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Useful Tree Species for Eastern Africa

A species selection tool based on the Vegetationmap4africa map

To help farmers, foresters and others to 'find the right tree for the right place', a species selection tool was developed which provides information about tree and shrub species that have been documented to be useful to farming or pastoral communities. The tool provides an easy way to quickly find information about species that can potentially occur in any selected location, based on their documented occurrence in the different potential natural vegetation types. The tool is available for Google Earth, is part of the Vegetationmap4africa web-based map and is integrated in the mobile maps if used together with Locus map viewer.

Using Google Earth

The species selection tool for Google Earth provides the potential natural vegetation (PNV) map as Google Earth layer overlaid by point layers with "clickable labels" that approximate the distribution of vegetation types for a particular country. If you do not have Google Earth you will first have to download and install it. Then, to use the map:

  • Select the country / region of interest: Burundi | Ethiopia | Kenya | Malawi | Rwanda | Uganda | Tanzania | Zambia | Region
  • This will start Google Earth and open a layer with clickable layers and the vegetation map (if not open already, click the link to "VECEA" available next to the name of the target country
  • Zoom in to your area of interest and click on the label for the vegetation type (for the regional map, click on the letter codes). This will open a fact sheet with information about the selected vegetation type, including a concise floristic and physiognomic description and a list of species occurring in the vegetation type.
  • The list of species is based on the list of "useful species" in the Vegetationmap4africa documentation that accompany the potential natural vegetation map (see the documentation page).
  • Open the interactive Excel workbook that accompanies the vegetation type. This will provide a list of species naturally occurring in the selected potential natural vegetation type.

Using the web interface

The tool is also integrated in the online Vegetationmap4africa potential natural vegetation map. Just open the map (click here) and go to the area of your interest (you can move around the map and zoom in and out using your mouse). Clicking on the map will open a pop-up balloon in the upper right corner with a link that, when clicked, will open the fact sheet with information about that particular potential natural vegetation type in a new tab, including a list of species naturally occurring in the selected potential natural vegetation type and an interactive Excel workbook which can be used to select species based on their potential use. See also this overview.

Terms of use

When using the data provided above, you agree to the terms of use as described here. In summary, the data provided on this page can be freely used for educational and research purposes, but redistribution or commercial use is not allowed without prior permission. The information is provided ‘as-is’, and does not come with any warranty or guarantee of any kind. Use of the information, including derived products, must include appropriate citation as provided below.

Kindt R, van Breugel P, Orwa C, Lillesø JPB, Jamnadass R and Graudal L (2015) Useful tree species for Eastern Africa: a species selection tool based on the Vegetationmap4africa map. Version 2.0. World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Forest & Landscape Denmark. http://vegetationmap4africa.org