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External factors

Population Growth

With a current population of 62 million and growing at a rate of 2.92 % per annum and a land area of 1.1 million square kilometres is characterised by subsistence agriculture and extremely high population growth in the face of declining agricultural productivity.

According to the census of 1984, the population of Ethiopia was 42.2 millions which was growing at 2.95 % per annum (CSA, 1985). By mid 1990, the population was estimated at 50.6 million of which about 89 % lived in rural areas (CSA, 1990). The population in 1994 was 53.5 million which grew to 61.7 million in 1999 of which 85% are rural and 15% are urban(CSA,1999). Based on the projection made by Anders et, al. 2000, the population is expected to increase to 102 million by year 2020. The high population growth is driven by a high fertility rate of about 6 children per year.

The same report indicated that there has been a change in the annual population growth rate from 2.18 % between 1955 and 1960 which increased to 2.43 % between 1975 and 1980. The growth rate then changed to 2.45 % between 1995 and 2000. It is expected to grow to 2.49 % between 2015 and 2020.

In addition, the current population density of 57 persons per square kilometre is expected to increase to 93 persons per square kilometre by the year 2020. The rural population alone is expected to reach over 84 million from the current 54 million. Similarly, the urban population is expected to increase to 34.4 million from the current population of 11.6 million. The structure reflects a high dependency ratio with about 45.4 percent of the total population under the age of 15 years and 3.2 % aged 65 and above (NMSA, 2000).

Ethiopia today has approximately 10.2 million households with about 5.2 persons per households. Urban households are smaller than rural households with a high dependency on agriculture. If all other factors remain unchanged, the remaining forest land are likely to be converted to agricultural land.

The increase in both human and livestock population has led to decreased holdings of arable land. Arable land per capita declined significantly. In 1994/95, about 61 % of farming households cultivated less than one hectare of land. Only 1 % of the farmers own holdings greater than 5 hectares and these are likely to be concentrated in the sparsely populated areas with low agricultural potential.

The increase both in the rural and urban population means that there will be more pressure both on forest and agricultural lands. This also means an increase in the demand for forest products. As a result, deforestation will continue and all the positive functions of forests will disappear. The increase in urbanization also calls for more wood for construction. Unless appropriate forest policy and existing environmental policy are in place and effective, these trend will continue unabated.

If all other factors remain unchanged, the remaining forest land is likely to be converted to agricultural land.

The forest area per capita is decreasing which will reduce the services rendered by the forests. Unless the technologies used result in increasing agricultural productivity, the pressure on forests will steadily increase. There will be a decreasing forest-population ratio in the years to come.


Economic Growth

Ethiopia is one of the least developed countries in the world. The gross domestic product (GDP) in 1997 was USD 6,181 million at market prices and exchange rate. GDP with baseline scenario, at high growth scenario and low growth scenario is as shown in Table 1 (NMSA, 2000).

Table 1. GDP for baseline, high growth and low growth scenarios


GDP US Mil. Dollars (A.)

GDP US Mil. Dollars (B)

GDP US Mil. Dollars (C).


























The country’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture for generating employment, income and foreign exchange. The dominant sectors and their contribution to GDP in 1994 were 49.7% for agriculture 11.2% for industry and 39.1% for services (NMSA, 2000).

Ethiopia has been restructured from a unitary and highly centralized state into a federal one whereby the regional administrations are entitled to plan and execute their own development activities. The economic aspects of these policies stress the liberalization of the economy to become market-oriented. The previous centralized economic planning and decision making, which gave total authority on the economy to the state has been abolished.

The decentralization and devolution process that Ethiopia has undergone in the last few years has resulted in new political and administrative institutions. The introduction of a federal system has changed the balance of power in favour of the regional states, which have the legislative, executive and judicial powers

The poor performance of the economy over the last two decades demonstrated itself through declining rates of economic growth. The annual average GDP growth rate ranged from -5.2 in 1992 to 4.9 in 1993. The average growth rate in GDP from 1990 to 1997 is - 0.9. The annual growth rate for GDP per capita is estimated at -2.6 % and the average GDP per capita is estimated at $ 106 (Anders et al, 2000).

