Once on the brink of resettlement due to desertification, soil degradation and lack of water, the Abrha Weatsbha community in northern Ethiopia has reclaimed its land through the reforestation and sustainable management of over 224,000 hectares of forest. Tree planting activities have resulted in improved soil quality, higher crop yields, greater biomass production, groundwater functioning, and flood prevention. The organization has constructed small dams, created water catchment ponds, and built trenches and bunds to restore groundwater functioning. More than 180 wells have been built to provide access to potable water.
Environmental recovery and rejuvenation has led to improvements in local livelihoods, crop irrigation, fruit tree propagation and expansion into supplementary activities such as apiculture. Modern beehive management is promoted, resulting in a 300 percent increase in honey production over a three year period. Local incomes from vegetable and spice cultivation have also tripled in recent years. Farmers have been supported to integrate high-value fruit trees – apple, avocado, citron, mango, orange and coffee – into their farms, which has improved incomes, food security and nutrition.