Ethiopia: CDM reforestation project

Humbo community-managed forestry project

Setting the scene

Ethiopia is one of the poorest nations in the world with a per capita GDP of just US$177 per annum. Its agricultural sector, which supports over 90 percent of the population, has been crippled by environmental degradation. The overexploitation of forest resources has left less than three percent of Ethiopia’s native forests remaining. Severe erosion reduces the capacity of the land to absorb water, and has resulted in increasingly severe cycles of drought and flood.

Project location

The project is located in the Humbo Region, which is 342 kilometres south of the Ethiopian Capital, Addis Ababa.

Prior to the project, Humbo’s mountainous terrain was highly degraded and chronically drought prone. Poverty, hunger and increasing demand for agricultural land had driven local communities to overexploit forest resources. This deforestation threatened groundwater reserves and had led to severe soil erosion in the region. Heavy rain events regularly caused flooding of lowland areas and mudslides were not uncommon – causing the death of people and livestock, and damage to crops, roads, bridges and other infrastructure.


Project overview

The project sought to re-establish 2,728 hectares of bio-diverse native forest, to mitigate climate change, and support income and employment generation through community-managed natural regeneration. Additional income flow through the sale of the resulting carbon emission reduction units, and other forest and non-forest benefits, would contribute to sustainable development and the alleviation of poverty in the region.

The Humbo project is Africa’s first large-scale carbon trading forestry project developed under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The CDM allows for reforestation projects to earn carbon credits (Certified Emission Reductions – CERs) for each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent “sequestered” or absorbed by the forest.

Key benefits of the project include:

    • climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration
      reducing regional poverty by providing:
      a) increased production of wood and tree products, including honey, medicine, fibre, fruit and wildlife that contribute to household economies
      b) improved land management to stimulate grass growth, providing fodder for livestock or to be cut and sold as an additional source of income;
    • using Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration methodology to regrow vegetation from existing stumps and root stock. This process provides faster, more sustainable growth at a fraction of the cost of replanting trees from nursery stock;
    • restoration of 2,728 hectares of degraded native forests with indigenous, bio-diverse species;
    • supplementary planting, where necessary, of seedlings within the natural forest. During the project 450,000 seedlings were raised each year in newly established tree nurseries;
    • improved water infiltration, resulting in the recharging of ground water and a reduction in flash flooding;
    • reduced erosion and increased soil fertility in the region;
    • 7 village-level cooperatives established to manage and protect
      forest regrowth;
    • 48,893 people have obtained forest user rights and benefits of
      the forest;
    • improved environmental and social resilience to the impacts
      of climate change.

Over the 30-year crediting period, it is estimated that over 870,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent will be removed from the atmosphere, making a significant contribution to mitigating climate change.


Project location: Humbo Region Ethiopia

Project area: 2,728 hectares

Target population: 48,893

Project partners:

  • Seven village cooperatives
  • Ethiopian Government
  • Ethiopian Environment Protection Agency
  • World Bank
  • World Vision Australia
  • World Vision Ethiopia

Climate change mitigation:

  • Reforestation
  • Carbon sequestration/trading

Climate change adaptation:

  • Flood prevention/control
  • Soil erosion control
  • Protecting water resources
  • Natural resources management
  • Food security


  • obtained validation to the Clean Development Mechanism and the Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard (2011)
  • obtained verification through the Clean Development Mechanism (2012) and was issued 73,339 tCERs