Wogdi | EthiopiaTogether against deforestation and biodiversity loss

Ethiopia has an abundance of animal and plant species and is considered one of the world’s eight centres of diversity. Preserving this genetic diversity is very important, especially in the face of advancing climate change, so that its natural habitats may adapt to the changing local factors.  Ethiopia is particularly rich in birds; it has more than 830 species, 30 of which are endemic, i.e. exclusively found in Ethiopia. Bird species native to Germany such as the white stork, the red-backed shrike and the endangered lesser spotted eagle also seek refuge here during the long European winter.

But Ethiopia's natural landscapes have suffered dramatic losses in recent decades. For example, only 12% of Ethiopia is still covered in forest. This substantial loss of natural habitat has grave implications for the native animal and plant species, as well as for winter visitors. Ultimately, it is the population of Ethiopia that is forced to battle progressive deforestation. This process is accompanied by a severe erosion of fertile soils, which reduces the region’s ability to withstand extreme weather events such as drought and heavy rains. Crop failures and food insecurity are chronic risks in a country whose primary industry is agriculture, accounting for 34% of gross domestic product and 66% of the workforce. 

To counteract this trend and help to reverse it, the Heinz Sielmann Stiftung works together with the Menschen für Menschen Foundation and communities in Ethiopia. In the South Wollo Zone in the state of Amhara, for example, the foundation has been supporting a joint reforestation project since 2017. As part of wider development efforts, the project involves partially terracing and planting trees on severely degraded slopes to restore their valuable forest landscapes. The surrounding communities benefit from these reforestation and resource protection measures and oversee the measures to ensure that they remain sustainable.

Biodiversity Monitoring - Intermediate StatusHow does biodiversity develop on the rehabilitated sites?

In order to assess long-term success of our reforestation measures and to draw conclusions for follow-up projects, we are implementing an accompanying biodiversity monitoring in the project areas of Kbiwobo and Lencho from 2017 to 2021, conducted by independent scientific consultants.  After less than three years, the achievements of our cooperation are already apparent at the project sites:

This has been achieved so far:

  • up to 50 % increase in biodiversity
  • the return of wild animals (first indications are present)
  • natural regeneration - planted tree seedlings (acacia abyssinica) reproduce naturally
  • the return of the Harwoodfrankolin and some vulture species as a future potential for the sites’ classification into an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA)
  • communities benefit from sustainable harvesting of livestock forage and traditional medicinal plants that flourish in the rehabilitated areas
  • communities have gained a remarkable awareness of the benefits of natural rehabilitation and are taking care to ensure the sites’ sustainable protection and use

Get in touchContact us

Natalie Klein
Advisor for International Cooperation

Heinz Sielmann Stiftung
Dyrotzer Ring 4
DE-14641 Wustermark OT Elstal

Phone: +49 (0)5527 914432
Mobile: +49 (0)151 17156607
E-Mail: natalie.klein(at)sielmann-stiftung.de

This projekt is carried out in cooperation with

Our project partners, Menschen für Menschen Foundation – Karlheinz Böhm’s Ethiopia Aid, have been providing effective help for self-development in Ethiopia for over 35 years.


Together with the local population, Menschen für Menschen carries out integrated rural development projects that combine activities for agriculture, water management, education, health, and income. Protecting Ethiopia's natural resources is another important focus of the foundation. To protect landscapes degraded by deforestation, overuse, and drought from further damage, Menschen für Menschen pursues a variety of missions in close cooperation with the local population. By terracing eroded slopes, repairing ditches caused by erosion, planting countless trees, and other protective measures, Menschen für Menschen works to create healthy ecosystems in order to lay new living foundations for the population of Ethiopia, as well as its flora and fauna.