Indigenous Trees

Indigenous Trees

Among Breathtaking Views and Juniper Giants' Care

Addis Ababa, the Capital, can be seen veiled in the morning's mist.
In an alpine-like Highland, a dramatic landscape reveals forgotten secrets, where a light trembling wind caressed a consciousness in awe.
Sojourning in eternal celestial domains, a fragrance of forgotten purity was delivered as a call from far beyond.
Thus, above the veils, this landscape 
brought a scene where enchantingly along the slope rise towering Juniper trees from the days of old.
Precious lifts their fragrance of honey's ardour, where the aroma of wild incense is calling.
These are the awakening Juniper trees, beauty from the past, so intense and graceful that memory beyond time appears.

A Landscape Of Joy & Unforgettable Memories

Very remote vaguely appears, the Capital and civilization's
settlements here from the elevated location on the outer
the rim of the high plateau (16). The dreams of pure Nature
are offered by almost every view, also in the mighty
abyss and canyon's uphill adventure
The Wild Forest of the Ancient
Elusive in its guise but lingering with its serene mantle among the trees of antiquity, the silent, dark ridges from the night still prevail. Serene leaves the night's last shadows while the tickling aromatic Juniperus fills the veils of darkness's withdrawal in purging resurgence. Among the trees of the past aeons, this cradle of each soul offers a realm where nights of sweetest ardour evoke harmony without pettiness and fear. 

These are the mornings of lost dreams' enigmatic dwelling where its inviting bed of twilight ridges recently left but precious remains as long sweeping shadows among the aged furrowed trunks from the Ancient landscape. Thus, the nocturnal curtains in this ancient woodland reveal the last well-fragrance of each dream's fervour. In this realm of peaceful twilight, the first caressing wind in the dawn of morning delivers invites to a landscape of celestial clime. 

The Adventure for the Well-Equipped Family

Travelling in the landscape on foot in the early mornings and seeing this place may seem like a physical obstacle or even a journey toward dangerous adventures beyond sense and reason. However, this is a true statement and description, but then only in the imagination of the forebode emotional experience. Although this journey upward appears like a journey to an unknown past, to a supremely magnificent Era where man has not yet obtained full power over Nature. Yet, serene and enchantingly inviting, this landscape lingers as venerated domains of bygone days. Far beyond corrupted borders, this landscape of forgotten dreams thus offers a journey to the lost salvation for any wandering soul.

Initially, this journey seemed immeasurable through the challenge in the landscape itself, but this belief in anticipation soon becomes a hasty delusion and surprisingly nice fallacy. This pleasant deception appears because the walk upward contains continually recurring experiences that make each of the resting places of the journey pearls just within themself. Among these gems of grand canyon drama and breathtaking views are several sites that significantly contribute to rejuvenating the trip's charming character.

The Wild and Fertile Forest from the Ancient Era.

This original and compact Juniper forest (40) on the eastern hillside, just to the right of (16), is captivatingly wild and consists of these more than 50 years old indigenous Juniperus procera trees. These native trees provide a unique contact to this dramatic but gentle Nature with its inviting and refreshing touch of high mountainous altitude. Yet this landscape and its native forests, surprises with nearly magical furrowed proportions of primaeval lushness, reveal a natural and incredible Highland scenery beyond what a visitor would usually expect in proximity to the Capital. This native Juniper woodland (40) is massive in appearance and stunning in vitality, with a perfect, lush and dense undergrowth.

The Journey to Grandiose Views and Landscape

Viewpoint (16) is just at the other rim of the high
plateau and an excellent place for family picnics.
Bees' Cliff 14 
requires caution in the canyon but
assists by the wide map loop surrounding the
 gentle and fascinating 
points 36 and 41-42
Direction Maps & Routes

The Domain from the Noble dreams Era

A little upward and behind the camera's typical view of point (16) towards the dim-capped Capital is a group of magnificent and powerful Juniperus procera trees. These indigenous Juniper trees appear mighty with their furrowed pillars, configurated uniquely and appear to have an origin from a past culture of noble ancestry. This site of impressive Juniperus procera trees is near, just some steps uphill towards Bees' Cliff (14). Hence, viewpoint (16) is a fascinating place with attractive opportunities for picnics and many activities for the well-equipped family.

Nature Delivers Experience Beyond Knowledge.
The primaeval and dense indigenous Juniper procera forest is nearby, with above 50 years old forest of wild and original trees and provides an excellent choice for those who want a more deep forest. This forest (40) is just east but still hidden behind a small ridge to the right or east of viewpoint (16) and on the mountain's eastern slope. This native Juniper forest provides a unique insight into how Nature emerged before the introduction of Eucalyptus trees from Australia over 100 years ago.

