Determinants of tree planting on private lands in Mayuge District, Eastern Uganda
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Trees are of great economic and ecological importance. Most rural communities in developing countries depend on trees for their livelihoods and source of energy. Trees also provide ecosystem services that include timber, firewood, carbon sequestration as well as climate and water regulation. However, the rate of deforestation in Uganda is increasing. There is competing land uses between tree planting and agriculture which is seen to be more profitable. However, some people have undertaken a decision to plant trees amidst competing land uses but information on species planted, motivations and socio-economic determinants remain scanty.Therefore, this study aimed at assessing the determinants of tree planting on private lands in Mayuge district. In Mayuge district, most households are engaged in sugar cane growing. The specific objectives were to (i) Identify the tree species planted on private lands, (ii) Determine the socio- economic factors that influence tree planting, and (iii) Determine challenges and opportunities for tree planting. A cross-sectional mixed method design was used in which a survey of 111 tree planters and 45 non-tree planters was conducted. The survey was triangulated with eight key informant interviews. Study found that seven tree species were planted. The tree species planted were Pinuscaribaea, Pinusoccarpa, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Eucalyptus grandis, Maesopsiseminii, Markhamialutea and Miliciaexcelsa. The tree planters subjected 36% of their total land to tree planting and average holding per farmer was 3.9 acres. From the linear regression, it was found that increase in land size and income increased the likelihood of respondents to engage in tree planting. The major challenges to tree planting were tree pests, draught, low funds, conflicting land uses and problem animals. In conclusion, tree planting in Mayuge district is dominated by exotic species. Land size and income of people influence tree planting. Local communities are interested in exotic species due to their fast maturing characteristics and accessibility of seedlings thus tree planting promoters should capitalize on exotic species. Basing on other studies, there is also need to promote indigenous tree species for ecological and conservation purposes.