The Eucalyptus Problem




The Eucalyptus Problem

To counteract the toxic effect of the Australian Eucalyptus tree previous century's devastating eroding impact on the landscape, the required natural shield of indigenous Ethiopian tree plantation proceeds today in modern times with the highest importance. Despite this arduous work with the native tree plantation, Eucalyptus globulus still prevail as the dominating vegetation on the Entoto mountain and other places around Addis Ababa. This Eucalyptus tree is of Australian origin, brought to Ethiopia over 100 years ago, an export by mistake when the international knowledge in natural sciences was still very rudimentary. Then, the worldwide need for fuel caused deforestation, so also in Ethiopia, with most areas around the Capital affected due to the lack of wood construction and energy. 

The Background to Eucalyptus Tree in Ethiopia

The introduction of the new Australian Eucalyptus species was very successful, as its growing speed in height gave a straight timber that surpassed the indigenous trees. Although the earlier Eucalyptus plantations still cover the bulk of the Park area, some of these foreign trees originate in the first phase of reforestation of the Australian Eucalyptus on Entoto and continue as the planted species during the past century. Despite the Australian Eucalyptus tree being an integral part of modern Ethiopian history, it's a tree with an origin that does not belong to the Ethiopian flora.


Biodiversity:  Foreign trees often have difficulties in adjusting to their new environment. The Eucalyptus is growing apparently without trouble, but it is not capable of sexually reproducing itself, i.e. the seeds do not germinate in the Ethiopian soils. Therefore the standard procedure of introduction is the planting of seedlings.


Ethiopia's Historical Landscape and

The Eucalyptus Trees' Introduction

These introduced and foreign, young Eucalyptus trees soon dominated the Capital's surrounding landscape, efficiently conquering the area of the sparsely remaining indigenous trees and vegetation. The Eucalyptus tree is a fast grower, reaching above the other native trees and suppressing them. At the same time, a chemical component in the leaves and roots of these Eucalyptus trees prevents the growth of both other trees and herbs. Due to this unfortunate side-effect from the foreign Eucalyptus tree's toxification of the surroundings appeared a fragile and brittle ground with a mono-culture of the alien Eucalyptus as the only tree species. Hence, a foreign tree's toxin eradicated the native remaining protective ground cover and thereby significant causes the loss of valuable water by torrential freshwater rejections in short-lived sudden flash floods of soil-milling erosion.


The Importance of Domestic Trees

Reinforcement of Native Roots Against Erosion


The Torrential Rains and Erosion
Erosion: Because there is no ground cover in the foreign implanted Eucalyptus forest, the only thing to hold the soil is the sporadic web of roots of the trees. The soil-holding capacity of Eucalyptus is very moderate compared with the original Ethiopian ground cover and trees, initially covering the slopes of Entoto. This lack of soil stabilizing undergrowth causes severe erosion, easily observed in the water running through Addis in connection with the rainy seasons. For every rain period, the layer of fertile soil gets thinner. If nothing is done now, there will be nothing left for new vegetation in a couple of years, and the erosion will be irreversible.

Flooding:  On Entoto, every leaf and branch that has fallen to the ground is collected by people, whereas in a natural forest, organic material from leaves, wood, roots etc., is left to be decomposed in the soil. The organic matter improves the soil structure, leading to a higher infiltration rate and a much better water storage capacity.



The Eucalyptus Trees' Ground Deterioration of the Landscape.

The barren, eroded ground surrounding the Eucalyptus tree appears to be a very different landscape compared to the vital multitude within the endemic lushness of the native Juniperus procera forest. The Eucalyptus trees' roots are evident in the heavily eroded highland terrain where these trees appear with its typical barren clay characteristic of the surrounding fragile soil. In the landscape, the Eucalyptus tree's roots often appear separated from the terrain and the rest of the ground, similar to sporadic upward-stemming root tubers but with a limited number of periodic and minor radiating root stems. Hence, the toxic effect of this Australian and foreign tree wastes the precious downpours in rapid flash floods from the slopes, thereby creating destructive forces of soil milling properties. This dangerous environmental phenomenon is visually evident in the artificial eucalyptus plantings; this is obvious since the Ethiopian native trees make the foundation for lush undergrowth. Hence, the indigenous Ethiopian trees characterize the landscape in dense covering and shielding vegetation.  These native trees' diverse and widespread network of native soil reinforcing roots thus prove their ancient and evolutionary optimized ability to absorb the water to the ground and harmonically use the torrential deluges' otherwise destructive forces.


