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This part of the study provides an outlook for forest resources in Ethiopia, and the likely demands that will be placed on forests in the future. It also provides a foundation for subsequent analysis related to future policy choices that could be made to ensure better forestry contribution to the economic, environmental and social objectives. Scenarios are used to display possible future development in the forestry sector.

State of Natural Forests and plantations

3.1.1 Natural Forests

The major parts of the remaining natural forests are located on steep slopes at high altitude which are logged by selective cutting leaving behind the commercially less important broad-leaved species. The total area of natural forest is expected to decline at a rate of 62,000 hectares per year ( FAO, 1990).

The natural forest quality, species composition and the stocking density of the natural forests will be reduced to less than 150 timber quality tree (Tesfaye et al, 1997) per hectare. They are characterized by a low stocking of mature, deformed and over-aged trees. Natural regeneration is scarce due to the high impact of livestock.

At present, the natural forest and other woody vegetation area available for wood supply is estimated at 14 million hectares and the remaining 20 million hectares do not supply wood (FRA, 2000). As long as the constraints impeding management under the natural forests are not effectively addressed, the volume harvested will exceed incremental yields causing future incremental yield to fall. This will result from the continued encroachment of local communities in the high forest areas. The projected industrial wood, construction wood and fuel wood supply is expected to decline.

According to FAO (1999), the total area of natural forests in 1990 was estimated at 13.9 million hectares and later reduced to 13.6 million hectares in 1995 with an annual rate of depletion of 62,000 hectares. This is due to conversion of the forest land to other land uses and due to the degradation of forests to wooded land. Within this overall change framework , it is also expected that there will be changes in the area of forests available for supplying commercial timber. The area of disturbed natural forest is expected to increase as some of the currently undisturbed areas are harvested and those, which are not accessible are opened up by new roads.

If the trends continues with no change, the forest area will be reduced to less than 7 million hectares by 2020. This means that the area available for timber production will be reduced. It is expected that past deforestation rates will continue and that about 1.2 million hectares of forests and other secondary forests will be converted to other land uses mainly arable land and perennial crops by 2020. Most of these conversions will take place in the South and Southwestern part of the country. Natural forests are likely to continue to be converted to other land uses and protection of these areas will become increasingly difficult. Despite the emphasis by the National policy to conserve forests for bio-diversity and to promote the environmental and bio-diversity functions of forests.

The forest area per capita is expected to be 0.1 ha. in the year 2025 from 0.25 ha in 1995 and 0.4 in 1980. Forest area as a percent of total land area was 13.58% in 1995 and is expected to decline to 11.85% in the year 2025 (Anders et al, 2000).


3.1.2 Plantation Forests

The current total area estimate of plantations is 255,214 hectares, which comprise around 76,050 ha of industrial plantation and 179,164 ha of plantations for the production of fuel wood and poles (FRA, 2000). Of this, 79,500 ha represent plantations established by farmers and communities and 99,664 ha represent public sector plantations for fuel wood and pole production. Eucalyptus and Cupressus are the main species in industrial plantations (58 % and 29%, respectively), followed by Juniperus procera (4%), Pinus (2%) and other species (7%).

As a response to the decline of the natural forest area, a plantation programme has been initiated on large scale to rehabilitate formerly forested areas, for construction and fuel wood production. Plantations are mainly of exotic tree species with few indigenous trees in few of the NFPAs. Eucalyptus comprises the largest area of hardwood plantations mainly for construction and fuelwood. The emphasis is on short rotation plantations and little in growing valuable indigenous trees due to slow growth rate and low economic return.

The current rate of plantation forest development is not encouraging and their management is also poor. They are fragmented and mixed with many tree species with little or no commercial value. The average area of planting is about 12,000 hectares per year which is far below the required area for ensuring a sustainable supply of forest products (FAO, 1990). They are not expected to provide the multiple uses and services which use to be available from the natural forests. The supply of industrial wood from the plantations would be of poor quality due to the current low management practices.

Assuming that the establishment continues at this rate throughout the period to 2020, the area of industrial forest plantations is expected to increase to about 500,000 hectares in 2020. Most of this increase is likely to be in fast growing and short rotation plantations.

