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Gobena, Abate, 2018. Importance of teaching and practices of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in forest biodiversity conservation : implications for national conservation policy. Second cycle, A2E. Alnarp: SLU, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre



In Ethiopia, natural forests and woodlands cover only 12.3 million hectares, of which the remaining closed natural forests are 4.12 million hectares or 3.37%. Between 1990 and 2005, Ethiopia lost over 2 million ha of its forests with an average annual loss of 140,000 ha. amidst of the successive wave of deforestation and depletion, however, unique and valuable natural forest remnants survived in and around churchyards and monasteries of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC).

EOTC is one of the oldest Christian churches with about 50 million followers, of which 450,000 clergy serving in about 40,000 parish Churches and 2,000 monasteries distributed all over Ethiopia. The Church, through its immense contributions, has influenced and shaped what is believed today to be the Ethiopian culture, which can be exhibited from literature, architecture, art, music, environment and medicinal heritages. The sacred grounds of most of these ancient churches and monasteries contain natural forest vegetation rich in biodiversity which constitute important habitats and remained as the last remnant forest patches and biodiversity habitats for many centuries.

The Church, through its theological teaching and traditional practices entrenched on the Sacred Scriptures (kidusat metsaheft) - including the Holy Bible, the Acts and Hagiographies of Saints (gedle kidusan) - contribute for the survival and maintenance of those ancient forest remnants and biodiversity habitats. This research aimed at exploring how the theological reasoning and traditional practices of EOTC helped for the survival of ancient remnants of forest biodiversity in churchyards and monastery compounds as islands of rich and indigenous biodiversity in a sea of deforested landscape. The study will identify EOTC’s teachings and practices related to forest conservation and discern their relevance as a response to the current problem of biodiversity degradation, hence, their significance to the national conservation policy and strategy.

Main title:Importance of teaching and practices of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in forest biodiversity conservation
Subtitle:implications for national conservation policy
Authors:Gobena, Abate
Supervisor:Ezebilo, Eugene Ejike and Brukas, Vilis
Examiner:Agestam, Eric
Series:Examensarbete / SLU, Institutionen för sydsvensk skogsvetenskap
Volume/Sequential designation:290
Year of Publication:2018
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:Other
Supervising department:(S) > Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Keywords:forest conservation, church forests, teaching and practices, conservation policy
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Education
Forestry - General aspects
Nature conservation and land resources
Deposited On:14 Jun 2018 13:16
Metadata Last Modified:26 Feb 2019 12:10

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