Human Disturbances and Land-Cover Types: Understanding Woody Plant Species Diversity in Ethiopia

SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY

In the 21st century, there are no places left on earth which are truly untouched by humans. This also holds true for the Wanchi watershed in the Ethiopian highlands. There, a mix of human land-use change and environmental variables shape local ecosystems. To find out how the diversity of woody plant species in the area responds to anthropogenic disturbances and topographic parameters, Angessa et al. (2020) recently analysed three different land-cover types in the watershed.

Three of the 104 woody plant species found in the study area. Right: Erica arborea (picture: Francisco Clamote). Middle: Hagenia abyssinica (picture: Alberto Vascon). Left: Myrsine melanophloeos (Robert von Blittersdorff).

From creating habitats for animal species to providing a myriad of ecosystem services critical for human well-being: Plant communities are a central factor shaping liveable environments by supporting local biodiversity. Yet, their sustainable management can turn out to be a complex challenge. Human induced disturbances…

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