The Political Economy of Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Ethiopia: Review Article

Gadisa Chimdesa


This paper is aimed to review the political economy of deforestation and forest degradation in Ethiopia. Deforestation and forest degradation is a serious problem of the country and it results several socioeconomic and biophysical problems. It affects the capacity of forests to provide ecosystem services; it causes the disappearance of species, declines in carbon stock, shortage of fuel wood, soil erosion and subsequently it has affected agricultural productivity and food security in the country. There are multiple interacting factors of deforestation and forest degradation. They can be direct or indirect causes. The major direct causes are: agricultural expansion, illegal extraction and collection of forest products, investment and resettlement programs and forest fire. The major indirect causes are: population growth, poverty, unstable and inefficient tenure security, limited institutional setup and capacity. The problems are highly associated with the previous and the current political economy of the country. It has been experienced three distinctive socio-political-economic systems. Such as: the Feudal/Imperial regime (pre-1974), the Socialist/Dergue regime (1974-1991) and the Federal government (since 1991). Even if they have their own unique political and economic ideologies, they have failed in implementation because; they have paid less attention to the local or majority people. In addition, the changes from one regime to the other were destructive to the previous system. For instance, land tenure system was changed from absolute private property rights to the communal. In combination, these political-economic approaches have adversely impacts on natural resources, especially the forest resources of the country. To insure sustainable natural resources management and utilization in the country: it must be understand both the biophysical and socio-economic characteristics of the area, any interventions should be in an integrated, flexible, multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approaches, both scientific and indigenous knowledge should be equally paid attention, strengthening awareness creation, capacity building, real community participation and equitable benefit sharing is also required attention. Finally, any developmental activities should be evaluated in terms of an environmental soundness, economically viable and social acceptable.

Keywords: Ethiopia, Deforestation, Forest Degradation and Political-Economy 

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