Livelihood Impacts of Environmental Conservation Programmes in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia

Joseph Kweku Assan, Fikirte Regassa Beyene


In an era where climate change and environmental variability is having an overwhelming impact on the livelihoods and well-being of poor rural households, ecological conservation and development interventions that ensure sustainable livelihood security of such households have been posited as the most effective approach in addressing both environmental degradations and household well-being in the rural communities of Ethiopia. This study investigated the impact of the ‘Tree Gudifecha’ ecological conservation project on the livelihoods and well-being of rural households located in two villages in the Amhara regional states of Ethiopia. The data collection and analysis was done using mixed approaches involving household surveys, interviews and focus groups meetings over a period of twelve weeks. The findings show an increase in both household income and savings after the implementation of the ‘Tree Gudifecha’ ecological conservation project with disparities between households and communities. A moderate association was observed between livelihood diversifications and household income after the ‘Tree Gudifecha’ ecological conservation project has been implemented. The study also revealed that the extent and amount of the share that each diversification activity brings to the household income is equally important for participation in conservation programmes. The research revealed that skill enhancement interventions in livelihood activities by itself does not necessarily make a contribution to increasing community participation or household income unless a comprehensive livelihood package and adequate credit scheme is made available for potential diversification activities. The results suggest the need to incorporate indigenous livelihood security programmes at both development practice and policy levels aimed at addressing environmental/ecological degradation in rural Ethiopia. Such programmes should involve a composite framework that includes the profitability of diversification activities, identification of new livelihood activities and capacity enhancement.

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Journal of Sustainable Development   ISSN 1913-9063 (Print)   ISSN 1913-9071 (Online) Email:

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