Gabal Elba Dragon Tree (Dracaena ombet)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 180519008
Ecology and conservation status of the endangered Dracaena ombet in the degraded Arid Afromontane of Eastern Africa In Ethiopia
Dracaena ombet is a globally endangered tree and known as a flagship species for East African dry eco-regions. In Ethiopia, it is only sparsely found in the degraded Desa'a forest, which is one of the key biodiversity hot sptos of East Africa. To date, no data or information about the tree in Ethiopia regarding its ecology, conservation status and possible threats. Hence, this project has been developed to study these issues of the tree species in Ethiopia with collaboration of The Red Sea Parks Development Association, an Egyptian conservation organization. More specifically, the project will have the following specific objectives:
1. To assess the current conservation status of Dracaena ombet in Ethiopia through collecting filed data on its ecology (regeneration, seed dispersal and population structures) and threats by involving local community and relevant stakeholders
2. Prepare a GIS-map for the tree's distribution and suitable habitats in Ethiopia using filed data, local community indigenous knowledge and working with NGOs and partner from Egypt
3. To strength capacity of local community, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders in monitoring and conservation of the endangered tree through active participation of all stakeholders in the project; train all stakeholders to improve their skills and experience on monitoring and mapping of the tree; and increase awareness of Dracaena values by public awareness activities
4. Prepare a short and long term local and national monitoring and conservation action plans for the tree species in Ethiopia
5. To contribute for a regional (east-north African) development of D.ombet conservation action plans; and to the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) for updating status of the tree in the IUCN Red List at regional and global levels
For accomplishment of the above mentioned objectives of the project, data will be gathered both from field survey and stakeholders. Our data collection approaches will also be followed sound scientific procedures. Before conducting a fieldwork, we will meet with local community of the study area to arrange community introduction and discuss on logistics. We will then standardize our methodologies depending on the local communities' feedback on available resources and nature of the study area. Two key informants from the local community (who have a good knowledge about the tree) will be selected with full participation of all community to join the four team members of the project (their names already mentioned in the affiliated institutions with the project above). The key informants will help us in determining geographical distribution of the tree in the study area; share their indigenous knowledge about the tree; and to organize trainings and discussion with community. For empowering skills of team members and relevant stakeholders, training at filed level on usage of GPS and digital camera for monitoring of the tree and its habitats will be given by the Egyptian partner of the project.
All team members will participate in population status survey of the tree species in the study area. The survey counts and measures the tree's density, diameter at breast height, height, regeneration capacity and dispersal, distribution, health status and threats following scientific approach provided by Usama et al (2014). Each tree under measurement will also be geographically marked with GPS and it links with GIS database for its future monitoring.
These collected data will then be scientifically analysed and interpreted to prepare a short and long term conservation actions for the tree species in Ethiopia. The data will also be used for predicting suitable habitats for the tree species in Ethiopia; and empowering stakeholders' awareness on future conservation of the tree species through training. In addition, collected data will be added to the already developed database on the tree species in North Africa for developing comprehensive future conservation and monitoring actions of the species at regional and global levels. Finally, results of the project will be linked with restoration action plans of partner governmental and non-governmental organizations for ensuring its future conservation in Ethiopia.