Hope for Eritrea's highlands
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CTA. 1996. Hope for Eritrea's highlands . Spore 66. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47499
Drought and poverty are devastating combinations for any country and its people, but few countries have also suffered theyears of war that have affected the State of Eritrea. At the end of the Ethio-Eritrean conflict in 1991 the casualties of the...
Drought and poverty are devastating combinations for any country and its people, but few countries have also suffered the years of war that have affected the State of Eritrea. At the end of the Ethio-Eritrean conflict in 1991 the casualties of the war were not just the people: the economy, industry and environment of the country also lay crippled. Outside the towns, the scars are evident with land stripped of trees that had once been forested. Laid open to the effects of climate, the soil is heavily eroded. Hope for the land and its people lies in restoration of the woodlands around the villages. Reforestation is not just about planting trees but about meeting the people's needs in order for schemes to be a success. Initial planting experiments were replicated in three highland villages in 1993. Planting took place over a two-year period with close collaboration with the local people and the Ministry of Agriculture. The goal was to achieve results that could be readily interpreted by the villagers so that they could carry out their own management with the support of extension officers. With the villagers' decision to provide land and labour, single species and mixed stands of olive, juniper and eucalyptus were planted at their request. After two years, 96% of the trees had survived in each of the villages, with equal mortalities amongst the species. Encouraging growth rates in all three species, but particularly with the Eucalyptus, were observed. Options for the future include coppicing eucalyptus for fuel, whilst using native species for local industry. Alternatively, the eucalyptus may be harvested and the native woodland restored. The latter option would allow the reintroduction of native herbs, shrubs and grasses from the small areas of remaining woodland in the country. However, it will be almost a decade before an assessment can be made of these alternative options. arborvitae IUCN/WWF Forest Conservation Newsletter June 1996 p 12 23 Bath Buildings Bristol, BS6 5PT UK