Half of trees in reforestation program don’t thrive

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Even though the government has increased the forest coverage from 15.5 percent to 17.8 percent in the last three years by planting trees in an estimated 2.8 million hectares; half of the trees have not been growing. The trees are planted by government workers, and private institutions, according to a source that Capital spoke with in the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission. This source said that the main reason is that there is not sufficient follow up after the trees are planted. They said more human resources should be invested to take care of the trees.
Currently PM Abiy Ahmed is working to plant four billion trees in a short period of time, hoping Ethiopia will reach 20 percent forest coverage.
“Deforestation, soil degradation and other forms of environmental degradation that could lead to desert encroachment has become a major concern in our country and the PM who understands this started a campaign to plant a billion trees and this must be appreciated and supported but planting trees is not enough. They have to be watered, weeded, and the soil must be conserved to increase forest coverage.”
“Most people think that planting trees is a one time job and they don’t return to see the plant after they place the seedling. They need to check and see if the plants are thriving. In consideration that government alone cannot drive and meet our re-afforestation targets, appropriate incentives are being worked out to stimulate private sector and community participation.”
“We need to think more broadly – about matching trees to their location, about the effects on nearby insects and other animals and about relationships with soil and the changing climate.”
Ethiopia has severe problems with deforestation. This is due to agricultural expansion; the increasing demand for construction material, industrial use, fuel wood and charcoal; lack of a forest protection and conservation policy; absence of a strong forest administration system capable of arresting the rapidly increasing rate of deforestation; lack of effort to ensure the participation of communities in forest protection and conservation and the sharing of benefits, and failure to clearly demarcate and enforce the boundaries of natural forest reserves.