Economic growth and agricultural growth are constrained by the deteriorating forest resource base in particular and the environment in general. In addition to the degradation of forests, the most pressing environmental problems are land degradation, including soil erosion as well as the loss of soil fertility and bio-diversity.

The availability of foreign exchange is one of the major requirements for an increase in GDP which is limited by the decline in productivity of the agriculture sector and a high rate of population growth. The low rate of growth in the agriculture sector is aggravated by inappropriate land use practices, which focus on extensive land use. In Ethiopia, the major export commodity is coffee, which on average accounts for 65% of the foreign currency earnings. In an attempt to increase foreign exchange earnings, the government opted to increase the area under coffee through clearing of forests in the south-western part of the country.

The industrial sector is not much better than the agriculture sector. It did not show growth and less labour is absorbed by the sector. The shift of labour employment from the agriculture to the industrial sector is not substantial showing the poor performance of the economy.

An estimated 50 % of the population lives below the absolute poverty line. More than 13 million people living in the rural areas are classified as food insecure who are unable to meet their subsistence requirements even in years of normal rainfall. The economically active rural population was estimated to have grown by more than 3 percent per annum between 1985 and 1995. Around 550,000 persons were added to the labour force each year. The absorption of such a large labour force into productive employment has remained one of the major challenges for the government.

The central concern is the widespread poverty which is mainly determined by poor performance of the economy. Declining standard of livelihood of the farming communities and their close dependence on forests and woodlands have led to clearing for subsistence farming, cutting of trees for fuel wood and charcoal production both for consumption and sale, construction material and over-grazing. High population growth is a reflection of the incidence of poverty and is, at the same time, a key factor in the accelerating deterioration of the natural resource base particularly, forests. Environmental degradation, in turn, severely constrains production and productivity of the agricultural sector and, therefore, the growth of the overall economy.

With population increasing faster than the economy, the per capita income declined, and this, in turn has adverse effect on forests.

This means that the population growth in the agricultural sector is high which led to an increase in the ratio of population to land, causing overgrazing, deforestation, environmental degradation and reduction in agricultural productivity.


Development in the Agriculture Sector

Socio-economically, agriculture at subsistence level is the mainstay of the economy and contributes 53 % of the GDP, 90% of the export earning and 85% of the employment and livelihood. Because of the importance of agriculture for the overall economy of the country, and its particular importance to the livelihoods of the bulk of the rural poor, the government has based its long term development strategy on Agriculture Development Led Industrialisation (ADLI). This strategy views agriculture as the primary stimulus to generate employment and income for the poor.

The strategy relies on promoting small scale crop and livestock production, intensification and diversification of farm enterprises, strengthening rural institutions, enhancing the availability of rural credit, grass root participation and creating community awareness in development.

Over the past many years the agricultural sector of Ethiopia showed a very low growth rate. Total food production ranged between 5.05 million metric tons (1985) and 10 million metric tons (1996). The overall food production showed a trend of steady increase followed by a trend of decrease (1991-1994) (FDRE, 1996).

According to the Land Use Planning and Regulatory Team of the MoA, about 66 % of the land area is potentially arable. Despite the big potential, only less than 20 % or an estimated 16 million hectares is presently under crops. About 20,000 to 30,000 hectares of crop land is abandoned annually because cropping can no longer be supported on the highly degraded areas.

The highlands (above 1500m above sea level) which amount to about 44% of the highland mass. are the greatest economic asset of the country. They shelter about 88 % of the total population and account for over 90% of the economic activity, including about 95% of the cultivated lands and 67% of the livestock population. Close to 60% of the highlands exhibits slopes in excess of 30%.

The country has a significant potential for irrigation. An estimated 3.6 million hectares of land area is irrigable from surface water alone. Agriculture which is dominated by smallholder peasant agriculture accounts for more than 95% of the total food production. These sector is dependent on natural rainfall and traditional farming methods with a very limited use of improved technologies. The food production trend is very much correlated with the rainfall pattern. Land degradation is a constraint affecting improvements in agricultural production and hence food security for the population. Total crop production on private peasant holdings was 25% below the 1996/97 and 10% below the 1994/95 levels (CSA, 1997/98).

