In the rugged landscape of Ethiopia, which has only 10 percent of forested land, regular people’s lives are inextricably linked to the future of the forests.

By Maheder Haileselassie Tadese (Mongabay) |

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia―Like many countries, there is money in Ethiopia’s forestry sector – both regulated and unregulated. The most recent official figures from Global Forest Watch show that the country’s forestry sector contributed $893.7 million to the economy in 2011, or about 3.2 percent of the GDP. But beyond the numbers are stories of people whose lives are connected to, supported and touched by, and dependent upon the forests of Ethiopia. They include men and women, young and old, skilled and unskilled, rich and poor.

Here are a just few of these stories, as reported by Maheder Haileselassie Tadese for Mongabay in Ethiopia.

Amone Ayesa: wood collector

Every day at 4 am in Addis Ababa, a considerable number of women leave their houses to collect fuel wood in the forests of Entoto Mountain. Amone Ayesa, mother of four, is no different.

A calm, middle-aged woman of few words, Ayesa was born to farming parents in Gamo Gofa, Ethiopia. She says that her family had no money, only food. It was this reality that prompted her to leave her village 20 years ago and come to the country’s capital city Addis Ababa in search of a better future.

But things haven’t changed much since then, she says.

Continue reading this story on Mongabay
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