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Economic incentives help stem deforestation in Ethiopia

07 July 2015

Economic incentives help stem deforestation in Ethiopia

New Farm Africa report outlines promising results to making forests pay for local communities  

A new report released today by international development charity Farm Africa shows promising results for the Participatory Forest Management (PFM) approach to forest management that emphasises joint partnerships between local forest communities and government.

Farm Africa’s report, Making forest conservation benefit local communities: participatory forest management in Ethiopia (PDF, 0.5MB), outlines how PFM is proving successful in giving local people an economic incentive to sustainably manage and protect forests.

Satellite imagery from Chilimo, Ethiopia, where Farm Africa’s first PFM pilot was launched 20 years ago, confirms that not only has deforestation been halted, but forest condition has actually been restored.

Farm Africa introduced PFM to replace command and control approaches to protecting forests and rangelands, which failed to control deforestation and habitat destruction.

Instead of trying to protect forests by keeping people out or encouraging them to do other activities, PFM encourages local communities to manage forests sustainably and profitably by setting up forest-friendly businesses.

Dr. Mulugeta Lemenih, Farm Africa’s Head of Forestry and one of the report’s authors, commented:

“In the PFM model, forests are now actively managed, rather than protected, and communities are granted legal rights to produce and market forest products on a sustainable basis.”

Claire Allan, Farm Africa’s Head of Programme Quality & Impact and co-author of the report, added:

“Finding ways to make forests pay is a win-win situation. Not only do local communities reap dividends from profitable forest-based enterprises such as producing honey, mushrooms, raffia and wild coffee, but millions more people are protected from the devastating impacts of forest loss, such as loss of biodiversity, increased carbon emissions and a reduced water supply in lowland areas.”

Today less than 4% of Ethiopia’s land is forested, compared to around 30% at the end of the 19th century.

Global land use changes, including deforestation, contribute nearly one tenth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Providing incentives to halt deforestation, as PFM does, is an important part of the global climate change agreement.


Notes to Editor:

Farm Africa’s new report, Making forest conservation benefit local communities: participatory forest management in Ethiopia, is available to download here or available as webpages here.

Photos of Farm Africa’s forestry work are available on request. 

For more information, please contact the Farm Africa Press Office:

Libby Plumb, Head of Brand & Content, tel. 020 7067 1237 /

 About Farm Africa

Farm Africa supports farmers living at subsistence level, constantly at risk of crop failure, to build food and income security so that they can grow a better and reliable future for their families.

By focusing on ‘climate-smart’ agricultural and forestry techniques, building market links and adding value to production, Farm Africa unleashes the entrepreneurial abilities of the farmers and rural communities they work with.

Farm Africa believes passionately that smallholders can and will play a key role in achieving rural prosperity in Africa.

For more information about Farm Africa please visit or follow us on Twitter @FarmAfrica

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