The performance of the agricultural sector has been poor. Its annual growth rate for the past 20 years has never exceeded 2% while the population growth rate is now about 2.9 % per year. Agriculture registered negative growth rates in 1991/92 (-2.7%), 1993/94 (-3.6%), and 1997/98 (-11.4%) while during the same period population grew at an annual rate of 3 % (DPPC, 2000).

According to the current estimate of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 52% of the total population is thought to be food insecure or below the poverty line (FDRE, 1996).

The Government of Ethiopia has drafted a food security strategy for the country in November 1996 to increase food production through the diffusion of simple technology packages within small holder institution in areas of reliable rainfall. The extension package includes improved seeds, fertilizers and better crop husbandry methods. Livestock development is also a high priority of the Government through the intensification of small holder dairy farming.

Intensification of agricultural production through the use of fertilizer, improved seeds and chemicals can have a favourable impact on labour absorption.

In the future, the availability of agricultural land per capita is likely to decrease which will result a continued and increased pressure on rural resources including the remaining forests and woodlands unless improvement in agricultural productivity is made through intensification of agricultural lands. The anticipated growth in agriculture would come from opening up new lands for cultivation through expanded irrigation in low lying areas. Other strategies also include marketing infrastructure, promotion of irrigation etc. which all aim at increasing agricultural production.


Change in Energy Use and Their Implications on Forest Resources

The energy sector remains heavily dependent on wood for fuel. Despite the poor documentation on the production and consumption of wood fuel (EFAP, 1994) estimated that wood provided 78% while dung and crop residues providing 16% of the energy required. However, national figures conceal considerable regional and local variation in both supply and consumption patterns. This could be due to the varying fuel wood prices and costs of supplying alternative energy sources which also have large influence on the consumption pattern and the level of biomass consumption.

Even though per capita energy consumption is among the lowest in the world, the gap between sustainable fuelwood supply and demand is constantly widening. The current fuelwood deficit is estimated to be about 47 million m3. The demand of households for forest products in many areas exceeds by far the annual incremental yield from the existing forest resources.

The importance of woody biomass energy in the rural sector is unlikely to diminish in the foreseeable future, since it will be difficult to provide supplies of modern energy to most of the rural areas.

The fuel wood demand and supply projection made by EFAP (1994) indicates that the current demand for fuel wood is 58 million m3 whereas the supply is 11 million m3. The same projection for fuel wood for the year 2008 indicated a supply of 9.8 million cubic meters against a demand of 74.9 million cubic meters showing a deficit of 65 million m3 of wood. The projection made for the year 2020 indicated that the demand will reach to 100 million m3 against a supply projection of 7.7 million m3 envisaging a deficit of 92.3 million m3.

The major user of energy is the household, accounting for 89% of the overall energy consumption of the country. The consumption in energy is directly correlated with the size of population and with the availability of bio-mass. There is a considerable variation in the consumption of modern energy which is a function of the degree of urbanization. In Ethiopia, energy expenditure constitutes a significant portion of the total expenditure of households. The estimated energy consumption is 2.1 kg of wood fuel equivalent per person per day.

Statistics show that both rural and urban demand for wood energy has increased and is expected to increase due to the growing populations and macro-economic changes. Use of fuel wood has increased as an indirect result of the removal of all subsidies since all alternative sources of energy are based on subsidized prices which reversed the progress made in reducing pressures on the natural forests. Today many people have been forced to revert to wood energy for their domestic needs. The recent tariff increase for electricity have a dramatic effects on the natural resources base where by many consumers of electricity have switched back from the use of electricity to biomass fuels to meet the cooking requirements, thereby contributing to the diminishing forest cover.

The shortfall between available supply and actual demand of wood fuel is usually met through the us e of dung and agricultural residues, but at the cost of agricultural productivity. The subsequent use of these substitute fuels competes with their use as organic fertilizer, and consequently exerts pressure on the agricultural sector where sustainable agricultural production could be threatened.

