Thursday, May 23, 2024
PoliticsForest protection saves 12,000ha, results in 5.5 mln mt carbon stock

Forest protection saves 12,000ha, results in 5.5 mln mt carbon stock

 Government to receive USD 50 million for green growth activities

Ongoing public forest conservation programs in Ethiopia have generated some 5.5 million metric tons of carbon equivalent forest protection results covering 12,500 hectares of forest land.

Launching the results of a decade-long work in 12 weredas of Bale Zone of the Oromia Regional State, this week, which encompasses a region classified as one of the eco regions in the country, Farm Africa, a UK-based NGO, confirmed that the intervention have helped to reduce deforestation significantly.

According to Mulugeta Limenih (PhD), head of forestry and natural resource management for East Africa region with Farm Africa, the projected size of deforestation in the last decade or so was around 20,244 hectares in the region. However, through participatory approaches, the actual deforestation in the Bale area was limited to 7,748 hectares avoiding the destruction of 12,500 hectares of forest. The protected forest area is now entitled to generate something like 28 million dollars, assuming five dollars per ton carbon trade financing rate.

Climate change literature suggests that carbon trading is a form of emissions trading (market-based approach to controlling pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants) that solely targets carbon dioxide (calculated in tons of carbon dioxide equivalent or (CO2e) and constitutes the bulk of tradable emissions. This form of trading is a common method countries utilize in order to meet their obligations specified by the Kyoto Protocol (an accord that sets mandatory limits to the emissions of greenhouse gases in an attempt to reduce (mitigate) future climate change).

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Hence, under carbon trading, a country having more emissions of carbon is able to purchase the right to emit more and the country having less emission trades the right to emit carbon to other countries. This way, more carbon emitting countries try to keep the limit of carbon emission specified to them.

Mulugeta elaborated, voluntary and compulsory ways of marketing the stored carbon from the Bale eco-region.  So far, the voluntary markets are predominantly available via reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) initiatives. Negotiated under patronages of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), REDD+ was meant to help developing countries conserve and manage forests via participatory approaches and enhance stocks of carbon. But many developing countries are yet to reap the real benefits of REDD+ initiative where Ethiopia stands out as a country that have managed to launch a successful program four years ago. Currently, REDD+ has launched a full-scale operations in Ethiopia. 

Yitebitu Moges (PhD), national coordinator with REDD+ Ethiopia, said that Ethiopia is attracting the attention of developed countries where the likes of Norway have already begun to support such initiatives. The Norwegian government has earmarked USD 80 million and the World Bank Group has channeled USD 18 million for sustainable forest management and conservation programs. 

In addition to that, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) has announced this week that it has approved USD 50 million in funding to finance green oriented irrigation schemes in Ethiopia. Frank Rijsberman, director general of GGGI, said that the size of the funding will be increased as Ethiopia is considered to be one of the well positioned countries which have envisaged climate change oriented green economic development strategy. Headquartered in South Korea, GGGI was founded five years ago, as outcome of a brainstorming session by leaders such as the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Rijsberman recalled.

That said, forest management and protection has been a painstaking job in the country, Gemedo Dale (PhD), minister of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change, noted. According to the minister, rich and diverse forest reserves in the country are being cleared under the watch of the authorities. He gave an account of particular places such as Harrena forest, found in close proximity with the Bale Mountains, in the southeastern Ethiopia. Authorities intentionally help illegal settlers violate the protected forests, Gemedo claimed. Expansion of farmlands and wildfire are the next biggest treats to the Ethiopian forest.

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