Land use, user rights, tenure and tree planting in Uganda
Over 90% of Uganda’s energy needs are met by biomass and yet forest and trees cover is shrinking. On-farm tree planting can help to reverse this trend. The study examined land use, utilization rights and tree planting in six agro-climatic zones in Uganda involving 940 households in 29 districts. Data were collected using a questionnaire and a GPS unit. Logit regression was used to analyze factors influencing tree planting. It was found that the major land use practices were cultivation of annual and perennial crops, woodlots, timber trees, land renting, fallowing, grazing, settlement, abandoned and virgin land. Farmers have rights to sell and bequeath land and plant timber and non-timber trees under freehold, leasehold, mailo and customary tenure systems. Land owners enjoy more land user rights than occupants and tenants under freehold, leasehold, mailo and customary systems. A farmer’s decision to plant trees is influenced by a number of factors. Factors such as male-headed households, household size and income, access to credit, household head’s education, duration of land ownership, rights to plant trees and sell land positively influence tree planting. A change in land tenure from freehold to mailo, leasehold and customary reduces the likelihood of tree planting by farmers. A change in land tenancy from ownership to occupant and change in mode of acquisition from purchased to inherited improves the farmers likelihood of planting trees. Engagement in commercial business, access to extension services, increase in parcel size and time to walk to the parcels reduces the chances of tree planting by farmers. It is recommended that land tenure should be streamlined by providing land title to farmers to improve tree tenure security. Extension services, agro-forestry, incentives like low interest loans and participation of women should be enhanced by government and NGOs as a means of promoting on-farm tree planting in Uganda.