Kide M. Gebremedihin, Mekelle University, Ethiopia
Emiru Birhane, Mekelle University, Ethiopia; e-mail:,
Tewodros Tadesse, Mekelle University, Ethiopia
Hailemariam Gbrewahid, Mekelle University, Ethiopia

Reference to article

Gebremedihin K.M., Birhane E., Tadesse T., Gbrewahid H. 2018. Restoration of degraded drylands through exclosures enhancing woody species diversity and soil nutrients in the highlands of Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Nature Conservation Research 3(1): 1–20.

Section Research articles

Exclusion of grazing animals and tree plantations were among the methods used for the rehabilitation of degraded lands in tropical semiarid areas. Exclosures can foster secondary forest succession by improving soil conditions, attracting seed-dispersal agents and modifying microclimate for understory growth. This paper compares the woody species diversity and soil chemical properties under exclosure with increasing age and grazing land at different slope positions. The study has been conducted in northern Ethiopia from 12 exclosure sites paired each with adjacent grazing land with four treatments replicated three times. In the entire study 216 plots were examined of which 108 were in exclosures and 108 in communal grazing lands.There were four age classes and three slope positions in each of the landuses. Vegetation data were collected using plots measuring 100 m2. Soils for physicochemical properties were collected from the four corners and center of 5 × 5m plots which was inside the 10 × 10m plot. A total of 61 woody plant species belonging to 41 families were recorded. Diversity and species richness were higher in the exclosures than in grazing lands. Among exclosures these parameters were higher in exclosures older than 30 years and at the foot of the slope. Grazing lands, the youngest exclosures and upper elevation gradient recorded lower values. Chemical soil properties were significantly higher in the exclosures, among them in the oldest exclosures and at foot elevation (except for P) than these were in the grazing land, the youngest exclosures and upper parts of slopes respectively. Exclosures are instrumental to improve the woody species diversity and soil chemical properties in the drylands.


chemical soil properties, exclosure, slope position, woody diversity

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Received: 21.08.2017

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