Besides the long term measures to enhance the supply of fuel wood, the pressure on traditional energy supplies can only be alleviated in the near and medium term by measures that promote the end-use energy efficiency, increase the supply of woody biomass resources through the involvement of the individual farmers in planting trees in farm forestry.


Industrial Development and its Implications on Forestry

One of the major reasons for underemployment of labour in rural Ethiopia is the lack of employment opportunities in the non-agricultural sectors. Even though employment in the manufacturing sectors seems to be growing, industrial employment absorbs only a small fraction of the available labour force. The shift of employment from the agricultural to the industrial sector was not substantial which shows the poor performance of the economy. The population growth in the agricultural sector was high. This was not offset by a commensurate growth in the industrial sector. This led to an increase in the ratio of population to land, causing overgrazing, deforestation and reduction in agricultural productivity.

The manufacturing industry is small accounting for some 5 % of GDP and contributing only about fifteen % of export earnings in 1990/93. About 75 % of the value added income from industry came from medium and large scale state owned enterprises, with the remainder contributed by small scale private enterprises (CSE, 1997).

The industry sector strategy has a number of objectives which are related to the forestry sector development. The strategy for industrial development is expected to have a considerable impact in alleviating poverty and reducing pressure on forest resources through various incentives such as, building infrastructure, electric power generation and road network and off-farm employment in the rural sector through the creation of labour intensive technology. Since 1992, industrial production has been peaking up and a number of new factories are being constructed both by the private and public sectors. The opportunity for employment by the industrial sector seems promising in the future.


Development of Communications Infrastructure

Most of the statistical data/information required for forest resources planning, policy formulation, analysis and projection of future situations are either unavailable or partially available in fragmented form. Hence, there is a need to strengthen the existing data base through enhancing the data collection and processing capacity.


2.2 Developments within the forestry sector

2.2.1 Policy and Institutional Changes

Institutional Setup

There have been fundamental changes in the forestry sector as a result of change from centralized to a market economy, decentralization of decision making and regionalization. As a result of these, ministries both at national and regional levels have been restructured which affected forest management

Government forestry administration and management practices have been decentralized and the responsibilities to manage and administer forest resources have been devolved to the regional governments. They have little capacity to shoulder this challenging responsibilities and could not control deforestation.

Institutions which are involved in natural resources conservation and development have had weak interaction and integration, which are necessary for the formulation of effective plans and strategies. Priorities, plans and strategies are formulated independently within the different sectors and are often conflicting.

It is the absence of a common vision on the role of forests in rural development which inhibits the integration of different stakeholders.

There is a need to conduct the valuation of forests and its impacts on key policy issues such as poverty reduction, food security and income generation. In addition, the capacity of national and local level institutions be improved and strengthened.

Policy Environment

The forestry policy which is at a draft stage sets out the following objectives:

Satisfying the demand for forest products

Protecting and conserving genetic resources in general and forest resources in particular, and

Reducing soil erosion and protecting soil fertility thereby increasing agricultural production.

The policy also encourages the development of forests by individuals, organizations and government and the designation of protected and productive forests. It also emphasises the security of ownership of forest products to the developers and the importance of protecting the forests both from man-made and natural causes.

Ethiopia is signatory to conventions on biological diversity, climate change and combating desertification that have direct relevance to the forest resources conservation and development. It has established the Environmental Protection Authority and enacted a national environmental policy and national biodiversity conservation strategies and policies and initiated the same at the regional levels. Environmental protection and biodiversity conservation are high in the development agendas of the country. In view of the progressive efforts underway towards the sustainable use and development of the biological resources, an urgent national action has been taken by the Government which was realized through the formulation and approval of a well defined National Policy on Bio-diversity Conservation and Research.

In addition, forestry operations are on the process of privatisation. The development of participatory management systems, in which local communities play an important role through joint forest management has gained acceptance. This is one of the new arrangements being tried by many stakeholders including the government through the Ministry of Agriculture. It is expected that the draft policy will be approved in due course.

The expected out puts of the policy include among others:

Participatory forest management practices in selected forest priority areas in cooperation with foreign agencies.

