Sustainability of frankincense production in Tigray, Ethiopia: an emergy synthesis

Main Article Content

Abadi Tesfay https://orcid.org/0009-0006-8907-3020
Emiru Birhane https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8644-5961
Kiros Gebrehiwot
Girmay Tesfay
Negasi Solomon
Buruh Abebe
Tesfay Araya
Mebrahtu Brhan
Meley Mekonen Rannestad https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1578-8078

Keywords

emergy flow, energy, fair trade, frankincense, indices of sustainability

Abstract

The frankincense from Boswellia papyrifera plays important roles in rural livelihoods and the national economy. On the other hand, Boswellia papyrifera is under threat of extinction. Nevertheless, little is known about the sustainability and fair-trade relationship of the current production system of the frankincense commodity. The current paper primarily analyzed sustainability of the production, processing, and exporting systems of frankincense production using the total emergy flows to the product. Data were primarily collected through key informant interviews and from secondary sources in the Tigray region, northern Ethiopia. An emergy synthesis method was used to assess the direct and indirect environmental energy requirements for the production, processing, and exporting of frankincense. The Emergy Sustainability Index (ESI), and Ratios were used as indicators of ecological sustainability. Whereas the Emergy Exchange Ratio (EER) was used to evaluate the level of fair trade of frankincense with importing countries. The average total emergy of the system was 50.14E+20sej/year, of which 3.92E+20sej are from local renewable, 45.20E+20sej from local nonrenewable and 1.02E+20sej from imported nonrenewable sources. The Percent Renewable (% Ren), Environmental Loading Ratio (ELR), Emergy Yield Ratio (EYR) and ESI were 7.82, 11.79, 49.50 and 4.19, respectively. The EER showed that the region exported 11.8 times more emergy in frankincense products than it received in the money paid for it in 2008/09, showing unfair trade between the exporting and importing countries. According to our results, it can be concluded that the current production, processing, and exporting of frankincense is not sustainable.

Abstract 163 | View Full Text Downloads 0 Download PDF Downloads 70

References

Abel T. 2004. Systems diagrams for visualizing macroeconomics. Ecological Modelling: 178, 189194. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2003.12.035

Bastianoni S, Campbell D, Susani L, Tiezzi E. 2005. The Solar transformity of oil and petroleum natural gas. Ecological Modelling: 186, 212220.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2005.01.015

Birhane B, Aynekulu E, Mekuria W, Endale D. 2011. Management, use and ecology of medicinal plants in the degraded drylands of Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Journal of Horticulture and Forestry Vol. 3(2), 3241.

Birhane E, Mengistu T, Seyoum Y, Hagazi N, Putzel L, Mekonnen Rannestad M. 2017. Exclosures as forest and landscape restoration tools: lessons from Tigray Region, Ethiopia. 19(4): 3750. https://doi.org/10.1505/146554817822330498

BoARD. 2013. Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, annual reports of 2008/09-2012/13. Tigray regional state, Mekelle, Ethiopia.

Bongers F, Groenendijk P, Bekele T, Birhane E, Damtew A, Decuyper M, Eshete A, Gezahgne A, Girma A, Khamis MA, Lemenih M, Mengistu T, Ogbazghi W, Sass-Klaassen U, Tadesse W, Teshome M, Tolera M, Sterck FJ, Zuidema PA. 2019. Frankincense in peril. Nature Sustainability, 2(7), 602-610. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0322-2

Brown M. 2003. Resource imperialism. Emergy perspectives on sustainability, international trade and balancing the welfare of nations. In: Ulgiati, S., Brown, M.T., Giampietro, M., Herendeen, R.A., Mayumi, K. (Eds.), Book of proceedings of the International Workshop "Advances in energy studies. Reconsidering the importance of energy", Porto Venere, Italy, 24-28 September 2002, SGE Publisher Padova, Italy, p. 135-149.

Brown M, 2004. A picture is worth thousand words: energy system language and simulation. Ecological Modelling: 178, 83-100.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2003.12.008

Brown M, Brandt-Williams S, Tilley D, Ulgiati S. 2000. Emergy synthesis: theory and applications of the emergy methodology, University of Florida, Center for Environmental Policy, Gainesville, USA, p. 328.

