Biodiversity

The picture to the left shows the mountain stream with native Juniper trees just a few steps above Bees' Cliff (14) -
 located in the opposite direction to the image's visual field.


Biodiversity
Foreign trees often have difficulties in adjusting to its 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.

The young trees soon start to compete very efficiently with other vegetation. It is a fast grower, easily reaching above other trees and suppressing them. At the same time, a chemical component in the leaves and roots prevents the growth of both other trees and herbs. This leads to a monoculture with Eucalyptus as the only tree species and eventually no ground cover at all.

The Eucalyptus demands large quantities of water. Areas which earlier were periodically wet and with a flora adjusted to such conditions, get drained by planted Eucalyptus. Because of the poor flora and the lack of plants needed by specialized insect and birds, the biodiversity of a eucalyptus plantation is extremely low. Also, when timber is continuously being taken out of the area without no input of fertilizer, the soil quality gradually decreases, reducing the possibilities of the reintroduction of indigenous species.



Direction Map to the Alluring Past
Native Trees and their Capacity to Distribute Purified Ground-Water

Due to the ancient native trees' evolutionary optimized ecology, the plants have genetically evolved into formidable distributors of the superficial rainwater and allowed this water to penetrate the soil's otherwise porous resistive structure. Thus the native, ancient plants loosened up the soil's otherwise dense fabrics by these intricate fibrous network of plant roots. The earth's surface layer's permeability resistance hence opened its porous permeability and allowed the water to pass down to the deeper regions of the soil layers and aquifers.  Thereby these native trees gave the soil a significantly increased and specified deposit in quantity and quality of purified water and even more distributed this water into the deeper layers of natural mountain areas.



The Wild and Fertile Forest from the Ancient Era

This original forest (40) just to the right of point (16) is captivatingly wild and consist of these more than 50 years old indigenous Juniperus procera trees that provide a unique contact to nature with somewhat exotic primaeval lushness and a great surprise, beyond what a visitor would usually expect in such proximity to the Capital. This native Juniper woodland (40) is massive in its appearance and stunning in vitality, with a perfect, lush and dense undergrowth.

The healing capacity of a native forest

The natural health and fertile beauty in this indigenous Juniper forest (40) illuminates with precision the healing ability of a native forest but 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 here given a rigorous and evident example before any foreign species is regarded as possible for an introduction into an unfamiliar and very possibly vulnerable habitat.


Entoto's High Plateau and its Amazing Nature

Variation with habitat creation


Indigenous Trees
Juniperus procera is the natural species of Entoto, and it should dominate the future Natural Park. This does not mean that the forest will look the same all over. When designing with nature, it is essential to create habitats (biotopes) suitable for the area's physical conditions.

After analyzing soil quality and eroded parts, biodiversity, water availability and water catchment, limitations due to, e.g. high altitude, etc., the area's potential for accommodating certain plant communities can be estimated. The 17km² provides great variations in altitude, humidity, climate, and soil if the conditions specified for each spot are taken into consideration when planting and managing (Håkan Blanck and Pia Englund, Entoto Natural Park 1995).



Indigenous Trees
Juniperus procera
Ecology: A valuable timber tree indigenous to Ethiopia and eastern Africa highland forests 1,500-3,000 m. It does best in high rainfall but can survive quite dry conditions once established. It is the largest Juniper in the world. It performs well in Moist and Wet Weyna Dega and Dega agroclimatic zones (Azene Bekele-Tesemma 1993).

A Great Wildlife View with the Meandering Streams.
This plateau just above Bees' Cliff is a magnificently beautiful place with a great panorama view over the stream and many characters in the landscape. When the scene turns south, the abyss Bees' Cliff (14), the ravine is very close, where the river's further gorge meandering (35) becomes intuitively felt through the profound cooling airflow rising from the unknown abyss below the field of view.




A Time of Fragrance, Harmony and Beauty.

At the end of the rain season in September - October, the high plateau turns into a place of deep attraction where streams and waterfall begin to stabilize, and in October - November, a gentle, romantic flow of ideal conditions becomes evident. 

A purging fresh stream runs by leaps and joy, beyond the secret path of Kidane Mehret's sacred stone walls. Beauty shines beyond hidden depths and abyss to be seen at the Bees' cliff (14).


Podocarpus falcatus (P. gracilior)

Podocarpus falcatus  (P. gracilior)

This tree is scarce at Entoto these days and does not appear to be able to compete with the Eucalyptus planted surroundings. It seems that it is no longer possible to give surviving progeny in the barren, eroded exposed lands that have been formed since the introduction of the alien eucalyptus tree over a hundred years ago. (Podocarpus Tree with Plants Map)

However, a lot of work has been done to re-form an upper soil layer with a protective undergrowth. It would, therefore, be a very significant surprise with information about a new generation of this highly-blessed historic tree, which, however, still grows in a magical graceful and appealing landscape.

The fact that this tree is related to Juniper appears with clarity, and it is in this context that difficulties arise with the seed's vulnerability. The seed of the Podocarpus tree and its stem is considerably longer than the corresponding comparison with the Juniper tree seed and hence higher and more vulnerable to climates and grazing animals.


Because the two related species have the same peculiarity to lift their seeds up from the ground to the height of their crisp stalk, an unprecedented vulnerability arises. This vulnerability with an exposed uplifted grain applies in particular to the Podocarpus tree as this species makes this seed presented with utmost sensibility and thus becomes an immediate victim on a hard and away offensive clay-soil crust.  

This peculiarity in seed design of setting its kernels to sprout with the high lift was developed at the beginning of these trees' era (evolution) and in epochs long before any human culture or species. Through this evolutionary prehistory, these seed stalks and kernels were naturally received with a moist typically loose and absorbing soil (humus), and a surrounding of dense protective undergrowth that could hide and shield these so tender exposed vertically raised kernel stalks.


An evolutionary legacy from a time of natural wealth



A beautiful memory that attracts modern science and art.
With glowing passion and warmth feeling, it is still spoken among the residents of Entoto about the time when the water level a reasonable time after the rainy season still stood one metre higher in Entoto's deep streams and its enchanting nature rock baths. It is thus quite close to the time when Entoto's mountain massif and its canyons could carry significantly higher water quantity and thus supply the population in the capital with fresh water to a much greater extent.

Conclusion and Wonderful Solution
The stalk of this seed of this tree is considerably more significant in height at an early stage of its soil germination than the equivalent of Juniper tree seed, and because they have the uniqueness of raising their seeds to the height of their brittle stems, an excellent and traditional solution arises; Rosa abyssinica.



Plant defence against herbivory:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_defense_against_herbivory





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