Deforestation and Land Degradation on the Ethiopian Highlands: A Strategy for Physical Recovery
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- Ethiopia; deforestation; land degradation; agroforestry; social forestry; plantation forestry; forest conservation; land tenure.; Economics
Deforestation, accelerated soil erosion, and land degradation are serious problems in Ethiopia. To overcome these problems, efforts have been made to launch afforestation and conservation programs; however, success to date has been limited. This paper will discuss agriculture and forestry practices on the Ethiopian Highlands and try to identify the causes of deforestation and land degradation there. Agroforestry and social forestry practices, plantation forestry, and conservation of the remaining forests are proposed as a strategy for physical recovery. Social and policy issues, such as participation of the local people in natural resource management and the existence of clear land and tree tenure policies are critical for the long-term sustainability and expansion of forests in Ethiopia. In general, tree planting through agroforestry and social forestry should be an integral part of rural development programs and should provide the community with food, fuelwood, income, and environmental benefits. Increasing public awareness through education about forestry and natural resource conservation is vital if Ethiopia wants to maintain the remaining natural forests and biodiversity.