Brown M, Cohen J, Sweeney S. 2009. Predicting national sustainability: the convergence of energetic, economic and environmental realities. Ecological Modelling: 220, 34243438. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2009.08.023

Brown M, Ulgiati S. 1997. Emergy based indices and ratios to evaluate sustainability: monitoring economics and technology towards environmentally sound innovation. Ecological Engineering: 9, 5169. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0925-8574(97)00033-5

Brown M, Ulgiati S. 1999. Emergy evaluation of the biosphere and natural capital. Amibo: 28(6), 486492.

Brown M, Ulgiati S. 2001. Emergy measures of carrying capacity to evaluate economic investments. Population and Environment: 22 (5), 471501. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1010756704612

Brown M, Ulgiati S. 2002. Emergy evaluations and environmental loading of electricity production systems. Journal of Cleaner Production: 10, 321334. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0959-6526(01)00043-9

Brown M, Ulgiati S. 2004. Emergy analysis and environmental accounting. Encyclopedia of emergy. Elsevier, 2, 329-325.
https://doi.org/10.1016/S0959-6526(01)00043-9

Brown M, Ulgiati S. 2005. Emergy, transformity and ecosystem health. In. Jorgensen et al.(eds). Handbook of ecological indicators for assessment of ecosystem health. https://doi.org/10.1201/9780203490181.ch14

Campbell D. 2008. Environmental accounting of natural capital and environmental services of the US national forest system. Msc thesis, University of Florida, USA.

Campbell D, Brandt-Williams S, Meisch M. 2005. Environmental accounting using emergy: evaluation of the State of West Virginia. USEPA. Office of Research and Development, Washington, DC. 116.

CSA. 2013. Central Statistical Agency report on population census of Ethiopia, as of 2007. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Cuadra M, Bjorklunds J. 2007. Assessment of economic and ecological carrying capacity of agricultural crops in Nicaragua. Ecological Indicators: 7, 133149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2005.11.003

Cuadra M, Rydberg T. 2006. Emergy evaluation on production, processing and export of coffee in Nicaragua. Ecological Modelling: 196, 421433. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2006.02.010

Davison C, Bongers F, Phillips D. 2022. The future of Frankincense: Understanding the plant's diversity is key to its conservation. The Journal of the American Botanical Council, 133, 40-59. Available at: https://www.herbalgram.org/media/17303/hg133-frankincense.pdf

Dejene T, Lemenih M, Bongers F. 2013. Manage or convert Boswellia woodlands? Can frankincense production payoff? Journal of Arid Environments, 89 7783. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2012.09.010

EEPA. 2013. Ethiopian Electric Power Authority, annual reports of 2008/09-2012/13, Mekelle, Tigray Ethiopia.

Eshete, A. Kassa, H, Livingstone, J. 2021. Inclusive frankincense value chain development in Ethiopia. A historical perspective on forest governance and reforms for better livelihoods and conservation outcomes. PENHA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Tropenbos International, Ede, the Netherlands.

Eshete A, Teketay D, Lemenih M, Bongers F. 2012. Effects of resin tapping and tree size on the purity, germination and storage behavior of Boswellia papyrifera (Del.) Hochst. Seeds from Metema District, North Western Ethiopia. Forest Ecology and Management, 206, 3136.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2011.12.049

Esser L, Weldemariam E. 2023. Climate changes could jeopardize a main source of livelihood in Africa's drylands, Journal for Nature Conservation, Volume 71, 16171381. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2022.126319

FAO. 1995. Flavours and fragrances of plant Origin. Non-wood forest products 1. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Rome. https://www.fao.org/3/v5350e/v5350e.pdf

Gebrehiwot G, Muys B, Mitiku H, Mitloehner R. 2002. Boswellia papyrifera (Del.) Hochst: a tropical key species in northern Ethiopia. George-August University of Goettingen, institute of tropical silviculture Goettingen, Germany.

Gebrehiwot G, Muys B, Mitiku H, Mitloehner R. 2003. Introducing Boswellia papyrifera (Del.) Hochst and its non-timber forest product, frankincense. International Forestry Review: 5, 348-353. https://doi.org/10.1505/IFOR.5.4.348.22661

Gidey T, Hagos D, Juhar HM, Solomon N, Negussie A, Crous-Duran J, Oliveira TS, Abiyu A, Palma JH. 2020. Population status of Boswellia papyrifera woodland and prioritizing its conservation interventions using multi-criteria decision model in northern Ethiopia. Heliyon, 6(10), e05139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e05139

