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The website presents work done for the ' flora of woody plants and vegetation on the Horn of Africa' project, led by Ib Friis. An important aim of the work presented on this website was to test various theories formed during the work with the Atlas of the potential vegetation of Ethiopia, published in 2010, and gather new information to our publications on the trees of the Horn of Africa.

The project has resulted in new insights and information about the vegetation and species in Ethiopia, including the discovery of new woody plant species. This will allow us to further improve our potential natural vegetation map for eastern Africa.

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On 17 November 2016 Paulo van Breugel has successfully defended his PhD thesis The potential natural vegetation of eastern Africa. Distribution, conservation and future changes. The PhD study built upon, and extended our earlier work on the potential natural vegetation (PNV) map of eastern Africa.

Species and ecosystems are increasingly threatened by the human activities, while climate change projections show that eastern Africa may face considerable changes in temperature and rainfall regimes. These changes pose huge challenges for the prioritization and implementation of conservation and sustainable management of the natural environment. There is therefore an urgent need for information that allow us to assess the current status of the region’s natural environment and to predict how this may change under future climates. This thesis aims to improve our knowledge on natural vegetation distribution in eastern African, examine how this may change under future climates, and how this can be used to identify conservation priorities in the region. Chapter 1 presents a brief overview of the concept of the potential natural vegetation (PNV), synthesizes the general findings and discusses future perspectives. Chapter 2 presents a biogeographic study of a hitherto poorly studied vegetation type in Ethiopia which is characterized by many near-endemic or endemic species. Chapter 3 focuses on the distribution of fire and different potential vegetation types in Ethiopia under current climatic conditions and how this is likely to change under different climate change scenarios. Chapter 4 presents an environmental gap analysis to prioritize conservation efforts in eastern Africa, based on an evaluation of the environmental representativeness of protected areas and an assessment of the level of threat to the regions different vegetation types. Chapter 5 present a new approach to quickly map the distribution of species by combining species distributions from the PNV maps with that of habitat distribution models, and use this to project to what extent and where projected climate changes are likely to affect the potential distribution ranges of a range of woody species in eastern Africa. 

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Useful Tree database now available via the Agroforestry Species Switchboard

The RELMA-ICRAF Useful Trees database provides links to species fact sheets obtained from the RELMA-ICRAF series on the useful tree species. In these fact sheets, information is provided on the ecology, uses, propagation, management, local names and botanical names of useful tree and shrub species. Photographs and drawings are included for most of the species.

The species fact sheets are also available via the Agroforestry Species Switchboard ( and the vegetationmap4africa smart phone version.


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New! Seed zonation maps in Google Earth for 13 important agroforestry tree species in East Africa

Maps of 13 important agroforestry tree species in east Africa were created that show tree seed zones for current and mid-21st century climates, modelled using bioclimatic data layers from AFRICLIM.

The species for which these maps were created are Acacia senegal, Bridelia micrantha, Croton megalocarpus, Dalbergia melanoxylon, Faidherbia albida, Markhamia lutea, Olea capensis, Podocarpus latifolius, Prunus africana, Sclerocarya birrea, Tamarindus indica, Terminalia brownii and Warburgia ugandensis.

Results were obtained by the Climate-smart Tree Seed Sourcing in East Africa project, funded through CCAFS to the World Agroforestry Centre, the University of Copenhagen and national tree seed centres of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
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