Church Forests Ethiopia

Exploring Church Forests as ecosystem baseline for restoration concepts in the Ethiopian highlands

Church forests in the Ethiopian highlands are remnants of earlier more continuous forests or planted or regenerated patches in non-forest landscapes. The objective of this project is to investigate the potential of church forests as a blue print for developing landscape level restoration concepts for a sustainable, climate adapted and indigenous species based land use in over utilized areas of the Ethiopian highlands.

Satellite imagery, socio-economies survey, ground inventory and secondary sources will be used to generate the required data. A combination of technologies including remote sensing, GIS, and other techniques will be used for data analysis. This will lead us developing an updatable geo-spatial database of church forests in the Ethiopian highlands. Aspects such as trend analysis of landscape level land use/land cover changes, identification and selection of church forests, documentation of their major ecosystem services, their species composition and selection of candidate species for restoration will be considered. Side by side tailor made training on Geo-informatics (remote sensing and GIS) for selected staff members working in Ethiopia, and a conference about sate of Knowledge for Ethiopian Orthodox Church forest and restoration options are planned. The project will be conducted in various phases.