BMMF: Conservation & resilience building

Image: The forest provides materials for housing.



Project Title: Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Enhance Pastoralist Resilience by conserving Buska Massif Mountain Forest

The purpose of the BMMF project is to conserve the fragile environment of the Buska Mountain Massif Forest in the Hamar woreda,1 while supporting the livelihoods of the communities that depend on its resources.



The direct beneficiaries of the BMMF project are 3,745 people living in the 8 Hamar kebeles of Bonkola Lagi, Cherkeka, Gedback, Kufur, Lala/Buska, Shanko Wolfo, Wonga Bayno, and Zergerma.



Climate change and encroaching agri-business have made grazing grounds for the Hamar scarce. These same forces have increased the dependence on food aid and the conflict between tribes. Nearly all of the tribal people are illiterate and more than half live on less than $10 per month earned from small-scale farming and goat herding. They face the persistent challenges of drought, diseases, and crop pests. The region needs an ecosystem approach to conserve the biodiversity of the Buska Massif Mountain Forest while leveraging its bounty to benefit the indigenous communities.



A main objectives of the BMMF project are to uncover the indigenous environmental stewardship system of Hamar community that has historically served to protect the forest and to guard against potential deforestation caused by ongoing environmental and economic forces.

The project was laid out in three phases. The first phase was to raise the awareness of and collect recommendations from key stakeholders, including local and regional government offices and local community members, through a series of workshops, focus groups, and household surveys. The first phase was completed in the spring of 2014. The purpose of the second phase, now in progress, is to pilot the recommendations from phase 1 and lay the groundwork for replicating and scaling the project in the future. A third phase is in planning.



The completed first phase of the project has led to a deeper understanding of the needs of the community including:

  • Blending traditional and modern understanding to conserve and manage the natural resources
  • Identifying the type of local medicinal plants and wild animals found in the area
  • Identifying and registering natural medicine practitioners
  • Establishing community-based natural forest management committees in each kebele
  • Reaching community consensus on punishment for deforestation

Expected outcomes for phase 2 include:

  • Creating an eco-friendly tourism experience adapted to the social, cultural, and environmental constraints of the community
  • Enriching the fragile environment by planting 25,000 morenga trees
  • Establish 7 community forest committees to bridge the gaps between traditional methods and modern scientific methods of forest management
  • Collaborating with agricultural colleges for forest management


% of participants who believe the forest is beneficial to the community   95%
% who think the area should be maintained as a conservation area   75%
% who own land   26%



  1. a group of 20-40 kebeles, the smallest government unit


  • Implementing Partner: Horn of Africa Regional Environmental Centre & Network (HoA-RECN); funded by Royal Kingdom of Netherlands
  • Timeline: Oct 2013 – Dec 2015