Useful Trees and Shrubs for Ethiopia

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Useful trees and shrubs for Ethiopia:
Identification, Propagation and
Management for 17 Agroclimatic Zones

Azene Bekele-Tesemma

Edited by

Bo TengnΓ€s, Ensermu Kelbesa, Sebsibe Demissew and Patrick Maundu

The contents of this handbook may be reproduced without special permission. However, acknowledgement of the source is requested. The photographers and artists concerned must be contacted for reproduction of illustrations. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of World Agroforestry Centre.

National Academic Digital Library of Ethiopia › bitstream PDF
by A Bekele-Tesemma · Cited by 135 — Trees are important features in some parts of the 
Ethiopian landscape. Photo: Azene Bekele-Tesemma. Published by the Regional Soil 
Conservation Unit (RSCU). 486 pages

THE WORLD AGROFORESTRY CENTRE, also known as the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF), contributes to alleviating poverty, improving food security and conserving the environment through the use of trees, tree products and agroforestry. The Centre pursues these goals through research, education and development activities

The contents of this handbook may be reproduced without special permission. However, acknowledgement of the source is requested. The photographers and artists concerned must be contacted for the reproduction of illustrations. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Agroforestry Centre.

This publication was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) as part of the RELMA in ICRAF Project.

Printed by English Press

Publisher: RELMA in ICRAF Project,
World Agroforestry Centre – Eastern Africa Region Programme, P. O. Box 30677-00100, Nairobi Kenya.

Publication coordination and copy editing: George N. Obanyi

Principal illustrators: Nicholas Muema, Ann Birnie and Damtew Tefera

Layout and cover design: Benson Maina Mwangi

Photos: All photos by Azene Bekele-Tesemma except where indicated

Cataloguing in publication data

Bekele-Tesemma, A., 2007. Useful trees of Ethiopia: identification, propagation and management in 17 agroecological zones. Nairobi: RELMA in ICRAF Project, 552 p.

We are happy to reproduce here the content of this book, the first edition of which was published in 1993. This has been possible because the book "may be reproduced without special permission", and that it can be downloaded in pdf form.

Only the introductory part, the species pages and the bibliography have been reproduced. The index of species is provided by the category indicated below. Those wishing to have access to the other pages can download the book in PDF at the World Agroforestry Centre.

The text is reproduced as published, except for obvious typographical errors. Titles of fields with no data have been deleted. The species name appearing in blue links it to the main species page. When the scientific name has changed, a redirect page allows going directly to the page with the currently accepted name.

… Useful trees and shrubs of Ethiopia: Identification, Propagation and …
Type: Documents Added on:05 Jan 2018


Ethiopia's Unique Highland Landscape and Climate

Regarding Ethiopia's unique climate in the seasons, with months of heavy downpours over the country's characteristic rugged landscape topography followed by months of blistering sunshine, difficulties naturally arise for the survival of planted saplings. The long prehistoric Nature's evolutionary optimized stability in sheer strength and water absorption found in the original native vegetation is thus often impossible to recreate with a simple planting of fragile young seedlings. Therefore, Ethiopia's neglected indigenous Nature demands knowledge and work before any sign of evident healing of the country's Nature and freshwater conservation. Consequently, it is often associated with incredible frustration to recreate healthy landscape biotopes by replanting native young plants on exposed eroded mountain slopes and devastated high plateaus. Instead, sporadically planted young plants will require tender care with irrigation and protection against grazing animals and shade from season months of midday's mercilessly blistering sunshine. This recreation of Nature's shielding functions needs, thus, the devoted work of restoration to regain the guardian effect from a lost indigenous forest with its endemic vegetation of shielding undergrowth.


The Complications Of Indigenous Forest Restoration

Thus, it is impossible to recreate a stable and healthy nature by replanting a few native trees on a devastated plateau; instead, these sporadically planted young plants on the table will require tender care with irrigation and protection against grazing animals and shade from the blistering seasonal sun. Furthermore, on the slopes, these young plants most often need some temporary stabilizer of the ground and protection in something that mimics the wind and sun-protective effect of many mother trees. In addition, sporadically placed young plants can only offer a very rudimentary and weak protective network against erosion; instead, there is the obvious risk that these young plants will, in all probability, soon perish in the struggle against the great forces of Nature.

