with CanopyMeg

RSSTwitterFacebookYouTubeLinkedIn