Tree Growing and Diversity on Farm Landscapes in Buwalasi Sub-County, Uganda
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In Uganda, there are many interventions aimed at promoting tree planting in farmed landscapes. However, the level of success of these interventions is not consonant with efforts. This may be a consequence of the promoters’ inadequate understanding of site specific factors that influence on-farm tree management. This study was carried out in Buwalasi sub-county, a highly populated and mountainous landscape dominated by smallholder farmers. The study had three objectives 1) assessing the socio-economic and demographic factors that influence tree planting on-farm, 2) determining the tree planting and management practices, and 3) assessing the woody species composition and structure on-farm. This study comprised of household interviews (338 respondents) and a floristic survey (63 plots). Results showed that most respondents (68%) deliberately planted trees on their farms. Education significantly (P<0.002) influenced tree planting. More educated farmers planted more trees than the less educated ones. The most valued species were mainly naturalized and indigenous (e.g Cordia africana Lam. Mangifera indica L, Eucalyptus spp, Albizia coriaria Welw, and Persea americana Mill). The biggest constraint to tree planting was limited land (82%). Availability of market (82%) was the main incentive for tree planting. Tree management practices in the area were largely basic; (pruning and weeding). Both diversity (H’ =2.6) and evenness (EH =0.05) of woody species observed were low. A species rank abundance curve showed that a few species dominated the landscape with the exotic species (Eucalyptus spp) dominating (IVI=53). These results show that farmers are interested in planting trees but they are constrained by limited land, and as a result, the landscape is dominated by a few most valued species with one exotic species dominating the landscape. These findings call for actions to prevent the replacement of indigenous woody tree species by a monoculture of eucalyptus.