Hugumburda and Grat-Kahsu forests, Ethiopia

Site Details
Assessment Details

Site Overview

KBA status: confirmed

Rationale for qualifying as KBA: This site qualifies as a Key Biodiversity Area of international significance because it meets one or more previously established criteria and thresholds for identifying sites of biodiversity importance (including Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas, Alliance for Zero Extinction sites, and Key Biodiversity Areas) KBA identified in the process of compiling the CEPF Ecosystem Profile of the East Afromontane Hotspot. Species taxonomy and threat category was based on IUCN Red List 2010-4.

Global KBA criteria:
Year of assessment: 2011
National site name: Hugumburda and Grat-Kahsu forests
Central coordinates: Lat: 12.75 Long: 39.60
System: Terrestrial
Altitude (m): 1,600 to 2,600
Area of KBA (ha): 46,612
Protected area coverage (%): 0

Text account

Year of compilation: 2001
Site description:

Hugumburda and Grat-Kahsu are two contiguous forests situated between the towns of Mai Chew and Alamata, Southern Zone. The whole Alamata mountain area comprises volcanic rock. There is a distinctive flora associated with this rock that includes the rare endemic Delosperma abyssinica (a succulent mesembryanthemum) and the shrub Cadia purpurea. The forest block starts at the foot of the escarpment to the west of the Raya plain and continues up over very broken terrain onto the Alamata mountains, up to c.2,600 m. The forest is dry evergreen/coniferous with Juniperus procera, Olea europaea cuspidata and some Podocarpus falcatus in the higher sections. Lower down, Millettia ferruginea, Croton macrostachyus, Celtis africana, Ekebergia capensis, Prunus africana, Cordia africana and Ficus spp. are more common. Hugumburda and Grat-Kahsu forests represent the only significant expanse of dry coniferous forest in the region. No detailed study of the species composition has been carried out. The area includes c.1,200 ha of exotic tree plantation.

Summary of threats to biodiversity at KBA:

Local people make extensive use of any easily accessible areas of forest to provide fuelwood and construction materials. However, parts of these forests are on very broken terrain with sheer cliffs separating isolated blocks that retain good vegetation cover. Such areas could provide important refuges for the indigenous wildlife. Until the early 1990s, this part of Tigray was better known for its huge camps of famine victims than its natural resources, so it is not surprising that the forests have not been properly managed, and there continues to be insufficient manpower and funds to develop an appropriate management plan. Afforestation activities on the more accessible slopes began in the early 1970s, and the regional government is now helping to expand these further. Three tree nurseries—in Korem, Ashenge and Addis-Fana—are producing exotic species for the afforestation programme.


IUCN Habitat Coverage level Coverage % Habitat detail
14. Artificial - Terrestrial - 11-20% ;

Recommended citation

Key Biodiversity Areas Partnership (2023) Key Biodiversity Areas factsheet: Hugumburda and Grat-Kahsu forests. Extracted from the World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas. Developed by the Key Biodiversity Areas Partnership: BirdLife International, IUCN, American Bird Conservancy, Amphibian Survival Alliance, Conservation International, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Global Environment Facility, Re:wild, NatureServe, Rainforest Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, World Wildlife Fund and Wildlife Conservation Society. Downloaded from on 22/09/2023.