Bamboo for soil improvement and alternative household income among communities living along the slopes of Mt. Elgon, Eastern Uganda
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In contrast to exploitation and utilization of many plant species, bamboo remains one of the region’s valuable underutilized resources. In Uganda, bamboo is still sold with any value addition which has increased the rate of its extraction. Consequently, there is degradation of the few bamboo forests in the country, even on the slopes of Mt. Elgon. This has raised concern about the future of bamboo forest cover on the slopes of Mt. Elgon as well the livelihoods of the adjacent communities. Subsequently there is need to find ways of drawing more attention to sustainable use of the remaining bamboo forests on the mountain. This study aimed at ascertaining the effectiveness of bamboo for soil improvement and as an alternative household income among communities. It was specifically carried out to; identify the different bamboo species, examine the effectiveness of bamboo plants in soil improvement, determine the current and potential uses of bamboo for use by the local communities on the slopes if Mt. Elgon and determine the willingness of local communities to adopt bamboo as an agro-forestry plant for soil protection and income generation. Socio and experimental research methods were used to collect the required data. Results showed that bamboo is excellent at conserving soil nutrients and has high potential in improving people’s livelihoods. Furthermore, results showed that age, sex, and respondents’ family size significantly influenced people’s willingness to adopt bamboo as an agro-forestry plant. The results of this study can form a basis for mobilizing local and national support for the wise use and proper management of bamboo forest cover in the country.