Ethiopia: Diversifying Biodiversity Conservation Efforts

A year and some months ago, Ethiopia joined mega-diverse countries' list after a unanimous approval by the high level meeting on the sidelines of UN Biodiversity Conference held in Cancun, Mexico. The resource Ethiopia has in this regard has to be conserved to boost the socio-economic benefits of the people.

The protection and development of the biodiversity require lots of legal and institutional measures, and even the rehabilitation of endangered species which should receive increased attention from all stakeholders with the government in the lead.

In fact, it would easier a country home to diverse animal and plant species to conserve and preserve its wealth than restoring or rehabilitating lost and endangered ones some other countries are finding it hard.

Promising activities are under way in the country such as protecting areas known for their reach plant and animal species from human encroachment.

The establishment of Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute (EBI)and Gullele Botanical Garden, among others could also be seen as huge step in this regard.

Conservation efforts are being carried out in two ways at EBI for instance.

Species of various sort are conserved in their natural settings and their generic sperm is preserved in cold rooms and field gene banks, he added.

Due to such efforts over 80, 000 accessions and 964 microbiology are collected and stored, according to him.

This is done due to its important environmentally, socially and economically, he says, adding that diversity in wild plant species, for instance, is potentially a major medicinal resource, and it is insurance for further food security. "It should also be noted that species that might not have known direct economic value today may turn out to be economically important in the future."

For his part, Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute, Forest and Ranged Land Director, Debissa Lemessa, said rewarding activities has been made joining hands with communities.

Due to the increasing societal awareness raising works, various indigenous plant species have been transplanted across the country, he hints. Adding, he noted that in Amhara State like Gojjam, Benishangul Gumuz State Birsheleko is just few places to mention.

In addition, with a view to fostering conservation efforts, specialized institutions has been established, he revealed, mentioning as the purpose of the institutes is to protect Acacia tree that rests on 67 ha land in Afar State and incense forest in Tigray State.

To expand its works, the institute has forged relations with various universities, he said.

The Institute's field gene bank activities and other preserving works helped it to stand 4th in the world next to Mexico, Netherlands and Australia last year, he further explained.

On the other hand, Gullele Botanic Garden Communication Director Yared Getahun indicated that his organization has been cooperating with EBI in areas of conservation and protection.

To him various works have been accomplished in collecting indigenous plant species from the traditional five agro-ecological zones of the country to the 705 ha Botanical Garden located the northern Addis at the hills of Entoto.

He also underscored that the separate and joint effort of institutions dedicated for conservation efforts has to focus on raising awareness of the public on the conservational efforts.

Provided that such efforts would continue with more fervor, the biodiversity of Ethiopia would contribute more to the socio-economic well being of the nation.

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