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SINET: Ethiopian Journal of Science

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Restoration of native forest flora in the degraded highlands of Ethiopia: Constraints and opportunities

Mulugeta Lemenih, Demel Teketay

Abstract


Wide spread deforestation and subsequent degradation is severely threatening the natural forest resources in Ethiopia. What is imperatively and urgently needed today is ecological restoration. In order for ecological restoration to be successful and cost effective, critical analyses of possible constraints and available opportunities are crucial. Such Knowledge increases our understandings of ecosystem responses and a more reasonable prediction of where and why restoration efforts will be difficult or possible. These understandings will also improve the decision-support systems for the kind of restoration strategies or tools to apply and what kind of management techniques to follow. Available literature indicated that scarcity or complete absence of viable soil seed banks under natural environments and in environments affected by humans, such as abandoned farmlands, poor seed rain/dispersal and site impoverishment would be severe limitations to ecological restoration in the country. On the other hand, land abandonment due to marginalization followed by the establishment of plantation forests as foster crops are opportunities that could be utilized for rapid and productive restoration of the vast degraded ecosystems in the country. Nevertheless, successful utilities of these management options certainly demand conservation of the remnant natural forests to serve as propagule donors. Hence, conservation of the scattered remnant forests in the country is the major prerequisite for successful future restoration ventures.

Key words/phrases: Land degradation, seedling bank, seed rain, soil seed bank, tree plantations
SINET: Ethiop. J. Sci. Vol.27(1) 2004: 75-90



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