Recently, the government of Ethiopia pledged to reclaim 22 million hectares of land that have been abandoned and destroyed. These efforts will play a significant role in improving the tree coverage in the country. When forestry is improved, other sectors thrive because trees are primarily the source of numerous things. First, a tree-covered land is good for sustainable development since it will provide food security, water, energy, and open opportunities for the people.
With 80% of Ethiopia’s population living in rural areas, it is easy for the government to actualize this plan. The mobilizing of the people to protect natural resources is a remarkable step in reclaiming the mismanaged land. The same land they restore is the same one that gives them a place to cultivate to get a livelihood. So, efforts to bring back a green environment is also a benefit to them. Trees are precious natural resources that need to be protected to ensure that they attract adequate rainfall for people and animals.
Ethiopia, the second-most populous country in Africa, has embarked on a tree-planting project that aims to plant 400 billion trees. In recent years, its forest coverage has gone down. This has brought adverse effects, for instance, drought and famine that hit some parts of the country in 2017. Research shows that in 2017, more than 2 million animals died in Ethiopia as a result of drought. Scarcity of rainfall was evident in most parts of Ethiopia. Therefore, the plan to plant 4 billion trees in the rainy season will provide a solution to this.
The project entails planting of 40 trees per head. With the country’s high population, achieving the 400 billion trees goal is next to possible. Similarly, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that Ethiopia is set to break the Guinness World Records by planting 200 million saplings in 12 hours on 29/07/2019. This will beat the record India made by planting 200 million saplings in a day on August 23, 2016. The government officials are currently mobilizing the people to avail themselves on that day so that the target is easily reached.
In as much as planting the saplings is important, caring for them afterward is the most important thing. Weeding, cultivating, and watering them increases their chances of survival. The Ministry of Agriculture will use satellite information to monitor the growth of the saplings. A geographic information system (GIS) and Entoto Observatory and Research Center will be used for seedlings’ care during the dry seasons. Umer Hussein, the Minister of Agriculture, confirmed that technology would help a great deal in monitoring the progress of the seedlings. For updates on the milestones the saplings have made, citizens will be needed to check on the ministry’s webpage.
Dr. Wubalem Tadesse, a senior researcher at Central Ethiopia Environment and Forest research center, said that the survival of the saplings depended on some factors. The species must be matched with the plants’ site, appropriate site preparation, and size of the seedling. Post-planting management like mulching, watering, cultivation, protection from grazing animals, and survival count are also beneficial. Therefore, it will not only be a tree planting exercise, but also an after planting care program to ensure that the maximum number of saplings survive.