Groenendijk P, Eshete A, Sterck FJ, Zuidema PA, Bongers F, 2012. Limitations to sustainable frankincense production: blocked regeneration, high adult mortality and declining populations. Journal of Applied Ecology, 49: 164173. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.02078.x

Hamidpour R, Hamidpour S, Hamidpour M, Hamidpour R. 2016. Frankincense (Boswellia Species): The novel phytotherapy for drug targeting in cancer. iMedPub Journals, Vol. 4 No. 1:46. Available at: http://www.imedpub.com. https://doi.org/10.21767/2254-6081.100046

Kassa H, Tefera B, Fitwi G. 2011. Preliminary value chain analysis of gum and resin marketing in Ethiopia. CIFOR, Bogar, Indonesia.

Khalifa SAM, Kotb SM, El-Seedi SH, Nahar L, Sarker SD, Guo Z, Zou X, Musharraf SG, Jassbi, AR, Du M, Hesham R, El-Seedi HR. 2023. Frankincense of Boswellia sacra: Traditional and modern applied uses, pharmacological activities, and clinical trials. Industrial Crops and Products, Volume 203, 117106, ISSN 0926-6690. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indcrop.2023.117106

Hadgu G, Tesfaye K, Mamo G, Kassa B, 2015. Farmers' climate change adaptation options and their determinants in Tigray Region, Northern Ethiopia. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 10 (9), 956964. https://doi.org/10.5897/AJAR2014.9146

Lemenih M, Abebe T, Olsson M. 2003. Gum and resin resources from some acacia, Boswellia and commiphora species and their economic contributions in Liban, South-East Ethiopia J. Arid Environ.55 (3) 465482. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-1963(03)00053-3

Lemenih M, Kassa H. 2011. Opportunities and challenges for sustainable production and marketing of gums and resins in Ethiopia, CIFOR, Bogor, Indonesia.

Lemenih M, Kassa H, Kassie GT, Abebaw D, Teka W. 2012. Resettlement and woodland management problems and options: a case study from a resettlement district in north-western Ethiopia. Land Degrad. Develop.25, 305-318 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1002/ldr.2136

Lemenih M, Teketay D. 2003. Frankincense and myrrh resources of Ethiopia: II. medicinal and industrial uses. SINET: Ethiop. J. Sci., 26 (2): 161-172. https://doi.org/10.4314/sinet.v26i2.18213

Lemenih M, Wiersum F, Woldeamanuel T, Bongers F. 2011. Diversity and dynamics of management of gum and resin producing woodlands in Ethiopia: a trade-off between degradation and domestication. Land Degrad. Develop.25, 130-142 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1002/ldr.1153

Lu H, Bay Y, Ren H, Campbell D. 2010. Integrated emergy, energy and economic evaluation of rice and vegetable production systems in alluvial paddy fields: implications for agricultural policy in China. Environmental Management: 91, 27272735.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2010.07.025

Lu H, Campbell D, Li Z, Ren H. 2006. Emergy synthesis of an agro-forestry restoration system in lower sub-tropical China. Ecological Engineering: 27, 175192. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2005.12.002

Lu H, Kang L, Campbell D, Ren H, Tan Y, Feng R, Luo J, Chan F. 2009. Emergy and economic evaluation of four production systems on reclaimed wet lands surrounding the pearl river Estuary, China. Ecological Engineering: 35, 17431757. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2009.08.001

Murthy TK, Shiva MP. 1977. Salai guggul from Boswellia serrata Roxb-Its exploitation and utilization. Indian Forester 103:466474

NASA. 2013. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Accessed in 2013: https://www.nasa.gov/.

NEAD (National Environmental Accounting Data base). 2013. Emergy system database by country for 2008. Center for environmental policy, University of Florida; USA.

NGPME. 2013. Natural gum processing and marketing enterprise export report of frankincense from Tigray in 2008-2012. Mekelle, Ethiopia.

NMA. 2013. National Metrological Agency Climatic report from 2003-2013 for Tigray stations, Mekelle; Ethiopia.

Nyssen J, Descheemaeker K, Haregeweyn N, Haile M, Deckers J, Poesen J. 2006. Lessons learnt from 10 years research on soil erosion and soil and water conservation in Tigray. Tigray Livelihood Papers No. 7, Mekelle: Zala-Daget Project, Mekelle University, K.U.Leuven, Relief Society of Tigray, Africa museum and Tigray Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, p.53.

