The Potential and Risks of Using Exotics for the Rehabilitation of Ethiopian Dryland Forests

van Wyk, G., D. Pepler, K. Gebrehiwot, R. Aerts and Bart Muys

Publication Date:

Case studies from South Africa are discussed to, firstly, illustrate the potential of exotics, especially eucalypts, in providing much needed timber while also protecting the natural forest. These species, when genetically improved, can reach yields of more than 20 m3·ha-1·year-1, even under relatively dry conditions. Secondly, the risk of using exotics, such as eucalypts and Australian Acacias, e.g. in terms of water use, uncontrolled spread and destruction of local biodiversity, is discussed and examples are given of management procedures to manage the risks. Finally, some suggestions are proposed on strategies to be followed for the use of exotics in the Ethiopian highlands, especially on the questions how much, where and how to use them. It is pointed out that, with sufficient control, including spatial planning, policy and legislation, exotic species could play an important role in filling economic and social demands that need not be in conflict with environmental objectives.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Journal of the Drylands