Tropical Forestry Volume 8, 2011, pp 377-385

Rehabilitation of Degraded Natural Forests by Enrichment Planting of Four Native Species in Ethiopian Highlands

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Abstract

Many natural forests in the highlands of Ethiopia are heavily degraded due to unsustainable forest management. Therefore, a study was conducted in the Munessa-Shashemene forest to design sustainable forest management strategies. The present study investigates the survival, growth, and photosynthetic performance of enrichment planting of four species (Cordia africana, Juniperus procera, Prunus africana, and Podocarpus falcatus ). Planting was undertaken in gaps in the degraded natural forest. Results indicated that survival was different among species. Two years after planting, only 23% of the C. africana and P. africana seedlings had survived, while J. procera and P. falcatus showed higher survival rates of 76 and 47%, respectively. The development of the height over the first 2-year observation period was reasonable for J. procera and P. falcatus. Inadequate height development was registered for P. africana, which was strongly affected by browsing and for C. Africana, which suffered from drought. P. falcatus exhibited the lowest photosynthesis and transpiration rates, which were associated with the highest water use efficiency of all the four species. Enrichment planting especially with J. procera and P. falcatus can be recommended to restore the degraded natural forests in Ethiopian highlands.