Strategies for addressing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation

Identified strategies for addressing deforestation and forest degradation as well as promoting carbon enhancing activities in Ethiopia are broadly grouped into two major components: targeted on-ground interventions and creating enabling environment through tackling underlying causes.

Targeted On-Ground Interventions
Four broad areas of on the ground measures and a total of 17 different strategic options grouped as targeted interventions have been identified for implementation Among these strategic options, some were prioritized following a two-phase screening exercise (Table). The first phase screening is made using three criteria including the GHG emission mitigation potential, abatement cost efficiency, relevance to government development priorities as defined below (CRGE, 2011).

  • GHG emission mitigation potential: Ranking was based on the CRGE (2011) annual emission removal potential assessment and supported with the findings of the DD research team.
  • Abatement cost efficiency: The abatement costs refer to the average net emission abatement (mitigation) cost in case of large-scale implementation including societal costs, and
  • The government development priorities: Government development priorities as indicated in the related strategic documents.
  • The second phase further considered the following criteria:
  • Poverty alleviation impact: Poverty alleviationimpact (increased net economic benefit) per involved household.
  • Potential social impact at scale: Potential proportion of households influenced directly by the strategic option adopted, and
  • Institutional readiness: Institutional readiness reflects the necessary policy and legal frameworks, infrastructure and personnel.

The following four broad on- ground measures in the key REDD+ sectors are considered as targeted interventions needed to address drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in Ethiopia.

• Sustainable forest management (including PFM, ANR, A/R, timber production)
• Energy efficient technologies, biomass and alternative energy Investment in improved techniques for agriculture
• Livestock management

Besides physical measures for addressing deforestation and forest degradation, on ground interventions for enhancing forest carbon stocks is part of the NRS as well as the CRGE strategy. The e CRGE strategy and the GTP2 has put a plan to enhance forest carbon stocks with a national target of afforesting 2 million ha of land and reforesting an additional 1 million ha of land. Further, Ethiopia pledged for the Bonn Challenge to restore additional 15 million ha of degraded lands. The targeted interventions in the NRS have thus considered to achieve part of this ambitious.

The performance indicators for implementation of each prioritized strategic options (targeted physical interventions) are based on a set of assumptions and/or quantifications. These include the total area for interventions, number of beneficiary households, investment costs, estimated emission reduction potential of the strategic options, economic and environmental benefits.
Table. List of targeted interventions identified to address direct drivers of deforestation and forest degradation

No Sectors Strategic investments



1 Forestry

(1) Improve management of natural forests and woodlands through institutional and human capacity building and implementing forest management schemes such as PFM/REDD+ that maintain forest cover:

  • Strengthen the management and scaling up  of areas under PFM
  • Enhance livelihoods of communities living in around natural forest through promotion of foret businesses (NTFPs, honey, forest tourism, PES, etc)

(2) Increase afforestation, reforestation, and sustainable forest management to increase carbon sequestration in forests and woodlands and expand forest resource base for economic purposes:

  • Enhance and/ or incentivize appropriate afforestation/ reforestation activities  and silvicultural practices by communities and private holders on public degraded lands
  • Enhance the timber supply sources from private and community plantations through the conversion of degraded land to tree plantations to reduce pressure on nature forest utilization.
  • Promote area closure through the rehabilitation of degraded pastureland, farmland,  and degraded highlands leading to enhanced soil fertility and thereby ensuring additional carbon sequestration by mobilizing  the public, local communities, NGOs and CBOs and build their capacity
  • Enhance the capacity of institutions and the public for integrated fire management in fire hot spot areas

4,000,000 ha

3,000,000 ha

1,500,000 ha

10,0000 ha

Western lowland forest areas




(1) Reduce demand for fuel wood via the dissemination and usage of fuel-efficient stoves and/or alternative energy technologies for lighting, cooking and baking (such as electric, solar, LPG, or biogas stoves) leading to reduced forest degradation

  • Support and promote energy efficient cook stoves
  • Promote biogas units as appropriate
  • Support and promote alternative and renewable energy sources such as electricity and solar technologies

(2) Encourage and/or incentivize communities and private sector to engage in sustainable  woody biomass production for charcoal and firewood

3,000,000 HHs

801,464 HHs

1,000,000 HHs

1, 270,000 ha







Create new agricultural land in degraded areas through small, medium, and large-scale irrigation to reduce the pressure on forests if expansion of the cultivated area becomes necessary (Yield-increasing techniques 4,373,333ha
  • Irrigated agriculture on new agricultural land from low carbon zones
  • Mechanization (Small-scale and large-scale farming)
Intensify agriculture through usage of improved inputs and better residue management resulting in a decreased requirement for additional agricultural land that would primarily be taken from forests (productive but low emitting techniques for Agriculture) 2,515,717ha
  • Soil carbon storage and management
  • Nitrogen Management
  • Tillage and residue management
  • Agro-forestry
  • Water management techniques
4 Livestock
  • Rangeland and pastoral land management
  • Improved livestock management system
  • Enhancing and intensification of animal mix
  • Live stock value-chain efficiency improvement


To be worked out in the sectoral action plan

Measures to Address the Underlying Drivers and Improve Enabling Environment
Table summarizes the strategic actions required to improve REDD+ implementation in Ethiopia. The actions are recommended based on the gaps analyzed and the underlying factors of deforestation and forest degradation identified.
Table. Strategies to address underlying causes and gaps in enabling environment for REDD+ implementation mainly driven by MEFCC and jointly implemented by relevant government sectors.

