A survey of plant biodiversity and ethnobotanical studies was conducted in southern Ethiopia using an integrated approach of botanical collections, group discussions, interviews and questionnaires. Species richness, growth forms and uses of native wild plants are described. Borana pastoralists distinguished and named 86% of the plant species identified. A total of 327 plant species distributed among 197 genera and 69 families are documented: 40% are trees/shrubs, 30% forbs (non-woody plants other than grasses and sedges), 16% grasses, 10% climbers, 2% sedges and 2% succulents. Based on richness of species and usefulness, the most important families are Poaceae, Fabaceae, Lamiaceae and Asteraceae. Two hundred forty-eight species (76%) are used by Borana pastoralists, out of which 42% have multiple uses. Indigenous knowledge of pastoralists on use and management of their plant resources is a valuable source of information for conservation and sustainable utilization of the plant bio-diversity and, hence, conservation based on indigenous knowledge is recommended.
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Vol. 59 • No. 1