Privatisation, devolution and decentralization, and recognition of indigenous peoples rights to forest management which are expected to change the roles of forest administration and management

Understanding the problems of land degradation, and in view of future development perspectives of the country, the government of Ethiopia has developed related policies that encourage and attract private investors in the forestry sector. They encourage the private sector in forestry and related activities by leasing land outside the possession of farmers and give land to individual investors that contribute to the improvement of the environment and the people.

The forestry sector is affected by major international developments following UNCED (1992) which directly or indirectly link conservation, management and sustainable development of forests and trees to sustainable economic development. In line with this, the Ethiopian government has undertaken various initiatives to adapt the national forestry plans, policies to the growing societal need for the development of the protective, productive, environmental and socio-economic roles and functions of forest resources.

Ethiopia has also ratified the Convention on Climate Change and is committed to develop and submit a National Communication that contains an inventory of green house gas emissions for a base year and a strategy to mitigate climate change. The ratification of the Climate Convention clearly signifies the commitment of the government to stabilize the emission of GHGs.

The Government, being cognizant of both the importance of the forestry sub-sector to the national economy as well as the adverse ecological effects that emanate from the processes of deforestation, has taken a number of policy initiatives such as, Conservation Strategy of Ethiopia, Ethiopian Forestry Action Plan, National Action Plan to combat desertification, for the conservation, development and proper utilization of its forest resources. There are programs, plans and strategies that vary in form and content with the objective to ensure the sustainable use and development of forest resources. They all aim at alleviating the problem of forest resources degradation, which are subjected to various pressures such as shifting cultivation, forest fire, and exploitation for fuel wood and clearing for cash crop and farming.


Current Status of Forest Management in Ethiopia

Forestry still suffers from lack of proper management systems for the natural and plantation forests. Cutting permits are issued despite a lack of information about standing volumes within the specific forest.

The general objectives of forest management is to promote the conservation and sustainable use of forest resources to meet local and national needs through encouraging local communities, investors and NGOs to manage, protect and restore forest resources and land, for the benefits of present and future generations

The main objectives of management are to protect and develop the remaining natural forests and woodlands of the country so that they make maximum contributions to soil and watershed protection and conservation of existing ecosystems. At the same time, the forests are managed so that they produce increased volumes of industrial wood, fuel wood, fodder and non-timber forest products to meet the needs of people on a sustained basis. The management objectives also include the increase in the involvement of local people and communities in forest resource management.

Various attempts were made to map the vegetation of the country through the use of remote sensing techniques and estimate the area cover. External factors which contribute to the non-materialization of the efforts were lack of international support and weak political commitment. In addition, involvement of the private sector in forest management planning and implementation is still far from being significant.

a. Management of natural forests

The high forests are managed primarily for protection and conservation while commercial utilization is a secondary objective. In light of the status of the remaining natural high forests and the national overall objectives, the forestry administration at the federal level has classified 58 of the most important high forest areas totalling an estimated area of 2 million hectares as National Forest Priority Areas. Management plans for NFPAs have been under preparation since 1985. Eight such plans have been prepared, and two are being implemented. About half of the 58 identified NFPAs have been delineated and mapped. Demarcation of boundaries has been partly done on some NFPAs. However, they have not been gazetted and this has contributed to the uncontrolled illegal cutting and the encroachment and clearing of forest land for crop production and grazing. Hence, present forest management fails to achieve the protection and conservation objectives of the state.

Over two-third of the high forests are currently classified as heavily disturbed while the balance is classified as slightly disturbed. The estimated annual incremental yields are well below the optimum. Generally, they are under stocked and producing well below capacity. Many NFPAs include forests on steep slopes which should be retained to control soil erosion and /or preserve the natural flora and fauna and should not be exploited. Although the ratio of production to protection /conservation land under the high forest varies significantly from NFPAs to NFPAs, it was decided that 60% of the natural high forests in NFPAs should be dedicated to conservation and protection while the rest for production forests. The growing stock of the natural high forests is being depleted rapidly. Further depletion will be unavoidable as conflicts between the state’s conservation objectives and the immediate needs of local people mount.

In the face of the nation’s need for wood products and the ultimate loss of its remaining habitats for wildlife and endemic species, the forestry administration both at federal and regional levels are trying to find a system of management that will minimize further destruction of natural forests, balancing protection objectives with production interests of the State and local communities while at the same time preserving ecosystems and genetic resources.

