Saving the Forests of Ethiopia – One Church at a Time

 

 

TREE Foundation’s efforts to save the “church forests” of Ethiopia were highlighted in the above short film published by The New York Times as part of its award-winning Op-Docs (opinion documentary) series. The work of independent filmmaker Jeremy Seifert, the film was published on the Times’ website on Dec. 3, 2019. The film was narrated by Dr. Alemayehu Wassie Eshete of Ethiopia, an active board member of TREE Foundation.

 

TREE Foundation is a global force in the conservation of the last remaining forests of northern Ethiopia.  
Because these church forests of Ethiopia house water supplies, biodiversity (including pollinators of local crops), conserve soil, store carbon, as well as the local churches which represent important spiritual centers, these forests are an important legacy to the health of the Ethiopian people. TREE’s Ethiopia project represents a win/win/win in the world of conservation biology:

  • Construction of stone walls encourage removal of stones from agricultural fields and raise the crop yield
  • The stone walls conserve the remaining forest patches and  the native biodiversity of northern Ethiopia
  • The walls prevent cattle from eating the seedlings and plows from damaging the edge vegetation
  • The walls provide labor for some of the rural sector

To help TREE Foundation’s efforts to save these critical church forests, consider supporting us with a contribution:


Featured Church Forest

Hiruy Church Forest (Est. 360 A.D.)

Regional View of Deforestation | See Map of All Forests

Forest Health Indicators for Hiruy Church Forest


Hectares
of Forest
Remaining
4.0


Woody
Species
Remaining
32


Number of
Cattle Trails
In the Forest
0.2


Number of
Cut Trees
In the Forest
29


Percentage of
Wall
Completed
100%

Data from Dr. Alemayehu Wassie Eshete (2007)


 

Church Forests of Ethiopia

Forest Year Established Remaining Hectares Remaining Woody Species Cattle Trails Cut Trees Wall Completed (%)
Abegeldi 1735 14.0 19 4.1 91 0%
Alember 1702 14.5 37 2.3 141 0%
Amstya 1260 22.8 57 1.3 53 0%
Ascha 1940 1.6 22 3.2 128 0%
Asolit 1984 7.7 36 1.3 14 0%
Debresena 1570 11.5 40 1.3 119 100%
Deder 1690 14.4 22 3.4 88 0%
Dengolt 1300 25.0 50 3.3 41 0%
Emashenkor 1659 3.4 28 0.0 13 100%
Enshet Kuskuam 1410 6.3 26 1.2 52 0%
Gedamselase 1011 15.0 99 2.4 74 0%
Gibstawit 1620 8.7 52 2.3 130 0%
Gunaguna 1260 6.9 34 1.1 138 0%
Hiruy 360 4.0 32 0.2 29 100%
Mantogera 1275 5.0 59 4.4 149 0%
Mekedesemariam 1430 4.7 33 0.9 33 100%
Mosha 1320 13.0 53 0.0 42 100%
Quar 1480 3.0 34 3.3 69 0%
Shamo 1270 10.0 58 3.7 129 0%
Woji 1695 22.5 46 4.2 144 70%
Wonberoch 1740 35.0 15 3.2 117 0%
Wuahir 1360 8.4 62 2.4 86 0%
Zagua 1450 6.8 33 1.1 94 0%
Zhara 1550 8.0 46 2.2 41 100%
Geregera 5.0 35 0.0 0 100%
Wonchet 6.5 27 0.0 0 70%
Zegura Mehanialem 12.0 38 0.0 0 100%
Goha Mariam 3.5 30 0.0 0 60%
Bata Mariam 7.0 0 0.0 0 100%
Giorgis 6.1 36 0.0 0 90%
Robit Bata 5.0 34 0.0 0 60%
Gombat 8.0 48 0.0 0 0%
Kulala 3.0 32 0.0 0 100%
Mesi 32.0 44 0.0 0 70%
Simet 13.0 53 0.0 0 0%
West Gojam Diocese 1.0 0 0.0 0 100%
Zajor 8.0 42 0.0 0 90%

Data from Dr. Alemayehu Wassie Eshete (2007)


Wall Construction at Zhara Church Forest, Ethiopia


Video by Greg Vander Veer
Dr. Meg Lowman and Dr. Alemayehu Wassie Eshete discuss the environmental and social value of the stone wall constructed around the Zhara church forest, Ethiopia.


Please support these church forest communities and help save the remaining biodiversity by donating today. Thank you.


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