The Provision of Adequate Tree Seed Portfolio in Ethiopia (PATSPO) project is financed for four years by the Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) through the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia (RNE). The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) is responsible for the implementation of the project, in coordination with the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission in Ethiopia, Ethiopian Environment and Forest Research Institute, and NICFI and RNE.
Ethiopia has embarked on one of the globally most ambitious programmes on forest landscape restoration with a commitment to restore more than 20 million hectares of degraded forest landscapes within the next 20 years (to 2035). Even before this pledge was made, the country’s programme for afforestation and reforestation was embedded in the Climate-Resilient Green Economy Strategy.
Deforestation and land degradation in Ethiopia are limiting the capacity of forests and the land to contribute to food- and water security and to provide other benefits such as timber, fuel wood, fodder, and environmental services. The country is experiencing rapid deforestation and degradation of land resources. The growing population has led to extensive forest clearing for agricultural use, overgrazing and overexploitation of forests for fuel wood, fodder, and construction material.
Tree-based restoration requires the use of many tree species at the same time. Where restoration is based on natural regeneration, it would thus require the presence of healthy and diverse seed sources and/or soil seed banks. When planting trees is necessary, whether for replenishment or enrichment, a supply of genetically diverse, healthy and productive tree species is generally not easily available. Traditional supply programmes focus on relatively few species, most of them of unknown genetic quality, often accompanied by insufficient knowledge of adaptation to site conditions and adaptability to climate change.
Ethiopia’s Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission has, therefore, prioritized the establishment of a functional tree seed system linked to seed users, application of quality standards and monitoring of seed collection, seed-source mapping and development, guidelines for use, strengthening of the seed research system (including staff training and education), and the development and maintenance of appropriate facilities. PATSPO will support these efforts to enhance the productivity and resilience of forest landscape restoration in Ethiopia.
PATSPO will support the Government of Ethiopia in promoting and strengthening existing tree-seed organizations and support the establishment of additional private and government seed dealers. These organizations will receive up-to-date information related to all aspects of seed procurement for major tree seed producers/users. PATSPO will also establish a network to enhance collaboration amongst institutions engaged in research and development of tree-seed technology, tree improvement and conservation of genetic resources.
PATSPO is a multi-species programme designed to provide:
- organizational establishment of the tree-seed sector, including stakeholder identification and roles and responsibilities, based on sector analysis;
- species-specific knowledge for priority tree species;
- a critical mass of tree genetic resources for the future, comprising exploration, mobilization, conservation, establishment, management and improvement; and
- capacity to monitor and deliver quality seeds and seedlings of the many species required for large-scale restoration.
The project will ensure that forest-restoration and tree-planting initiatives have access to high-quality seeds of the most important tree species. PATSPO is designed to support the national forest and landscape restoration programme, part of Ethiopia’s green growth strategy.