Studies On traditional Agroforestry systems in Ethiopia Kindu Mekonnen, 2001. Practices, constraints and agroforestry interventions in Yeku watershed northeastern Ethiopia




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TitleStudies On traditional Agroforestry systems in Ethiopia Kindu Mekonnen, 2001. Practices, constraints and agroforestry interventions in Yeku watershed northeastern Ethiopia
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Bibliography of agroforestry research and development work in Ethiopia

Studies On traditional Agroforestry systems in Ethiopia

Kindu Mekonnen, 2001. Practices, constraints and agroforestry interventions in Yeku watershed northeastern Ethiopia
EJNR 3 (1):161-178
Integrated watershed development has been considered as one of the strategies to create a healthy environment and boost crop production in Amhara region, Ethiopia. Based on this understanding Yeku watershed was selected as one of four pilot watersheds in the region. The watershed is administratively located in Woleh 06 Kebele (the lowest administrative unit), Sekota wereda and Waghamra Zone. The survey was conducted in 1999 to characterise agroforestry practices and tree species in the watershed, to identify and prioritise constraints, and to suggest solutions together with the farmers. The Participatory Rural Appraisal Technique was used for the detailed study. Existing agroforestry practices in the watershed are trees and shrubs in closed areas, trees and shrubs in sylvipastoral lands, trees on farmlands, trees along rivers, and trees in homesteads. Soil erosion, shortage of animal feed and wood, and prevalence of desiccating wind are critical problems in the farming system. Suggested agroforestry interventions are protection and management of naturally regenerated trees on farmlands, planting agroforestry trees in homesteads and riverbanks, introduction and expansion of vegetative strips on farmlands, and strengthening of temporarily closed areas through enrichment planting. Moreover, alternatives such as use of fuel wood conservation systems, introduction of other fuel sources, incentives for farmers who properly plant and manage trees, and development of farmers’ confidence in tree and land ownership are proposed as strategies to minimise the gap between wood demand and supply. Intensive agroecology-based multipurpose tree/shrub screening and management research programmes are essential in the determination of appropriate species for specific areas.
Teshome Soromessa and Sebsebe Demissew, 2002. Some uses of plants by the Benna, Tsemay and Zeyise people, Southern Ethiopia
EJNR 4(1): 107-122
The study was carried out on uses of plants among the three ethnic groups of southern Ethiopia, the Benna, Tsemay and the Zeyise. Information on uses and vernacular names of plants were gathered by interviewing local people. Plant specimens were collected, processed identified and deposited at the National Herbarium in Addis Ababa University. A total of 80 different species of plants representing 37 families were recorded providing. The scientific family and vernacular names as well as uses by the three ethnic groups are presented. The integration of indigenous knowledge in the activities pertinent to development and afforestation by indigenous species is recommended.


Peter Poschen, 1986. An evaluation of the Acacia albida-based agroforestry practices in the Hararghe highlands of Eastern Ethiopia
Agroforestry Systems 4: 129-143.
Growing Acacia albida as a permanent tree crop, on farmlands with cereals, vegetables and coffee underneath or in between, is an indigenous agroforestry system in the Harrarghe highlands of Eastern Ethiopia. However, there is practically no systematic record or data on the merits and benefits of this practice. The paper presents the results of an investigation in to the effects of the presence of A. albidia on farmlands on the yield of maize (Zea mays L.) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolour L.Moench). Twenty seven plot pairs each consisting of one plot underneath the A.albida foliage cover and the other in the open, away from the tree- on farmers’ fields, in a 40 km radius around the Alemaya College of Agriculture, were sampled and the yield components analysed. A statistically significant increase in crops yields by 56% on average was found for the crops under the tree canopies compared to those away from the trees. This increase was caused by the improvement in 1000grain weight and number of grains of plants under the tree, indicating that the trees enhanced the fertility status of the soil and improved its physical conditions in terms of crop growth.
Additional benefits from the A. albida trees include supply of fuelwood and fodder. Quantitative estimates of these outputs as well as their monetary values are presented in the paper. However, in order to realize these benefits to a discernible extent, higher stand densities of the tree than at present are required. Based on an enquiry about the farmers attitude towards A.albida, the prospects for an extension of this promising agroforestry technique are discussed against the background of the state and trends of development of agriculture in the area. It is surmised that despite some shortcomings like the relatively slow and highly variable growth of A.albida and a conflict with the spreading cultivation of Ch’at (Catha edulis Forsk.), the prospects of extension of this technique are good. It is recommended that its propagation should be incorporated in to the programmes of the extension agencies of the various governmental agencies concerned with land use.


