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Acacia bussei

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA MAGNOLIOPSIDA FABALES LEGUMINOSAE

Scientific Name: Acacia bussei
Species Authority: Harms ex B.Y.Sjöstedt

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2009-11-18
Assessor(s): Contu, S.
Reviewer(s): Hilton-Taylor, C.
Justification:
Acacia bussei is currently distributed in Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia and Ethiopia, meaning that the species has a wide distribution range at present, but it is used for a wide variety of purposes as well as fodder, it makes an excellent charcoal and in Somalia is over-exploited. The species doesn't appear to be threatened at present and it is therefore rated as Least Concern, but it is believed that conservation measures should be considered, as forest habitat in the areas where the species occurs is degraded and fragmented, and the exploitation of the species might lead to a serious population decline in the near future.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Acacia bussei is distributed in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania.
Countries:
Native:
Ethiopia; Kenya; Somalia; Tanzania, United Republic of
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: A. bussei has a wide distribution range at presents and it is generally recorded as common. It also represent the dominant species of the so called A. bussei woodlands. However, in some areas of its range, such as in Somalia, a population decline has been observed due to the over-exploitaition of the species which is used in many different ways, but mainly for charcoal production.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: A. bussei is a tree (3-10 m high) which grows in deciduous bushland, dry scrub, Acacia-Commiphora bushland, the species can also dominate large woodlands. It can be found on a wide range of soils from red sands to black cotton (clay) as well as on limestone outcrops. A. bussei woodlands are characterized by the openly spaced A. bussei associated with A. mellifera (Belil), Acacia nilotic (Mara) along waterways, and Acacia tortilis (guda) in depressions.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is the main source of charcoal in Somalia. In Somalia bark and root bark fibre is used for making rope, roots for making storage sacks for sorghum and string hanging doors and even young thorns are said to be eaten for food. It is also used as fodder.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): A. bussei is widely browsed by cattle, sheep and goats and the flowers appear before the leaves and form an important part of the camel's diet. Moreover, the species makes an excellent charcoal and it is in many areas facing over-exploitation (Thulin 1993), meaning that even though A. bussei is not a threatened species a present, woodlands formerly dominated by A. bussei are rapidly dwindling as the destruction of big trees changes the composition and structure of the ecosystems. The Horn of Africa is under heavy pressure from human activity, and is one of the most degraded hotspots in the world, with only about five per cent of original habitat in relatively pristine condition. Nearly all of the land area is used for grazing, mainly by camels, goats and sheep. Overgrazing and subsequent land degradation is a problem in large areas of the hotspot, particularly near watering points. Shifting cultivation is particularly destructive in parts of central and southern Somalia, where bushland and woodland are cut and burned for the cultivation of cassava (Conservation International 2007). Somalia has been subject to intensive forest exploitation such as Bay, Bakool and Gedo regions, and part of Lower/Middle Shabelle regions. Tree cutting is common for firewood and charcoal, fencing and building materials. The elder part of the population have said that formally their area was forested, but now the land has developed into a desert. The lack of trees within and outside of the villages are a striking feature of the area. Consequently, this has been followed by hazards of soil erosion, drought and decline of soil fertility (Hussein and Abdi 1998).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known conservation measures specifically for A. bussei, however, the species is known to occur in some protected areas: Kora National Park, Mkomazi Game Reserve, Shume Magamba Forest Reserve (Tanzania), Tsavo East National Park (Kenya). Samples of seed of A. bussei are held in the Millennium Seed Bank as an ex situ conservation measure. It is highly recommended that in situ conservation actions are promptly taken to ensure that the species does not fall into a threatened category in the near future. At present there is no a comprehensive protected areas network where the species occurs. Programmes of land management and sustainable use of resources should be encouraged.

Citation: Contu, S. 2012. Acacia bussei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 31 July 2014.
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