EthioTrees improves rural household income for landless farmers in villages of the North Ethiopian Highlands by supporting woodland restoration and ecosystem-services development.


Benefits that EthioTrees provides




Start date 2016
Coordinator EthioTrees
Activities Assisted natural regeneration
Participants 56 community groups
PVCs issued to-date



The detail

Located at the northernmost limit of the African monsoons, the North Ethiopian Highlands are a hotspot of vulnerability to land degradation and climatic changes. In areas across Ethiopia, a variety of non-timber forest products can bring substantial amounts of cash income to farmer households. However, the significant potential of non-timber forest production remains largely untapped. To date, in Northern Ethiopia, there is not enough attention to the participatory development of community-wide benefits such as carbon storage, flood reduction and non-timber forest production when establishing enclosures.

To counter these problems, this project aims to boost community-driven woodland restoration on large and highly degraded slopes where cattle grazing is excluded. This will store carbon in the supported woodlands, both as soil organic carbon and above-ground biomass, and support ecosystem services development and valorisation through increasing groundwater availability, honey production and frankincense production for landless farmers.

The project aims to boost biodiversity status, soil organic carbon, biomass, groundwater recharge, and cash income for landless farmers. The vast majority of the farmers identify the lack of access to drinking water as the main problem for their livelihood. The landless participants derive significantly less income from sales of agricultural products and sales of livestock as compared to farmers with land.


The documents




See all documents 





SDG details

See how the project provides benefits beyond carbon and contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Sustainable Development Goal How the project contributes
  • Community members are engaged in a variety of income-generating purposes. The project provides capacity-building to nurture seedlings at community-nurseries and then plant and protect the saplings.
  • Alongside this, the project targets women and young adults for training in additional livelihood initiatives to satisfy their nutritional, financial and energy needs These initiatives include apiculture, agroforestry and fodder production.
  • Locals are trained to harvest grasses sustainably through a cut and carry system, which will then be divided amongst community members to feed livestock in place of open grazing.

  • The project collaborates with communities and smallholder farmers to diversity livelihood products, enhancing food security. 
  • The project provides food aid for the most vulnerable community members during times of famine

  • Intensive soil and water conservation structures are constructed to capture water and support downslope spring activity. Many of the project's socioecological reinvestments have been used for the construction of large water reservoirs providing water access in the dry season.
  • EthioTrees works with associations of landless farmers to tap into frankincense production.
  • Production of ‘white honey’, a local delicacy, through the introduction of bee hives. White honey is sold on local markets and provides an additional income stream for the community.
  • The project seeks to reverse the historic impacts of ecosystem degradation in the landscape by increasing above-ground vegetation and biodiversity. In doing so, carbon will be drawn out of the atmosphere and stored in the vegetation and soil. This will help reduce the negative effects of climate change.
  • Project works to restore and protect exclosures that are managed by landless farmers.
  • Through better management of exclosures, rainwater infiltration helps to stabilise groundwater tables. This provides an opportunity for irrigation agriculture.