Skip to main content

Tree species diversity and spatial distribution patterns on agricultural landscapes in sub-humid Oromia, Ethiopia


Trees are important components of agricultural landscapes in different parts of Ethiopia, and information on their type, diversity and distribution in sub-humid agroecologies is essential for designing interventions. A study was conducted to evaluate tree diversity and their spatial patterns in agricultural landscapes under different land use categories in four selected sub-humid sites in Western Oromia, Ethiopia. Tree inventory was conducted on 100 homesteads (19 ha), 18 crop lands (35 ha) and 11 grazing lands (5.5 ha) belonging to 100 randomly selected households. A total of 82 tree species were identified: 67 in the homesteads, 52 in the crop lands and 29 in the grazing lands. The density of trees varied from 68 trees per ha in crop lands to 801 trees per ha in homesteads. Diversity indices revealed that homestead was the most diverse with Shannon index of 2.42, and Simpson index of 0.84. The density of trees among the tree communities in the four sites varied from 133 in Bako Tibe to 476 in Jima Arjo, but not any one of the sites had more diverse tree community as revealed by the Rènyi diversity profiles analysis. The three dominant tree species in the agricultural landscapes were Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Vernonia amygdalina and Cordia africana. Pearson correlation analysis showed that high tree species density, richness and diversity had high association with homesteads than with crop lands and grazing lands. It also revealed significant positive correlations between land size and evenness, and latitude and evenness whereas there were significant negative correlations between family size and Shannon diversity index, and land size and tree density. The majority (81.6%) of the trees were established through plantation and only 18.4% were regenerated naturally. The proportion of planted trees varied from 68% in Gobu Seyo to 94.1% in Guto Gida. The study showed that agricultural landscapes harbour high diversity of tree species with a spatial pattern, and increasing the tree cover with focus in the crop lands is essential for improved resilience of the agricultural systems and for circa-situm conservation of biodiversity.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4


  1. Abate A, Tamrat B, Sebsebe D (2006) The undifferentiated afromontane forest of Denkoro in the central highland of Ethiopia: a floristic and structural analysis. Ethiop J Sci 29:45–56

    Google Scholar 

  2. Abebe T (2005) Diversity in Homegarden Agroforestry Systems of Southern Ethiopia. Tropical Resource Management Papers, No. 59. 143 pp

  3. Asfaw Z, Hulten H (2003) Tree diversity management in the traditional agroforestry land use of Sidama, Southern Ethiopia. Acta Univ Agric Suec Silv 263(1):1–28

    Google Scholar 

  4. Backes MM (2001) The role of indigenous trees for the conservation of bio-cultural diversity in traditional agroforestry land use systems: the Bungoma case study in situ conservation of indigenous tree species. Agrofor Syst 52:119–132

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Boffa JM, Kindt R, Katumba B, Jourget JG, Turyomurugyendo L (2008) Management of tree diversity in agricultural landscapes around Mabira Forest Reserve, Uganda. Afr J Ecol 46(1):24–32

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Chao A, Jost L (2012) Coverage-based rarefaction and extrapolation: standardizing samples by completeness rather than size. Ecology 93(12):2533–2547

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Colwell RK (2009) Biodiversity: concepts, patterns and measurement. In: Levin SA (ed) The Princeton guide to ecology. Princeton University Press, Princeton, pp 257–263

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  8. Colwell RK (2013) Estimate S: Statistical estimation of species richness and shared species from samples. Version 9. Persistent.

  9. Derero A, Bekele T, Näslund B (2003) Population structure and regeneration of woody species in a broad-leaved Afromontane rainforest, southwest Ethiopia. Ethiop J Nat Resour 5(2):255–280

    Google Scholar 

  10. Duguma LA, Hager H (2010) Woody plants diversity and possession, and their future prospects in small-scale tree and shrub growing in agricultural landscapes in central highlands of Ethiopia. Small Scale For 9:153–174

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Endale Y, Derero A, Argaw M, Muthuri C (2017) Farmland tree species diversity and spatial distribution pattern in semi-arid East Shewa, Ethiopia. For Trees Livelihoods 26(3):199–214

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Gotelli, NJ, Colwell RK (2011) Estimating species richness. In: Magurran AE, McGill BJ (eds) Frontiers in measuring biodiversity. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 39–54

  13. Harvey CA, Haber WA (1999) Remnant trees and the conservation of biodiversity in Costa Rican pastures. Agrofor Syst 44:37–68

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Ib F, Sebsebe D, Breugel PV (2010) Atlas of the potential vegetation of Ethiopia. The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Denmark, 307p

  15. Iiyama M, Derero A, Kelemu K, Muthuri C, Kinuthia R, Ayenkulu E, Kiptot E, Hadgu K, Mowo J, Sinclair FL (2017) Understanding patterns of tree adoption on farms in semi-arid and sub-humid Ethiopia. Agrofor Syst 91:271–293

