Researchers and Locals Work Together to Save Ethiopia's 'Church Forests'

Presenting a workshop on ecosystem services to a roomful of priests in Ethiopia may seem like an unlikely scenario for a conservation biologist to end up in, but for Meg Lowman, it’s an essential part of spreading her passion for bottom-up conservation. “Canopy Meg,” as she’s fondly referred to by her colleagues, believes in the power of local communities to be part of the solution, often in ways that are more effective than researchers can make alone.

Lowman has high hopes for the church forests of Ethiopia. She and her team helped conserve 10 of the 28 forests used in their study by building fences, and they are optimistic about finishing the rest with the continued help of local communities.” She believes this approach could be used to preserve other threatened places around the world. “By engaging the locals and listening to their needs, we can make a big difference that may have been more effective than tackling this conservation issue with big government-down.”

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Monga Bay

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