Djibouti  (Close this window when done in Country section)

Forest Resource        Forest Industry

Djibouti is lightly forested with less than 1 percent forest cover. Around 56 percent of the country is, however, classified as other wooded land. Similarly to the other countries of the Horn of Africa, Djibouti originally had significant areas of closed forest but these have mainly been cleared for agriculture. Djibouti has two remnant areas of closed forest, the Foret du Day on Mount Goda, and on Mount Mabla. Common genera in the closed forest include Juniperus, Acacia and Olea. Much of Djibouti is covered by open savannah, primarily of Acacia or Terminalia species, suited to the dry to arid climate. Patches of mangroves occur around the Gulf of Aden. The Foret du Day National Park is Djibouti's only terrestrial reserve.

Forest Types

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Geographic Description
The Republic of Djibouti, located in north-eastern Africa, lies on the western shore of the Gulf of Aden. It is bounded on the east by the Gulf of Aden, on the south-east by Somalia, on the south and west by Ethiopia and on the north by Eritrea. It has an area of 23 201 km2.

Djibouti consists principally of desolate, arid plateaus. The Gulf of Tadjoura forms a deep indentation in the country's coast. Inland lie several mountain ranges with heights of 1500 to 1800 m with a rugged plateau beyond.

Djibouti has one of the world's hottest and driest climates. The temperature at Djibouti City averages 26░ C in January and 36░ C in July. Annual rainfall ranges from less than 130 mm on the coast to about 380 mm in the mountains.

Ecological Zones

Forest cover Vegetation  

Djibouti forms part of the African Rift Valley, with a very uneven volcanic landscape, rising to over 1 700 m and encompassing high mountains (with an annual rainfall of 350 mm), enclosed depressions, high plateaux, and narrow, boxed-in plains. Its soils are almost entirely of volcanic origin: two thirds of the country has generally deep basaltic soil, while the higher land is gravelly, and the only sedimentary zone is a narrow coastal plain in the east (with an annual rainfall of 100-150 mm). It has a dry climate, although the eastern half is moister, benefitting from the effects of the sea during the cool season.

The different types of forest are determined chiefly by climatic conditions. Rainfall depends primarily on altitude and the exposure of the slope, so that altitude is also an important factor in the distribution of vegetation. Soil does not play a decisive role, whereas human activity is a determining factor in the different types of woody vegetation (grazing, firewood, gathering). Most of Djibouti's forests have been subjected to exploitation, especially for grazing and firewood, for a very long time, and the process of desertification has already set in in some regions, especially in the southwest.

The country's vegetation is on the whole very poor, although the Goda and Mabla mountain massifs enjoy a more humid climate (as a result of sea winds from the east) and thus contain relics of dry closed forests with a rich and varied flora. Elsewhere, the vegetation is made up primarily of thorny bushland, mixed tree and shrub savannah and Acacia shrub steppes. Dry, barren regions predominate, with occasional grasslands consisting of tall grasses in the cool season. Vegetation is confined to wadi beds, which are carpeted with thorn bushes, acacias (Acacia spp.), tamarisk (Tamarix) and jujube (Ziziphus spp.). There are also some mangroves in the northwest of the country. The presence of the sea has resulted in the development of a special type of vegetation made up of grass and bush steppes along the coastal fringe.

Djibouti's flora is thus typical of arid regions, especially in the low areas in the west (the continental fašade), containing Sahelo-Saharan species, more Mediterranean-type species, species endemic to the Somali-Masai zone, etc. Over 600 species have so far been recorded. A common feature throughout Djibouti is the presence of numerous salt-loving species, some of which are found at a wide range of altitudes; for example, Acacia spirocarpa is found up to 1 200 m, A. seyal between 700 and 1 600 m, and A. mellifera up to 1 400 m.

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