J.Kahuranga, Y.Alemayehu, S.Tadesse and T. Bekele, 1993. Informal surveys to assess social forestry at Dibandiba and Aleta Wendo, Ethiopia
Agroforestry Systems24: 57-80
Two surveys were carried out at Dibandiba, a semi-arid site in central Ethiopia, and Aleta Wendo, a sub-humid site in southern Ethiopia, to assess farmers' attitudes toward and perceptions of tree planting, levels of social forestry and uses of tree products. At Dibandiba, farmers planted mostly Eucalyptus camaldulensis trees, exclusively on homesteads and Acacia albida was left on farmland. Trees were planted mainly for construction (32%), fuel wood (29%), shade (11%) and cash (11%). Major (85%) uses were fencing, fuel wood, construction and plough handles. Dung was the major source of fuel (56%). At Aleta Wendo, planting consisted of Eucalyptus globulus mostly on private woodlots and homesteads, of Milletia ferruginea and Cordia abyssinica on farms, and of Euphorbia abyssinica on fences and boundaries. Avocado and pears were also planted. The uses were the same as at Dibandiba.Major constraints were lack of seedlings and shortage of land at both sites, plus shortage of water at Dibandiba. Also, a review of information obtained from previous surveys on household composition and income, farm holding, cropping pattern, livestock composition and the use of labour was made.

Selamyihun Kidanu and Gezahegn Ayele, 2004. Farm Practices and economics of Eucalyptus globules boundary plantings on highland Vertisols in Ethiopia
Agriculture and Human Values (submitted).
PhD thesis Chapter 5 (71-86), WUA
Population pressure led to changes in land use and livelihood strategies in the highlands of Ethiopia. Among others, fast growing exotic trees species are integrated in to tree-crop production systems in spite of a perception that this practice adversely affects crop productivity. This study has investigated tree crop farming practices with special reference to Eucalyptus globules boundary planting, its economic implication and factors affecting adoption of the practices, based on a case study from Ginchi watershed in the central highlands of Ethiopia.
E.globulus trees are planted along farm boundaries in a row aligned in east west or north-south direction with one meter inter row spacing. Farmers use different levels of management for this tree planting. In the Ethiopian highlands E.globulus produce a harvestable tree within four to five years although farmers on Vertisols prefer a longer rotation period (8-12 years) to maximize wood production. The annual wood production rates range between 168 to 2900 kg ha-1 depending on soil type, stand age and rotation cycle.