Juniper Forest's Water Preserving versus

the Eucalyptus tree's elimination of the groundwater.


With glowing passion and warmth, it is still
spoken among the residents of Entoto about
 when the water level a reasonable time after
the rainy season still stood one metre higher
 in Entoto's canyon streams and its pools.
The Environment, Culture and Prosperity

The Eucalyptus tree and its Tactical Toxicity.

A chemical component with an intricate competition-oriented toxic defence system in the leaves and roots of Eucalyptus trees prevents the growth of other trees and herbs. This chemical component leads to a mono-culture with Eucalyptus as the only tree species and eventually no ground cover. This chemical component causes severe erosion, easily observed in the water running through Addis connected with the rainy seasons.
 
The Environmental danger of the Eucalyptus tree.  
Due to these shortcomings in the water preserving capacity of the Eucalyptus plantation, it cannot counterbalance the uneven distribution of rain. The result is often torrential flooding in the down-slope areas, in this case, the northern district of Addis Ababa. In August 1994, it created a fatal danger because of overwhelming and sudden flooding.


The Australian Eucalyptus Tree 

Historical and Environmental Background.

Thus, the foreign Eucalyptus tree in Ethiopia negatively affects Nature's and citizens' water resources. Instead of the required protection of the landscape, this alien tree rejects the precious deluges in dangerous torrential flooding. Areas that were periodically wet and with a flora adjusted to such conditions get drained by planted Eucalyptus. Because of the poor flora in the planted Eucalyptus forest, the biodiversity of a Eucalyptus plantation is extremely low. These shortcomings from the Eucalyptus forest are not due to the Australian tree itself but its foreign introduction and incompatibility with native Ethiopian plants and their required symbiosis with endemic microorganisms needed by specialized wildlife, insect and birds. Therefore, removing Ethiopia's native trees depleted this unique synergy of plants and microorganisms from vast areas, thus severely wounding the country's highland landscape's natural habitat and damaging its vital process of creating water resources.


Ethiopia's Nature and How the Country Lost its Water


This image forms the basis for understanding
 nature's water-bearing body. The water is kept
  here in the totality of this image, where both
 vegetation, soil and rock make up this vital
water-bearing body to create this highly
valuable water-harbouring landscape.
Study of the water's complexity

Ethiopia's Natural Water Production.
The history's misdeeds against Ethiopia's natural forest and Nature severely wounded the prehistoric ecological and geological heritage by interrupting the natural and critical processes of original soil creation derived from the endemic decomposing leaves and twigs. This genetically optimized process of the indigenous trees' downfall in leaves and twigs of the Ethiopian forest had the vital ability to hinder the erosive torrents' initiation and gave the soil's structure the required time to absorb deluges in this mountainous highland landscape.

The Natural Water Bodies of the Highland.
This historical malefactor against the original Ethiopian Nature severely weakened the county's original soil system in its essential function to lead and assist the rainwater to the natural underground aquifers. Hence, the severe reduction of the remaining soil's ability to receive moisture severely reduces the delivered water fed into the natural aquifers and, of course, reduces future chances for the citizens to obtain clean household water. Thus, with the loss of the highland's natural water bodies, this phenomenon even raises hindrances to reintroducing indigenous species. Hence, Ethiopia's groundwater loss derives from the decreased size of the water harbouring bodies within the highland's totality of organic, sediment and mountain.


The Hope for Ethiopia's Lost Water


Historically, these large quantities of torrential
 precipitations were accumulated for a long time
 within the borders of Ethiopia. At the same time
 in the past, the water's tremendous power was
subdued in its sudden and erosive flashfloods,
 thus preventing destructive soil milling.
The Ethiopian Highland is the Legendary Water Provider.
However, this Ethiopian primary source of the Nile River is only one of several Ethiopian rivers that contribute to the total water in the Nile. Consequently, the total amount of water delivered from the Ethiopian Highland to the Nile is clearly beyond only the Blue Nile. The Blue Nile from Ethiopia is here, with 70 - 80% of the Nile's water during the rainy seasons, without comparison to the dominant source of the Nile, which should be essential to point out as a crucial historical reality. Thus, Egypt, the ancient high culture, usually regarded as the cultural cradle for the ancient Greek and European civilizations, have their historical culture thanks to the watershed from the Ethiopian Highlands.


