Land-use intensity in the tree cropping homesteads in Kamuli, Eastern Uganda
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A farm-level study on the adoption of community forestry was conducted in Kamuli district, Uganda between July and September 2007. Total 223 farmers were surveyed in fourteen villages. The 2 zones have distinct agro ecological characteristics. From each selected villages, lists were developed with respect to all farmers who had been exposed to community forestry and those without such exposure. A random sample of farmers was taken from each of the 2 groups of farmers. The results revealed that the traditional homegardens are a complex farming system with a number of interdependent components. The tree crop component was well developed largely due to the high land/man ratio and the low intensity of cultivation. Smaller holdings are generally more intensively cultivated than the large and very large holdings. About 29% of the former showed low to very low agricultural copping intensity, while about 75% of the large holdings belonged to the low intensity class. Fragmentation of land eventually makes some of the holdings too small and uneconomical and in a situation where non-agricultural opportunities exist, farming ceases to be the main source of income. Inspite of their known ecological stability, homegardens are on the decline, mainly due to social and economic pressures. A better understanding of the dynamics of home garden system is essential to formulate ecologically sound, economically appropriate and socially relevant farm forestry programmes.