Fana: At a Speed of Life!

F4F implementing forest landscape restoration project to safeguards Abaya-Chamo Lakes

Addis Ababa, June 22, 2023 (FBC) – Abaya and Chamo Lakes, Ethiopia’s resourceful water bodies located in the Great Rift Valley near to Arba Minch town, have become vulnerable to loss of biodiversity due to manmade problems such as deforestation.

Head of Biodiversity Department at Gamo Zone Forestry and Environmental Protection Office, Gambura Ganta stated that the threats facing the Abaya and Chamo lakes emanated from exploitation of forests for firewood, housing and agricultural purposes.

Currently, the two lakes are being filled with large amount of soil and other iron rich sediments being carried by the river waters from the highland areas that have already been affected by forest and land degradation.

Gambura indicated that the depth of the lakes is decreasing while their width is increasing due to the siltation, adding that the water bodies will completely vanish unless extensive protection works are carried out.

To avert the problem, the Gamo Zone Forestry and Environmental Protection Office in collaboration with the Forests for Future (F4F) Project has been undertaking forest and landscape restoration activities around the lakes.

Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the F4F project aims to preserve water and other natural resources of the lakes alongside ensuring the socio-economic benefits for the community, Gambura explained.

The project helped the local government to reinforce local capacities in environmental protection, rehabilitation of some ecosystems and promotion of green economy among the community in Gamo Zone.

Soil and water conservation works have already been carried out on a total of 970 ha of land located in three districts and two city administration of Gamo Zone, according to Gambura.

Environmental protection activities that have been carried out over the past years under the F4F Project also resulted in 174 ha of forest around the Geza natural forest in Geresse district.

He also announced that the amount of sediment entering the Chamo Lake has been reduced to a certain extent following the environmental protection works undertaken on riverbanks of upper areas surrounding the lake.

Apart from the environmental protection endeavors, the Project has created income-generating employment opportunities for the local residents organized under six associations engaged in Bamboo production and seedling cultivation.

Teshome Madoneh, a member of the Sisote Seedling Development and Supply Association, stated that his association has sold 442,000 saplings this year alone. According to Teshome, the members of the association are improving their livelihoods from the income they are generating from sale of saplings besides actively participating in environmental protection efforts.

Gambura also stressed that the potential disaster on Abaya and Chamo Lakes due to manmade factors and worsening climate change is not only a local problem but also a national and continental issue, calling for strengthened forest and landscape restoration activities involving all stakeholders.

Gambura further highlighted the role of the media in promoting enhanced forest and landscape restoration efforts so as protect Abaya and Chamo Lakes from potential loss.

By Wondesen Aregahegn




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