A Great Legacy of Historical Waterways
It is usually described how the lands south of Ethiopia are the source of the Nile. However, this is only correct in the adventure literature and the early travellers' romantic descriptions of heroic adventures and explorers' discoveries through the ascent of the breathtakingly beautiful cloud-covered Rwenzori mountains and glaciers in the range through the countries of Uganda and Congo.   




The Natural Science and 

The beauty of Ethiopia's Highland


Bees' Cliff 14 assists by the vast map
 loop surrounding points 36 and 41-42

The Wild Forest of the Ancient
The healing capacity of an indigenous forest
The natural health and fertile beauty in this indigenous Juniper forest illuminates with precision the healing capacity of a native forest but regrettably also the severe Nature and habitat destruction that occurred at the introduction of the Eucalyptus tree. The importance of careful research regarding knowledge in natural science is given an intense and evident example before any foreign species is regarded as possible for an introduction into an unfamiliar and vulnerable habitat.

The Juniper Forest of the Ancient.
Those who want a deeper Juniper forest emerge from the mist of history a concealed near 50 years old wild and original Juniperus procera woodland. This primaeval forest (40) is close to the east of point (16) but still hidden behind an elevated ridge and on the eastern slope. This native Juniper forest provides a unique insight into how Nature emerged before introducing the Eucalyptus from Australia over 100 years ago.



The Eucalyptus Plantation in Ethiopia

Land Use: The bulk of the area is used as a plantation. Eucalyptus has been grown for a long time, mainly for construction wood. Lately, the illegal cutting of trees has accelerated, with large amounts of timber being brought out. Fallen branches for fuelwood are collected by people living in the area and outsiders. Some females are actually sweeping the ground for some single twigs. The regular land use on this kind of soil would be cattle raising and mixed farming (Foth 1984), which can still be seen. One part in the upper eastern and another in the western is used for crops and cattle breeding.

The Sensitive Balance of Nature and Inhabitants

The remaining places of highland meadows surrounded by indigenous trees still provide nourishment for scarcely occurring livestock due to these meadows' reduced influence from the toxicity of the Eucalyptus tree. Hence, some of these cultivated fields with indigenous Nature remain, where the  Eucalyptus tree has not yet ruined the ground vegetation by these trees' foreign and tactical toxicity, see map loops (B) and (14) points (39), (41- 42). These preserved areas with still remaining indigenous Ethiopian trees constitute areas with open grass fields, see map points (16) and (B) - (39) and (41) above point (16).  With a park-like appearance, the indigenous Juniper trees still prevail here in fascinating and beautiful places of a rustic appearance where livestock is brought for grazing thanks to the indigenous trees' erosion resistance and fertility impact on the landscape. There are fenced pastures for the animals, but shepherds usually guard the livestock inside the Park area in contact with the existing 60 households. Today, visitors come to Entoto for recreation, as it is the only forest-like area in the city's vicinity and the beautiful views from the mountain.


The Australian Eucalyptus Tree and its Ancient Legacy.


  • 1. It seems very strange that a tree species can be hostile and directly toxic to its surrounding Nature to the extent that it eliminates the very soil layer that forms its basis and thus undermines the conditions for its future as a species. The scientific deduction here exhibits a foreign intruder with an incompatible genetic legacy.


  • 2. The reason for these strange hostile contradictions of this Australian tree's negative impacts on the Ethiopian environment has its scientific explanation in this Australian Eucalyptus tree's autonomous and insidiously aggressive surviving strategy. The background to this Ethiopian environmental trouble is the Eucalyptus tree's artificial relocation in the Ethiopian highlands. Furthermore, the description of this matter derives from the original continental remoteness of the Eucalyptus tree's geological and genetic past in Australia.

    • 3. The distant continent of Australia's developed fauna and flora has undergone an extremely long evolutionary optimization to best adapt to the unique condition of its geological and surrounding genetic characteristics. The Australian uniquely native indigenous habitat received its distinctive property of plant and wildlife through this remoteness. Hence, due to this isolated location by oceans and aeons, the Eucalyptus tree created in seclusion the specificity of its soil and, in connection to the location's biological uniqueness. However, the Eucalyptus tree's foreign genetic legacy's impact in Ethiopia undermines its and other organisms' existence.