The Precarious and Fragile Restoration Of the Lost Nature

 Science, much time and labour are needed for environmental restoration; this demands massive protection projects to offer the young plants the replacement for the lost biotope and its vital natural protective properties. Hence, restoring a lost biotope is very complicated and requires much work to recreate a reliable substitute for the lost shielding armour of the primaeval forest. Therefore, due to the absence of the essential protective functions of mother trees and other plants, enormous efforts are required to recreate these guardian functions for the tender indigenous seedlings, which otherwise do not survive the very exposed ground. Thus, this process of environmental restoration includes what was previously prehistorically self-evident as a crucial basis for the survival of all higher life forms.

  Environmental Restoration  

 Trees, Shrubs, Flowers and Herbs 


Inside Ethiopia, Tours invites you to be part of an unforgettable experience in Entoto Natural Park. We will meet in our office, located in Kazanchis (just in front of the UNECA back entrance), and our guide will accompany you in the local taxis up to the mountain. This is an excellent opportunity for you to experience Ethiopian commuting. 

Once we arrive on Entoto Mountain, where the capital city was first founded in 1886, you will undoubtedly feel like having mentholated topical ointment. Yes, we are not big fans of the Eucalyptus tree either! That is why we want to promote indigenous seedling planting in Ethiopia by contributing to the Ethiopian Green Legacy.


Where do you plan to make your mark?

The Ethiopian Heritage Trustee Association is working to plant more than 50,000 indigenous saplings in Entoto Natural Park and Zego Kebele Association in Ankober District to cover exposed areas.
  Organizations: Associations: Educational institutions: All those who love nature, together with our association, let's build a country with suitable air by planting saplings. Let's plant indigenous saplings together.

As we believe, we are ready and waiting for you this year. The Ethiopian Heritage Trustee Association has planted native saplings in place of Eucalyptus trees with partner organizations and members in the Entoto natural park. He tells you that this year, come and plant saplings together to protect the environment. For more information:

πŸ“ž Call +251 Ethiopia  

011-5-15-88-02/ 09-22-97-27-46

Ethiopian Heritage Trust - Plantation of Seedlings


The Science of Indigenous Ancient Trees

Podocarpus falcatus (P. gracilior)
The Country's Trees and Various Climate Zones
The distant location but within the same country, developed fauna and flora have undergone an extremely long evolutionary optimization to best adapt to the unique condition of its geological and surrounding genetic characteristics. The unique habitat in a particular region within a country imprinted the native indigenous to receive their distinctive property of plant and wildlife depending on the remoteness unique climate. Hence, due to this isolated location on a country's mountainside or within its secluded gorge, the endemic tree created the specificity of their genetic heritage and the soil's uniqueness. 

The Precious Genetic Legacy of Old Trees
Therefore, the trees' evolutionary connection to a country's landscape makes a precious legacy for their seeds, which inherits well-adapted genetic characteristics to the location's biological uniqueness. Hence, the genetic legacy's impact in Ethiopia's various climates and altitudes creates trees that, although belonging to the same species, developed a difference in genetic heritage to deal with these different climate zones. Thus, making the mistake of using the seed from a tree with its genetic origin from a moist and shady gorge as seedlings on a dry southern slope undermines these trees' and organisms' survival.

The Science of Indigenous Ancient Trees:


A not-for-profit charity supporting the Ethiopian Heritage Trust in Addis Ababa

Entoto Natural Park

Restoring Nature


This is the main project of the Ethiopian Heritage Trust.


The Park is 13 square kilometres and lies immediately north of Addis Ababa.

The goal is to cover the Park with indigenous trees and bring back the native flowers and shrubs, birds and mammals which used to abound in the area.

Over 600,000 indigenous trees have been planted.

To control water flow and prevent erosion 200 kilometres of terracing and 15 kilometres of check dams have been built.

As a result, 13 springs have developed.

115 species of bird have been recorded, including 5 of Ethiopia’s endemic species.

With the growing maturity of the trees native shrubs and herbaceous plants can be seen, such as bulleia polystachya, bidens pachyloma, and geranium arabicum.

The number of indigenous tree seedlings planted in the Park over the last 3 years has been:

2018    8,000

2019  25,000

2020    9,400
(Covid 19 caused considerable problems for the tree planting operation in 2020.)

This momentum has to be maintained to complete the long-term vision of a green haven; at least a further 10 years of effort will be required.


Ethiopian Heritage Trust


The total amount you donate will be used in Ethiopia.
The Trust is registered with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs for Gift Aid.

Ethiopian Heritage


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