Environmental Conservation under Indigenous Knowledge Perspectives: The Case of Abbo-Wonsho Indigenous Forest: Sidama Regional State in Focus


  • Mulu Geta


Abbo-Wonsho; Environmental Conservation; Indigenous Knowledge; Sacred forest; Sidama Regional State; Traditional beliefs


The concept of sacred forest has long been interlinked with nature. Various cultural aspects such as religion, faith, and traditional belief bring people closer to nature and the natural environment. In this regard, the Abbo-Wonsho Sacred Forest (AWSF) in Sidama Regional State was investigated. Sacred plants are protected communally with religious enthusiasm and connotations. These forest areas have been protected since 831 -2021 (almost for1190 years) by indigenous communities using socio-cultural and religious practices. Trees in the Sacred are prohibited from axed except when wood is needed for the religious purposes. The purpose of this study, thus, was to explore the relevance of indigenous beliefs, cultural practices and traditional rules (Seera) in promoting environmental conservation. The study further addressed the cultural interconnection between plants and people. With regard to methodology, the study employed broadly a qualitative approach with an anthropological/ keeping human harmony and cultural and social diversity in a balanced design. To collect the required data, the researchers used key informant interviews, FGD, participant observation and descriptive ecological inventory. A total of 10 individuals were interviewed. Fifteen FGD members, a group of elders, adult and young aged dwellers, 50 years and above, 35-50, and 25-35 respectively who are currently living in Abbo-Wonsho and around were involved. They exchanged ideas, information, points of view and experiences with the researchers. Most of the discussions were conducted in Sidama language, called ‘Sidamu Afoo’. Thematic analysis was carried out for qualitative information using NVivo 10. Findings related to the community connection to the forest demonstrate that indigenous knowledge and forest conservation was seen as one entity. Customary elders use a variety of practices and strategies to share indigenous ecological knowledge with community members. Some of the strategies include age group meetings, spiritual worships and traditional celebrations. Traditional law enforcement and land use plans were also mentioned as important means of protecting the forest. Findings related to the institutional management of the forest further revealed several local and indigenous institutions that support community efforts in forest management.




How to Cite

Mulu Geta. (2022). Environmental Conservation under Indigenous Knowledge Perspectives: The Case of Abbo-Wonsho Indigenous Forest: Sidama Regional State in Focus. ETHIOINQUIRY Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 1(2), 25-58. Retrieved from https://journals.hu.edu.et/hu-journals/index.php/erjssh/article/view/603