In order to resolve these conflicts of interests over the use of high forests, the forestry administration is now trying to:

Prepare and implement realistic forest management plans that involve local communities in all process of forest management

Facilitate private sector development and

Adopt an integrated approach to forestry sub-sector development.


b. Management of woodlands and bushlands

Wood land and bush lands mainly occur in the pastoral and agro-pastoral zones and are important sources of fuel wood, and construction material for the local communities, production of charcoal for the urban markets and for the collection of non-timber forest products such as gums, incense, myrrh and honey.

The woody biomass of the woodlands and bushlands is being depleted by the spread of sedentary farming, the growth of pastoralist and livestock populations. Open access is the main factor for the decline of the woody biomass in woodlands and bushlands.

c. Management of plantations

Plantations include industrial and peri-urban plantations established and operated by the government as well as community woodlots and catchment/ protection plantations. Peri-urban plantations are treated to supply urban centres with poles and woodfuel while community woodlots are established and managed by groups of farmers or a community for either protection or production of fuel wood. Catchment and protection plantations are designed to prevent land degradations such as, area closures, planting of steep slopes and areas of badly degraded land. Poor management, encroachment and illegal cutting have reduced the growing stock below the desirable level. These shortcomings are rooted in weakness in the organization and staffing of the forest administration at all levels, and in the lack of funds to support the maintenance of plantations since all royalties are reverted to the central treasury.

The area of forest plantations established for industrial wood supply can not help to compensate for the reduction in production from natural forests mainly due to the nature of the trees planted and poor past management practices

d. Status of minor forest products

The Ethiopian forests provide a wide variety of non-wood products such as gum Arabic, incense, medicinal plants, bamboo, foodstuffs, honey etc., They are socially and commercially significant for the rural poor. They also provide employment opportunities since all activities from tapping to collection and packing and marketing of the natural gum demand high labour inputs. Most rural people in the lowlands use them for health and nutritional needs.

Gums and incense are used to be an important export products but Ethiopia has not performed very well as a supplier because of a dwindling raw material supply. Average annual production between 1978 and 1991 was about 1,500 tons with peaks of over 4,200 tons. About 1,500 tons of gums and incense is sold annually through official trading channels of which 50% is exported. Domestic demand for incense is still great for fumigation and church rituals. The demand for incense at a national level is estimated at 6,000 quintals per annum. The supply was estimated at 15% of this (MoA, 1998).

There is also an ancient tradition for bee keeping with an estimated amount of 4-10 million traditional beehives and some 10,000 modern box hives are believed to exist in the country.

Each traditional beehive is estimated to yield about 8kg of honey annually. This translates to 32-80 million kg of honey per year. The honey is almost exclusively used for local consumption while a considerable proportion of the wax is exported.

Traditionally, the most important roles played by NWFPs are health care, food security and nutrition. They also support agricultural and livestock production, construction materials, household items and cultural values. They range from products used for local consumption to products which are traded in the international markets. The majority are used for subsistence and in support of small scale household based enterprises which provide income and employment for rural people.

The potential economic value of medicinal plants is not yet recognized. The indigenous population has been using these plants extensively.

There is no inventory information for NWFPs to estimate the potential and plan its development. The biological, silvicultural and technical methods applicable to their management and utilization have not been developed and needs urgent attention. Every management program for these resources must address these constraints effectively.

Information on the management of natural stands of these crops is not readily available particularly information on the growth and factors influencing natural regeneration.

The future program in NWFPs need to focus on:

Commercialisation of some of the selected NWFPs through private sector involvement

Investment in research and development to improve the management of these resources

Large scale development of industries which use these resources as raw materials

Improve the marketing conditions for these products

Inventory of the resources

Avoid the unsustainable and wasteful harvesting of these resources and estimate their monetary value to the national economy

e. Management of bio-diversity resources

Ethiopia is an important centre of biodiversity and endemism on the African continent which is related to its eco-geography-physical diversity. The centres of endemism and bio-diversity are found principally in the highlands and the Ogaden and it is worth to note that over 80% of the land above 3000 m in Africa occurs in Ethiopia. The Simien and Bale mountains have been identified as areas of plant endemism of continental importance and provide the best examples of high altitude vegetation in Ethiopia. High endemic areas that require attention for conservation include the Ogaden-Somali region, the Afro-alpine and sub-afro-alpine regions and the wet evergreen forests of the South-western part of the country.

