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Species selection in unfamiliar terrain: participants’ preferences and practices around Mount Elgon, Uganda

Forestry Research and Engineering: International Journal
Charles Galabuzi,1,2 Hillary Agaba,1,2 Sammy Carsan,3 Catherine Muthuri3


Efforts to restore the world forests and trees are obviously significant and still increasing. Selection of tree species in this context is based on prevailing challenges impacting on livelihood needs. A study was conducted around Mount Elgon between January 2018 and July 2020. The objectives were to; i) document the socio-economic factors of participants in tree multiplication and planting, ii) identify the farmers practices and choice of species used under farming contexts iii) assess the relationship between the participants socio-economic factors, practices and choices of tree species. A multi-stage sampling approach was followed to select a total of 150 participants. The participants were engaged through semistructured and key informant interviews. Quantitative data were analyzed in MINITAB 19. Results show that tree multiplication and planting activities were dominated (84%) by a vibrant group of males between the ages of 15 and 40 years old. Up to 60% of this group were illiterate or inexperienced in tree planting and multiplication. Exotic trees (containing Eucalyptus grandis, Grevillea robusta and Neolamarckia cadamba) were highly valued for firewood, timber and small stems used to support food crops including Musa spp., Phaseolus vulgaris and Solanum lycopersicum. The indigenous species (mainly Cordia africana, Maesopsis eminii, Albizia spp. and Ficus spp.) were on the other hand treasured for shade in the coffee-banana farming systems as well as serving social-cultural benefits, counting medicine and rituals. The participants gender significantly influenced the choice of tree species adopted (P<0.001). For example, the men were more interested in timber and carbon related tree species while the women and the youths were generally involved in apiculture and fruit tree growing. With all the anticipated benefits and publicity about the exotic trees in this region, the participants have no choice but to follow the advice from the various tree planting campaigns. We recommend co-operation of the stakeholders especially during tree germplasm selection in order to meet performance expectations. The expectations include developing individual species breeding protocols based on site conditions for tree seed collection, seedling multiplication and planting.


tree planting, tree seedlings, forest restoration, farmer-based restoration