ADDIS ABABA, Aug 21 (BERNAMA-NNN-ENA) — The Ministry of Environment and Forestry, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Mapping Agency, has launched a map which shows the degraded areas of some 410 mountains in the country which need intervention.
The map, launched here Thursday by Minister of Environment and Forestry Belete Tefera, showed that more than 1.2 million hectares of land land on these mountains had been identified as degraded as a result of increased human activities as well as natural causes.
He said the preparation of the map was important in order to identify the degraded areas and decide what interventions should be taken.
Ethiopia is a mountainous country with 65 per cent of its total area having an elevation of more than 1,400 metres and a substantial part of that is well over 3,000 metres. The highlands have the highest human settlements and 60 per cent of the livestock population, because they are safe from most tropical diseases and pests as well as being endowed with natural resources.
The Minister said that land degradation and deforestation problems in the highlands and mountain regions of the country were very serious and the situation was made more challenging because of the people living in the areas.
For this reason, the Ministry had decided to carry out the study so as to get information which can help it design appropriate interventions to rehabilitate the areas, he added.
The country has been undertaking various activities to rehabilitate the degraded areas, including planting trees in mountainous areas and undertaking consecutive natural resource conservation activities every year.
Most of the degrade mountains are found in four regional states — Oromia, Amhara, Tigray and South Ethiopia Peoples’ states, with Amhara and Oromia being the most adversely affected.
The Acting Director of Environment Assessment with the Ministry, Asaye Ketema, said the map would help stakeholders manage their focus areas. Deforestation, increased numbers of people and livestock in the mountainous areas, and expansion of farm lands, are among the major contributing factors for the degradation.