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The Sacred Forests of Church

March 16, 2011 Leave a comment

France 24 has an interesting news report on the role of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church in preserving the biodiversity of the East African country of Ethiopia, “a mostly arid expanse of grassy savannah” whose fertile land has been largely cleared to make way for small holdings.

Interestingly, many of the estimated 35,000 church forests that circle Ethiopia’s Orthodox churches are found in the north of the country, in particular in the area around Lake Tana, where ancient monasteries house the remains of Ethiopian Emperors, and where according to tradition — the Virgin Mary rested on her way back from Egypt.

Lake Tana also supports a viable fishing industry according to the Ethiopian Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, with about 1,500 tonnes of fish landed each year, a figure that is estimated to be only 15% of the sustainable level.

The original report can be found here.

Categories: Africa, Religion