Abstract

Deforestation, accelerated soil erosion, and land degradation are serious problems in Ethiopia. To overcome these problems, efforts have been made to launch afforestation and conservation programs; success to date, however, has been limited. This paper will discuss agriculture and forestry practices in the Ethiopian highlands and try to identify the causes of deforestation and land degradation there. Agroforestry and social forestry practices, plantation forestry, and conservation of the remaining forests are proposed as a strategy for physical recovery. Social and policy issues such as local participation in natural resource management and the existence of clear land and tree tenure policies are critical for the long-term sustainability and expansion of forests in Ethiopia. In general, tree planting through agroforestry and social forestry should be an integral part of rural development programs to provide the community with food, fuel wood, income, and environmental benefits. Increasing public awareness through education about forestry and natural resource conservation is vital for maintaining Ethiopia's remaining natural forests and biodiversity.

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