Issues/Underlying Causes

Strategies/Measures for Addressing Underlying Causes and Enablers for Improved Forest Management

Low policy priority/profile of the forest sector

Enhance the national awareness to the national leadership on the unique significance of the forestry sector for sustainable development with positive long term effects on agriculture, tourism, power/energy,  rural development and other sectors of the economy

Weak law enforcement of forest policies and laws

Strengthen law enforcement activities to combat deforestation and forest degradation through increased capacities of the forestry institutions at various levels and by participating different stakeholders  including local communities

Lack of long term finance and human resources to support the effective implementation of forest sector plans, policies and laws


  • Enhance the level of knowledge and  awareness to the leadership, policy makers, development partners and the public on significance of forestry for sustainable  development of Ethiopia for  the general public and policy makers
  • Support the development and consolidation of forest institutional structure down to grass roots levels
  • Mobilize development partners to cooperate in building knowledge and human resources related to forestry, land use and climate change governance  and investments

Limited governance and monitoring capacities of institutions in the forest  and related NRM sectors


  • Identify, demarcate and enhance the management of forest conservation priority area
  • Enhance the system and technical capacities for data collection, management, processing, consolidation, quality assurance and quality control for the forest and land use sectors

Unclear tenure/ forest user rights (including carbon rights)  and absence of clear benefit sharing mechanisms

  • Determine in clear legal terms individual, community and state entitlements (rights and duties) over each piece of land in the country with legal consequences;
  • Promote forest land tenure security through forest land classification/ zoning, demarcation, and registration
  • Promote equitable alternative livelihoods development programs for local community to optimize diversified co-benefits from forest resources and contribute to reduce deforestation and forest degradation.
  • Develop a fair and equitable benefit sharing schemes for distributing benefits from  forest management activities

Low levels of stakeholder participation and involvement in the forest sector


  • Encourage public engagement, participation, involvement and consultations on forestry and land use planning and implementation (multiple stakeholders including community-based organizations, local communities, indigenous peoples, women, youth, NGOs, and the private sector and academia)
  • Improve capacities, knowledge and awareness of the relevant  stakeholders to implement policy and measures  to reduce deforestation and forest degradation

Lack of  adequate incentives for private sector to invest in forestry

Encourage the law making entities to provide for more incentives tat encourage sustainable timber harvesting by private holders and communities Promote effective, equitable sustainable management and use of forests, forestlands and non-timber forest products

Population growth coupled with rural poverty increasing dependence on forest resources

  • Promote forest based  and alternative livelihoods
  • Support activities for increased and sustainable agricultural production

Absence of Land Use Planning

  • Contribute to consolidation and harmonization of legal frameworks for use of land  forest development by supporting the preparation of integrated land use planning initiatives and make it legally binding.
  • Encourage actors at various levels to developing master land use plans
  • Encourage the process knowledge generation and policy making for devoting a proportion of the country's territory (jurisdiction) for forestry development
  • Support the  immediate demarcation and gazetting of priority forests and wildlife parks in both high forest and dry woodland areas

Overlapping  institutional  mandates and inappropriate delegation of mandate  (e.g., EIA)

  • Support the process of clarifying mandates among government institutions and ensuring mandates are provided to the right institutions  (make sure that conflict of interest does not exist
  • Building  the capacity of forestry and land use sectors  at all levels  to fully discharge their responsibility of  ensuring  the implementation of mitigation plans for minimizing the  social and environmental impacts on forests and local communities resulting from the implementation development activities (e.g.,  infrastructure development, agricultural investments, etc))

Inadequate coordination among sectors is another critical underlying cause resulting in mismanagement of land and forest resources

  • Strengthen institutions and coordination frameworks to ensure coherent policy responses to reduce deforestation and forest degradation resulting from large-scale economic development and/ or infrastructure projects Improve inter-setoral coordination through creating a high level multi-sectoral coordination platform
  • Establishing strong working ties between vertical and horizontal REDD+ offices and making coordination among these agencies a legal necessity;
  • Making REDD+ activities to be represented in each relevant sectoral, government agency; and
  • Creating a working group including the national REDD+ secretariat, regional coordination units and the environmental NGOs.
  • Support the process of policy harmonization in different sectors (e.g., agricultural investment and forestry)

Inadequate provision on Participatory Forest Management (PFM)

  • Provide for community forest ownership under the new Federal Forest Proclamation
  • Encourage for more provisions in the new Forest proclamation for incentivizing communities from PFM activities
  • Recognize legal status for the PFM as an approach for forest management in the country and define and respect  community  rights
  • Promote effective, equitable sustainable management and use of forests, forestlands and non-timber forest products
  • Encourage Public Private Partnership to get involved in efficient management of state commercial forests (FSR recommendation)

A/R and Restoration challenges


Lack of incentives for involving  private investments in forestry development


Enhance and/ or incentivize appropriate afforestation/ reforestation activities by communities and the private sector and silvicultural practices on state land

Technical challenges (species-site matching, post planting management, etc)

Strengthen the role of academic institutions/ research institutes in training, research and technology development associated with forestry, land use  and A/R


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