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The Future Forest project

Saving Metema's frankincense forest from the brink of extinction.

The Future Forest project has been made possible thanks to the generosity of you and other supporters. Together we raised an incredible £1,183,066, including £530,756 of match funding from the UK government.

The project

People in northern Ethiopia are living on the frontline of the climate crisis where temperatures are rising and land is becoming infertile. Ethiopia's Metema forest is in the last green belt before the start of the desert. But the climate crisis and deforestation has taken hold, and without action it could be extinct in 20 years.

Thanks to you support and match funding from the UK government, the Future Forest project is now working with communities to protect their forest, tackle the climate crisis and contribute to the Great Green Wall movement across Africa.

Learn about our connected research project in Metema

Why is this project needed?

In northern Ethiopia, temperatures are rising, trees are disappearing, land is becoming infertile and the desert is spreading. The Metema forest in Ethiopia is in the last green belt before the start of the desert. Without action, it will be on the brink of extinction in just 20 years.

The climate crisis, high rates of tree felling and unsustainable tapping for frankincense, is stopping the frankincense forest from regenerating. This will have a devastating impact on communities who rely on the forest for food and income. There will be no buffer between them and the encroaching desert.

  • 0

    households will be supported to increase their income

  • 0

    hectares of degraded forest will be restored

  • 0

    increase in household incomes

Our aims

With tools and training, the local community in Metema can learn ways to harvest frankincense sustainably while protecting their forest and bringing it back from the brink. This means that the communities and the forest can thrive, together.

All of this work will also contribute to the Great Green Wall to stop the encroaching desert and create sustainable incomes for people living in poverty. The Great Green Wall movement will re-green and restore land across Africa, bringing degraded landscapes back to life. 

Why frankincense?

The Metema forest is particularly special because of its frankincense trees which are a lifeline for local communities. In this part of Ethiopia, they provide up to 30% of household income for the families who sell their resin which is used as incense and in essential oils around the world.

While frankincense trees can provide a vital source of income, unsustainable practices used to extract the resin, are putting their future at risk. That's why, through this project we are supporting communities with the tools and training they need to sustainably use frankincense trees and protect them for the future.

Derese looking at a healthy frankincense tree in his community

"You are supporting an activity that will have a generational impact on people and the environment. Degradation will be reduced and our ecosystem will be conserved." Derese, Metema, Ethiopia

Read Derese's story

Progress so far

As of February 2024:

  • 3,083 people have been supported, surpassing our overall target of 2,774
  • 116,000 indigenous tree seedlings that are suitable for the dry environment were raised and planted across the forests
  • 1,211 people took part in sustainable land management practices training. This includes how to use organic fertilisers, how to retain water moisture, how to protect the seedlings that are being grown, how to use agroforestry trees within people’s farming within the context of the dry forest land
  • 3 warehouses were constructed to enable people to store, sort and grade frankincense. This will improve the production of frankincense.

Our partners

This project has been made possible with match funding from the UK government through the UK Aid Match scheme. We will work with our local partner, SUNARMA, to implement this project.