Unravelling cross-scale and cross-level challenges in Ethiopian forest and landscape restoration governance

Daniel Wiegant*, Gete Zeleke Eshetu, Amare Mekonnen Muluken, Pieter van Oel, Art Dewulf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Ethiopia’s federal government has committed to one of the most ambitious forest and landscape restoration targets as part of the Bonn Challenge. To achieve the targets, actors at multiple governance levels aim to influence relevant ecological processes, drawing particular attention to the governance processes that are used to translate national restoration targets into local action. We take a multilevel governance approach and focus on the cross-scale and cross-level challenges that arise in Ethiopia’s forest and landscape restoration (FLR) governance context. To this end, we analyze public and non-state actor-led efforts related to participatory forest management and area enclosure in the Kafa Biosphere and Mount Guna landscapes. From 56 semi-structured interviews, 14 focus group discussions, and a policy and project document review, we identified five cross-scale and cross-level challenges: (1) short-term tree planting campaigns and quota mismatch with restoration timelines; (2) planning horizons of restoration-related international development projects mismatch with restoration timelines; (3) federal and international budget allocation for alternative livelihoods mismatches with sustained local restoration processes; (4) federal forest and land policies mismatch with the secure land tenure conditions needed to sustain local restoration efforts; and (5) misalignment of the forest and landscape restoration portfolio exists in the cascading government structure. The need to achieve and sustain national FLR targets requires increased focus on how existing and future restoration-related governance arrangements create fit with the temporal and spatial dimensions of forest and landscape restoration processes, and on how governance arrangements create alignment between governance levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number30
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022


  • area enclosure
  • Ethiopia
  • participatory forest management
  • policy
  • scale challenges


Dive into the research topics of 'Unravelling cross-scale and cross-level challenges in Ethiopian forest and landscape restoration governance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this