A Study on the Ecology and Management of the Dess’a Forest in the North Eastern Escarpment of Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


This study aims to investigate the potentials and limitations of involving local communities in biodiversity conservation and to propose appropriate development strategies for harnessing such potentials in the Dess'a Forest, Eastern Tigray, North Eastern escarpment of Ethiopia. The Dessa Forest has a high degree of species diversity and endemism that is threatened by increasing human pressure. Conceptually, the research was based on the appreciation of the existence of varying value systems of the local communities in relation to the forest resources. The study further examine the regeneration, and forest structure to obtain information on forest status and to see factors governing the ecology of the forest. Data on the vegetation structure were collected from 59 randomly selected sample plots located at 50 meters altitudinal intervals, ranging from 1500 to 2850 meters above sea level. In the sample plots of the study area 82 species belonging to 33 families were identified. Relative density, Relative frequency, Relative basal area and importance value Index were calculated for each species which showed the overall forest situation. The Importance Value Index (lVI) was analyzed along altitudinal gradient of which five dominant species were identified. These dominant species were Olea europaea, Juniperus procera, Rhus nata/ensis, May tenus arbutifolia and Tarconanthus camphoratus. It was found that in most cases Olea europaea SU~\ m qusp!dfll9 wlVl )he highest , contributor to the relative basal area of the forest area. The general configuration of all species was found to have high density at lower Diameter at Breast Height (Dbh) classes and low density at higher Dbh classes. Shrub and less quality woody species were dominant in the smaller Dbh classes. Horizontal distribution of the species revealed that the number of species increase with the increase in altitude.