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Millions of
people in many developing countries do not have enough food to meet their daily
requirements and a further more people are deficient in one or more
micronutrients (FAO, 2004). Thus, in most cases rural communities depend on
wild resources including wild edible plants to meet their food needs in periods
of food crisis. The diversity in wild species offers variety in family diet and
contributes to household food security. Wild edible plants have constituted an
important element in human nutrition as a component of daily meals or during
periods of famine and starvation in different cultures throughout various
periods of history (Kebu Balemie and Fassil Kebebew, 2006).

Wild edible
plants are can supplement especially vitamins and micronutrient (Somnasang and
Moreno-Black, 2000) and serve as an alternative sources of income for many poor
communities (Melnyk, 1996). Moreover, it is fodder for livestock thus, over
centuries, indigenous people of different localities have developed their own specific
knowledge on plant resource, use, management and conservation (Cotton, 1996).

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Ethiopia, like many developing countries relies up on its
rich plant biodiversity for its socioeconomic development (Yigardu Mulatu,
2005). In Ethiopia, the number of wild edible plant species is enormous. Which
is also recognized as a Vavilov centre of origin and diversification for many
food plants and their wild relatives (Edwards, 1991). Several studies recorded the
occurrence of wild edibles at different parts of the country (Zemede Asfaw and Mesfin Tadesse, 2001; Kebu Balemie and Fassil Kebebew, 2006; Fentahun Mengistu, 2008; Getachew Addis, 2009; Ermias Lulekal  et
al., 2011).  There was also a research conducted on the
medicinal plant diversity of Kembata Tembaro Zone by Melesse Maryo (2013) but
there was no investigation on wild edible plant species diversity at Zonal
level in general, and in Kedida Gamella Woreda in particular. The study showed
that there is a loss of medicinal plants knowledge towards young generation
than elderly people. This study also wanted to investigate the status of wild
edible plant knowledge of the local people as the climate change impacts and
food scarcity become the questions of our days.

Most of these useful plants are found in the wild where
they are threatened by changes and degradation in natural ecosystems, specific
habitats, and vegetation types. These phenomena are more noticeable in
countries like Ethiopia where there is high human population pressure and
insufficient documentation and conservation of the local biodiversity. The
circumstances of Kedida Gamella Woreda are not far from this truth, which
demands the documentation of useful wild edible plant species where there is
high human and livestock population pressure on the limited resources of the
area. Thus, the current study attempts to document the diversity of wild edible
plants, their distribution, and the associated management practice in the area.

Therefore, collecting and
documenting indigenous knowledge on wild food plant before it is lost forever
is a fundamental urgent task. Hence, documenting and conserving the
biodiversity of the wild food plants of kedida Gamella woreda would be crucial
and a timely endeavor. For this reason, this study was initiated to gather
record and document the diversity on wild edible plants in kedida Gamella
woreda, to compile a checklist of ethno botanically most important plants for
wild edible purpose and find how the local people try to conserve these
habitats and the plant species of the area.


I.     Materials
and methods

Kambata Tembaro (KT) Zone is one of the thirteen zones of SNNPR and it is
located at a distance of 126 km from the Regional Capital, Hawassa, and 365 km
from Addis Ababa. Kedida Gamela is one of the seven Woredas in Kambata Tembaro Zone, SNNPR of Ethiopia. The Woreda is
bordered in the south by Badawacho Woreda/ an exclave of the Hadiya Zone, in the south west by Kacha Bira, in the
west by Angacha, in the north by Damboya Woreda, and in the east by Bilate
river which separates it from Alibi special Woreda. The Woreda is located
astronomically at the latitude of 7011’N, 7025’N and 370
50′ 30″E, 38° 4′ 30”E longitude (KGWADA, 2012).

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