Useful Tree Species for Africa

Useful Tree Species for Africa

Version 1.1

This tool enables you to select useful tree species for planting anywhere in Africa using Google Earth. In 2012, we prepared an updated version of this tool, especially enhancing the information provided in the “species selector” spread sheets. 

How to use it:

  1. Download Google Earth
  2. Open the Useful Tree Species for Africa tool (Africa_Vegetation_2012.kmz) in Google Earth
  3. Choose between the two interactive layers:

(i) the vegetation layer is linked to descriptions of mapping units, vegetation types and species composition for each vegetation type (this layer is transparent)

(ii) the physiognomic layer is linked to descriptions of physiognomic vegetation types such as forest, woodland or bushland (this layer is coloured).

More information

For seven countries in eastern Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia), we developed a higher resolution vegetation map that has similar utilities. This map (and species selection tools) is available from:


Please take the time to read the documents listed under ‘More information’, in particular to learn about some of the limitations of the tool.

Before starting a tree planting project, we recommend you look at the Tree Seeds for Farmers toolkit. This provides technical information on the best methods for obtaining seeds of good genetic and physiological quality as well as links to a range of other useful resources.

The Useful Tree Species for Africa tool was developed by the World Agroforestry Centre and Forest and Landscape Denmark under the UNEP-GEF Carbon Benefits Project. Some additional funding was provided through the VECEA project (funded by the Rockefeller Foundation) and the ReACCT project (funded by BMZ).