REU Site: Undergraduate Research into the Cultural, Economic and Ecological Roles of Church Forests in South Gondar, Ethiopia

National Science Foundation Grant No. SMA-1359367

A collaborative effort by the Colby College Environmental Studies Program, the Colby College Biology Department, the TREE Foundation, and Ethiopia’s Debre Tabor University, the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site program Undergraduate Research into the Cultural, Economic and Ecological Roles of Church Forests in South Gondar, Ethiopia provides American undergraduate students from diverse academic backgrounds an opportunity to conduct pathbreaking interdisciplinary research in Ethiopian Orthodox church forests.

Under the eight-week summer REU program eight students from across the U.S. come to Colby College in Waterville, Maine to receive training in social survey research, spatial analysis using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), ecological field methods, and written and oral communication. They then travel to South Gondar, Ethiopia where they work with local collaborators and mentors from Colby College, the California Academy of Sciences and Ethiopian academic and government institutions to study church forests’ many cultural, economic and ecological values.

The 2015 REU Site team benefited greatly from working closely with our Ethiopian partners including Endale Adamu of Debre Tabor University, Tizezew Shimekach Sisay of the University of Maine, and the TREE Foundation’s own Dr. Alemayehu Wassie. And our work in church forests would not be possible without Canopy Meg’s longstanding relationship and Memorandum of Understanding with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Thank you!

Recommended Publication list for Ethiopia Projects

LoTemplio, S., Reynolds, T., Wassie, A., Abrahams, M., Bruesewitz, D, & Wall, J. (2016). Ethiopian Orthodox church forests provide regulating and habitat services: evidence from stream sediment and aquatic insect analyses. African Journal of Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/aje.12329 (Article Access)

Liang, J., Reynolds, T., Wassie, A., Collins, C., & Wubalem, A. (2016). Effects of exotic Eucalyptus spp. plantations on soil properties in and around sacred natural sites in the northern Ethiopian Highlands. AIMS Agriculture and Food. 1(2): 175-193 (Article Access)

Now Accepting Applications for Summer 2016 REU in Ethiopia program


Latest REU: Ethiopia Updates RSS