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The war in Tigray is undermining its environmental recovery

Gondar, Ethiopia

Key findings

  • We identified hotspots of woody vegetation loss across Tigray. These declines are most likely linked to conflict-driven collapse in the availability of fuel for heating and cooking.
  • The long-term recovery of vegetation across Tigray appears to have slowed down, although it has not yet reversed.
  • The restoration success of the last three decades has likely provided a buffer against the impacts of woody vegetation loss. However, ongoing deforestation is potentially eroding the efficacy of nature-based solutions in supporting food security across Tigray.
  • After the end of the conflict, long-term recovery of human well-being and livelihoods will require restoring and protecting the environment in Tigray.


1. Introduction

  • 1.1 The war between Tigray and Ethiopia: A complex conflict and humanitarian crisis
  • 1.2 How the environment, conflict and food security are connected in Tigray

2. Measuring the loss of woody vegetation from space

3. Results

  • 3.1 Loss of woody vegetation in 2021
  • 3.2 Significance of 2021’s woody vegetation decline
  • 3.3 Drivers of loss of woody vegetation cover or productivity in 2021
  • 3.4 Gains in woody vegetation cover or productivity

4. Implications of conflict-driven environmental degradation in Tigray for long-term recovery

5. Outlook

Appendix: Detailed methodology

  • A1. Mapping areas with trees and other woody vegetation before the war
  • A2. Mapping areas where vegetation cover or condition has changed

Read the full report.


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