Foreword (Bekele-Tesemma, 2007)

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Bekele-Tesemma, Useful trees and shrubs for Ethiopia, 2007
Foreword (Bekele-Tesemma, 2007)


Ethiopia is one of the most important biodiversity hotspots in the world. In 1790, the first European, James Bruce of Scotland, documented only 18 plants in his Natural History of Ethiopia. Today, nearly seven thousand plant species, one thousand of which are endemic to Ethiopia, are documented in the Flora of Ethiopia (2003). Sadly, many of the species are in danger of extinction because of rapid conversion of forest to agricultural land and over-grazing.

International efforts to document the rich flora of Ethiopia began in earnest in 1986 with the Ethiopian Flora Project of the Ethiopian Government through the Addis Ababa University and the Swedish Government through the Swedish Agency for Research Cooperation with Developing Countries (SAREC).

This book is the second edition of an earlier book (1993), also led by Dr. Azene Bekele-Tesemma and his team. The main aim of this extensively revised book is to benefit the rural people of Ethiopia by encouraging them to grow more trees and shrubs for various reasons, including income generation, timber, medicines, soil fertility, honey production, biodiversity and watershed protection.

The Regional Land Management Unit (RELMA) has published a well-known series of books on useful trees for Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda. This is the last of the series because the RELMA project ended in December 2006. We are most grateful to Dr. Azene and his team for this great effort, which will have a lasting impact. Many of the RELMA staff, including Dr. Azene, remained at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobi.

This book is intended for use by staff involved in agricultural extension at all levels and in the educational system, both in specialist training of foresters and agriculturalists as well as in high schools and teacher training colleges.

It is our hope that the book will be widely used — both in the extension services and education — in Ethiopia to encourage present and future generation to appreciate and keep alive the great botanical heritage of Ethiopia.

Professor Chin Ong

RELMA manager, ICRAF