The size of the flora is estimated to be more than 7,000 species of higher plants of which 12 % is probably endemic (CSE, 1997). Though it is believed that the country has one of the largest floras, rich both in species diversity and endemics, information on species abundance and diversity is lacking. The diversity is not yet properly conserved and sustainably used. They are faced with a serious threat of genetic erosion and irreplaceable loss. The threat on forest coffee ecosystems which is found only in Ethiopia due to human impact, particularly investment could be the best example.

Some of the major factors that contribute to the acceleration of decline of the resources are the absence of land use policy and forest policy to ensure the conservation and development of genetic resources, impact of other policies that invite over-exploitation of species and natural habitats, inadequate technical knowledge for conservation of bio-diversity, lack of appropriate institutional set up and linkage that assists to coordinate efforts in the area of bio-diversity conservation and development, frequent organizational restructuring of institutions and lack of national coordination and conflicting sectoral interests, as well as size and the pattern of distribution of human and animal population.

f. Management of wildlife resources

The Ethiopian wildlife conservation organization in its efforts to save the wildlife resources of the country has established 38 protected areas under four categories (EWCO, 1990).

There are nine National parks, three wildlife sanctuaries, eight wildlife reserves and eighteen controlled hunting areas in the country with different levels of degree of management. Only two of the national parks are legally gazetted. The total area of all protected areas is about 192,000 km2.

The distribution and extent of the wildlife conservation areas was very much determined by the occurrence and abundance of wildlife and hence, most of these areas are located in the lowlands while few are in alpine highlands. The highland montane forests are under represented and the broad leaved forests of the southwest are left out completely.

The inventory of the species in the country indicates that there are 277 species of terrestrial mammals, 862 species of birds, 201 species of reptiles, 63 species of amphibians, 150 species of fish and over 7,000 species of plants. Among these, 11% of mammals, 3.3% species of birds, 4.5% species of reptiles, 38% species of amphibians, and 12% of vascular plants are endemic (EFAP,1994).

Despite all these potentials, little has been achieved compared to other African countries. The revenue collected in the past ten years (1980-1990) is only about 188,591 US Dollars and from that of sport hunting is 856,182 US Dollars (EWCO, 1994).

There was no institution established to conserve and manage the wildlife resources of the country until 1964. Since 1908, 13 different wildlife laws and regulations were declared on different wildlife issues of which 6 are still working. The country is committed to implement and work as a partner institution with respect to CITES, African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Water Birds Agreement, World Heritage Convention, Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals and Convention on Biological Diversity.

A number of factors have contributed to the decline of wild life management in Ethiopia. The key problems facing conservation efforts in protected areas are land use conflicts, lack of clear policies for the conservation and development of the sector. The crucial problem remains to be the problem of implementing conservation objectives against the interests of the local communities. The involvement of the local people in the planning process for the conservation and development was ignored. The people were not benefited from this sector and started to develop negative attitudes towards wildlife resources. This was confirmed in 1993 where most of the infrastructure of national parks was destroyed, properties looted and wildlife animals killed. The violation against protected areas regulations come through a variety of activities such as deforestation, permanent settlement, overgrazing, agriculture and other activities inside the protected areas. These problems resulted in the decline and disappearance of species and loss of habitat.

The consequences are:

Loss of bio-diversity such as the extinction of Grevy`s Zebra from Awash National Park

Hybridisation of domestic dog with the critically endangered and endemic species, Simien Fox (Canis simensis)

Transfer of disease from domestic stocks to the wild animals such as Rabies and anthrax out break

Uncontrolled fire which leads to shrubs encroachment and thus loss of wildlife habitat. etc.