Projections of the future contribution of the forest plantation to industrial wood supply have been made by EFAP (1994). The projection indicated that the incremental yields would reach 1.1 million m3. Gains in productivity of forest plantations through improved management and tree improvement program are expected to materialize until 2020. The projected sustainable fuel wood supply from all forest types is 8.8 million m3 without any intervention but the projected supply would reach 21.8 million with intervention scenario by 2014 (EFAP, 1994).


3.1.3 Trees outside forests

Trees outside forests are important sources of wood and other benefits. Such trees include roadside scattered trees, trees planted in and around fields, trees around homestead and windbreaks around agricultural fields, etc. There is no reliable data on tree resources outside forests.

The wood supply from non-forest areas is mainly derived from two major sources namely, farm forestry and the woody vegetation patches. The stock per hectare in tons varies from 1 ton per hectare to up to 60 tons per hectare in the south western part of the country (WBISPP, 1995). The wood supply from trees outside forests is mainly fuelwood for the rural population, and wood for fencing and construction. The supply of fuel wood from farm homesteads is estimated at 80,000 tons per year based on an estimate of five mature trees per rural household. There are nearly 10.2 million rural households in the country with 51 million trees with an estimated yield of 15 cubic meters per hectare per year.

Trees outside forests have the potential to contribute as sources of wood especially for construction and fuel. The future policy should support the individual efforts made in the establishment of trees around farm lands and households. Trees outside forests will be increasingly recognized as important sources of wood.


3.1.4 Development of Non-wood Forest Products

In the future rural use of non-wood forest products will increase and attention will be given to the possibilities of expanding small scale industries and promote the potential use of these resources in selected areas in the country.

Non-wood forest products are expected to receive attention in trade mainly bamboo and resins. The most important non-wood forest products are natural gum and incense. They are capable of supporting the rural communities in income generation.

The management of these resources is expected to improve in the near future. Possible improvements in the use of the resources for medicinal use may be made through research.

Policy to protect the traditional and indigenous knowledge of the local people with regard to medicinal values of trees and shrubs will be given considerable attention.

The collection, processing and marketing of non-wood forest products shall be promoted to provide income to rural populations which is locally important.

Information shall be generated for production techniques, marketing and harvesting of non-timber forest products. Appropriate technology for production, processing and utilization are expected to develop through research.


Outlook for the conservation and management of bio-diversity and protected areas

The future prospect of wildlife conservation, management and thus sustainable utilization lies on the critical realization and materialization of the drafted land use and wildlife resources policies and legislation.

On condition that both the land use and wildlife policies are in place, all the protected areas will have a legal status and better developed to provide investment opportunities which will lead to the improved management situation of the parks and conservation areas.

New approaches to wild life management through benefit sharing mechanism with the local people have been part of the current management proposal. The benefit includes, the provision of veterinary services, schools and medical centres. This has helped to bring change to the local people’s attitude towards conservation. There is a proposal to share the revenue obtained from non-consumptive and consumptive utilization of wildlife in protected areas. Employment of local communities in protected areas has been attractive and has helped to lessen the conflict due to the linkage which is created between the local people and the protected area management.

The new investment policy encourages private investors to involve in the wildlife sectors which increased the demand to establish ranches, wildlife farm (Ostrich and Civet Farms) and tourism facility development including building of tourist lodges national parks and other protected areas.

Establishment of a biosphere reserve is being promoted to provide direct benefits to the people so that they support and encourage the very existence of the conservation area in the long term.

In addition, the integration of conservation and development program is in place which considers the impact of human population and secure the survival and well being of the people and the resources on which they depend.


Future Services of Forests

The EHRS has estimated that in the Ethiopian Highlands over 1.5 million tones of soil are lost every year which is equivalent to 35 t/ha/year. However, rates of soil loss vary from almost zero on grassland to over 300 t/ha/year on steep slopes. The extent of erosion is massive affecting about half the area of the highlands, some 27 million hectare is significantly eroded and over 25% (14 million hectares) is seriously eroded. Over 2 million hectares of farmlands have reached a point where economic crop production could not be sustained. It was forecasted that, in addition to the 2 million hectare farm land with irreversible degradation, 7.6 million hectare will deteriorate to the same status by the year 2000. Only 20% of the area (10 million hectare) can be said to be free from serious erosion risks.

