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Celebrities back our appeal to save a forest from extinction

12th April 2021

Chris Packham, Joanna Lumley and Zoë Wanamaker are some of the high profile people backing our Future Forest appeal to save a special forest in Ethiopia.

Without urgent action, the Metema forest in Ethiopia could be extinct in 20 years, gripped by the devastating effects of the climate crisis. Our appeal, launched on Monday 12th April, aims to raise funds to bring it back from the brink of extinction.

UK government doubles donations

With help from our generous supporters, the Future Forest appeal aims save one of the last green belt areas before the desert, stopping it being engulfed by creeping desert.

We are excited to share the news that donations from the public will be matched by the UK government until 11th July through the UK Aid Match scheme, doubling the fundraising total.


TV presenter and conservationist, Chris Packham, one of our Future Forest appeal supporters, explains its importance: “People in the Sahel are living with the devastating effects of our global climate crisis. Temperatures are rising, land is becoming infertile and the desert is spreading south, like a wave in slow-motion.”

Restoring nearly 10,000 hectares of forest

The matched funds from the UK government will enable Tree Aid to work with communities in Metema, Ethiopia. We will provide tools and training to restore nearly 10,000 hectares of degraded forest, protect the frankincense trees and create a more sustainable income from them - increasing incomes by 25%.

The Metema forest is extra special as it is made up of Boswelia trees, which produce frankincense – a precious tree resin that is used in essential oils around the world. Find out more about the new project.

Birtukan lives in the Metema region of Ethiopia where the Future Forest project will help grow the Great Green Wall

Together, we can grow the Great Green Wall

Our Future Forest appeal will contribute to the Great Green Wall movement. This African-led movement aims to restore and re-green 8,000kms across the entire width of Africa – stopping the advancing Sahara desert, which has spread 100km south since 1950 - and securing a sustainable future for the millions of people living in poverty in the Sahel.

“The Great Green Wall is one of the most inspiring restoration movements of our time,” Chris Packham explains, “and Tree Aid is making a long-lasting contribution. I urge people to support the Future Forest appeal to back this inspiring African solution to the climate crisis.”

Securing a more sustainable future

Our patron, actor and TV presenter Joanna Lumley, shares her support: “I have been supporting Tree Aid for almost 30 years because it provides such an effective, practical solution to tackling poverty and the climate crisis. I urge people to please give what they can to the Future Forest appeal, knowing their gift will be doubled by the government.

“Together, we can fight the effects of the climate crisis to secure a greener, more sustainable future for millions of people.”

The Future Forest appeal comes at an important time, when the UK is set to host the world’s biggest climate change conference, COP26, on home soil in Glasgow this November. 2021 also marks the launch of the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration, calling for urgent, global action to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide.

Derese is one of the people who will be part of the Future Forest project in Ethiopia

Derese Alebe, one of the people that will be part of our Future Forest project, told us:

“The forest area has reduced by half in our region. The impacts of climate change can be seen in increased wind and rains. I sometimes think that this area will be turned into desert and it might not be able to support human life in the near future. Giving us these new skills will change our lives and the environment.”

Donate to our Future Forest appeal before 11th July 2021 and your donation will be matched by the UK government, meaning you can have double the impact. What's more, you can join our community of supporters by adding a personalised tree to our virtual forest