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Ethiopian Journal of Biological Sciences

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The changing role of botanic gardens and the experience from abroad and possibilities for Ethiopia

Mesfin Tadesse

Abstract


Ethiopia is trying to establish botanic gardens with the first one in place being the recently inaugurated Gullele Botanic Garden in Addis Abeba. In order to develop this newly established garden as well as any other future botanic garden, Ethiopia needs to gather information from the experience of other botanic gardens that have been on the scene for many years. An attempt is here made to review the origin, role and status of botanic gardens of the world. The published literature on gardens is enormous and begins with what are known as ancient gardens and continues with formal gardens. A cursory look into this literature is made. Emphasis is particularly placed on the changing role of botanic gardens in the major population centers of the world, its impact on the lives of people and what Ethiopia can learn from their experience. Although not covered in as much depth in the literature as botanic gardens, other types of gardens, i.e., the home, urban, or community gardens, as special gardens, and “Liberty and Victory gardens,” as emergency situation gardens, are discussed. Home gardens are not new in Ethiopia, but victory gardens, instituted in Europe and America to ward off starvation during the First and Second World Wars could be established in the country as emergency or instructive measures during times of food scarcity or shortage.

Key words/phrases: Botanic Garden, Ethiopia, Gullele, History, Importance, Possibilities, Role


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