Composition and Endemicity of Plant Species in Simien Mountains National Park Flora, North Gondar, Northwestern Ethiopia
Keywords:diverse ecological settings, endemic species, flora, isolation, threat status
Though Ethiopia is endowed with rich biological resources, in the last few decades, these resources are highly threatened by anthropogenic activities. As a result, better vegetation cover is largely found in inaccessible and protected areas only. This work was conducted in Simien Mountains National Park (SMNP) vegetation. SMNP is a spectacular world heritage site having different landforms that encapsulate diverse and unique biodiversity combinations and serve as a refuge for rare and endangered species. The objective of the inventory was to assess the floristic composition, endemicity, and threat status of the endemic plant species in the park. Extensive and frequent field work in SMNP at different times and seasons (2014-2019), examination of the herbarium specimens of Simien from the National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, and evaluation of botanical information in previous studies were used as a data source. Plant specimens’ identification was based on published volumes of the flora of Ethiopia and Eretria. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the floristic data. A total of 532 vascular plant species representing 102 families were recorded. Asteraceae was the dominant family followed by Poaceae. Out of the species identified, 75 were endemic to Ethiopia, which is included in the preliminarily assessed list for IUCN Red Data List. The study area is found rich in floristic composition and endemicity resulting from environmental heterogeneity that suits different species. Endemic species in the park are found at different threat statuses. Immediate managerial interventions shall be devised for critically endangered and endangered endemic plant species.