The Effect of the Surrounding Landscape and Socioeconomic characteristics on Woody Species Diversity in Homegardens of Shewarobit District, Northeast Ethiopia

  • Weletehana Woldeamanual
  • Zebene Asfaw
  • Debissa Lemessa
Research Paper


Although homegardens are most often suggested as the refuges for biodiversity in human-dominated landscapes, how the surrounding landscape and socioeconomic characteristics affect this diversity in the tropics has received little research attention. Hence, this study has examined how these factors affect woody species diversity in homegardens of northeast Ethiopia. Three landscapes which are similar in agroecology were selected and in total 54 households were used for both a survey and a woody species inventory in respondents’ homegardens. The homegardens were stratified based on their locations in relation to crop fields and natural vegetation using satellite images from Google Earth. The variation in Shannon–Wiener diversity index among homegardens and the effect of the socioeconomic factors including household wealth status, homegarden area and the households’ types of uses of woody plants on species diversity were analyzed using one-way ANOVA. Altogether 53 woody plant species belonging to 35 botanical families were identified. Survey results indicated that the woody species diversity was higher in homegardens situated close to crop land as compared with the diversity in homegardens close to natural vegetation. Higher woody species diversity was recorded in homegardens which are larger in area and where the households’ types of uses of woody plants is higher. Moreover, the woody species diversity was found to be higher in homegardens of the high and medium income households when compared with that of poor households. Overall, results suggest that the concurrent ecological and socioeconomic studies are needed to design conservation strategy and policy for plant biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.


Homegarden biodiversity Human-modified landscapes Multipurpose trees Shannon–Wiener diversity index Species richness 



We would like to thank the Agricultural Development and Natural Resources Conservation Offices of Shewarobit District for their cooperation during the reconnaissance survey of the study landscapes and continuous assistance during all the period of data collection. Our gratitude also goes to all key informants and respondents for they are willing to allocate their times and share their experiences. Moreover, we would like to present our sincere thanks to Abeje Tedla and Trunesh Belachew who assisted in data collection in the field. Finally, we would like to thank Wondo Genet College of Forestry and Natural Resources for fund support to undertake the study.


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Copyright information

© Steve Harrison, John Herbohn 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Enjibara UniversityBahir DarEthiopia
  2. 2.Wondo Genet College of Forestry and Natural ResourcesHawasa UniversityShashemeneEthiopia
  3. 3.Ethiopian Biodiversity InstituteAddis AbabaEthiopia

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