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Natural resource degradation in the highlands of Ethiopia is caused by many factors among which soil erosion is the major one threatening the overall development of the country. Previous Strategies and technologies to conserve the natural resource often failed and neglected the participation and needs of the land users. Therefore, the major objective of this study was assessing different soil and water conservation practices, farmers’ perception of erosion hazards, and their constraints to participate the continued use of soil and water conservation with the aim of proposing measures that address problems related to natural resource degradation. The study was conducted in Debark woreda of the Simen Mountain National park boundaries. A total of 100 household heads were selected from five kebeles by using simple random sampling method. Focus group discussion, key-informant interview and field observation were conducted to generate data. Descriptive and inferential statistics such as mean, standard deviation, percentage, frequency distribution and correlation were used for analysis.
Erica arborea is the dominant tree of the uppermost forest zone of the Simen Mountains National Park, Ethiopia. Only six other woody species are found between 3.100 m and 3.600 m elevation at the investigated sites. Many E. arborea stands of the Simen Mountains are considered endangered due to insufficient regeneration attributed to changes in land use. In this study the influence of disturbances on the stand structure, species composition, density of mature tree, saplings and seedlings, as well as on the soil seed bank were examined and the causes of seedling mortality, micro site condition, seed germination requirement and survival of E. arborea were investigated at three sites. The overall vertical distribution of the seeds in the soil was similar in all stands, with the highest densities occurring in the upper five centimetres of soil and gradually decreasing densities with increasing depth. For the successful germination of E. arborea and Hypericum revolutum charred soil showed great performance, compared to other seedbed conditions (exposed mineral soil, sand, forest floor and nursery soils). Fire has a profound positive effect on Erica regeneration.