The local people depend on the frtile soils ans abundant harvests of the Lake Tana region - Photo: Bruno D'Amicis
The people of Lake Tana
Interdependence of culture, nature and people's livelihoods
Religion plays an important part in the life of the people around Lake Tana – some churches date back to the 14th century (Bruno D’Amicis)
Ethiopian families are large – the average family has 4 or more children (Bruno D’Amicis)
The majority of people in the region are farmers. The local cereal ‘teff’ is the main staple - Photo: Bruno D’Amicis
Teff is used to prepare Injera – a very typical Ethiopian flatbread - Photo: Bruno D’Amicis
The Lake Tana region is highly productive due to its rich soil and has been cultivated and fished for thousands of years. Agriculture is the main source of income for 80% of the population, mostly subsistence smallholder farming with crops and livestock. A wide variety of crops are cultivated including sorghum, millet, rice and maize. Coffee is also an important source of income for the local population. Other sectors include tourism, fishing, livestock breeding and small businesses for manufacturing and marketing of products.
The area plays an important role in their local communities' culture and religion. The lake and its islands are home to Ethiopian Orthodox churches and monasteries dating back to the 13th century. These monasteries have a unique architectural style and have guarded their magnificent cultural treasures, art and paintings over many centuries. These churches and monasteries are surrounded by patches of natural forest that play a major role in religious practices and are holy places important for spirituality as well as providing a sanctuary for many rare and endemic plant species.
|Population facts on the communities living in the future biosphere reserve|
|Number of inhabitants||2-3 million|
|Ethnic groups||There are many ethnic groups found in the future biosphere reserve including the Amhara, Tigrayan, Oromo, Agew, Weyto and Qemant|
|Religions||The majority of the inhabitants practice Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity. There are also Muslims and Protestants in the area.|
Lake Tana and its surrounding wetlands are of immense ecological value and provide the means of existence for millions of people, however increasing human activity is causing the destruction of this unique area. Ecosystems are being degraded through the high pressure on natural resources. mehr →