According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, forests covered about 40 percent of Ethiopia’s territory during the 20th century. Compared to just 4 percent today.
Massive deforestation, population growth with the development of farming, climate change, and forest fires have taken their toll on the country’s greenness. To deal with this calamity, the Ethiopian government has taken a drastic measure. Announcing in May 2019 its “Green Legacy Initiative” project, which promised to plant 4 billion trees in six months.
To make the announcement, the head of government Abiy Ahmed launched a campaign that was heard around the world. Dipping his hands into the arid land. Only areas threatened by erosion and landslides are targeted for revegetation.
Better still, on July 29, Ethiopia struck a big blow by breaking the record for the highest number of trees planted in one day. With 350 million shoots planted by 23 million people. Not bad for a country whose misery was being criticized only a short time ago.
The famous “Green Legacy Initiative” plan promises to have positive effects. Among them helping to reduce drought-related mortality, producing oxygen, and boosting farmers’ incomes. As a reminder, Ethiopia is one of the few countries actively contributing to the 2015 Paris climate agreement. But the measure will only be effective if the bushes reach maturity.
However, chronic neglect of forests remains a problem in Ethiopia. Combine this with the problem of grazing and there are serious doubts about the effectiveness of the project.
Nevertheless, as of summer 2019, the government had planted a total of 2.6 billion trees. And final figures should be available soon.