Desa’a Forest,
Reversing land degradation and poverty through forest landscape restoration
0 ha

under restoration so far


trees protected and growing


species regenerating


families benefiting


people trained


carbon sequestered

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The Desa’a Forest is one of the oldest remaining dry afromontane forests in Ethiopia. Over 26 000 people live below the poverty line here, relying on the forest for water, energy and to feed their cattle.

This ambitious, award-winning project aims to restore and protect arid afromontane and bring water back to this region, which is directly threatened by desertification coming from the north, and lift the rural communities out of extreme poverty.

Why and how we’re working here

The Desa’a forest reserve is home to many threatened species, and plays an important role in climate adaptation and water supply in a region directly threatened by desertification from the north and east. Currently, 74% of the forest has disappeared and the remaining 26% is severely degraded.

Currently, 74% of the forest has disappeared and the remaining 26% is severely degraded.

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Eastern and South Eastern zone, Tigray region

Restoration approaches

Assisted Natural Regeneration; framework planting

Project partners

WeForest Ethiopia
Tigray Plan and Finance
Mekelle University

Threatened species

Dracaena ombet (Nubian Dragon Tree)


23 000 farming families

The project’s impact on people

The project aims to build local capacity to hand management of the reserve over to the communities. A livelihood plan will alleviate the pressure on the forest resources by providing alternative sources of income from activities such as sustainable agriculture, agroforestry  and beekeeping.

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Who’s funding the Desa’a Forest project?

Updates from the Great Green Wall programme

wren team photo against deforestation

Wren’s approach to growing trees for climate action

When looking to expand its portfolio of projects, Wren researched over 20 organizations, looking for projects that use effective, science-based...

Exploring the ‘bird cave’

"Wof-Washa," known as the "bird cave", just 170 km northeast of Addis Ababa, is a natural treasure in Ethiopia. ...

How we measure impact: Monitoring and Evaluation

There’s an important topic in forest restoration that often gets overshadowed by the excitement of setting new records for the...

The 2023 planting season starts in Desa’a

This summer the rains in Tigray started early, so at the beginning of June the communities and team hurried to...

How do WeForest’s projects support community resilience?

It’s no good restoring a forest if the surrounding communities still need to use it for firewood or to produce...

Trees and Water: Discovering Nature’s Dynamic Duo in Ethiopia

On World Water Day, we celebrate the importance of preserving our planet's most valuable resource. ...

How can we make the Great Green Wall a reality?

How do we bring the desert to life again?...

Thanks to you, amazing things happened this year!

Over 9600 hectares were restored during 2022 - that's almost 13.5 million trees....

No-one sits at home during planting season!

We've had some good rains in Desa'a this year, and planting is starting again. ...

First planting in Gewocha!

Here, project manager Adamu is shown kicking off the first planting in the new Gewocha Forest project with a demonstration. ...

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