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.

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