Mountain Maps & Alerts with Assistance from Point (37)

The superficial water-conducting metal pipe (37) assists the mountain hike where its apparent suitability begins on the slope above the valley [A]. This place is easily reached from below the valley [A] with comfortable passing between a couple of cottages before it continues and reaches a gentle high level on the mountain's shoulder. 

Impressive but Evasive Hyenas

Besides, regarding this type of beautiful, native Nature, it's not surprising that the wildlife fancies the health of their home and the quality of their environmental origin. However, since muscular but elusive hyenas hide under the long shadows of the trees, the overall impression of this forest can be perceived as scary and not without a somewhat thrilling adventure. Therefore, careful behaviour is prudent for sensitive people with reduced health and mobility, even if the wild animals avoid contact within this deeply primaeval woodland (40).

Ethiopia's Indigenous Vegetation with 

Historical and Biological Background

Podocarpus falcatus This plant 
 carries a unique heritage that can
be very important for the Park's
 legacyIt was originally picked
 as seed from the mother tree in
the circle (B) just to the west of 
the path at the left of the area
(39) and clearly above (38)

The indigenous Podocarpus falcatus (P. gracilior)     (Am:  Zigba)   (Or:  Birbirsa) 
This tree is scarce at Entoto and does not appear to compete with the eucalyptus-planted surroundings. In the barren, eroded, exposed lands following the toxin-deformed effect since the introduction of the alien eucalyptus tree over a hundred years ago interrupted the endemic Podocarpus tree from giving surviving progeny. At this time, science didn't exist internationally about the necessity of laboratory examination of plants' and animals' toxicity to the environment. The original Ethiopian trees' properties provided a dense network of roots to form a reinforcing tangled indigenous vegetation with a pre-historical quality of tremendous strength, delivered from the past aeons' evolution.

Dedicated Work on the Restoration of the Original Nature.
Therefore, a devoted restoration of this original Nature continues with extensive work to re-form an upper soil layer with a protective undergrowth. Consequently, it would be a very significant surprise with information about a new generation of this highly-blessed historic Podocarpus falcatus trees, which still grow as ancient furrowed entities in a magical, graceful, appealing landscape. However, in modern times, these aged and patinated creased native podocarpus trees in these modern times are very unusual in the Park. Yet, this concealed mountain Nature describes the unique landscape hillside assisted by the map loop (B) with the location of these native Podocarpus trees.

Mighty Crowns of Historical

Juniperus procera Trees

Within the map, Circle (B) provides assistance in finding objects otherwise obscured. Hence, to the right side within loop (B) appear the unique crown location of these native Juniper procera trees. They appear on a somewhat sturdy raised elevated plane above the open field (39) - (B). They constitute several impressive muscularly furrowed and native Juniperus procera trees where their crumpled appearance towers awe-inspiring dominate the surroundings like silent creatures from a past. These trees appear mysterious in complexity, imprinting the landscape with the farmhouse, pleasantly resting just below, and giving the impression of a real majestic antiquity character over the scene.  When considering this Circle (B), it is possible to use it as a discreet directional pointer of the type that uses the traditional dial. The pointer's intended tip is an excellent tool for finding otherwise hidden objects. Thus, the intended end set at 3:30 shows a pleasantly elevated area above the field (39).

Magnificent Furrowed Trees

The Mother Tree (Podocarpus)

Podocarpus Trees Next to the Paths in the Circle (B)
When using map circle (B) as an intended pointer reaches 60% of its total length at four o'clock, and it becomes possible to find a magnificent native Podocarpus tree to the left of the hiking trail (link above). The intended direction indicator in the map below allows a method to be used here with a limited length in the intended dial. With this method also possible to distinguish objects more centrally located on the intended clockwork.

The Circle (B) Assistance in the Map.
The intended pointer clockwork gives direction, and when its outermost tip reaches its full extent at 4:30, it points to a concealed and dense forest area just south of the field (39). To see several other indigenous Podocarpus trees requires looking just below this field (39) and to the right side in the lower part of this circle (B). The easiest way to reach these trees is to use the crossroad, just outside the lower part of the circle (B), where these trees just above appear to hide deeply from a forgotten past. This rather wild and wavy slope is fantastic with several native Podocarpus falcatus trees, which muscularly proudly pose from an antique on this hilly southern slope. 

The healing capacity of the native forest

The natural health and fertile beauty in this indigenous Juniper forest (40) illuminates with precision the healing ability of a native forest and gives the natural stimuli to prevent and heal the severe erosion and habitat loss that occurred at the introduction of the Eucalyptus tree. The importance of careful research regarding knowledge in natural science is given as an insightful and evident example before any foreign species is regarded as possible for an introduction into an unfamiliar and vulnerable habitat.

