Ib Friis

Ib Friis

Professor, emeritus

I currently work on the taxonomy of various groups/genera in the Urticales and a variety of plant groups that have representatives on the Horn of Africa (see the list of my publications). In 2022 I published together with colleagues from Ethiopia, Luxemburgh and the Netherlands a monograph describing and analysing the vegetation in western Ethiopia between the highlands and the extensive lowlands in the Nile Valley in the Sudan and South Sudan, and in 2023 a paper on the regeneration of the dry Afromontane forest of thentral Ethiopian highland.

Primary fields of research

Systematic Botany (Urticaceae and related families); flora and vegetation of Africa south of the Sahara, with special experience in the flora and vegetation in forests and woodlands on the Horn of Africa; botanical nomenclature; the history of exploration of the plant world of the tropics. See further abouth the research in Ethiopia here on the home page of the Carlsberg Foundation: https://www.carlsbergfondet.dk/da/Forskningsaktiviteter/Forskningsprojekter/Andre-forskningsprojekter/Ib-Friis_The-flora-of-woody-plants-and-vegetation-on-the-Horn-of-Africa 

Fields of interest

University Degrees
: M.Sc. ("cand. scient.") in Biology (Systematic Botany), Univ. of Copenhagen 1.2.1970. Fil. dr., Univ. of Uppsala 15.2.1985. Dr. Scient., Univ. of Copenhagen 17.1.1992.

Academic Employments: Assistant professor at the Botany Department, Univ. of Copenhagen, from 1.2.1970 to 30.6.1974. Associate Professor at the Botany Department from 1.7.1974 to 30.6.1987; from 1.7.1987 at the Botanical Museum, Univ. of Copenhagen, from 1988 with the title of reader (docent). Full professor at the Botanical Museum and Library (now part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark) from 1.8.1993.

Administrative Experience: Elected head of the Institute of Systematic Botany, Univ. of Copenhagen, 1977-80.Elected head of the coordination board for botany ("Botanisk Centralinstitut") 1978-79.Elected head of Botanical Museum and Library 1992-98 and 2002-3, and the same as department of the Natural History Museum of Denmark in 2004-05. On the governing board of theFaculty of Science ("Naturvidenskabelige Fakultetsråd"), University of Copenhagen, from 1980 to 1997.

Field Work: Ethiopia: field trips to most of the country - and areas currently in Eritrea - in 1970, 1972-1973, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002-03, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania): surveys of plant diversity of coastal and montane forests, 1970, 1975, 1992, 1993, 1996, 2000, 2003. Sudan: surveys of plant diversity and vegetation in southern Sudan, 1980, 1982. Somalia: surveys of plant diversity and vegetation in southern Somalia, 1987.

Scientific Activities, etc.: Member of the editorial committee for the Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea since 1983. Member of the Committee for Nomenclature of Spermatophytes under the General Committee for Botanical Nomenclature 1980-2011, chairman 1999-2011. Danish delegate to the nomenclature sessions of 14th International Botanical Congress in Berlin 1987, the 15th International Botanical Congress in Yokohama, 1994, the 16th International Botanical Congress in St. Louis, 1999, and the 17th International Botanical Congress in Vienna, 2005.

Honours: Elected member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters ("Det kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab") in 1990, of "Kungliga Fysiografiska Sällskapet i Lund - Akademi för naturvetenskap, medicin och teknik" in 2007 and of Ethiopian Academy of Sciences in 2014. Foreign Member (FMLS) of the Linnean Society of London in 2019. Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog 2008.


Tropical botany.

Current research

Systematic studies in the plant family Urticaceae; the flora and vegetation of Ethiopia, particular the trees and other woody plants and forest and savanna vegetation.

It is possible to get a CD or, by e-mail, a link with supplementary material to the book

Ib Friis, Sebsebe Demissew and Paulo van Breugel:
Atlas of the Potential Vegetation of Ethiopia.
Biologiske Skrifter (Biol. Skr. Dan. Vid. Selsk.) 58: 1-307. 2010.

The CD or the link to a file-server (both can be requested from Ib Friis personally) contain a description of the contents in "contents_of_this_CD.doc" and the following supplementary material:
File: "vegmap_ethiopia_on_A0.pdf"

Description in the file: "script_vegmap_eth.doc"
Data set in the compressed folder: "work_eth.zip"

Data sets in the compressed folders: "veg_ethiopia_ArcGIS.zip", "veg_ethiopia_pnv.shp.zip", "veg_ethiopia_pnv.asc.zip" and "veg_ethiopia_GoogleEarth.zip"

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