This alarming situation can be eased through protection of existing vegetation and more importantly through intervention by way of afforestation.

Change in land use often results in changes in the quantity of bio-mass on the land and produce a net exchange of green house gases. Since bio-mass is about 45% carbon by weight, forest clearing leads to release of carbon dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide and oxides of nitrogen. Forest conversion into pasture or cropland results in release of soil carbon through oxidation of organic matter contained in the soil. Forest protection conserve carbon both in the vegetation and soil.

Currently, a variety of schemes are being developed to mitigate the effects of climate change. In line with this, inventory of greenhouse gases and different mitigation options have been developed for the country.

Due to the increasing demand by human population for more land for agriculture and wood products mainly fuelwood, it is likely to have a major effect on land availability for projects related to carbon storage.

The country has established strategies and priorities within the framework of sustainable development plans and policies to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought. The regional governments are also on a process of developing their specific programme taking into account the national programme as a framework.

Ethiopia has made a significant progress in many areas in implementing the convention resulting in substantial achievements. The major achievement is the finalization of the NAP itself with the participation of as many stakeholder groups as possible. The next step is to give emphasis to activities that lead to smooth transition from the formulation of national action programmes to its implementation. Thus, by designing the necessary policies and strategies, strengthening the necessary institutions at all levels and carefully designing the kinds of projects appropriate to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought, Ethiopia is expected to benefit much in the coming 15-20 years.

State of forest industries

saw milling started in the 1920s with 46 operational sawmills in 1972 (FAO, 1990). There are now about 38 sawmills of which 24 are nationalized and are run by the ministry of Industry and sawmills and joinery enterprise. There are also 14 privately owned mills which are closed due to lack of spare parts and raw materials. Most of the mills are old and designed to convert large saw logs of indigenous species. Vertical band saws of diameter 110 - 140 cm were used for the initial breakdown with either frame or circular saw for the subsequent re-sawing into timber of 25, 40, or 50 mm thickness. The most common timber size is 50 mm thick. Recovery rate is said to average 55%. There are also five mobile sawmills which operate on the thinnings from plantations of Cupressus lusitanica and Pinus patula.

There are two state owned plywood mills with an average annual output of 2,500 cubic meters which are old and were established in the mid 1960s. They have a recovery rate of 35-40%. There is also one fibre board mill with a capacity of 1,500 cubic meters per annum and two particle board mills with annual output of 4,500 cubic meters and mainly use Eucalyptus trees.

There is one paper producing factory which uses imported pulp and waste paper as its raw material. Its average production has been 9,500 metric tons per annum.

The existing sawmills are not equipped to handle logs from plantations. Furthermore, prospects for developing new industries will be limited on account of shortage of plantation based forest resources. The capacity of the forest industry is very small and annually decreasing, partly due to the depleting raw material base and partly to old and poorly maintained machinery with frequent breakdowns. Efficiency in processing of logs will be limited and require re-investment in the sector. Better mill recovery is not envisaged unless the sawmills are renovated.

It is a common feature of the entire forest industry that reinvestment is urgently required. Without renovation of the existing equipment, the supply prediction will most probably not be achieved. Without the procurement of material inputs and spare parts, both production and quality of products will inevitably decline in the future.

Demand for all forest products will increase significantly due to population growth. Large sized logs will be in short supply and shift will be made to soft wood logs. Dependency on imported industrial wood products and stagnation in sawn wood production is likely to persist due to the declining availability of large diameter logs for the existing forest based industries.

Alternative raw material for forest industries, technologies that can utilize wastes from forest and non-forest products shall be investigated. Residues could be used more effectively.


Wood demand and supply situation

Fuel wood

At present more than 90% of the domestic supplies of industrial wood and firewood comes from the natural forests which are the main sources of wood products. Fuel wood accounts for the bulk of the wood used, and is the predominantly preferred domestic fuel in both rural and urban areas.

The projected demand for fuel wood and building poles based on assumed per capita requirement is on the increase and is expected to be over 100 million m3 by 2020. On the other hand, the projected supply from all sources is expected to be only 9 million m3 which is far below the demand.

