Natural gum and resin bearing species of Ethiopia and their potential applications

W. Tadesse, G. Desalegn, R. Alia

Abstract


Ethiopia is one of the countries well endowed with various species of Acacia, Boswellia and Commiphora that are known to produce gum arabic, frankincense and myrrh, respectively. Over 60 gum and resin bearing species are found in the country. The total area of oleo-gum resin bearing woodlands cover about 2.9 million ha of land in the country, with over 300,000 metric tons of natural gum production potential. Boswellia papyrifera is a chief gum resin producing tree species in Ethiopia. The total area covered by the species is estimated to be more than 1.5 million ha. Frankincense and myrrh are used in medicines, beverages and liqueurs, cosmetics, detergents, creams and perfumery, paints, adhesives and dyes manufacturing. Gum Arabic is used as stabilizing, in food and drink industries; in pharmaceuticals, in printing and textile industries. Despite the enormous socio-economic importance of these natural products, the species are declining at an alarming rate due to degradation resulted from agricultural expansion, overgrazing, fire, poor incense harvesting practices, etc. Therefore, research and development efforts and international collaborations could have strong potentials to the conservation, production and commercialization for the benefits of the local, national as well as the international communities.

Keywords


Acacia; Boswellia; Commiphora; frankincense; gum arabic; myrrh

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DOI: 10.5424/srf/2007163-01010

Webpage: www.inia.es/Forestsystems