        • 4. Australia's unique flora and fauna have developed distinctive character to become more or less toxic to its environment through separate seclusion from other continents. However, and very important in this context, Australia's organisms have, in their defence system, developed an equally strong resistance against these multi-folded toxicities that can be described as a type of evolutionary competition-oriented circumstances on their continent.  Furthermore, this toxicity depends on direct genetically controlled survival strategies to avoid, for example, overgrazing or a large infestation of insects or even as a tool in the competition between tree species of the ground itself.

        • 5. The Australian continent and its Eucalyptus tree appear in displaced contradictions due to continental distances of ocean magnitude to other continents. It has thus, in Australia, been possible to develop animal and plant species that have no direct genetic contact with the animals and vegetation of other continents. A long time appears here in segregated genetic enhancement for Australia's different evolution regarding its organism's optimization to elaborate the required mutation and genetic enhancement defence mechanisms against plants' toxicity. This prehistoric evolution in the genetic legacy of the very remote past in the Australian surrounding fauna and flora is unique but still mostly beyond knowledge, and for the future to research within Nature's ancestral vault. This genetic material is something to carefully, scientifically protect and seriously investigate because it may include crucial components for the future development of medicine or other completely vital research.

        • 6. Thus, developing this tree's toxic substances has given the Eucalyptus tree increased survivability in an often demanding environment. The Eucalyptus tree's toxicity is controlled by its DNA, protecting it from overgrazing animals and parasitic or infectious organisms. However, it's possible that the Eucalyptus tree, due to its tactical toxicity, also improved its capacity to struggle for water and nutrients with other tree species. The contact with the Eucalyptus tree's toxicity caused Australia's biotope to pass through aeons of improved resistance against poisoning. With an evolutionarily tempered competition due to an often fierce struggle for nutrition and water resources, the Australian vegetation received the legacy of unique genetic defences and sufficient toxic protective defence against various herbivores and other natural threats to its survival.

        • 7.  Hence the geographical aeons of the distance between Australia and other continents is large enough to create a different and incompatible DNA. The Australian eucalyptus trees are therefore optimized for the Australian continent, where they have their genetic origin but are potentially directly harmful to habitats on the other continents due to their early deviating genetic prehistory. With its enhanced DNA and tactical toxic defence system, this Australian tree will doubtless cause incompatibilities for different continents' biotopes of Earth's organisms. 

        • 8. Therefore, the Eucalyptus tree is treacherous in its silent strategy, working mechanisms from a foreign origin with an autonomous hostile DNA against other countries' unprepared organisms. Due to the different continents' biotopes, the endemically restricted defence mechanisms among other continents' biotopes cause vulnerabilities against the toxicity of the Eucalyptus tree's biology. Thus, this considerable distance between Australia and other continents often leads to a very different ecology, which exposes the essential lack of sophisticated defence or resistance within other counties' native organisms' genetic constitutions.


        • 9. The introduction of this Australian tree into Ethiopia over a hundred years ago inflicted these contradictions and problems. There was not enough advanced knowledge internationally in the natural sciences to understand the danger of plants or animals' exotic and alien introduction. Thus, by severe short-sightedness due to a lack of international science in ecology. Nor ruled yet for a long time the knowledge internationally about the necessary laboratory examination of plants' and animals' toxicity regarding the necessity of rigorous inspections in epidemic secured vaults, sealed by government-supervised laboratory environments before allowing any international dissemination. 

        • 10. This continental export of species is a susceptible subject that can dramatically affect several countries and ethnic groups.  The reasons for the foreign substances' diplomatic and biological sensitivity to any previously received environment are many and intimately associated with the concerned countries' economies and far-reaching health conditions.  It has long been known in science and biology that substances in the human environment have influenced the development of the present human heritage and its genome.  This knowledge of the connection between the human genome and its effect in a specific biological environment directly concerns the current spread of humans to areas that lack the prehistorical opportunity to influence the international groups' human genome.

        • 11. This incompatibility due to the impact between the human genome and the substances of clearly foreign origin is very relevant for today's people. The contradictions in the relationship between the human genome and the new environments derive their source and explanation from increasingly international migration. These problems with the incompatible human genetic legacy may appear where people now in the modern time migrated and live in areas where they have not previously populated but instead arrived as the newly established ethnic groups. Similar difficulties become relevant with the export of significant biological products from distant continents to sites that have offered humans an already adapted development of their genome for their own unique biotope during a long evolutionary time.


