Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Frankincense in peril
Bongers, Frans ; Groenendijk, Peter ; Bekele, Tesfaye ; Birhane, Emiru ; Damtew, Abebe ; Decuyper, Mathieu ; Eshete, Abeje ; Gezahgne, Alemu ; Girma, Atkilt ; Khamis, Mohamed A. ; Lemenih, Mulugeta ; Mengistu, Tefera ; Ogbazghi, Woldeselassie ; Sass-Klaassen, Ute ; Tadesse, Wubalem ; Teshome, Mindaye ; Tolera, Motuma ; Sterck, Frank J. ; Zuidema, Pieter A. - \ 2019
Nature Sustainability 2 (2019). - ISSN 2398-9629 - p. 602 - 610.
The harvest of plant parts and exudates from wild populations contributes to the income, food security and livelihoods of many millions of people worldwide. Frankincense, an aromatic resin sourced from natural populations of Boswellia trees and shrubs, has been cherished by world societies for centuries. Boswellia populations are threatened by over-exploitation and ecosystem degradation, jeopardizing future resin production. Here, we reveal evidence of population collapse of B. papyrifera—now the main source of frankincense—throughout its geographic range. Using inventories of 23 populations consisting of 21,786 trees, growth-ring data from 202 trees and demographic models on the basis of 7,246 trees, we find that over 75% of studied populations lack small trees, natural regeneration has been absent for decades, and projected frankincense production will be halved in 20 yr. These changes are caused by increased human population pressure on Boswellia woodlands through cattle grazing, frequent burns and reckless tapping. A literature review showed that other Boswellia species experience similar threats. Populations can be restored by establishing cattle exclosures and fire-breaks, and by planting trees and tapping trees more carefully. Concerted conservation and restoration efforts are urgently needed to secure the long-term availability of this iconic product.
Modelling the future of Boswellia papyrifera population and its frankincense production
Lemenih, M. ; Arts, B.J.M. ; Wiersum, K.F. ; Bongers, F. - \ 2014
Journal of Arid Environments 105 (2014). - ISSN 0140-1963 - p. 33 - 40.
economic-systems - metema district - dry forest - tree size - land-use - ethiopia - stella - cover
Sustainable production of the aromatic forest product frankincense is at stake due to rapid decline in its resource base. This affects livelihoods of thousands of citizens and several global industries. A system dynamic model approach is used to predict the future population of Boswellia papyrifera trees and its frankincense yield for three decades (2010e2040) in Metema and Abergelle districts in northern Ethiopia. Data from studies on the ecology, distribution, rate of deforestation and participatory future scenario development were put together and analysed using a model platform developed with STELLA. Four alternative scenarios namely Business As Usual (BAU); Low Intervention Scenario (LS), High Intervention Scenario (HS) and Stabilization Scenario (SS) were used. The model predicts 3%, 8% and 37% of the current stem population to exist in 2040 under BAU, LS, HS scenarios, respectively in Metema. Similarly, 11%, 13% and 46% stem density is predicted under BAU, LS and HS, respectively for Abergelle. Test of model sensitivity shows adult mortality is the most serious problem facing the resource. Immediate management intervention should focus on reducing adult tree mortality followed by reducing deforestation. Medium and long term interventions need to focus on how to improve recruitment and afforestation/reforestation of the species.
Diversity and dynamics of management of gum and resin resources in Ethiopia: a trade-off between domestication and degradation
Lemenih, M. ; Wiersum, K.F. ; Teshale Woldeamanuel Habebo, Teshale ; Bongers, F. - \ 2014
Land Degradation and Development 25 (2014)2. - ISSN 1085-3278 - p. 130 - 142.
