Ethiopia is one of the poorest nations in the world with a per capita GDP of just US$619 per year. Its agricultural sector, which provides livelihoods for over 90 percent of the population, has been crippled by environmental degradation. Over-exploitation of forest resources has left less than 3% of Ethiopia’s native forests remaining. Severe erosion reduces the land’s capacity to absorb water, and has resulted in increasingly severe cycles of drought and flood.
The Sodo Forestry Project aims to protect the strongly degraded forest on the slopes of the Mount Damota and to plant new trees, supporting the long-term restoration of the ecosystem in the region. The project focuses on active participation from local community members living around Mount Damota, who are directly responsible for the project’s implementation. Revenue generated from the project is reinvested in local development initiatives, such as education, health and environmental protection projects.
The Sodo project will establish and protect over 1.2 million trees and sequester and store an estimated 189,027 tonnes of CO2e. The project uses Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) methodology to regrow vegetation from existing stumps and root stock., providing faster, more sustainable growth at a fraction of the cost of replanting trees from nursery stock.
Further project impacts and benefits include:
- More than 2,000 jobs created
- Restoration of 503 hectares of degraded native forests with indigenous and selected non-indigenous bio-diverse species
- Improved environmental and social resilience to the impacts of climate change
- Shared benefits for more than 50,000 people in the Sodo Water Shade area
- Protects more than 50 native tree species, including several on the Red List of Threatened Species. The planting of these native species restores the habitats of a multitude of local animal and plant species
- Increased production of wood and tree products – including honey, medicine, fibre, fruit and wildlife – that contribute to household economies
- Reduced erosion and increased soil fertility in the region
- Improved land management, which has stimulated the growth of grass that can be used as fodder for livestock or cut and sold as an additional source of income
- Improved water infiltration, resulting in the recharging of ground water and a reduction in flash flooding