Non-traditional tree species used in the furniture industry in Masaka District, Central Uganda
Sseremba, O. E.
Kyeyune, R. K.
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Increased demand for timber in Uganda has caused scarcity of the earlier "well-known" and commonly used tree species in the furniture industry, leading to a shift to non-traditional tree species. A study was therefore conducted between September 2004 and December 2005 in Masaka District, with the objectives of determining the "non-traditional" tree species used in the furniture industry and the reasons for their choice. Sixty furniture workshops were surveyed in five divisions of Masaka Municipality. Data were collected using questionnaires and ethnographic styled interviews. The SPSS and Excel computer programmes were used to determine percentage use of the various tree species in the furniture industry. It was found that Xylopia eminii, Grivellia robusta, Jacaranda mimosfolia, Artocarpous heterophyllus, Mangifera indica, Coffea robusta and Ficus natelensis were the most used "non-traditional" tree species. These species were chosen because they were strong, available, cheap, preferred by customers, had nice finished appearance and could easily be worked with the available technology. The increasing use of these "non-traditional" tree species especially those that produce edible fruits such as Mangifera indica and Artocarpous heterophyllus is a threat to the sustainability of rural livelihoods. There is need to undertake research on the long-term performance of perishable species such as A. heterophylus in the furniture industry. Fast growing tree species such as Pinus caribea should be planted to cater for the increasing demand of furniture products. Provenance trials on most imported species earlier mentioned such, as Khaya spp need to be carried out to verify their growth potentials in the district.