papyrifera del. hochst - boswellia-papyrifera - biodiversity conservation - northern ethiopia - forest - frankincense - acacia - restoration - environment - landscapes
Although the human domestication of forest and tree resources is often considered to result in resource degradation, it may also lead to improved resource potentials. This paper assesses the nature and dynamics of gum and resin focused woodland exploitation and management systems in Ethiopia in the context of degradation and domestication processes. In three sites with commercial gum resin producing woodlands and production history, we studied variation in (i) woodland management and gum resin production systems and (ii) socio-economic and biophysical factors that condition the management and production systems. On the basis of their organizational features, we formulated nine production models and related them to different phases of domestication and different degrees of ecosystem degradation. The production systems gradually evolved from the extraction of wild trees to production in an adapted forest system. However, domesticated woodlands with an adapted forest structure and composition and increased provisioning services are still little developed despite decades of production history. Many of these woodlands are undergoing serious degradation because of low quality management practices. This is mainly attributable to existing land use practices and the social arrangements for the production of and trade in the gums and resins. The findings illustrate that domestication involves not only a change in ecological and production systems but also the development of social arrangements for production and trade. We conclude that the status of domestication in a social sense determines whether forests and/or specific forest resources are degraded or aggraded in the sense of resource enrichment
Manage or convert Boswellia woodlands? Can frankincense production payoff?
Dejene, T. ; Lemenih, M. ; Bongers, F. - \ 2013
Journal of Arid Environments 89 (2013). - ISSN 0140-1963 - p. 77 - 83.
forest products - south-africa - dry forests - papyrifera - ethiopia - environment - zimbabwe - trade
African dry forests provide non-timber forest products (NTFPs) of high commercial value, such as frankincense and gum arabic. Nonetheless, their deforestation and conversion to croplands is intensifying. Expected higher financial return from crop production is a main driver of conversion, but research supporting this underlying claim is scarce. We compared the financial returns for two crop production options (sesame and cotton) and forest use, in a dry forest area known for its frankincense production in northern Ethiopia. Net revenue was highest for sesame and lowest for cotton agricultural use. The forest based revenue was intermediate. The revenues from the crop production options were more sensitive to a range of uncertainties than the forest land use. Our results show that forest land use that includes commercial NTFPs is financially competitive to some commercial crop options and offers returns of better reliability. The hypothesis that forest based revenues are lower than crop based ones is not supported by our results. Therefore, the continued deforestation of dry forests cannot be explained by lower returns alone, but other factors such as awareness, market access, property right and institutional issues may also play a role to drive deforestation and conversion of dry forests to croplands.
Effects of resin tapping and tree size on the purity, germination and storage behavior of Boswellia papyrifera (Del.) Hochst. seeds from Metema District, northwestern Ethiopia.
Eshete, A. ; Teketay, D. ; Lemenih, M. ; Bongers, F. - \ 2012
Forest Ecology and Management 269 (2012). - ISSN 0378-1127 - p. 31 - 36.
frankincense - forest - fire
Boswellia papyrifera (Del.) Hochst. is one of the tree species in dry woodlands of Ethiopia that provides several goods and services. Despite its wide economic and ecological importance, its area coverage is dwindling from time to time, and its natural regeneration is hampered. Hence, long-term prospect for a sustained supply of the goods and services from the species is becoming questionable. The objectives of this study were to investigate: (i) the effect of resin tapping and tree size (DBH) on seed susceptibility to insect attack and the production of viable seeds; and (ii) seed longevity and germination ecology of the seeds of B. papyrifera. We collected seeds from tapped and untapped B. papyrifera stands at Lemlem Terara in Metema District, northwestern Ethiopia. The result showed that both tapped and untapped stands produced comparable insect attacked seeds (tapped stands = 16.6%; untapped stands = 15.8%). Untapped trees yielded significantly (P <0.0001) higher viable seeds (59%) than continuously tapped trees (49.3%), and trees with medium size (20 cm DBH) provided more viable seeds than bigger (30 cm DBH) and younger trees (10 cm DBH). Longevity of B. papyrifera seeds indicated significant difference in viability under three different temperature regimes (5, 15 and 21 °C), three storage periods (6, 9 and 12 months) and two tapping regimes (tapped and untapped populations). Fire that produced temperatures above 100 °C was lethal to the seeds as it caused complete loss of germinability regardless of exposure time. However, heat with temperatures less than 100 °C did not cause loss of germinability even after an hour of exposure. We also found that light conditions had no significant impact on the germination percentage. In general, viability of the seeds was affected by tapping and tree size but not by storage conditions and period, modest temperature and light conditions.