Changes in Forest Technology

Although useful results have been generated from forestry research, the major problems facing the forestry sub-sector remained unresolved. The main reasons often cited include narrow scope, few published results, weak link with stakeholders, fragmentation of the research among different institutions often with very little or no communication, poor and variable funding, critical shortage of skilled human and physical resources, poor research data base, poor or no extension linkages, etc. This is exacerbated by the absence of forestry research policy, tradition of strategic planning and mechanisms of priority setting of research programs, projects and activities.

Cognizant of the importance of research and the various problems encountered in the agricultural research system (including forestry research), and the need to modernize and make agricultural research efficient and effective, the Ethiopian government has taken a commendable action by publishing a proclamation to provide for the establishment of the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization (EARO) in 1997. The proclamation brought crops, livestock, soil and water as well as Dryland Agricultural research under the same umbrella of EARO. Following this re-structuring, the National Forestry Research Strategic Plan has been developed with the active participation of key stakeholders. To translate the strategic plan into action, prioritisation of the research agenda has also been made in which major stakeholders took an active part.

After careful consideration of the scope of and opportunities in forestry research in the country, seven national research programs have been identified, namely plantation forests, farm forestry, dryland forestry, natural forests, bio-mass based and alternative energy, non-timber forest products as well as timber and panel products.

The general objective of plantation forests research program is to generate technologies that enhance sustainable plantation development and management to alleviate wood shortage, rehabilitate degraded lands, and provide other social, economic and ecological benefits.

The farm forestry research program aims at developing biologically, economically and ecologically viable technologies that increase productivity, sustainability and economic diversity of rural land and alleviate rural poverty.

The general objective of dryland forestry research program is to generate knowledge and technologies that can assist in the development, sustainable utilization and conservation of trees /shrubs and woodland resources of the drylands as well as combating land degradation and desertification.

Research will be undertaken on identification of bio-mass materials for energy production, developing appropriate techniques for energy generation, conservation and efficient utilization.

The bio-mass based energy research program aims to develop technologies that can help to generate energy from forest and non-forest biological products. The production and dissemination of knowledge and appropriate technologies for the development and sustainable utilization and conservation of trees on farm will be better promoted. In addition, appropriate technologies that can help to rehabilitate degraded lands will be developed.

The natural forest research program will create a favourable opportunity to explore and characterize natural forests and their components so as to generate technologies that will allow their development and sustainable utilization. Knowledge and appropriate technologies that will help to reduce environmental degradation will be generated.

Environment considerations are expected to become more important and technologies which are environmentally friendly are expected to emerge.

Bio-mass based and alternative energy research programme aims at screening short rotation and high yielding species with high calorific value for energy use. In addition, technology for generating energy from agricultural and industrial residues and technology that can improve the efficiency of energy use will be available. The use of recovered paper is also expected to increase.

Improved wood utilization technologies such as the efficiency of wood stoves, the use of wastes from timber and agricultural residues as raw material for manufacturing of panel products is likely to get acceptance and be widely distributed.

Access to information is poor and research work tends to be fragmented and narrowly focused. There has been limited success in extending technologies generated from forestry research to end-users. No formal system exists that links forestry researchers with end-users which has been a constraint not only to forestry but also other sub-sectors of agriculture. As a result, extending research outputs to end-users and receiving feedback from them have been very difficult so far, which indicates the need for establishing a proper linkage.

Technology generation has been confined to the fast growing exotic tree species with little attention to the indigenous tree species. The natural forests in Ethiopia benefited little from technology driven productivity gains. They have not been managed for sustainable production of timber. Most of the plantations in the country are managed by conventional methods and trees are grown mostly from seeds of poor quality. High yielding plantations as a means to offset pressure on natural forests have not been established due to lack of appropriate technologies.

On the other hand, technologies to rehabilitate natural forests are in practice. Improvement in agro-forestry practices is expected to benefit from technology development. The future trend will be in a better condition with the current effort in the area of networking.

The use of remote sensing technologies in forest resources monitoring shall be widely used.

The formation of a regional forestry research network which is established in 1999 is aiming at strengthening forestry research and its impact on development in East Africa. In the future, quality in forestry research shall be improved and linkage shall be created between forestry research institutions.


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