        • 12. Concerning these human civilizations of today, with their prehistoric evolved indigenous populations, a careful biological evaluation of the possibility of mitigating adverse effects from not human-compatible imports may be required. These safeguards may be offered by adding refined food to the diet that counteracts the increased sensitivity to foreign substances.  In addition, a common and practical solution to neutralize the foreign substances appears with the treatment for the recently established population with certain minerals or natural vitamin supplements that may be suitable for a shorter initial period. It is not unlikely that modern science with well-balanced control can produce the necessary substances to counteract debilitating effects from foreign plant-based substances, thereby increasing science and medical knowledge. Thus, considering Eucalyptus trees' impact on other countries' indigenous vegetation may cause doubt and require scientific evaluation of these effects on human health. Therefore, a potential threat to the native human population is also providing this culture with the motivation for scientific advancement and increasing the possibility of enriching this culture with a stronger and more prosperous civilization.

        Indigenous species

        An area in the southeast contains junipers, but these remaining indigenous trees face a significant threat due to fuelwood collectors. On the steep hillsides and in the gorges and gullies in the lower part, there still remain trees of indigenous species like Juniperus proceraPodocarpus graciliorDovyalis abyssinica, Olea europea var, Africana, and Ficus sp.



        Some solitary indigenous trees stand in open areas, e.g. Hagenia abyssinica and Hypericum sp. Beautiful meadows in the upper eastern part have a high diversity of herbs, and several species can also be found along the brooks. 
        (Håkan Blanck and Pia Englund, Entoto Natural Park 1995).





        Ethiopia's Natural History

        With Geology & Evolution. 

        Although regarding the Eucalyptus plantation in Ethiopia, this tree follows very high and contradictory water consumption, mainly by rejecting the country's yearly precipitations in fast-flowing torrents. Due to its lack of prehistoric DNA for the Ethiopian soil and organisms, the total water amount exerted by this introduced Australian tree did not deliver enough water to Ethiopia's surroundings nor provide this water to the deep underground aquifers within Ethiopia's landscape.

        The Australian Eucalyptus requires some water for its secondary survival strategy but rejects most of Ethiopia's precious water in fast-flowing torrents. This water rejection is the Australian tree's character as a foreign organism to the Ethiopian highland, within a completely incompatible micro-biological soil and type of Nature. The Eucalyptus tree's damaging effects on the forest floor do not permit the Ethiopian biotope to effectively absorb, filter and distribute this water to the environment and, therefore, neither to Ethiopia's natural groundwater reservoirs.

        In Ethiopia, it is very scientifically evident how the Eucalyptus tree's impact on water resources works contrary to a healthy forest. By damaging water distribution, the Eucalyptus tree also sharply reduces the water for the citizens. In the past, this phenomenon of naturally accumulated water occurred with high efficiency in the indigenous forest of Ethiopia. This Ethiopia's Indigenous forest and plants created vital water preserving mechanisms in the past and had an overwhelmingly positive effect on Ethiopia's early and historical civilization. 

        Thanks to Ethiopia's native trees' optimized heritage of securing healthy topsoil and the web's undergrowth, this early civilization in Ethiopia built a high and prosperous culture. Then in the history of the past, Ethiopia was enriched by a tremendous amount of naturally purified spring water that made the strong base for almost everything required in this past high civilization.




        ___________________________________________________________________________________


        Plant a Tree with Inside Ethiopia Tours

        Plant a tree with Inside Ethiopia Tours

        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! We want to promote indigenous seedling planting in Ethiopia by contributing to the Ethiopian Green Legacy. Our guide will accompany you in the local taxis up to the mountain. This is an excellent opportunity for you to experience Ethiopian commuting.



        ___________________________________________________________________________________




        ___________________________________________________________________________________


        Valuable trees and shrubs for Ethiopia:

        Identification, Propagation and

         Management for 17 Agroclimatic Zones

        Azene Bekele-Tesemma

        Edited by
        Bo Tengnäs, 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 the 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.

        ___________________________________________________________________________________

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

        Donate

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


        Ethiopian Heritage Trust (UK)

        Comments

        1. Interesting to read your post. I can't wait to see your next post. Good luck for upcoming updates. This article is very interesting and effective. Thanks for sharing such a blog. gypsophila preserved

          ReplyDelete

        Post a Comment

        Popular posts from this blog

        Entoto Park (Inquiries)

        The Dangerous Heritage of Terror

        Entoto Natural Park