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Rehabilitation and sustainable use of community forests in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia

concluded 12/2005


The livelihood of people in rural Ethiopia is closely linked to utilization of natural resources, particularly forests. However, absence of appropriate forest use and benefit sharing mechanisms resulted in a situation that local people were forced to utilize the forest resource illegally and that they do not feel responsible for the forest condition. In community-managed forests in the Bale Mountains the forest management approach adopted by forest dwellers association called WAJIB in local language offers a challenging model to reverse this trend. The user groups have received exclusive user rights for the multiple products and services from the forests. To ensure sustainable utilization of their forests they adopted transparent bylaws. However, forest areas placed under the user groups’ management are those that are degraded and less productive. The user groups are requesting practical technical advice how to improve the production potential of their forest. Transforming these degraded forests in to semi-natural productive forests that meet the needs and demands of the community require careful planning, implementation and monitoring of silvicultural activities. In this regard, little technical expertise is available in the forest service to help the user groups in how to improve the productive potential of the forest. Therefore, this study will provide locally adapted silvicultural tools and recommendations. The specific objectives of the research are: (1) understanding the legal and socio-economic framework conditions (2) assessing the stand potential of the forests to be transformed in to semi-natural productive forests and (3) providing silvicultural recommendations.
Greater understanding and interest to use the study results depend on active involvement during the research process. To this effect, collaborative research approach will be employed to involve the key stakeholders to understand more about the problem, seek workable solutions, implement and monitor the changes. Moreover, detailed inventory of the stand conditions will be conducted to know the abundance and distribution of potential crop trees and mature trees in the forest. Additionally, the crown development of the dominant species will be investigated. Finally, improvement and harvest cutting levels will be determined to ensure sustainable utilization of the forests.
Researcher: Girma Amente
Project monitoring: Prof. Dr. J. Huss,  Prof. Dr. M. Becker


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