Monday, March 23, 2020

Reforesting the Highlands of Ethiopia

Environmental & Science Education
Climate Change
Global Warming
Edward Hessler

‘The church is within the forest, the forest is inside the church.’--Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

I'm sure (now that should make you think I'm not) that I posted on the work of Ethiopian forest ecologist Alemayeh Wassie who is partnering with church leaders in Ethiopia "in a last stand against deforestation." This is a partnership between science and religion.

It will come as no surprise to learn that the highlands of Ethiopia were once forested but development and agriculture have left barren ground in their wake. Now, especially if one were to fly over the highlands, small odd shaped islands of forests dot the landscape. In the interior of each, the hub, are found round buildings.

Born of the centuries-old belief of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church that churches should be surrounded by forests so as to resemble the Garden of Eden, these sites have become valuable sanctuaries of biodiversity amid the extreme pressures of population growth.

In this film (9 m 22 s) the partnership between Dr. Wassie and the Tewahdo church is described. A link in the introductory comments will take you to an article about the project.  This essay from the British scientific journal Nature provides more details about these forests, Dr. Wassie and includes some splendid photographs.

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