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Forest management expansion

Tahir and his family standing next to a wire mesh used for drying coffee. Photo by Lisa Murray. Tahir and his family standing next to a wire mesh used for drying coffee. Photo by Lisa Murray.

The Problem

Over a million people rely on Bale’s expansive and environmentally significant forests to earn a living. Yet, poverty levels are high in Bale and for many years this drove communities to clear forestland for grazing and to sell as timber.

Tropical forests can provide up to 30 percent of the climate change mitigation needed to meet the objectives of the Paris agreement. Halting deforestation is key to stabilising global average temperatures and sustaining the livelihoods of rural people.

What were we doing?

Since 2012, Farm Africa and a consortium of partners have been implementing Ethiopia’s first reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) project. REDD+ is a framework that incentivises forest protection and mitigates global climate change. The scheme enables developing country governments and communities to be paid for actions that prevent forest losses and thereby reduce carbon emissions.

For many years, Farm Africa has been refining its forest management system, which strikes a balance between forest conservation and the livelihoods of the local people who depend on those forests. By developing formal agreements between communities and local authorities, this project promoted forest-friendly farming that produces diverse and sustainable income streams for residents.

For example, communities were supported to:

  • develop traditional activities like beekeeping, producing essential oils, making bamboo furniture and harvesting wild coffee
  • use fuel-efficient stoves made from local materials, greatly reducing demand for firewood to cook with
  • work with local governments to develop forest management plans that will protect the local environment and preserve their home for future generations.

What have we achieved?

Between 2012 and 2015 reduced deforestation in Bale stopped 5.5 million tonnes of carbon from being released into the atmosphere, the equivalent of taking 1.2 million passenger-driven vehicles off the road for one year. The emissions reduction has been externally validated and will generate carbon credits that will be sold on the voluntary carbon market.

The second phase of this project will strengthen the local community’s ability to manage the forest sustainably. The project will help the community invest the profits they receive from the sale of carbon credits into forest-friendly farming enterprises.

Who were we helping?

The project supported millions of people across Ethiopia’s forests. We are also helping the government to find long-term ways to protect Ethiopia’s forests.

Who were we working with?

We carried out this work in partnership with local NGO SOS Sahel, with funding from the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Addis Ababa.