Towards a climate-smart policy and management framework for conservation and use of dry forest ecosystem services and resources in Ethiopia

Towards a climate-smart policy and management framework for conservation and use of dry forest ecosystem services and resources in Ethiopia

Desa'a dry afromontane forest, one of the study areas

This project represents a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosing and improving policy and management decisions for dry forestland and resources in the face of climate change.

prosjekt

About/Aims
Background

Dry forests, on which millions of the world's poorest and most marginalized people depend, are among the most threatened and neglected ecosystems globally. These forests, which occur in tropical regions with several months of severe or absolute drought, are the dominant features of the landscapes of most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), including Ethiopia. Dry forests and the ecosystem services they provide are under constant threat due to both natural and human-induced factors. Climate change scenarios for East Africa indicate a dramatic rise in the frequency, duration, and/or severity of drought and heat stress that are likely to amplify the vulnerability of dry forest ecosystems and the people who depend on the services that such ecosystems support. At the same time, the use of these forests is likely to play a crucial role in achieving many of the UN's sustainable development goals (SDGs). National and international goals of poverty alleviation and economic growth through sustainable utilization of forest resources on the one hand, and conservation efforts aimed at combating climate change through forest-based mitigation, on the other, are potentially conflicting and could create trade-offs in policy and in practice. The combination of the aforementioned issues extend the existing challenge in planning sustainable development in Ethiopia and SSA more broadly. This project responds to the urgent need for integrative policies and management approaches and decision-support tools that can enhance resilient and sustainable utilization of dry forest ecosystem services and resources by conducting research aimed at filling key knowledge gaps linked to a lack of necessary data, models and actionable methods for linking research, policy and practice.

Objective

Primary objective
To fill key knowledge gaps, co-design an integrated analytical framework and develop a computer-based decision support tool that supports the sustainable management of dry forest resources and ecosystem services in the face of climate change.

Secondary objectives

  • To investigate the rates, patterns and underlying drivers of deforestation and degradation of dry forests in the targeted regions
  • To investigate the magnitude and direction of potential climate change impacts on dry forests and the people who depend on their ecosystem services
  • To investigate the potential for reducing the socioeconomic consequences of climate change-driven changes in dry forest ecosystem services through different mixes of policy options and forest governance measures and practices
  • To investigate the trade-offs and potential synergies between forest-based climate change mitigation and adaptation measures based on sustainable utilization and conservation of forestland and resources