Farmer-led approaches to increasing tree diversity in fields and farmed landscapes in Ethiopia uri icon

abstract

  • Increasing tree cover and managing trees better on farms in Ethiopia supports livelihoods and the environment but most tree-planting schemes promote only a few species. This research aimed to understand farmers' tree planting priorities in Oromia, Ethiopia and address challenges involved in meeting them. Tree species and planting niches were elicited through focus group discussions. Participatory trials compared 17 tree species across seven on-farm planting niches and seedling survival and growth patterns were evaluated. Farmers suggested a high diversity of tree species suitable for each niche with fruit species mainly selected for homesteads. The diversity of desired tree species is much higher than that typically available in nurseries or promoted by tree planting projects. Meeting planting demands was difficult because the existing seedling supply does not support diversity. Evaluation of tree survival showed striking differences among species, farms, agroecologies and planting niches. There was high variation in seedling survival amongst the tree species planted on 1893 farm/planting niche locations, indicating impact of local level risk factors attributable to management, biotic and abiotic causes. Growth differences of the six shared species common to both agroecologies across different niches, showed that the effects of species and niche were significant on growth. A farmer-led approach to increasing tree cover that couples understanding of species and planting niche preferences with appropriate seedling supply and management is proposed as a means to increase the diversity of trees in farmed landscapes.

publication date

  • 2020
  • 2020