Odum H. 1994. The emergy of natural capital. In: Jansson, A., Hammer, M., Folke, C. & Costanza, R., Investing in natural capital. Island Press, Covelo, CA, 200-214.

Odum H. 1996. Environmental accounting: emergy and environmental decision making. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. USA. p.370.

Odum H. 2000. Handbook of emergy evaluation: emergy of global processes, University of Florida, Center for Environmental Policy, Gainesville, p.22.

Oqbazgi W. 2001. The distribution and regeneration of Boswellia papyrifera (Del.) Hochst. in Eritrea. PhD Dissertation, Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands. Available at: https://edepot.wur.nl/194745

Pimentel D, Harvey C, Resosudarmo P, Sinclair K, Kuiz D, McNair M, Crist S, Shpritz L, Fitton L, Saffouri L, Blair R. 1995. Environmental and economic costs of soil erosion and conservation benefits. Science, New Series, Vol. 267, No. 520111171123.
https://doi.org/10.1126/science.267.5201.1117

RCA. 2013. Revenue and Custom Authority Export report of agricultural commodities with their destinations from Tigray from 2008/092012/13, Mekelle, Ethiopia.

Siracusa G, LaRosa D, Palma P, Lamola E. 2007. Emergy evaluation of an eco-village: new frontiers for sustainability. Environment, Development and Sustainability: 10, 845-855. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-007-9087-2

Tadesse N, Bheemalingeswara K, Berhane A. 2009. Groundwater suitability for irrigation: a case study from Debre Kidane watershed, eastern Tigray, Ethiopia. Momona Ethiopian Journal of Science (MEJS), Vol. 1 (1): 36 - 58. https://doi.org/10.4314/mejs.v1i1.46040

Tadesse W, Desalegn G, Alila R. 2007. Natural gum and resin bearing species of Ethiopia and their potential applications. Arid Environment: 16(3), 211221. https://doi.org/10.5424/srf/2007163-01010

TAMPA. 2013. Tigray agricultural marketing and promotion, agency agricultural commodities export report from Tigray, 2008/09-2012/13. Mekelle, Ethiopia.

Tilahun M, Muys B, Mathijs E, Kleinn C, Olschewski R, Gebrehiwot K. 2011. Frankincense yield assessment and modeling in closed and grazed Boswellia papyrifera woodlands of Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Journal of Arid Environments, 75(8), 695-702.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2011.03.005

Tilahun T, Vranken L, Muys B, Deckers J, Kidanemariam G, Kindeya G, Bauer H, and Mathijs E. 2007. Valuing dry land forest ecosystem services: a case of rural households' willingness to pay and contribute labor for frankincense forest conservation in Ethiopia. Division Agricultural and Food Economics, K.U.Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200E box 2411, BE-3001 Leuven, Belgium.

Tilley D. 1999. Emergy basis of forest systems. PhD Dissertation, University of Florida, UMI Dissertation Services, Ann Arbor MI, p.296.

Tilley D, Swank W. 2003. Emergy-based environmental systems assessments of a multi-purpose temperate mixed-forest watershed of the southern Appalachian Mountains, USA. Environmental Management: 69, 213-227. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2003.08.002

Tolera M, Sass-Klaassen U, Eshete E, Bongers F, Sterck F. 2013. Frankincense tree recruitment failed over the past half century. Forest Ecology and management: 304, 6572. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2013.04.036

Ulgiati S, Brown M. 1998. Monitoring patterns of sustainability in natural and man-made ecosystems. Ecological Modelling: 108, 23-36.
https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-3800(98)00016-7

Ulgiati S, Odum H, Bastianoni S. 1994. Emergy use, environmental loading and sustainability. An emergy synthesis of Italy. Ecological Modelling: 73, 215-268. https://doi.org/10.1016/0304-3800(94)90064-7

UNEP. 2012. Environmental accounting of national economic systems: an analysis of west african dry land countries within a global context. United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi.

World Energy Council (WEC). 2016. World energy resources. ISBN: 978 0 946121 58 8. pp1-33. London EC3V 3NH, United Kingdom. Available at: https://www.worldenergy.org/assets/images/imported/2016/10/World-Energy-Resources-Full-report-2016.10.03.pdf

Zhao S, Wu C. 2013.Valuation of mangrove ecosystem services based on emergy: a case study in China. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. (2015).
https://doi.org/10.1007/s13762-013-0458-y

Similar Articles

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.