The Lake Tana biosphere reserve (Ethiopia)

The Lake Tana biosphere reserve (Ethiopia) is situated in the north-western part of Ethiopia and comprises Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia.  The site covers a total area of 695,885 hectares and is a hotspot of biodiversity. Internationally known as an Important Bird Area, it is also of global importance for agricultural genetic diversity. The main economic activities are agriculture, fishing, national and international tourism and sand mining. The area has a unique cultural, historical, geological and aesthetic value with numerous monasteries and churches dating back to the 13th century. Church forests around Lake Tana host an outstanding diversity of tree and shrub species and medicinal plants and play an important role in the conservation of biodiversity. For indigenous communities, the biosphere reserve would aim to rekindle an appreciation of their traditional cultures, knowledge and skills of living sustainably in harmony with the environment.