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Monitoring and assessment of environmental resources in the changing landscape of Ethiopia: a focus on forests and water


Monitoring and Assessment (M&A) of environmental resources aims to support the formulation of policies and follow up on outcomes of their implementation. In this study, the state of M&A is explored for Ethiopia with a focus on forests and water resources. The study is intended to serve as recommendations for future M&A applications in Ethiopia, as well as fulfillment of SDGs and other national and international commitments. Expert meetings, key informant interviews, and selected document analysis served as sources of information. The findings were summarized using qualitative grading and institutional mapping. Basic results of the study are that monitoring data on climate and streamflow are standardized in forms that can be communicated to policymakers. Scantier and less standardized are environmental data on soils, sediment transport, forests, biodiversity, and air quality. Water quality, soil moisture, groundwater level, forest biomass, and soil carbon are rarely monitored and can only be found in reports or studies for the fulfillment of academic degree requirements. Resources like nutrient fluxes have rarely been documented, not at all in some cases. There is considerable scope for tapping both technological advances and experiences of citizen science and local participation in environmental governance to rapidly expand and improve monitoring from local to regional and national scales. The study showed that there is a need for establishing a coordinated national system for monitoring and assessing the status of the environment, including the use of natural resources. Communicating such data to the scientific and wider public will support evidence-based planning and policy-making towards national development.

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Data availability

The datasets generated during and/or analyzed for the submitting manuscript on “Monitoring and assessment of environmental resources in the changing landscape of Ethiopia: a focus on forests and water” are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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In this tribute, we share our heartily experiences working with Dr. Tefera Mengistu who has heightened vision to materialize the environmental monitoring system of Ethiopia. He has close working experiences with Ethiopian government officials and international organizations for the benefit of Ethiopia’s environment and forest management. He worked with us not only as a co-author but also initiated a national environmental monitoring research project before resting in peace during the publication process of this article.


This study received financial support from the Swedish funding agency FORMAS, grant number 2018–02341. The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sweden, and the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS) have been highly supportive. The EAS is the host institute for the project as well as the two workshops in Ethiopia. We are indebted to the workshop and interview participants for their interactive and open discussions.

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Correspondence to Solomon Gebreyohannis Gebrehiwot.

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Gebrehiwot, S.G., Bewket, W., Mengistu, T. et al. Monitoring and assessment of environmental resources in the changing landscape of Ethiopia: a focus on forests and water. Environ Monit Assess 193, 624 (2021).

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  • Biodiversity
  • Ethiopian highlands
  • Landscape change
  • Policies
  • Soils