ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT RESEARCH DIRECTORATE
There are eight officially recognized natural ecosystems in Ethiopia : Afro alpine and sub – afro alpine, dry evergreen montane forest and grass land complex, most evergreen montane forest, Acacia – commiphora woodlands, Combretum – Terminalia woodland, low land semi – evergreen forest, desert and semi – desert scrubland and aquatic ecosystems. The major ecosystems of Ethiopia exhibit different levels of threats to biodiversity due to human and animal population pressure. These specific threats require to be dealt differently and prioritization of ecosystems for intervention. Moreover, Ethiopia is endowed with rich aquatic and wetland resources: lakes, marshes/swamps, rivers, flood plains, reservoirs, man made ponds and dams. The wetlands are estimated to cover 1.5 % of the country’s total area and have great socio – economic and ecological values. However, over population growth, industrialization and urbanization resulted in soil erosion, loss of biodiversity and depletion of water availability of wetlands. Aquatic and wetlands are highly threatened by siltation and soil deposition, however research works are limited.
- Description about the directorate
The Ecosystem Management Research Directorate is one of the eight core research processes under the Ethiopian Environment and Forest Research Institute. Currently, the directorate has two research divisions: (i) Natural forest ecology and management research division and (ii) Aquatic and wetland research division.The forest ecology and management research division is mandated for conducting demand driven and problem solving research on natural forest ecology and management aspect. Moreover, the aquatic and wetland research division is mandated for conducting demand driven and problem solving research on aquatic and wetland ecosystems in the country.
- Research thematic area
More specifically, the major focus areas of the forest ecology and management research division is vegetation structure and population dynamics, biomass and soil organic carbon, land use cover change, phenology, domestication, restoration of degraded forest landscapes and silviculture of indigenous trees. And the major focus areas of the aquatic and wetland research division is investigation of the causes and consequences of aquatic and wetland watershed degradation, controlling water hyacinth, developing restoration techniques, socio – ecological functions of aquatic and wetland and conducting research for sustainable management options for sustainability of the aquatic and wetland ecosystem.
- Research projects
Currently, there are sixteen research projects under the directorate, (i) Social, economic and ecological study on the attributes and challenges of sustainable forest management in high forests, (ii) Exploring social, economic and ecological studies in Arba – Gugu dry afromonatne forest, (iii) Vegetation pattern and dynamics on the Yerer Mountain forest, (iv) Growth and population dynamics of Juniperus procera,Olea europea and Dodonea angustifolia in the degraded highlands of Hararghae, (v) Woody species diversity, structure, carbon stock and socio – economic role of Jello – Muktar forest, (vi) Mycorrhizal status of dry single – dominante Dessa afro-montane forests, (vi) Sustainable forest management in Chilimo dry afromonatne forest, (vii) Off – farm evaluation and modeling the long – term effects of soil and water conservation in Bokollo watershed, (viii) Evaluation of carbon stock in Gemechis forest, (ix) Plant diversity, carbon stock and rehabilitation potential of Kahsay natural forest, Awi zone, (x) Developing restoration techniques in high-forests, (xi) Sustainable management of woodlands, (xii) Population status, dynamics and carbon stock of Ghibe Yibara woodlands, (xiii) Status and potential of selected woodlands forests of Ethiopia, (xv) Assess the effects of Euthrophication in lake Tana, (xiv) Controlling water hyacinth in lake Tana by biological method, salt and converting to biochar and (xvii) Sustainable management and restoration options for aquatic and wetland ecosystem of Ethiopia: The case of rift valley lakes.
Mehari Alebachew (PhD)
Director, Ecosystem Management Research Directorate