Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

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Role of small-scale trees plantation and farmers' attitude and skill toward propagation of indigenous and exotic trees: the case of Sidama, Ethiopia.

Abstract

The tree land cover in Ethiopia is declining due to deforestation, agricultural land expansion, overgrazing, firewood use and construction. Farm tree plantation has a potential to improve tree cover and the country's vision towards reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) emission by 2030. This study was conducted in Sidama of Ethiopia to assess the role of small-scale tree plantations, and the attitudes and skills of farmers in propagating and conserving indigenous trees as compared to exotic ones, and to identify major impediments for exotic and indigenous tree plantation. By using stratified random sampling, 149 household heads were selected and interviewed, and the tree plantation practices of 46 randomly selected farmers were observed. Advice and support given to farmers concerning tree plantation and nursery care were collected from 16 Woreda Rural Development Experts. During the study a total of 46 tree species were identified, and 92% of the trees on the farmland were exotic. The percentage composition of the five most dominant tree species were Eucalyptus spp. (79.6%), Cupressus spp (8.5%), Cordia africana (4.8%), Grevillea robusta (3.3%), andMillettia ferruginea (1.8%). The trees provide several direct and indirect socioeconomic and ecological importance (construction, fuel, income, medicinal value, fencing, asset for present and next generation, fodder for livestock, garden shade, aesthetic, recreation, spiritual value, improve soil fertility and environmental impact remediation). The majority of farmers prefer exotic trees due to their fast growth, ease of nursery preparation and fast establishment, and higher income generation in shorter period. Though farmers like to plant indigenous trees for their ecological services such as improving soil fertility, producing durable household utensils, shading and other ecological values; land shortage and lack of knowledge on plant biology, nursery preparation and propagation method constrained its plantation. Therefore, introduction of appropriate technologies to the existing farming system is required for sustainable indigenous tree plantation in the study area.