The Role of Community on Forest Management in Ethiopia: The case of Yotyet/Yewezera Community Forest


The Role of Community on Forest Management in Ethiopia: The case of Yotyet/Yewezera Community Forest


*Belay Zerga1,2, Bikila Workineh1, 3, Demel Teketay4, Muluneh Woldetsadik5

1. Center for Environmental Science, College of Natural and Computational Sciences, Addis Ababa University; 2. Department of Natural Resources Management, College of Agriculture and Natural Resource, Wolkite University;3. Department of Plant Ecology and Biodiversity Management, College of Natural and Computational Sciences, Addis;Ababa University; 4. Department of Crop Science and Production, Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ethiopia; 5. Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, College of Social Sciences, Addis Ababa University


This independent study assessed how forest management is a matter of local community governance and management by showing best cultural management practices in Ethiopia with special reference to Yotyet/Yewezera Community forest which is located in Eza Wereda, Gurage Zone, Ethiopia. Forests are essential for human survival and well-being. They harbor two thirds of all terrestrial animal and plant species. They provide us with food, oxygen, shelter, recreation, and spiritual sustenance, and they are the source for over 5,000 commercially-traded products, ranging from pharmaceuticals to timber and clothing. Due to lack of evidence in Ethiopia and more broadly in Africa, Community Based Forest Management approaches have been underestimated. The study area, Yotyet/Yewezera natural forest has four adjacent villages with 3421 population number. These four villages were purposefully selected. In-depth semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions (FGDs), direct field observations and questionnaires were the main sources of the primary data in this research. In all the four villages eight community elders whose age are above 70 years were selected purposefully. After giving enough awareness about the research objective and they were interviewed separately and finally they involved in to Focus Group Discussion. Qualitative historical analysis is employed to understand and interpret the forest governance and management. Three time periods were considered. The forests’ protection status was assessed during the feudal period (before 1974), during the Derg regime (1974–1991) and after 1991. The three time periods were characterized by major changes that affected the management role of the local community. From the beginning the forest was protected/governed/managed by representatives of the surrounding community which were known as local chiefs. These local chiefs were well respected by the community and their order towards forest management issue had been accepted and practiced accordingly. Apart from local chiefs there was also one strong traditional belief that was responsible for the wise management of the forest. This traditional belief was known locally as “Buezhe”. Buezhe was a thunder god and if there was violations against the rules and believes, it was believed that, it brings fire during rainy seasons and destroys the houses which are made of grass and wooden materials and properties like cattle and enset farms. When the illegal cutters watched the signs of Buezhe named as shine in the forest they stop cutting and return to their home due to the fear of punishment by Buezhe born fire. In addition to local chiefs and traditional belief (Buezhe), the role of the church which is found in the southern part of the forest named Atirfo Debrework Kidus Giyorgis is very substantial towards Yotyet/Yewezera forest governance. When there is some information about the threat on the forest the church condemn the thieves in Sunday Prayer. The district and zonal officials have to consider and give due attention in giving recognitions to the community for their effective protection and management role.


Keywords: Forest management, The role of community, Local chiefs, Traditional belief, The church, Yotyet/Yewezera Forest, Eza Wereda


Free Full-text PDF


How to cite this article:
Belay Zerga, Bikila Workineh, Demel Teketay, Muluneh Woldetsadik. The Role of Community on Forest Management in Ethiopia: The case of Yotyet/Yewezera Community Forest. International Journal of Communications and Networks, 2019, 2:10


References:

