Presenter Information

Grey Benjamin, Colby CollegeFollow

Location

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Start Date

1-5-2014 9:00 AM

End Date

1-5-2014 10:00 AM

Project Type

Poster

Description

Research on participatory forest management (PFM) typically involves the study of ownership-use relationships among local communities and state or federal governments. This study examines the management of natural resources by a religious institution--the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church (EOTC)--whose followers protect thousands of small fragments of indigenous Afromontane forest scattered all across Northern Ethiopia. Using social surveys, group discussions, and community mapping we identify differences in norms and forest management activities of three distinct groups--priests, farmers, and women--living in and around Woji Church Forest in Northern Ethiopia. Community members offered a first-hand look into how their religious beliefs and leadership affect their understanding and perception of the use and degradation of the forest resources. Findings suggest that the community believes that the most dangerous drivers of deforestation include livestock encroachment, farming and agricultural processes, charcoal production, and cutting trees for on-site construction. Further, the community members agree in the beauty and sacredness of their forest and voiced strong opinion in regards to future management and protection measures. However, differences in reports from the three different groups underscore that women may offer the most unbiased understanding of current drivers of deforestation and overall condition of the forest and its resources. Ultimately, while contemporary PFM schemes suggest a relationship between government and community, research in Ethiopian church forests suggests the effectiveness of alternate institution-community relationships in natural resource management.

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Environmental Studies Program

CLAS Field of Study

Interdisciplinary Studies

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

215

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May 1st, 9:00 AM May 1st, 10:00 AM

Roles of Community Engagement and Church Leadership in Participatory Forest Management: A Case Study of Woji Church Forest in Northern Ethiopia

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Research on participatory forest management (PFM) typically involves the study of ownership-use relationships among local communities and state or federal governments. This study examines the management of natural resources by a religious institution--the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church (EOTC)--whose followers protect thousands of small fragments of indigenous Afromontane forest scattered all across Northern Ethiopia. Using social surveys, group discussions, and community mapping we identify differences in norms and forest management activities of three distinct groups--priests, farmers, and women--living in and around Woji Church Forest in Northern Ethiopia. Community members offered a first-hand look into how their religious beliefs and leadership affect their understanding and perception of the use and degradation of the forest resources. Findings suggest that the community believes that the most dangerous drivers of deforestation include livestock encroachment, farming and agricultural processes, charcoal production, and cutting trees for on-site construction. Further, the community members agree in the beauty and sacredness of their forest and voiced strong opinion in regards to future management and protection measures. However, differences in reports from the three different groups underscore that women may offer the most unbiased understanding of current drivers of deforestation and overall condition of the forest and its resources. Ultimately, while contemporary PFM schemes suggest a relationship between government and community, research in Ethiopian church forests suggests the effectiveness of alternate institution-community relationships in natural resource management.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2014/program/410