Addis Ababa July 16/2020 (ENA) The Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute said it will give special attention to the planting of indigenous tree seedlings in the Green Legacy Initiative that has mostly been planting exotic species.
Biodiversity Institute Director-General, Melesse Maryo told ENA that tree seedlings planting campaigns in the country have no so far given due attention to indigenous tree seedlings.
“In almost all the initiatives and campaigns, most of the seedlings planted were exotic tree species. Therefore, our institute has decided to reverse this trend by increasing the number of seedlings of indigenous species beginning this season,” he said.
Accordingly, more indigenous tree seedlings will be planted in every woreda during the next years as part of the Green Legacy initiative that aspires to plant 20 billion seedlings by 2024.
Indigenous trees are good for the environment as they have paramount significance for the stabilization of the climate and benefit communities more than the exotic ones, the director-general stated.
Melesse said the institute, which annually planted over six hundred thousand indigenous tree saplings over the past five years against its plan of 1 million, will plant 10 million in the next two and half years.
“On average we have been planting over 600,000 trees for the last five years. But we have planted over 700,000 indigenous trees last year and more than 760,000 this year, partly as agro-forestry,” the director-general added.
The institute with close to a dozen branches across the nation has several in situ forest sites, ex situ forest field gene banks, and few botanical gardens to conserve various species.
According to the director-general, more than hundred indigenous tree species in Ethiopia are in the red list of extinction.
The planting of indigenous tree species, other things remaining constant, maintains soil erosion, prevents flooding and other environmental disasters like land sliding.
Ethiopia is among the 20 mega-diverse countries in biodiversity resources in the world as it has over 6,000 plant species.
The country with 15.5 percent forest coverage, has pledged to restore 15 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.