Description of plantation resources
About one third of Ethiopia was once covered with forest. By 1989, forest cover had been reduced to 2.7 percent of the land area. The main reasons for deforestation are population growth and economic pressure linked to increased demand for crops, pasture and timber (MNDEP, 1994).
The forestry sector contributes about 3.3 percent to the country´s GDP. Forests supply wood as the main source of energy, construction materials and transmission poles (FWCDD, 1995).
Development of forest plantations
Around 1895, Eucalyptus spp. were introduced and proved to grow more quickly than indigenous species. At first they were planted around towns and later they spread over the countryside. The main uses are for poles and fuelwood.
From the 1970s, plantations for soil conservation were initiated in some regions and in the late 1980s, catchment/protection plantations were initiated on a large scale by the government.
The Ethiopian Forestry Action Plan (NFAP) was declared in 1994. It recommends that a total of 150 000 ha of plantations be established within the coming 20 years (FAO, 1981 and MNRDEP, 1994).
Industrial plantations are mainly composed of Cupressus lusitanica, Eucalyptus spp. and some indigenous species such as Juniperus procera, Podocarpus gracilior and Cordia africana (FWCDD, 1995). Eucalyptus spp. have proven to be productive and resistant to climatic conditions. Cupressus spp. and Pinus patula have been the most productive and disease-free (MNDEP, 1994).
For other kinds of plantations, species information is not available.
It is recognised that existing natural forest should be conserved and thus efforts are underway to develop plantations. Their purposes are industrial wood, fuelwood, community woodlots and environmental protection.
The government encourages private investment in forestry development (FWCDD, 1995).
Lack of funds is and will be a major constraint on the management of forests, both natural and plantation.
It is essential to encourage private individuals to establish plantations by themselves. To do so, it is necessary to establish an incentive mechanism.
Fuelwood is a major source of energy and will be so for quite a while. The expansion of fuelwood plantations should be an essential component in future forestry development programmes (FWCDD, 1995).
FAO. 1981. Tropical Forest Resources Assessment Project, Forest Resources of Tropical Africa. Rome.
FWCDD. 1995. Forestry Report Ethiopia, En Tenth session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission, 17 November - 1 december, Sanbonani, South Africa. Addis Abeba. Forestry and Wildlife Conservation and Development Department, Ministry of Agriculture.
MNRDEP. 1994. Ethiopian Forestry Action Program (EFAP). Addis Abeba. Ministry of Natural Resources Development and Environmental Protection.
NRMRD. 1998. Forestry Data on Ethiopia. En Workshop on Data Collection and Analysis for Sustainable Forest Management in ACP Countries, October 12-16, 1998. Nakuru, Kenya. EC-FAO Partnership Programme (1998-2000), Project GCP/INT/679/EC. Addis Abeba. The Natural Resources Management and Regulatory Department.