Richness, distribution and conservation status of medicinal plants in Tiyo District, Arsi Zone, Oromia, Ethiopia
Misbahu Aman, Gemedo Dalle and Zemede Asfaw
This study was conducted to document species diversity and conservation status of medicinal plants in Tiyo District, Arsi, Ethiopia. The study involved 153 informants from nine kebeles, comprising traditional healers, knowledgeable elders and local user communities. Semi- structured interview, guided field walk and group discussion were used for data collection on indigenous knowledge of local communities. Vegetation data was collected from 90 sample plots (45 in home gardens and 45 in the wild). Plot size of 25 m2 (5 m × 5 m) in each home garden and 400 m2 (20 m x 20 m) were used to collect vegetation data in the wild. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. A total of 83 medicinal plants belonging to 74 genera and 45 families were collected and identified. Almost all medicinal plants were multipurpose. Lamiaceae had the highest number of medicinal plants followed by Euphorbiaceae. Fabaceae, Cucurbitaceae and Solanaceae were also important families with many medicinal plants. Herbs constituted 47.0% of the total collected medicinal plants, followed by shrubs, (25.3%), and trees (19.3%). About 69% of the total medicinal plants were harvested from wild ecosystems. Compared with other districts in similar agroecology in Ethiopia, species richness of medicinal plants in the study area was low. Major threatening factors included unregulated agricultural expansion for cereal cultivation, deforestation, over utilization, over grazing and expansion of settlements. Integrated implementation of both in-situ and ex-situ conservation measures were identified to be critical. Environmental law enforcement and public awareness raising were recommended.