In northern Ethiopia, temperatures are rising, trees are disappearing, land is becoming infertile and the desert is spreading. The Metema forest in Ethiopia is in the last green belt before the start of the desert. Without action, it will be on the brink of extinction in just 20 years.
The climate crisis, high rates of tree felling, forest fires and unsustainable tapping for frankincense, is stopping the frankincense forest from regenerating. This will have a devastating impact on communities who rely on the forest for food and income. There will be no buffer between them and the encroaching desert.
The Metema forest is particularly special because of its frankincense trees which are a lifeline for local communities. In this part of Ethiopia, they provide up to 30% of household income for the families who sell their resin which is used as incense and in essential oils around the world.
While frankincense trees can provide a vital source of income, unsustainable practices used to extract the resin, are putting their future at risk. That's why, through this project we are supporting communities with the tools and training they need to sustainably use frankincense trees and protect them for the future.
This project has additional partners both in the UK and in Ethiopia, including Forest Research, Swansea University, Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute (EBI) and the Ethiopian Environment and Forest Research Institute (EFFRI). Details of each partner and their role as follows:
These community forest management plans will help guide frankincense tappers from each on which areas have been placed under increased protection and which are available for tapping. This framework to regulate tapping frequencies will greatly reduce tree damage.
Promoting effective forest governance
Training on cooperative management was organised for 63 PFMC leaders and attendeesfrom local government, to grow understanding of their forest management roles, rights, and responsibilities, as well as other skills such as financial management, auditing and marketing.
100% of attendees reported gaining new skills which would help the functioning of their cooperatives and record keeping of their transactions and meetings.
Sustainable harvesting and regeneration techniques
Comparative tapping analysis
Improving farmland productivity
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