Performance of exotic tree species planted for poverty alleviation in Lesotho.
The people of Lesotho are among the poorest in the southern African region. The country is located in the Drakensberg mountains where winters are bitterly cold. Rural communities depend on fuelwood and cow dung for heating and cooking. Since the indigenous forest resources are insufficient, the people have engaged in planting fast-growing exotic species of trees for over 100 years. This study presents results from 86 permanent sampling plots established in woodlots in 1984. Overall, the survival of Pinus halepensis, P. pinaster, P. radiata, Eucalyptus macarthurii and E. rubida exceeded 80%. The greatest roundwood volume of 183 m3 ha-1 was produced in a 14-year-old P. radiata stand. Wood of branches and stumps would add to the total volume if trees are grown for fuelwood. Even higher volume production can be expected by better protecting woodlots from wildfires, animal grazing and timber theft.