EthioTrees – Supporting Landless Farmers in the Tembien Highlands // GO BACK

The project aims to improve rural household income for landless farmers in villages of the North Ethiopian Highlands by supporting woodland restoration and ecosystem-services development.

Actively Contributes To


Economic Development

Climate Change

Life on Land Goals icon

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 exclosures.

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 (oil) 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.


Tembien Highlands (Ethiopia)

Operational Since:


Project Coordinator:


PVCs Issued to date:


Area of Land under Management:

1,892 ha


18 communities

Project Interventions:

  • Ecosystem Restoration

2017: Registration

2017: Validation

Coordinator Details:

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Project Location

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December 2019 | The BBC World Service interviewed Seifu Gebreselassie, project coordinator of EthioTrees Ethiopia, and showcased the benefits of the EthioTrees project as an example of how countries, such as Ethiopia, can tackle degrading landscapes. Watch the BBC report

October 2019 | Over the past year, the EthioTrees project cooperated with the Spring (publishing house) initiative to finalize a “tourist” GeoGuide for the Tembien Highlands. The GeoGuide series publishes travel guide type short monographs focused on areas and regions of geo-morphological and geological importance including Geoparks, National Parks, World Heritage areas and Geosites. The GeoGuide of Dogua Tembien was published in July 2019. You can find the guide here

October 2019 | The project has worked with Davines, a high-end hair and beauty brand in Italy, to create a stunning new project video. It shows the positive environmental and livelihood benefits that the project is having for communities in Ethiopia. You can watch the video here

March 2019 | Further collaboration has taken place between Ghent University (Belgium) and Mekelle University (Ethiopia) through the South Initiative programme. In 2018, the programme provided 5 Ethiopian MSc students and 2 Belgian MSc students research access to the Ethiotrees project. Read more