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AAU researchers design plan to conserve the last green space of the Dabena-Didessa catchment

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The College of Natural and Computational Sciences of the Addis Ababa University organized a two day workshop on biodiversity conservation of the last green space of the Upper Didessa Valley on June 8 and 9, 2017 at Ghion Hotel.

The workshop focused on the challenges and opportunities that accompany efforts to save the last green space of the Dabena-Didessa River Valleys.

Themed Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Jorgo Wato Forest and the Debena-Didessa River Valley of Western Oromia Regional State, the workshop aimed to bring stakeholders together to hold talks on the creation of a platform for the conservation of the Debena –Didessa valley.

The workshop was organized following the findings of a thematic research group of seven scholars, AAU staff and Ph.D. students, undertaken during the last two years.

The research group identified fast population growth, poor management, commercial framing, exotic plantation and resettlement as the major factors fueling deforestation in the specified area.

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Presenting his research paper entitled ‘conservation and sustainable utilization of the Upper Blue Nile Valley, the Dabena-Didessa Catchment, Western Oromia,’ principal investigator, Habte Jebessa (Ph.D.) noted that the Didessa River has been encroached on all sides of its bank. He pointed out that the river is dying due to degradation of the Debena-Didessa valley which contributes 27% of the Blue Nile waters, bearing negative implications on the Grand Renaissance Dam.

Wild life poaching and habitat degradation are other problems he raised that need intervention. “The thematic research group has proposed a wildlife habitat for protection area with clear boundary and map as a preliminary solution to save nature and the fast deforestation of this area,” said the principal investigator.

On behalf of the thematic research group, Prof. Tassew Woldehanna, Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer of the AAU handed over map of a national park to be established in the area to Yusuf Hassen (Ph.D.), Head of Oromia Forest and Environment Authority, representing Lemma Megeresa, President of Oromia Regional State for possible establishment of national park in the near future. The proposed park area falls in extensive 13 Woredas and amounts to 3207.74 km2.

The workshop featured five paper presentations on aspects of conservation of the Debena-Didessa Valley followed by a panel discussion. In attendance were the university community, government officials and members of the local administration in the catchment area.

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