1. Andam, K., Ferraro, P.J., Pfaff, A., Sanchez-Azofeifa, G.A., Robalino, J.A. (2008). Measuring the effectiveness of protected area networks in reducing deforestation. PNAS 105, 16089-16094.
2. Angelsen, A., Kaimowitz, D., (1999). Rethinking the causes of deforestation: lessons from economic models. The World Bank Research Observer 14, 73-98.
3. Auld, G., Gulbrandsen, L.H., McDermott, C.L. (2008). Certification schemes and the impacts on forests and forestry. Annual Review of Environment Resources 33, 187-211.
4. Bray, D.B., Duran, E., Romas, V.H., Mas, J.-F., Velazquez, A., McNab, R., Barry, B.D.,Radachowsky, J. (2008). Tropical deforestation, community forests, and protected areas in the Maya Forest. Ecology and Society 13, 56.
5. Bruner, A.G., Gullison, R.E., Rice, R.E., da Fonseca, G.A.B. (2001). Effectiveness of parks in protecting tropical biodiversity. Science 291, 125-127.
6. DeFries, R., Hansen, A., Turner, B.L., Reid, R., Liu, J. (2007). Land use change around protected areas: management to balance human needs and ecological function. Ecological Applications 17, 1031-1038.
7. Dickinson, M.B., Dickinson, J.C., Putz, F.E. (1996). Natural forest management as a conservation tool in the tropics: divergent views on possibilities and alternatives. Commonwealth Forestry Review 75, 309-315.
8. Duchelle, A.E., (2009). Conservation and livelihood development in Brazil-nut producing communities in a tri-national Amazonian frontier. Dissertation, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA.
9. Ellis, E.A., Baerenklau, K.A., Marcos-Martínez, R., Chávez, E., (2010). Land use/land cover change dynamics and drivers in a low-grade marginal coffee growing region of Veracruz, Mexico. Agroforestry Systems 80, 61-84.
10. FAO/UN (2010). Progress towards Sustainable Forest Management; Global Forest Resources Assessment main report FAO forestry paper -163.
11. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE). (2007). Forest Development, Conservation and Utilisation Proclamation No. 542/2007. Federal Negarit Gazeta No. 56, Addis Ababa.
12. Ferraro, P.J. (2002). The local costs of establishing protected areas in low-income nations: Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar. Ecological Economics 43, 261-275.
13. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2007). State of the World’s Forests, Rome.
14. Geist, H.J., Lambin, E.F., (2002). Proximate causes and underlying driving forces of tropical deforestation. BioScience 52, 143-150.
15. Gibbs, H.K., Ruesch, A.S., Achard, F., Clayton, M.K., Holmgren, P., Ramankutty, N., Foley, J.A. (2010). Tropical forests were the primary sources of new agricultural land in the 1980s and 1990s. PNAS 107, 16732-16737.
16. Grainger, A. (1993). Rates of deforestation in the humid tropics: estimates and measurements. The Geographical Journal 159, 33-44.
17. Heckenberger, M., Russell, J., Toney, J., Schmidt, M. (2007). The legacy of cultural landscapes in the Brazilian Amazon: implications for biodiversity. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 362, 197-208.
18. Lawrence, D., Radel, C., Tully, K., Schmook, B., Schneider, L. (2010). Untangling a decline in tropical forest resilience. constraints on the sustainability of shifting cultivation across the globe. Biotropica 42, 21-30.
19. Lele, S., Wilshusen, P., Brockington, D., Seidler, R., Bawa, K. (2010). Beyond exclusion: alternative approaches to biodiversity conservation in the developing tropics. Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain. 2, 1-7.
20. Macqueen, D. (2008). Supporting small forest enterprises – a cross-sectoral review of best practice. IIED Small and Medium Forestry Enterprise Series No. 23. IIED, Edinburgh, UK. Moges, Yitebitu., Eshetu, Z., & Nune, S. (2010). Ethiopian Forest Resources: Current Status and Future Management Options in View of Access to Carbon Finances.
21. Marx, A., Cuypers, D., (2010). Forest certification as a global environmental governance tool: what is the macro-effectiveness of the Forest Stewardship Council? Regulation and Governance 4, 408–434.