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Isango JA (2007) Stand structure and tree species composition of Tanzania Miombo Woodlands: a Case Study from Miombo Woodlands of Community Based Forest Management in Iringa District. Working Papers of the Finnish Forest Research Institute 50: 43–56

  17. Kindt R (2016) BiodiversityR: package for community ecology and suitability analysis. Version 2.7-1. URL

  18. Kindt R, Coe R (2005) Tree diversity analysis. A manual and software for common statistical methods for ecological and biodiversity studies. World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya, 207 pp

  19. Kindt R, Degrande A, Turyomurugyendo L, Mbosso C, Van Damme P, Simons AJ (2001). Comparing species richness and evenness contributions to on-farm tree diversity for data sets with varying sample sizes from Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, and Nigeria with randomized diversity profiles. In: IUFRO Conference on Forest Biometry, Modelling and Information Science, 26–29 June 2001. University of Greenwich, UK.

  20. Kindt R, Simons AJ, Damme PV (2004) Do farm characteristics explain differences in tree species diversity among Western Kenyan farms? Agrofor Syst 63:63–74

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Kindt R, Van Damme P, Simons AJ (2006) Tree diversity in western Kenya: using profiles to characterise richness and evenness. Biodivers Conserv 15:1253–1270

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Kiptot E, Kinuthia R, Kelemu K, Mebrahtu T (2013) ACIAR baseline survey ‘trees for food security project’ the agricultural extension system in Ethiopia: A focus on East Shewa, West Shewa and East Wollega Zones

  23. Krebs CJ (1989) Ecological methodology. University of British Colombia, Harper Collins, NewYork

    Google Scholar 

  24. Lengkeek AG, Kindt R, van der Maesen LJG, Simons AJ, van Oijen DCC (2005) Tree density and germplasm source in agroforestry ecosystems in Meru, Mount Kenya. Genet Res Crop Evol 52:709–721

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Magurran AE (2004) Measuring biological diversity. Blackwell, Oxford, p 256

    Google Scholar 

  26. Moreno-Calles A, Casas A, Blancas J, Torres I, Masera O, Caballero J, Garcia-Barrios L, Pe´rez-Negro´n E, Rangel-Landa S (2010) Agroforestry systems and biodiversity conservation in arid zones: the case of the Tehuaca´n Valley, Central Me´xico. Agrofor Syst 80:315–331

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Perera AH, Rajapakse NRM (1991) A baseline study of Kandayan forest gardens of Srilanka: structure, composition and utilization. For Ecol Manag 45:269–280

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Perfecto I, Vandermeer J (2002) Quality of agroecological matrix in a tropical montane landscape: ants in coffee plantations in southern Mexico. Conserv Biol 16:174–182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Polasky S, Nelson E, Lonsdorf E, Fackler P, Starfield A (2005) Conserving species in a working landscape: land use with biological and economic objectives. Ecol Appl 15(4):1387–1401

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Power AG, Flecker AS (2001) Agroecosystems and Biodiversity. Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.

  31. Schroth G, Da Fonseca GAB, Harvey CA, Gascon C, Vasconcelos HL, Izac AMN (eds) (2004) Agroforestry and biodiversity conservation in tropical landscapes. Island Press, Washington, DC

  32. Sharma BM (1997) Nutrient cycling in agroforestry. In: Gupta JP, Sharma BM (eds) Agroforestry for sustained productivity in arid regions. Pawan Kumar Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur, pp 69–77

    Google Scholar 

  33. Shumba E (2001) Biodiversity and planning support programme. Zimbabwe case study. Indonesia, Forestry Commission

  34. Teshome DS (2014) Assessment of tree species, diversity distribution patterns and socioeconomic uses on agricultural landscapes: A case of Western Oromia, Ethiopia. M.Sc. Thesis submitted to the Graduate Studies Jimma University College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Natural Resource Management (Forest and Nature Conservation). Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

  35. Tolera M (2006) Woody species diversity of agricultural landscapes in Arsi Negelle District, Ethiopia: Implication for Biodiversity Conservation. MSc thesis report

Download references


We are indebted to the two anonymous reviewers for their critical review, which has helped us to greatly improve the manuscript. We thank Mr Mindaye Teshome for his help in constructing the rarefaction curves. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and World Agroforestry Centre/International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ACIAR-ICRAF) “Tree for food security project” for covering all the financial cost is highly acknowledged for funding the study. We are also grateful to Bako Agricultural Research Center (BARC) for logistic support during data collection.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Abayneh Derero.

Appendix 1

Appendix 1

Table 7.

Table 7 List of all tree species, origin, and number of individuals encountered in the different land use categories, and computed density, basal area and relative values in four study sites in sub-humid Oromia

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Samuel, D., Derero, A., Kebebew, Z. et al. Tree species diversity and spatial distribution patterns on agricultural landscapes in sub-humid Oromia, Ethiopia. Agroforest Syst 93, 1015–1029 (2019).

Download citation


  • Crop land
  • Evenness
  • Grazing land
  • Homestead
  • Richness