Nation’s Forest Coverage Sees Big Leap Due to Massive Tree Seedlings Planting: EPA

Ethiopia’s forest coverage has jumped over 17 percent due to massive tree seedlings planting carried out over the past four years through the Green Legacy Initiative, according to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Director-General.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Environment Protection Authority Director-General Getahun Garedew said over 25 billion saplings have been planted following the Green Legacy Initiative launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in June 2019.

As a result, there are even some satellite images that show the forest coverage has reached 23 percent, he added.

According to the director-general, Ethiopia’s forest coverage which was over 40 percent in 2007 had dropped to 3 percent.

Since the launching of the Green Legacy Initiative, however, the figure jumped to over 17 percent, Getahun said.

Even if growth in forest coverage is not normally visible in few years, the campaign carried out in planting tree seedlings over the past four years has brought about great results, the director-general stressed.

In addition, avocado trees planted 4 years ago are now ready for export. They are also used for food, have ecosystem value, sequester carbon, and clean the air, among others.

The Green Legacy Initiative is saving the damage caused to the environment by improper use of natural resources in the past years and it is helpful for conserving bio-diversity and ecosystem and efforts are being made to expand the program to neighboring countries.

Getahun further stated that the country is also implementing policies and strategies that ensure the sustainability of environmental issues.

He pointed out that “Ethiopia is doing the right thing, and it started the campaign at the right time. It is a work that we must continue to strengthen.”

When Green Legacy started, tree seedlings were planted in campaigns. But now it is being coordinated digitally and the main purpose of this second round of the initiative is to institutionalize the activities, according to the director-general.

He said that Ethiopia want this practice to expanded to neighboring countries and maintain it in the country as a system.

“There is no greater development than this,” Getahun noted, adding that (tree seedlings planting) brings food, job, and prevents drought. Since it is related to everything, it would be good if all support this endeavor by taking into consideration the benefits it provides.”

Some 361, 415 hectares of land has been prepared to plant 500 million seedlings in a single day on Monday, July17, according to Ministry of Agriculture.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

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