Cenni monografici sul paese dei Gherire (Mogadiscio, 1938) – a pioneer work on the Gerire Hills in western Ogaden, south-eastern Ethiopia : – introduced, translated and provided with annotations and a revision of the botanical collections

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In the light of current knowledge and after a visit to the area, the author of this paper presents an annotated English translation (and in some places an interpretation) of the previously unpublished report of an Italian multidisciplinary expedition in 1937 to the Gerire Hills. At that time, these hills were part of the Governato della Somalia in the Italian East African Empire, but they are now part of the Somali Regional State of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The 1937 expedition included specialists in mapping and topography, geology and hydrology, ethnography, agronomy, vegetation and indigenous flora, the latter documented by collections now at the Centro Studi Erbario Tropicale (Herbarium FT), University of Firenze. The report, signed by the leader of the expedition, was submitted to the Governor of Somalia in February 1938. A brief summary was published in a journal in the same year, but otherwise the rich information in this report remains virtually unknown and hardly utilised or cited anywhere. An exception is the botanical material, which has been discussed in a number of later publications, but, due to lack of knowledge of the information available in the original report,
the ecology of the Gerire Hills was not well understood. The most important observations in the report relate to the detailed topographical mapping; the ethnological observations, according to which the Gerire language and culture are predominantly Somali, although also with significant Oromo influence; observations on the practices and long history of local agriculture; and the preliminary survey of the vegetation and flora, where the past importance of Juniperus procera woodland is documented.
Original languageEnglish
Volume74 (supplement)
Pages (from-to)1-108
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2019

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Agriculture, botany, East Africa, ethnography, ethnology, geology, history, Horn of Africa, land tenure, local flora, topography

ID: 217156138