Nation Expanding Green Infrastructure to Prosper, Says Forest Researcher

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Addis Abeba, June/2020(ENA) Green infrastructure has become a priority development agenda for Ethiopia as it helps the country to realize its ambition of being a prosperous nation, according to a forest researcher at the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission.

He noted that the leadership of the country has been showing political commitment at the highest level to rehabilitate degraded lands and restore forests through the national Green Legacy Program and massive tree planting campaigns.

Approached by ENA, Yitebitu Moges, a forest researcher at the commission said that green development will definitely ensure the prosperity of Ethiopia since 95 percent of the country’s agriculture depends on rain.

“One thing that we Ethiopians have to understand is that our life relies on forest. That is why we say the country’s prosperity cannot be realized without forest development and care for natural resources. Even the country’s rain is under the mercy of forests,” the expert stated.

According to him, the country’s economy depends on largely the tree seedlings that have been planted over the years.

Despite the tree seedlings planting campaigns carried out during the past years, the efforts have not brought about the desired outcome and the forest coverage of the country still remains only 15 percent, he elaborated.

The researcher stressed that “Ethiopia is one of the sparsely forested country in the global forest index. Coverage of forest, for instance, only increased from 3 to 15.5 percent in the last two decades. This is not adequate”.

The expert blamed the low survival rate of tree seedlings planted over the years to poor follow up after planting, lack of professional experience on the ground, and shortage of quality tree seedlings.

In the Green Legacy Program launched last year, however, the government has been reinforcing a new approach by involving professionals on the ground.

Yitebitu believes that Ethiopia’s Green Legacy Program needs regional and global support as it contributes immensely to the betterment of the ecosystem of the Horn of Africa.

Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commissioner, Fekadu Beyene said on his part Ethiopia has been exerting maximum effort to become one of the world’s top forest covered countries and to protect its natural resources.

“For us, developing forest means not only benefiting Ethiopia but also the entire East African region. And as you know forest has so many economic and ecological benefits,” he stated.

Encouraged by the campaign that enabled the country to plant over 4 billion tree seedlings last year, the Government of Ethiopia has started planting 5 billion seedlings this rainy season.