Ethiopia Flora and Fauna

Flora and vegetation. – The residents of the Abyssinian plateau distinguish in their country, from the point of view of vegetation and crops, three altimetric zones: Quollà (quoll ā) or lower zone (600-1500 msm), Woina Degà (wayna dag ā) zone intermedia (1800-2200 and even 2500 msm) and Dega (dag ā) or upper zone (above 2500); a division which, from Schimper onwards, has been adopted by all traveling botanists, because it responds to a condition of things that is easily recognizable on the ground. There are also quite considerable floristic differences between the northern and southern portion of the Ethiopian plateau and between the slopes respectively facing the Red Sea and the Nile basin (see the Eritrean entry for northern Abyssinia and for the eastern side).

The Quollà has a vegetation of xerophilous woods, park formations and savannahs. Several species of Ficus, the tamarind (Tamarindus indica) and a bamboo (Oxytenanthera abyssinica) characterize, towards their lower limit, these forest and herbaceous consortia very varied in their floristic composition, but which have the common biological character of a rest period corresponding to the driest season. During this phase, many tree species lose their leaves or have completely dried out foliage; the flowering often begins abruptly, coinciding with the first rains and preceding or accompanying the reappearance of the canopy Other character of these woods is the scarcity of succulent creepers and, towards the upper limit of the zone, the spesseggiare two acacias (A. Lahai, a. glaucophylla) and the appearance of Musa ensete, the parasite feature Hydnora Iohannis and some epiphytic orchids belonging to the genera Polystachya and Angraecum.

Woina Degà stands out, not only from Quollà, but also from Degb, for the flourishing and variety of its vegetation due to a relatively mild and not very variable climate (hardly exceeds 25 ° and rarely drops below 12 °, 5), on the other hand the interference of the rainy periods of the plateau and the coast, so that no month is absolutely free of rainfall. Since then also the edaphic conditions are more varied than in the other two areas, the vegetation assumes a very varied aspect, due to the alternation of scrubs and savannahs with the xerophilous vegetation of the slopes exposed to strong sunlight and covered by a dry and shallow or frankly rocky terrain, due to the appearance of the first prairies and finally to the presence of permanent rivular and stagnal stations.s ‘ begin montane forest at a uniform appearance for the small number of dominant tree species (Iuniperus procera, Podocarpus gracilior, Olea chrysophylla), despite the arbustacea and herbaceous flora still very rich, which will then push into Degà up to 3500 msm The characteristic The physiognomy of the plateau, however, is not given by the forests, but by the flat pastures, more or less interspersed with thickets with the accentuation of the undulations of the ground or the digging of deep torrential gorges, and which certainly presented the character of high savannas for the general diffusion of Acacia abysamica ; today completely cleared of trees, endless plains covered with prairie or steppe depending on the conditions of the ground. The aforementioned woods still occupy, although diminished, the slope of the isolated volcanic elevations or the walls of the valleys along which the waters of the Degà descend to merge with the major streams or get lost in the lower desert areas. In addition to the acacia, the well-known Euphorbia abyssinica (Kulkual) and the preserved cusso (Hagenia abyssinica) are still to be mentioned as characteristics of this area, due to the widespread use that the population makes of its inflorescences as a tenifuge, especially in the vicinity of housing.

When the volcanic systems, more or less dismantled, rise to altitudes above 3500 m. it is possible to distinguish a particular cacuminal vegetation, which includes the Erica arborea, constituting characteristic woods above the limit of the forests, and the great Lobelia rhynchopetala (3600-4500 msm), a very interesting relic of the paleo-African flora, closely related to other species widespread in the highest portion of the mountains of central Africa.

To the vegetation of southern Abyssinia is connected, for floristic and ecological affinities, that of the Harar and the Galla plateau, also politically dependent on the Ethiopian empire. On the slopes that, from the hararino plateau descend steeply towards the steppes of southern Danakil, the imposing forests of Podocarpus, Iuniperus, Olea already mentioned and today unfortunately reduced, even here, to very degraded strips, in favor of savannas and lean areas, are repeated crops. The savannas absolutely predominate in the Galla district, however assuming a prosperity that must be attributed to the abundance of surface waters. Acacias are represented by numerous species and by scrubs of the singular Dichrostachys nutans and interspersed with large specimens of Ficus gigante ; the savannah often passes through park formations and dense tunnel woods along rivers or lake edges. The thickets of a particular bamboo (Arundinaria alpina) are noteworthy for this district. For Ethiopia geography, please check

Fauna. – Ethiopia, very rich in number of species, belongs to the East African sub-region of the great Ethiopian region (see Africa), and although it has few characteristic elements, it is one of the most representative of all African faunas. The fauna of Ethiopia, in addition to its own species, includes a certain number of Palearctic elements. Numerous monkeys populate the rocky luogni and the banks of the rivers where they live gathered in flocks: like the Guereza (gurēzā; Colobus guereza), the Gelada (Theropithecus gelada) that inhabits the south of Ethiopia, the Hamadryad (Papio hamadryas) which lives in rocky regions, various vervets, some prosimians. Among the Bats, the redheads (Pteropodidne) are noteworthy ; numerous Insectivores with curious shapes such as the long-legged Macroscelis, and the potamogals, excellent flat-tailed swimmers; there are also many Rosicants including several squirrels and the characteristic bare-skinned Heterocephalus (Heterocephalus glaber). Among the Carnivores the lion, the leopard, the hyenas, the prothelians, the viverre, the jackals, etc. Numerous herds of antelopes including the characteristic antelope cows (Bubalis), the wildebeest (Connochaetes), the oreotraghi (Oreotragus). Gazelles, zebras, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, warthogs, giraffes, etc., complete the picture of this luxuriant African mammological fauna. Birds include eagles, vultures, hawks, buzzards, cuckoos, the characteristic snake, various parrots (Psittacidae), ostriches. Among the Reptiles, various forms of large lizards (Agama), chameleons, pythons, poisonous snakes, crocodiles. Particular species of frogs among the Amphibians and numerous freshwater fish. Insects are represented by innumerable species with various shapes and marvelous colors; the termites and their constructions (termite mounds) are noteworthy.

Ethiopia Fauna