What the Future Holds for Forestry Development in Ethiopia? Foresight Through Scenarios Construction
Lemenih, M. ; Bongers, F. ; Wiersum, K.F. ; Arts, B.J.M. - \ 2011
In: Research and development in drylands of Ethiopia / Worku, A., Animut, G., Kassa, H., Sintayehu, M., Tadesse, W., Gebru, Y., Addis Ababa : Forum for Environment, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - p. 101 - 122.
Time of collection and cutting sizes affect vegetative propagation of Boswellia papyrifera (Del.) Hochst through leafless branch cuttings
Haile, G. ; Gebrehiwot, K. ; Lemenih, M. ; Bongers, F. - \ 2011
Journal of Arid Environments 75 (2011)9. - ISSN 0140-1963 - p. 873 - 877.
frankincense - position
Boswellia papyrifera (Del) Hochst is a key dry land plant species in the Horn of Africa with high socio-economic significance in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan. In recent decades, populations of this species are declining due to lack of recruitment through natural regeneration. This study investigated the potential of vegetative propagation using leafless branch cuttings as an alternative means of reproduction for the species. The effect of time of collection and cutting sizes (length and thickness) on shooting and rooting of the cuttings was investigated. The effects of these three factors were analysed, two-by-two, in three separate factorial experiments each arranged in a randomized complete block design. Time of collection affected cutting performance: shooting percent, shoot number, cutting vigour, leaf number, leaf length, rooting percent and root length were best when cuttings were collected in February–March, and weakest in May. Medium to long cuttings (1.0 m–2.0 m) and thicker cuttings (0.19–0.27 m) performed better than shorter or thinner cuttings. These results indicate that B. papyrifera is amenable to macro-propagation via leafless branch cuttings. Reproduction of B. papyrifera through macro-propagation may help overcome the population recruitment bottleneck of this important species and will help the long-term yield possibilities of its precious product frankincense
Dry forests of Ethiopia and their silviculture
Lemenih, M. ; Bongers, F. - \ 2011
In: Silviculture in the Tropics, Tropical Forestry Series / Gunter, S., Weber, M., Stimm, B., Mosandl, R., berlin Heidelberg : Springer Verlag - ISBN 9783642199851 - p. 261 - 272.
The Role of Plantation Forests in Fostering Ecological Restoration: Experiences from East Africa
Lemenih, M. ; Bongers, F. - \ 2010
In: Degraded Forests in Eastern Africa: management and resoration / Bongers, F, Tennigkeit, T, London : The Earthscan Forest Library - ISBN 9781844077670 - p. 171 - 219.
Incense Woodlands in Ethiopia and Eritrea: Regeneration Problems and Restoration Possibilities
Abiyu, A. ; Bongers, F. ; Eshete, A. ; Gebrehiwot, K. ; Kindu, M. ; Lemenih, M. ; Moges, Y. ; Ogbazghi, W. ; Sterck, F.J. - \ 2010
In: Degraded Forests in Eastern Africa: management and resoration / Bongers, F, Tennigkeit, T, London : The Earthscan Forest Library - ISBN 9781844077670 - p. 133 - 152.
Forest Resources and Challenges of Sustainable Forest Management and Conservation in Ethiopia
Teketay, D. ; Lemenih, M. ; Bekele, T. ; Yemshaw, Y. ; Feleke, S. ; Tadesse, W. ; Moges, Y. ; Hunde, T. ; Nigussie, D. - \ 2010
In: Degraded Forests in Eastern Africa: management and resoration / Bongers, F, Tennigkeit, T, London : The Earthscan Forest Library - ISBN 9781844077670 - p. 19 - 64.
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