Case study 1: Private incentives with degraded land, Echmare, Ethiopia

Harvest Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus L.) trees, Ethiopia

Harvest Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus L.) trees, Ethiopia

The villagers of Echmare, Ethiopia voluntarily allocated degraded land to community members for the purpose of private ‎tree planting. A small plot of wasteland, around 20m2, was assigned to everyone in the community under the condition that their rights would be revoked if they did not properly manage the land. [1] The land was still communal property, but individuals were responsible for planting trees and looking after their assigned plot. Personal responsibility resulted in each tree receiving proper care, and 90% of trees survived to maturity, compared to as few as 10% surviving on similar, but communally managed, woodlots in the area. Farmers with privately managed plots were more likely than those with communal plots to plant more seedlings, water their plots more frequently, invest more time in weeding the plots, clear stones and build stone bunds around the plots.[2]

Since the project was started in 1992 new plots of degraded hillside land have been allocated each year and households are able to harvest mature eucalyptus worth US$5 – US$8 per tree. Each household manages approximately 100 trees on their plots, representing a substantial increase in household income as well as better access to wood for fuel and construction material.[3] The success led to the local government adopting a new directive to encourage other villages to allocate unused hillsides for similar uses, including tree planting, production of forage, horticulture and bee keeping.

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