Wild edible plants: sustainable use and management by indigenous communities in and the buffer area of Awash National Park, Ethiopia
Author(s)Bahru, Tinsae; Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research
Asfaw, Zemede; Addis Ababa University
Demissew, Sebsebe; Addis Ababa University
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AbstractWild edible plants are valuable resources in rural livelihoods for supplementing the staple food, ensuring food security, dietary diversification and sustained income. This study aimed to identify and document indigenous uses and management of wild edible plants being used by the Afar and Oromo communities in and the buffer area of Awash National Park. A total of 96 informants between the ages of 20 and 80 were identified using prior information. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews, guided field walk, discussions, market surveys and field observation. A total of 55 wild edible species were identified by members of the local communities. About 93% of the species were reported with their vernacular (local) names, where 69% were reported by the Afar and 87% by the Oromo communities. Eighty-nine percent of the species were classified as indigenous to the area, while 11% were classified as exotics. Preference ranking indicated that the fruits of Balanites aegyptiaca (L.) Del. are the most preferred edible fruit by the local communities. The local people access the National Park for some of the wild edible plants as they are largely depleted from the surrounding areas. The yet untapped potentials of the wild edible plants as food sources in the area need better attention in future research plans. The issue of conservation of wild edible plants is unquestionable to ensure household food security, dietary diversification and local communities’ income, which also contributes to the biodiversity.