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The study discussed ethnobotany of and threats to wild edible plants in …

Home » Biology Articles » Ethnobiology » Ethnobotanical study of wild edible plants in Derashe and Kucha Districts, South Ethiopia » Materials and methods

Materials and methods
- Ethnobotanical study of wild edible plants in Derashe and Kucha Districts, South Ethiopia

Study area and people
The study was conducted in Derashe and Kucha districts, South Region of Ethiopia with three ethnic groups namely, Kusume, Derashe and Gamo communities (see Figure 1). The Kusume people (population about 8,543) live in low land areas of Gato (altitude <1300 m). The Derashe people (population 91, 654) live in the low and high land parts (1250–2300 m) of Derashe district. The Gamo people (population about 126,561) live in a more isolated district of varying topography ranging between (1250–2600 m) [12]. The Derashe and Gamo are the dominant ethnic communities of Derahse and Kucha districts respectively. In all communities, the majority of the people practice similar economic activities, mixed farming (crop and livestock production). Of the three communities, the Kusume and Derashe share overlapping ecological niches, culture and languages. The districts cover humid highland (>2000 m), intermediate climate and semiarid lowland (<1500 m.). The vegetation cover of the study areas varies from patches of tall forest trees on the slop of the escarpments to wooded grassland of the plain areas of both Derashe and Kucha districts. The low land areas are covered by various shrubs and savannah grasses in Kucha district. Some of the common shrubs of bush land and wooded grassland include small-leaved species of Acacia, Commiphora and broad-leaved species of Combretum and Terminalia. On the hills and hill slopes, tree species like Juniperous procera, Podocarpus falcatus, Syzygium guineense and Olea spp europaea occurred here and there.
Five study sites from Derashe district and six from Kucha were conveniently selected based on vegetation cover and altitudes. Seventy-two informants of different age groups (35 from Gamo, 19 from Derashe and 18 from Kusume) were interviewed. The informants were selected with assistance of agricultural experts and Development Agents (DA) in study areas. The study was conducted using semi-structured interview, field observation, group discussion, market survey and pair wise ranking. To understand local peoples' perception on activities threatening wild edible plants, pair wise ranking [13] was conducted and the number of possible pairs was calculated using the relation N (N-1)/2, where N is the number of factors (activities). Accordingly, five factors threatening wild edible plants were identified with the community. The total number of pairs was determined using the formula, and the ten pairs arranged and presented to informants to choose one from the two threats at a time. Then, the scores from each respondent summed-up, the ranks determined and the factor that received the highest total score ranked first. Specimens of wild edible plants were collected, identified, and deposited at the National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University. Information gathered through semi-structured interview was presented using percentages and ranking. Chi-square (X2) statistical test of homogeneity was calculated to test the null hypothesis that states, "There is no difference in use of wild edible plants under various use categories among the study communities". Furthermore, correspondence analysis was exercised for use report frequency and the first six axes, which contributed 79% of the total variation, were used as input for cluster analysis. Ward Square Euclidean distance in MINITB computer software was applied to investigate species use similarity [14].

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