Collaborative Fieldwork and Vegetation Studies in Ethiopia
Kew is working in collaboration with herbaria at Addis Ababa University (ETH) and the University of Copenhagen (C), to carry out and document detailed studies on the woody plants of Ethiopia.
Collaboration and collecting in Ethiopia: our driver for the last six years, Ermias Getachew, displaying the endemic Barleria grandis Nees (Acanthaceae) that he has just collected.
This project involves collecting and documenting plant species and surveying the vegetation in poorly explored areas of Ethiopia in collaboration with partners in Ethiopia and Denmark. Collaborative fieldwork has been on-going since 1995 during which time many regions of Ethiopia have been extensively botanised.
Collections are preserved in the herbaria of Addis Ababa (ETH), Copenhagen (C) and Kew (K), with additional duplicates distributed to a range of botanical institutions.
The collected material has been used extensively by botanists involved in the recently completed Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea and the revised Vegetation Map for Ethiopia. In addition to adding many new species records for Ethiopia, the fieldwork component has amassed a wealth of information on species and habitat ranges and assisted in identifying areas of high diversity and/or endemism in the country. The new focus of this collaboration is now on documenting woody species with the objective of producing a handbook of Ethiopian and Eritrea trees and shrubs (c.1500 spp.) to aid in the identification of woody plants. Kew is particularly involved in the fieldwork aspects of this programme.
The project has involved training junior botanists from Kew and technicians from the University of Addis Ababa in plant collecting techniques, family/genus identification in the field and preliminary vegetation assessments. The training continues whilst sorting and distributing the specimens in Addis. The material is again used at Kew to train staff in family/genus/species recognition.
Project partners and collaborators
University of Copenhagen, Botanical Museum (Ib Friis)
University of Addis Ababa Herbarium (Sebsebe Demissew)