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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ethiopia Loses 200,000 Hectares Forest Annually

The Ethiopian Herald -- The Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute says Ethiopia loses up to 200,000 hectares of forest every year, and warned that if the trend continues the country would lose all of its forest resources by the year 2020.

Institute Forestry development head, Dr. Alemu Gezahegn told ENA that deforestation has continued at an alarming rate in several parts of Ethiopia.

The warning was given here Monday at a day-long symposium on 'Functional Ecology and Sustainable Management of Mountain Forests in Ethiopia,' organized by the Institute in collaboration with the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Dr. Alemu said the stated area of forest has been destroyed due to deforestation, select logging, and other human activities.

Dr. Alemu said special emphasis should be given to strengthen forestry research capabilities of the nation to institutionalize sustainable use of forest resources across the nation.

A research conducted in forests of Shashemene town in Oromia State clearly shows that there is a possibility of institutionalizing sustainable utilization of forests in the country, he said.

According to a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, forests cover 30 per cent of the total land of the world.

The total forest area of the world in 2005 was just less than 4 billion hectares, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the National Fishery and other Living Aquatic Resources Research Centre under the auspices of the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute (EARI) said that it has been undertaking preliminary activities to introduce a new technology that would enable farmers to produce fish on reservoirs, ponds and temporary water bodies.

Centre Director Kassahun Asaminew told WIC that the technology has proved successful in Kenya as farmers were able to produce up to 150 fish in one cubic metre of water which can also be used for irrigation and other purposes.

Accordingly, the centre has identified water bodies in Debre Zeit, Ataye and Butajira towns to carry out verification work after two months. Following that, training would be offered to farmers and cages would be distributed among them on loan basis through microfinance projects, he added.

The new technology would help farmers obtain additional income, Kassahun said, adding that it is a simple technology which does not demand much labour.

Some 10,000-15,000 farmers living nearby small water bodies are expected to become beneficiaries of the new technology after two and a half years, the director said.

The centre in collaboration with Russian scientists, has identified 150 species of fish, he further said.

The centre envisages facilitating the production after identifying species with better growth performance as only few species are being utilized in the country and species imported from overseas have negative impact on the environment.

More Info at:

Forests.org

World Rainforest Movement

PBS

Journal of Ethiopian Environmental and Energy Concern

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