Ethiopia: Group Works to Protect Biodiversity

by Apr 10, 2012Wildlife News

Bale Mountains National Park in southeastern Ethiopia has an astounding variety of animals, plants and ecosystems. An Ethiopian NGO is working to preserve it.

Bale Mountains National Park in southeastern Ethiopia is remarkable for its biodiversity, including species such as the Ethiopian wolf.

The area encompasses representative ecosystems, including grasslands, alpine climate and cloud forest. Although the area has long been valued and protected by Ethiopians, the Bale Mountains have been under pressure recently from agriculture, overgrazing and expansion of villages, making conservation efforts crucial.

Movement for Ecological Learning and Community Action (MELCA) is a nongovernmental organization comprising foresters, lawyers, ecologists, sociologists and environmentalists. “MELCA” means “ford” in two of Ethiopia’s most widely spoken languages; the nonprofit group means to suggest a symbolic river crossing point that brings people toward greater ecological knowledge.

In the last eight years in Bale Mountains National Park, MELCA has taught children about the environment, worked on soil and water conservation, and supported a participatory mapping effort, which uses inhabitants’ indigenous knowledge of the landscape to solve social and economic problems.