Reforestation projects aim to reverse soil erosion in Ethiopia
In the Machakel region of north-eastern Ethiopia, at first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much going on. In the rainy season, the grass grows well, and the hills are green. But if you look a little closer, you will see significant erosion on the hills. Deep bare channels are worn in the otherwise green landscape and almost all the native forest on the hills has been cut down.
“Population pressure has increased. Large areas of forest have been cut to create more agricultural land. As a result, the soil retains water less well. And because of climate change, the rains are getting heavier, so that large areas of land simply wash away. ” – Dr. Aklilu, forestry expert WeForest
Since 2017, The Hunger Project and WeForest have been working together in the area around Machakel, in Amhara, Ethiopia. The Hunger Project Ethiopia and WeForest will fight erosion there as eroded soil is depleted, resulting in crop failures and food insecurity. In this project, we combine our expertise: trees via WeForest, and people via The Hunger Project so our joint impact is even greater.
The results so far are impressive:
- There are 3 nurseries in the region, where seedlings are grown
- Trained farmers are united in 60 farmers’ committees
- They have made 530 hectares of community land available for forest planting
- They have planted more than 1 million trees there
- The farmers have planted 735,000 fruit trees and fruit bearing shrubs on their own land, so that 270 hectares of land is now used for agroforestry
The recipe for success: the epicentre community of Machakel themselves. After training, they have the knowledge, skills and ambition to take responsibility for the forests themselves.
“Isn’t it great what we have achieved here? A few years ago, this country looked the same as the rest of the area. There were mainly eucalyptus trees, the grass was cropped short by the cows. We saw that more and more land was washed away by the rains and that the erosion channels were getting deeper, but we were not sure how we could counter this. When The Hunger Project and WeForest organized a meeting in our village and told about their approach, we became curious. We wanted to find a way to protect our forest. ” Addis Abaw (52 years) – Member of the Merechit Committee
Now educated on the local ecology and supported in their efforts to diversify crops for food and income, communities around Machakel have made great advances towards securing a sustainable, hunger free future for those living in the area.
“The most important thing for me is that we create a better living environment for all of us and that we counteract the effects of climate change. The children that I will probably have, must also be able to live here. ” – Gizachen Buyu (32 years old), Merechit
Learn more about The Hunger Project’s work to build climate change resilience here
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Words: Mariken Stolk
Photos: Johannes Odé