The wildlife sanctuary in the Dhera Block of Arsi Mountains National Park in the Oromia region, Ethiopia, hosts a variety of acacia-dominant vegetation cover and is the habitat for over 25 wild mammals dominated by greater kudu, lesser kudu, spotted hyena and warthogs. The park is also home to more than 189 bird species including helmeted guinea fowl, little bee eater, black wood hoopoe, grey wood pecker, grey headed sparrow and more. Beyond its multiple ecological benefits in the current context of climate change, the park has high tourism potential.
Regardless of these golden opportunities, both the biodiversity and wildlife in the park encounter multiple challenges, from environmental degradation aggravated by climate change, to population pressure, poverty and a lack of alternative energy sources for the local communities. This creates a severe strain and pressure on the vegetation cover of the park and a loss of habitat for wildlife.
IN THE PHOTO: BIODIVERSITY AT THE WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, ARSI MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK PHOTO CREDIT: ASDA
The Association for Sustainable Development Alternatives (ASDA) became operational in 2006 to address these issues. It also aims to assist vulnerable communities in and around the wildlife sanctuary and to build community resilience through the promotion of integrated rural development. The partnership has resulted in increased production, enhanced coordination and interagency collaboration for synergy development, public-private partnership and climate change adaptation practices.
To promote community-based rehabilitation, the conservation of biodiversity, tourism development and environmentally friendly alternative livelihoods, ASDA has been implementing diverse response measures in the following major intervention components.
Although Dodota, Oromia, suffers from food insecurity, massive deforestation and attendant land degradation, it also has good agricultural potential particularly in areas where irrigated agriculture is possible. Accordingly, ASDA promoted vegetable production, agroforestry, small ruminant rearing (of sheep and goats) and poultry keeping to provide alternative livelihoods rather than fuel wood and charcoal selling.
IN THE PHOTO: WOMEN IN AGROFORESTRY PHOTO CREDIT: ASDA
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNITY MOBILIZATION FOR NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
ASDA has organised a series of community based biodiversity and wildlife conservation sensitization workshops and stakeholders’ consultation forums and training. A woreda-level (district) advisory committee and kebele-level (ward) technical working groups were established. Furthermore, we established community user groups who protect the park and benefit from its resources through a cut and carry system rather than unrestricted open overgrazing
Experience sharing visits to Semien Mountains and Bale National Parks were organized to draw lessons on good practices in community based biodiversity conservation and ecotourism development.
Read the full story by Takele Teshome, Executive Director, Association for Sustainable Development Alternatives (ASDA), a Partner in GFAR, on Impakter.com HERE.
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FEATURED PHOTO CREDIT: VINCENT VAN ZALINGE