Ethiopia is one of the lowest electricity per capita consumer and from the current trend in the prices of electricity and other commercial fuels, Ethiopia will remain highly dependent on woodfuel for the foreseeable future. The rural people will remain to be the main users of wood fuel in the future. The urban poor also continue to depend heavily on wood fuels. The urban populations have options to mix their energy use mainly depending on income level. The rural population on the other hand, collect woodfuel free and mainly depend on wood fuel as the main source of energy. Non-wood bio-mass are also important sources of fuel for the rural population.

The increasing scarcity and cost of household fuels, particularly fire wood threatens the abilit y of the people even to maintain the already low incomes and quality of life, particularly in the rural areas. To compensate for the worsening fire wood scarcity, dung and crop residues are being diverted to household fireplaces, reducing crop yields. While there is a continued need to explore other alternative sources of energy, large scale tree planting appears to be the only realistic option for resolving the wood fuel supply problem. The rural woodlots and agro-forestry on a massive scale are essential to allowing a sustainable energy supply to meet demand in the rural areas. In addition, the introduction of efficient cooking stoves for improved use of wood fuel, efficient charcoal making technology, and an appropriate woodfuel marketing and pricing practices may improve the energy problem, thereby relieving the pressure on the few remaining natural forests.

With the contribution of traditional fuels to domestic energy use being so overwhelming and the supply of woody bio-mass deteriorating as a result of deforestation, the following changes are expected to take place:

Dung and crop residues are replacing woody biomass in rural areas

The commercialisation of woody bio-mass around urban centres is expanding and less preferred fuels are used by low income households in urban centres

Kerosene is replacing woody bio-mass for cooking in urban areas

More and more fuel saving measures are being adopted by urban households including buying of improved stoves. There will be a shift in household energy from firewood to charcoal.

It is therefore, essential to initiate research and development of new cooking fuels and improvement of energy conversion technologies.


Industrial round wood and other wood products:

Industrial round wood production and consumption is one of the lowest in the world. This low level of production and consumption reflects the fact that the country has limited forest resource base which has been and continue to be primarily exploited for fuel wood.

Industrial round wood is mainly produced from non-conifers and there has been a decline in the production of logs from 130,000 m3 in 1980s to 6,000 in m3 in 1999 (MoA, 2000).

The projected demand for construction and industrial wood which include sawlogs, plylogs, telecommunication poles and construction wood is on the increase. The projected demand for the year 2020 is 1.5 million for saw logs, 47,000 m3 for ply logs, 4.5 million m3 for construction wood and over 61,000 m3 for telecommunication poles. On the other hand, projected industrial wood supply both from the natural and man made forests is only 338,000 m3 without any intervention scenarios and could only reach 1.2 million m3 with intervention. The projected supply of construction wood will decline from the current one million m3 to 936,000 m3 in 2014. There has been a major shift in consumption from hardwood logs to logs of soft woods. This will continue to increase in the future. Most logs from natural forests are inadequate and import of soft wood timbers and production of timber from soft woods will increase. The future will depend on the contribution of forest plantations, the growth in technology and the supply of logs from trees outside forests.

Sawn wood production is on the decline when one looks at the trend in production from 1979 to 1989. The average production from 1980 to 1990 has been about 23,000 m3 per year. Based on the projection made by EFAP (1994), per capita demand for sawn timber will increase in urban areas and remain constant in rural areas. The same study showed the projected incremental yields from industrial plantations to be 1.1 million m3 in 2014.

The production of wood based panels is estimated at 12,000 m3 with an average import of 1,000 m3 per annum. There has been a decline in the production of veneer sheets from 1986 to 1996 which declined from 156,000 m3 to 82,000 m3. The production of paper and paper board has been in the range of 7,000 to 9,000 metric tons from the period 1993 to 1999. In addition, importation of pulp has been increasing and reached 6,528 metric tons per year.

The average annual production for plywood is 3,000 cubic meters while the production of particle board is increasing from 5,000 m3 in 1993 to 7,466 m3 in 1997. The projected capacity of paper production for ten years is estimated at 10,000 metric tons.


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