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The Contribution of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church in Forest Management and Its Best Practices to be Scaled up in North Shewa Zone of Amhara Region, Ethiopia

This research was conducted in selected moasteries of Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOTC) in North Shewa zone. The main objective of the study is to identify main constraints which hinder the society to learn from religious instituions and apply the best practices and habit of experiences on forest conservation. Accordingly six monasteries were selected at different altitudes and sites purposively. Once the study forest areas were identified, 10 X 10 m quadrats were laid systematically in the forests for vegetation sampling. For the socioeconomic survey, 112 individuals were selected. Moreover, focus group discussion and key informant interviews were employed. Church forests enveloped in this study have an area ranging from 1.6 ha to 100 ha. The total number of species and families in each of the six churches ranged from 17 to 60 and 15 to 39 respectively. Different regeneration status was revealed from the height and diameter class distribution for some of the woody species. The height and diameter class distributions for all individuals in each studied church showed that the forests are at different secondary stages of development. The classification of the species group by ordination techniques showed the differentiation in species group types has a strong relationship with altitude. These church forests didn’t come to exist just by chance. Results indicated that it is by the commitment of the church based on strong theological thoughts and biblical basis. It was found that the local community respects and protects church forests, and considers the church as a central institution and platform. However, the community is not strongly committed to adopt forest management culture of the church due to: 1) the church leaders didn’t teach more to their followers to plant trees and to transfer the knowledge; 2) limited knowledge of the community about the benefits of forests to their livelyhood. 3), In general, the result of this study revealed that, forests conserved by EOTC and its tradition provide an opportunity to establish insitu and exsitu conservation sites for forest resources. They also have greater prospects in implementing forestry conservation, development, research and education programs with some avoidable threats and constraints for which recommendations were presented. Hence, it willl be worthy to include the church and mosque communities when delivering trainings and sharing responsibilities in aforestation programes.

Monasteries, Indigenous Knowledge, Natural Forest, Conservation, Sustainability

Abiyou Tilahun, Hailu Terefe, Teshome Soromessa. (2015). The Contribution of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church in Forest Management and Its Best Practices to be Scaled up in North Shewa Zone of Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, 4(3), 123-137.

Copyright © 2015 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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