Potential, Distribution, Ethno-Botany and Tapping Procedures of Gum Producing Acacia Species in the Somali Region, Southeastern Ethiopia
A survey study was undertaken in eight districts of the Somali Region, southeastern Ethiopia to identify gum producing species; their distribution and abundance; gum-tapping practices; and local uses. Nine gum producing Acacia species; widely known by pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in the Region were identified. Dihun and Gerbo Districts in Fik Zone were the high potential areas for gum arabic (Acacia Senegal(L.) wild.) and gum talh (Acacia seyal Del.) production based on the abundance of the source species.
Degahamedow District in Degahabur Zone was another promising gum production area following the Districts in Fik Zone. However, both A. senegal and A. seyal were abundantly found in all study Districts, with the former being the most abundant and widely distributed throughout the study Zones. The gum resource in the Somali Region appeared under-exploited due to lack of proper tapping and extraction skills in the area. Apart from gum tapping, the woody vegetation of the Region supports livestock production,
mitigates desertification, ensures biodiversity maintenance, and provides immense non-wood forest products. Therefore, promotion of gum extraction in the Somali Region both for economic benefit of the community and sustainable management of the fragile ecosystem is recommended.
Keywords: Acacia, Bushland; Gum Arabic; Gum Talh; Somali Region
East African Journal of Sciences Vol. 1 (1) 2007: pp. 69-78