The Simen, an Ecosystem in Danger
Various reports and papers have been written concerning the uncertain future of both the natural flora and fauna of the Simen mountains as well as of the human population, including their culture and economic situation. There is an apparent variety of problems, but in fact, they are all firmly linked, and some are direct consequences of others. In the first part of this chapter I shall briefly review those problems that have arisen and require consideration on a human time scale. They have already received some attention. In Ethiopia, in the last ten years the Simen mountains have been recognized as a national asset, and many efforts have been made by the Government and the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Organization in cooperation with international organizations such as WWF and IUCN to preserve this area. This is still far from being sufficient to achieve the goal, but one must remember that the country is vast and the Simen mountains remote. This remoteness, however, has not discouraged the scientific interest, as is documented by an already remarkable literature on this area (see Schaerer 1979) and by UNESCO in listing the Simen Mountains National Park as World Heritage Site (World Heritage Committee Meeting in Washington, D.C., September 1978). In the second part of the chapter an attempt at taking a long-term view is made in that some expectations are discussed on an ecological time scale. Bearing in mind the various short-as well as long-term problems, in the last section of the chapter, suggestions are made with the aim of helping maintain or increase the value of this unique ecosystem for the benefit of all wildlife and the indigenous people depending on it.
KeywordsWorld Heritage Site Park Boundary Domestic Goat Ecological Time Scale World Heritage Committee
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