Emergence Magazine

The Church Forests of Ethiopia

by Jeremy Seifert

Over the past century, farming and the needs of a growing population have replaced nearly all of Ethiopia’s old-growth forests with agricultural fields. This film tells the story of the country’s church forests—pockets of lush biodiversity, protected by hundreds of churches, that are scattered like emerald pearls across a brown sea of farm fields.


Jeremy Seifert is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His feature films include The Devil We Know, GMO OMG, and DIVE! Living Off America’s Waste. His films for Emergence Magazine include The Church Forests of Ethiopia and On the Road with Thomas Merton.


Directed by Jeremy Seifert
Produced by Jeremy Seifert & Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee
Cinematography by Jeremy Seifert
Edited by Adam Loften
Music by Matthew Atticus Berger
Sound recording by Jeremy Seifert
Sound design by Adam Loften

The Church Forests of Ethiopia
Related Feature

The Church Forests of Ethiopia

Essay by Fred Bahnson, Film by Jeremy Seifert Open story

Nearly all of Ethiopia’s original trees have disappeared, but small pockets of old-growth forest still surround Ethiopia’s churches, living arks of biodiversity amongst the brown grazing fields. In this film and essay, Jeremy Seifert and Fred Bahnson travel to Ethiopia to gain a deeper understanding of how our fate is tied with the fate of trees.

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