Grand Views and Trees from the Past Aeons

The loop (B) assists by surrounding the points (35)
(38) and (39), which all provide grand landscapes.
Bees' Cliff 14 
requires caution in the canyon but
assisting by the wide map loop surrounding the
 gentle and fascinating 
points 36 and 41-42
Description of the Hiking Paths

Directions Maps to Trees of Legends.
The routes towards these historic trees and their captivating surroundings follow the paths to high-point views (14) - (16). The map loop (B) encircles the crossroads at this slope and rock ledge, thereby assisting in finding the location of continuing paths upwards. From this loop (B), the courses soon arrive at the adorable farmhouse's meadows (39) - (B) with mighty Juniperus procera trees in its upper regions. The upward hike is relatively gentle, where map loop (B) serves by surrounding points (35), (38) and (39). The lower area of the circle (B) also offers an adventure to the Italian fort's ruin (38), providing a picnic place with a beautiful view over the landscape's elevation.

The Canyon and its River give Direction in the Circle (B)
The two crossroads are located just to the right of the canyon and its river (35) - (B) and one in the lower part o the circle (B). The second crossroad is to the right, just outside the loop (B), and its path upwards is beautiful with furrowed Podocarpus trees and soon the meadows of the farmhouse (39). However, these crossroads align with the lower part of the circle (B) and provide a gentle west-to-east ledge and start for these crossroads. Regardless of the following paths within the loop (B), they will soon arrive at the farmhouse's meadows (39) - (B).


The Secure Way Back for Lost and Worried people

To find out from this enchanting and beautiful original forest (40), a lost person only ought to follow its very apparent slope down the east of the valley and thus in short contact with the open environment and clear paths that quickly show where you are in the relationship with the rest of the Park. In addition, point (19) and further the valley [A] of Entoto Kidane Mehret (32) are very close and reached quickly.

The Australian Eucalyptus Tree

and its Foreign Tactical Hostility.

The Eucalyptus Problem
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 Dangers 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.

Complications Of Indigenous Forest Restoration

Water and Shelter for Saplings

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.

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 that creates valuable drinking water is complicated and requires much work to recreate a reliable substitute for the missing 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  

  Check Dam Swales  

  Planting Technology  

  Erosion Prevention  

  Terraced Micro-Basins  

  Trees, Shrubs, Flowers and Herbs  


and as the paths end beyond their boundary, 
this can cause great difficulty in orientation.

The photograph at the head shows the view from the outer rim of Entoto Natural Park's plateau No.16 with indigenous Juniperus procera trees. Much closer, the farmhouse is reminded and not far below even the spiritually chanting walls of Entoto Kidane Mehret Church (32). From viewpoint (16), it provides resting places for picnics in social tranquillity and contemplation about the unique Nature, which is facilitated quickly by the high point of view, even over the mist-veiled Capital far below the southern slopes.


Juniperus procera                                         Cupressaceae

Vernacular names

Am:    Tid
Eng:   African pencil cedar

A valuable timber tree indigenous to Ethiopia and eastern Africa Highland forest 1,500-3,000 m. It is the largest Juniper in the World. It does best in high rainfall areas but can survive quite dry conditions once established. It performs well in Moist and Wet Weyna Dega and Dega agroclimatic zones.

Uses Firewood, poles, posts, timber (floors, shingles, pencils, joinery), medicine (bark, leaves, twigs, buds), ornamental, shade, windbreak.

Description: An evergreen tree about 40 m with a straight trunk, although often fluted. A pyramidal shape when young. The foliage is finer and more open than Cypress. BARK: Thin grey-brown, grooved and peeling with age.

LEAVES: Prickly, young leaves to 1 cm, soon replaced by scale-like mature leaves, blue-green, triangular, and closely overlapping branchlets.

FRUIT: Male cones small and yellow with pollen, female purple-blue fleshy "berries" about 8 mm, the pulp containing 1-4 hard seeds.

Propagation: Seedlings, wildings--often numerous.

Seeds: Germination rate 20-30%. No. Of seeds per kg: 40,000-50,000.

Treatment: Not necessary.

Storage: Up to a year if stored in a cool, dry place.

Management: Fairly fast growing in open but otherwise slow. Prune and thin trees for timber and poles.

Remarks: Litter-fall from this tree makes the soil acid, so it should not be grown with crops. It regenerates well and deserves high priority in reforestation. The wood is termite resistant, and the tree is now rare due to over-exploitation. Although belonging to the cypress family, this subgroup has no dry cones like Cupressus (Azene Bekele-Tesemma 1993).


Plant a tree with Inside Ethiopia Tours.

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. That is why we want to promote indigenous seedling planting in Ethiopia by contributing to the Ethiopian Green Legacy.

The Science of Indigenous Ancient Trees:


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.



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 Trust (UK)


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