Trends in plant ecology research in Ethiopia (1969-2019): Systematic analysis
Keywords:Afromontane Forest, research syntheses, ROSES, systematic review, vegetation ecology
Background: The current status of plant ecology research in Ethiopia is unknown with the result that it is challenging to judge the impact of existing research on policy development and conservation actions.
Objectives: The objective of this paper was to systematically analyse the trends in plant ecological research in Ethiopia over the past 50 years.
Methods: The inclusion and exclusion of articles for analysis was carried out using the Reporting Standards for Systematic Evidence Syntheses (ROSES) flow diagram developed for systematic review/meta-analysis.
Results: The number of articles published, authors and collaboration has increased dramatically since the 1960s. Most of the research (52.6%) focused on the Dry evergreen Afromontane Forest and grassland complex (DAF) and Moist evergreen Afromontane Forest (MAF) vegetation types. Of the remaining vegetation types, woodlands (14.3%) i.e. Acacia–Commiphora woodland and bushland proper (ACW), and Combretum–Terminalia woodland and wooded grassland (CTW), desert and semi-desert scrubland (DSS) (2.3%), and the Afroalpine (AA) and Ericaceous Belt (EB) (1.5%) received comparatively little attention. Classical plant ecology themes and descriptive plant community studies were dominant over the last five decades in contrast to the focus on contemporary themes globally. Reproductive and dispersal ecology of invasive plant species and pollination ecology seem to be largely neglected topics. Furthermore, the recommendations forwarded by most of the articles reviewed (38.1%, n = 51) were not result-based.
Conclusions: As a future direction, the Ethiopian government should develop a project database for both completed and ongoing projects.
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