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Woods and social organization in Konso (southwestern Ethiopia)

Abstract : The Konso are a small ethnic group in Southern Ethiopia, famous for its intensive farming practices which have contributed to build a typical landscape characterized by terraced hills. Less striking for the external observer, there are also woodlets and groves spread in the landscape, preserved from clearing. Drawing on an ethnobiological approach, this paper sheds light on the categories of woods and groves recognized by the Konso themselves. It details their floristic composition, their management, their rules of access. It shows that forest diversity is not to be explained only by ecological factors, but on the contrary, that it is linked to the existence of different social units in charge of their maintenance and preservation. These vegetal formations have a ritual and social role; their keeping is thus linked to the reproduction of a certain social order. It is nowadays threatened by the weakening of ritual and traditional authorities, in competition with the central power and the Protestants.
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Journal articles
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Contributor : Elise Demeulenaere <>
Submitted on : Thursday, September 4, 2014 - 5:04:32 PM
Last modification on : Friday, March 27, 2020 - 3:43:04 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01060982, version 1



Elise Demeulenaere. Woods and social organization in Konso (southwestern Ethiopia). Journal of Ethiopian studies, Addis Ababa : Haile Selassie I University, Institute of Ethiopian Studies, 2002, 35 (2), pp.81-111. ⟨hal-01060982⟩



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