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 AIZON Arboretum Project


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AIZON Arboretum Project

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AIZON Arboretum Project

“Improving quality of life without compromising that of future generations may be the objective of a culture that has achieved sufficient awareness of its past, present and the needs for future”

Ethiopia suffers from severe natural resources mismanagement which results in soil erosion and loss of soil fertility, food shortages, extreme rural poverty and migration to towns. The food security of the country depends on massive international humanitarian assistance even in normal agricultural years. Increasing agricultural production, bringing up the country from extreme poverty and at the same time implementing natural resource management principles that do not harm future generations are huge challenges to Ethiopia.

Globally, one of the recognized limitations on perennial horticulture development in the tropical and semi-tropical world is related to the lack of dissemination of species across regions; fruits from Asia are barely known in Africa and South America (and vice versa). In Ethiopia only a small fraction of commercial fruit species known in Asia and South America are cultivated and often the varieties used are of poor quality.

The AIZON arboretum project is collecting fruit species from various parts of the globe to test their adaptability to Bahar Dar. AIZON's founders have the privilege of working internationally and to have developed a network of colleagues traveling to various parts of the globe. It is through these travels and networks that seed samples of fruits and spices are collected and transferred to Ethiopia. The arboretum project will contribute to the exchange of horticultural plants samples from Asia, South America and Africa, which have their own economic interests in their respective regions to the Ethiopian Highlands. So far, over 200 indigenous and foreign species from all continents have been put on trial on the AIZON arboretum. The project is being conducted in collaboration with the Regional Agriculture Department. AIZON nursery and has been approved as a quarantine nursery. It follows Agriculture Office protocols and regional agriculture officers regularly inspect the site.

Furthermore, the project is collecting, multiplying, planting and labeling endangered as well as useful indigenous forest tree species. It is intended that the arboretum will serve as an Exhibition and will provide educational activities to both the rural and urban population as the area will be open to visitors of all walk of life. The arboretum demonstrates the advantages of agro-forestry in sustainable farming in Ethiopia by using indigenous and imported species of fruits and useful forest tress/shrubs. It is also anticipated that some new fruit tree species and varieties will adapt to the Ethiopian highlands and in the mid-long term, some of these could be cultivated as cash crops by farmers.

In addition, as the arboretum land is fenced, protective grassland management can be applied and compared with the degrading effects of over grazing that takes place near the site (see pictures).

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View of the arboretum nursery at the onset of the project (Bahar Dar, March 2005







Young Tamarind seedling from Thailand growing on the Ethiopian highlands in July 2005






Same Tamarind tree in May 2006








Young pomegranate tree just planted in June 2005








Pomegranate tree already in fruit in May 2006





Metekia Getachew, AIZON agro-forester, showing the growth of an indigenous forest tree, Gravillia robusta, 1 year after plantation to reforest the library site. Bahar Dar, June 2006

View of gullies fast recovering when protective grassland management is applied. Outside the fence, over grazing accentuates soil erosion while within the arboretum, the gullies are already stabilizing after a year after protective management. Bahar Dar, February 2006.

Overgrazing accentuates erosion problems on deforested land next to the arboretum site (Bahar Dar, March 2005)


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