New state run environment, forest research institute formed


Concerned with the rapid global warming and to give solid grounding  to efforts that aim at building a climate resilient green economy, the government has established a research and policy think tank called the Ethiopian Environment and Forest Research Institute (EEFRI).

The institute, which is on the lookout for a  director, will have regional centers in Bahir Dar, Mekelle, Addis Ababa, Diredawa, Jimma and Hawassa.
Administered by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MEF), 97 environmental and forest researchers will be at the helm of guiding the researches that are conducted by  the institute.
Belete Tefera, State Minister of MEF said “unwise utilization of resources has resulted in land degradation that is manifested in soil erosion; loss of soil fertility and productivity; sedimentation of lakes, rivers, hydroelectric and irrigation dams. The researches that have been done to tackle these problems are not in the desired label.’’
The state minister noted that the success of the institute highly depends on the commitment of researchers, environmentalist and other stakeholders.
“We have to create an environment where forests are well protected and  that citizens dwell in green environment.’’
Dr. Wubalem Tadesse, interim head of the EFRI also said, “people follow the good habit of  planting trees  every year, but researches that can strengthen that work  were not well done. So this institute will help to increase the forest coverage  and  to do more research on diseases that slackens growth of different trees varieties.’’
Welcoming the initiative, environmental scholars  asked  sufficient financial support to be made in order to carry out meaningful work.
“We have seen that global warming is affect our country.  This means we need to grow more trees and the government should budget  a good sum  to let  more researches work to solve  the environmental problems. Availability of efficient researchers, committed environmentalists, and necessary facilities   are indispensable to gain attractive results,’’ one participant of the workshop reminded the  crucial necessity of logistics and professional inputs.
A ministry of agriculture data shows that the current rate of deforestation is estimated  at 200,000 hectares per year. As a result, large areas of the country are exposed to heavy soil erosion.  The ministry’s estimates show  that fertile top soil is lost at a rate of 1 billion cubic meters per year, resulting in a massive environmental degradation and serious threat to sustainable agriculture and forestry. 
Most of the existing forests are found in the Southwest and central parts of Ethiopia. These parts of the country are sanctuaries for many local and international humanitarian organizations that do environmental conservation, rehabilitation works.