Celebrities join forces with Tree Aid to save Metema forest from extinction

19 Apr 2021

Chris Packham, Joanna Lumley, and Zoë Wanamaker are some of the celebrities backing an appeal that was launched on 12th April by UK-based tree-growing charity, Tree Aid, to save Metema Forest in Ethiopia.

Metema forest is made up of Boswelia trees, which produce frankincense – a precious tree resin that is used in essential oils around the world.

Without urgent action, the Metema forest could be extinct in 20 years, gripped by the devastating effects of the climate crisis. Tree Aid is calling for support from the public to bring the forest back from the brink of extinction, stopping it from being engulfed by the creeping desert.

The Future Forest Appeal aims to raise £352,875 to save one of the last green belt areas before the desert, tackling the climate crisis with a solution based on nature. The funds will enable Tree Aid to provide communities in Metema with 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%.

Donations from the public will be matched by the UK government until 11th July, doubling the fundraising total.

The Appeal is also part of the Great Green Wall movement which 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 region.

Joanna Lumley, Tree Aid’s patron, said: “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, 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 Alebe, one of the people that will be part of the Future Forest project, said: “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 a desert and it might not be able to support human life soon. Giving us these new skills will change our lives and the environment.”

In April, Ambassador Teferi met with the CEO of Tree Aid, Mr. Tom Skirrow. Discussions between the two focused on Climate Change, Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy, and the Green Legacy Initiative, all of which align with Tree Aid’s mission of fighting poverty and the effects of the climate crisis.

Ambassador Teferi highlighted Ethiopia’s bold leadership in climate action: As part of the flagship Green Legacy Initiative, for example, Ethiopia will plant 20 billion trees in 4 years (6 billion in 2021) to curb the effects of climate change and deforestation.

Appreciating Tree Aid’s efforts so far, the Ambassador called upon them to scale up its support to the region and vowed to work with them going forward to enhance their projects in Ethiopia.

For more information about Tree Aid’s Future Forest Appeal, visit http://treeaid.org/futureforest.

Latest News

Browse all
A collection of Ethiopian artefacts that were looted by British soldiers during the Battle of Maqdala in 1868 are set to be returned to Ethiopia following a poignant handover ceremony at the prestigious Athenaeum Club in London on 8th September 2021. The objects were procured by the Scheherazade Foundation through auctions and private dealers.
9 Sep 2021
Artefacts looted in Maqdala in 1868 to be returned to Ethiopia
Speech by H.E. Ambassador Teferi Melesse Desta at the Ethiopian Investment Forum, held on 2 September 2020.
2 Sep 2021
Speech by H.E. Ambassador Teferi Melesse Desta at the Ethiopian Investment Forum
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Northern Ethiopia (Afar, Amhara, and Tigray Regions) - 26 August 2021, Addis Ababa 
26 Aug 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 26 August 2021
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Tigray and Northern Ethiopia - 20 August 2021
20 Aug 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 20 August 2021
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Tigray 12 August 2021
12 Aug 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 12 August 2021
Reaffirming our commitment to the protection of refugees, we request the UN Human Rights Commission to correct the biased and partial opinions of its rapporteur. We also call the Commission and other international humanitarian organizations to help our efforts of rescuing the refugees from the imminent danger they are in and assist our efforts of investigating the issue.
7 Aug 2021
A Response to the Statement by the UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Regarding the Situation of Eritrean Refugees in Ethiopia
The Government will take all the necessary measures to ensure that these sacred places and other institutions are well protected and call on the international community to condemn this heinous act of the TPLF.
6 Aug 2021
Press Statement on Protection of Cultural Sites
The Government of Ethiopia has been committed to the Unilateral Humanitarian Ceasefire that it has declared on 28 June 2021 in a bid to give respite to the people of Tigray and make use of the farming season. Regrettably, the TPLF has failed to reciprocate.
6 Aug 2021
Statement on preoccupying issues in Ethiopia and the way forward
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Tigray.
5 Aug 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 5 August 2021
Full statement submitted to ITV News in response to their report "Tigray conflict: Food will run out for thousands in Ethiopia without aid relief, UN warns" (30 July 2021)
30 Jul 2021
Statement to ITV News on the Government’s Response to the Humanitarian Situation in Tigray
Press Briefing by Billene Seyoum, Press Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, on key highlights of the week and recent developments in Tigray.
28 Jul 2021
Transcript | Prime Minister’s Office Press Briefing – 28 July 2021
The Government of Ethiopia has been working tirelessly in collaboration with development partners to ensure continued supplies of food and medicine to those that are in desperate need of it. It will continue to work with its humanitarian partners to prevent breaks in humanitarian operations and for assistance to reach all affected communities.
22 Jul 2021
Tigray Region Humanitarian Assistance Update