22. MEA (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment), (2005). Ecosystem and Human WellBeing: Current State and Trends: Findings of the Condition and Trends Working Groups vol. 1. Island Press, Washington.
23. Nagendra, H., Paul, S., Pareeth, S., Dutt, S. (2009). Landscapes of protection: forest change and fragmentation in Northern West Bengal, India. Environmental Management 44, 853-864.
24. Naughton-Treves, L., Holland, M., Brandon, K. (2005). The role of Protected Areas in conserving biodiversity and sustaining local livelihoods. Annu. Rev. Environ. Resour. 30, 219-252.
25. Nepstad, D., Schwartzman, S., Bamberger, B., Santilli, M., Ray, D., Schlesinger, P., Lefebvre, P., Alencar, A., Prinz, E., Fiske, G., Rolla, A. (2006). Inhibition of Amazon Deforestation and Fire by Parks and Indigenous Lands. Conservation Biology 20, 65–73.
26. Noble, I.R., Dirzo, R. (1997). Forests as human-dominated ecosystems. Science 277, 522–525. Oliveira, P.J.C., Asner, G.P., Knapp, D.E., Almeyda, A., Galván-Gildemeister, R., Keene, S., Raybin, R.F., Smith, R.C., 2007. Land-use allocation protects the Peruvian Amazon. Science 317, 1233-1236.
27. Ostrom, E., Nagendra, H. (2006). Insights on linking forests, trees and people from the air, on the ground, and in the laboratory. PNAS 103, 19224-19231.
28. Rudel, T.K., DeFries, R., Asner, G.P., Laurance, W.F. (2009). Changing drivers of deforestation and new opportunities for conservation. Conservation Biology 231396, 1405.
29. SCBD. (2009). Draft Findings of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Biodiversity And Climate Change.
30. Shahabuddin, G., Roa, M., (2010). Do community-conserved areas effectively conserve biological diversity? Global insights and the Indian context. Biological Conservation 143, 2926–2936.
31. Stocks, A., McMahan, B., Taber, P. (2007). Indigenous, colonist, and government impacts on Nicaragua’s Bosawas Reserve. Conservation Biology 21, 1495–1505.
32. Uriarte, M., Schneider, L., Rudel, T.K. (2010). Synthesis: land transitions in the tropics. Biotropica 42, 59–62.
33. Van Kujik, M., Putz, F.E., Zagt, R. (2009). Effects of forest certification on biodiversity. Tropenbos International,
34. Wakjira, D. T. (2007). Forest Cover Change and Socioeconomic Drivers in Southwest Ethiopia Center of Land Management and Land Tenure Munich, Technische Universität München.
35. WBISPP (2005). Woody Biomass Inventory and Strategic Planning Project. Final Report.
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ministry of Agriculture, Addis Ababa.
36. West, P., Igoe, J., Brockington, D. (2006). Parks and peoples: the social impact of Protected Areas. Annu. Rev. Anthropol 35, 251-277.
37. Wilshusen, P.R., Brechin, S.R., Fortwangler, C.L., West, P.C. (2002). Reinventing a Square Wheel: Critique of a Resurgent ‘‘Protection Paradigm’’ in International Biodiversity Conservation. Society and Natural Resources 15, 17-40.
38. Wily, L. A. (2000). Forest law in Eastern and Southern Africa: Moving towards a community-based forest future? . Unasylva, 51, 19-26.
39. Wily, L. A. (2010). Participatory forest management in Africa: an overview of progress and issues. Second International Workshop on Participatory Forestry in Africa. Defining the way forward: Sustainable livelihoods and sustainable forest management through participatory forestry.
40. World Bank. (2004). Sustaining Forests: A Development Strategy. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.
41. Wright, S.J., Sanchez-Azofeifa, G.A., Portillo-Quintero, C., Davies, D. (2007). Poverty and corruption compromise tropical forest reserves. Ecological Applications 17, 1259-1266.
42. Yitebitu, M., Zewdu, E., Sisay, N. (2010). Ethiopian Forest Resources: Current Status and Future Management Options in View of Access to Carbon Finances.
43. Yitebitu, M., Zewdu, E., Sisay, N. (2012). Ethiopian forest resources: current status and future management options in view of access to carbon finances. Prepared for the Ethiopia climate research and networking and UNDP. Addis Ababa; Ethiopia.