In northern Ethiopia, most of the forest has disappeared or has been severely degraded. This means less productive soils and more frequent climate extremes like droughts and floods, causing extreme poverty. This programme in the Desa'a and Amhara regions aims to stop this vicious circle of forest degradation and poverty through restoring the forest and diversifying the population's income.
Northern Ethiopia is directly threatened by desertification while it is home to many threatened species with an important function for climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as water supply. The immediate consequence of the disappearance of forest is erosion of topsoil and the significant reduction of agricultural yields for the local farmers. Even more alarming is the long-term impact on local cloud formation and rainfall, causing more frequent droughts and food insecurity.
WeForest is restoring and protecting large areas of forest. Tree species are selected to serve multiple purposes to the forest and the communities, generating a combination of social, economic and environmental benefits. Soil and water conservation structures are built to reduce run-offs and improve soil infiltration. Combining this with livelihood improvement activities such as beekeeping and efficient cookstoves, is improving the resilience of communities living in and around the forest.
The planting and protecting of native species will boost biodiversity, regenerate soil and water resources and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Mammals such as the rare baboon and the spotted hyena will find a new habitat to thrive. With local farmers we build dams, micro-basins and water harvesting ponds to retain rainwater, improve infiltration and increase water access. The project is undergoing carbon certification and will contribute to the Paris Climate Agreement by sequestering CO2.