Kidist Aresema Monastary of women priests

TREE Foundation continues to fund the building of walls in Ethiopia to protect the last remaining forests of that country. This work is directed by TREE Foundation Board Member Dr. Alemayehu Wassie Eshete, the CEO of ORDA (Organization for Restoration of Degraded Areas) in northern Ethiopia. He is one of the country’s top forest conservation biologists, and has been working with TREE for well over a decade in protecting the forests of Ethiopia, particularly those that surround Orthodox churches.

Below are images showing the latest wall built for and by the Kidist Aresema Monastery of women priests.

Eucalypts Encroaching Women's Monastary
ethiopia road to monastary
ethiopia rock wall
Kidist Aresema Monastary of women priests

The ecology of Ethiopia is vastly understudied and also degrading rapidly due to human activities.

Ethiopia Church Forests
A protective wall surrounds the Mekame Selam Kolala Meskel church’s forest in South Gonder, a region of northern Ethiopian. Photo by Kieran Dodds/Panos Pictures

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 freshwater, pollinators, honey, shade, and spiritual value. Preliminary estimates indicate that these last remaining forests could disappear in ten years’ time if nothing is done.