Farming experience, educational background, farm size, soil type and the position of farmland in the landscape are the most important factors, which influence the adoption of boundary planting. Most households plant trees along boundaries for fuel wood and timber production. It also considered a cash crop. Most farmers prefer to plant one tree species at a time, although there are more than 10 suitable species available. Its fast growth and coppicing ability makes E.globules the most preferred tree species in the Ethiopian highlands. The economic advantages override the reduction in crop yield. In spite of low stand density and long pay off period, the Eucalyptus-wheat system achieved returns to land 1.3-1.7 times, and returns to labor 1.2-1.5 times greater than sole wheat cropping. In addition, for the smallholder farmer the role of Eucalyptus globulus boundary planting is far reaching when it is evaluated in its potential contribution to the farming system through its substitution of dung fuel.
Zemede Asfaw and Ayele Nigatu, 1995. Home–gardens in Ethiopia: Characteristics and plant diversity
Ethiopian Journal of Science 18(2): 235-266
A study was conducted on 111 home-gardens located in 58 sites in central, eastern, western and southern Ethiopia. The study area covered urban, peri-urban and rural settings of Dega (highland), Weyna-dega (middle land) and Kolla (low land) agroecological zones. Variations in home-garden frequency, position, size, shape, crop composition, planting pattern and level of development were observed. The gardens studied could be grouped in to backyards (48%), front-yards (26%), side-yards (13%) and enclosing yards (13%). On the average, many homes located in peri-urban towns of the Weyna-dega zone have gardens. The variations observed can best be accounted for by agroclimatic and socio-cultural factors. High diversity of species (162), of which 78% were food crops, was observed in home-gardens. Typical garden crops (52%), conventional field crops (22%) and those cultivated in both setups (27%) were recorded during the survey. On the whole, maize (Zea mays L.) and Enset (Ensete ventricosum (Wells.) cheesm.) were the most frequent crops in home-gardens. Fruit and vegetable crops constituted 41% of the species recorded, while other economically useful species occurred in gardens that produced cash and staple crops. Many multipurpose tree and shrub species were used as live fences. Rural farming families frequently use both home-gardens and fields to produce most of their crops. The home-garden complex is viewed as reminiscent of traditional agroforestry systems. It is a place where evolution and diversification of many crops of indigenous taxa have occurred. Also, crops introduced in the primal stage of agricultural innovations and species planted at experimental levels are found in home-gardens. It is concluded that the potential of home gardening in Ethiopia is quite significant.
Damel Teketay and Assefa Tigineh, 1991. Traditional tree crops based agroferestry in coffee producing areas of Harerge, eastern Ethiopia
Agroforestry Systems, ??: 257-267, 1991
A preliminary survey of seven coffee producing Awrajas (Provinces) in eastern Ethiopia revealed that there is a traditional tree crop based agro forestry system being practiced by the farmers. Coffee (C. arabica) was found to grow under the shade of several trees. 16 species usually intercropped by one or several, a total of 15, important grain, fruit, vegetable, stimulant, oilseed and spice crops. The majority of the trees,69%, is leguminous and Ficus spp. The system is characterized by the integration of crops, livestock and sometimes apiculture. Recommendations are made for future studies.
Sue Edwards, 1990. Traditional tree crops in Ethiopia: historical records and economic importance
Proc. 1st NRC conference, pp 159-185
With the growing interest in agroforestry as an approach in developing sustainable agricultural systems, it is appropriate to look at the history of the use of perennial species in Ethiopian agriculture. This paper lists over 55 perennial crops and related species that have been used in various ways in Ethiopia. It does not include plants of only medicinal importance. It is suggested that traditional fruit trees should be given serious attention in developing house gardens to improve the basic nutrition of farm families.
Dechasa Jiru, 1990. Current Agroforestry Systems in Ethiopia
Proc. 2nd NRC conference, pp181-185
Agroforestry is a land use system and practice in which forest trees, livestock, and arable land (for crops) are integrated on the same unit of land and managed to give yield on a sustainable basis either simultaneously or sequentially. It is a practice that is economically sound and culturally compatible. Trees are deliberately left to grow on farmland or pasture. The total output is greatly enhanced under integrated management over production of each component in isolation. The integration can be linear, mixed or even in blocks in an arrangement based on specific objectives and appropriate technology required for a particular place. Several traditional systems exist in Ethiopia, and there are new technologies started by several institutions at a national level across different land use systems. The review reveals that on the basis of national potential and needs several gaps and overlaps have been observed as a result of lack of coordination and insufficient experience. This paper deals with the most prominent system and technologies, which can highlight problems and possibilities of general research areas to be conducted in the future. The actual agroforestry areas are not clearly delineated. They are presented in a manner to indicate the major integral components in Ethiopia at the conceptual level.
Teshome Tesema, 1996. Socio-economic issues that affect adoption conditions of farmers in agroforestry developments in Eastern Gojam Zone, Ethiopia. Skinnskatteberg: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences,
Ethiopian MSc in Forestry Programme thesis works, Report No. 1996:11.
This work provides an assessment of the development problems affecting the adoption of agroforestry technologies in two communities of Eastern Gojam Zone, Amhara Regional State. Questionnaire survey covering 10 per cent of the households in both communities and Participatory Rural Appraisal techniques were used to generate the primary data. The report indicates that lack of access to production resources, cattle damage, uncertainties in land holding rights, and health problems were the major bottlenecks hindering a wider use of agroforestry practices. It then recommends that measures that would tackle each of the problems identified in the course of data analysis.
Abebe Seifu Weldetsadik. 2000. Farmers’ private tree growing traditions and management at Wondo Genet.
M.Sc Thesis, Wagningen University, The Netherlands, pp.68.
In the past three decades, forestry extension in Ethiopia was not effective enough to address forestry development needs. Historical negligence of private forestry is one of the essential problem areas that require investigation. Despite the absence of official government encouragement in private forestry, farmers have a tree planting management tradition in some parts of Ethiopia. Yet these practices have hardly been recorded and little is known about the various types of farmers’ tree growing practices. This study attempts to explore such practices in Wondo Genet (WG), which is located within the Ethiopian Rift Valley. The survey was conducted in four peasant Associations (PAs): Goto onoma, Shesa kekele, Wosha soyoma and Watera Kechema. These PAs are located in WG and the survey was carried out from July to September 1999. In order to investigate farmers’ tree growing tradition, four clusters of villages were selected from the four Pas.
Different methods (informal interview and observation, semi-structured interview, structured interview, farm interview, wealth ranking, and literature review) were employed to collect data from the development organisations, Pas and Households. Sixty households, stratified by three wealth categories, were randomly drawn for a structured interview and farm inventory. Quantitative data from the structured interviews and farm inventory were analysed using descriptive statistics. The findings show that farmers’ are well informed about the benefits of trees. They are actively engaged in tree management. The number of tree species retained and planted confirms this. Overall, 40 tree species were cultivated in the farms. More than 50% of the sampled households owns more than four tree species.
The most widely planted and preferred exotic tree species was Eucalyptus. The most commonly retained and preferred indigenous tree species was Cordia africana. Farmers planting trees near and around homestead, along external and internal boundaries, to a lesser scale as woodlot. Fruit trees, coffee, and Cordia africana in most cases are planted in the home garden together with Enset (false banana). Eucalyptus is often planted in boundaries (border) of the homestead and the cropland. Although tree planting inside the cropland is rare, farmers retain valuable tree species like Cordia africana and Albizia gummifera. In addition to these common species, a variety of tree species are retained and planted for fruit, shade, poles income, etc. The relative concentrations of trees in the homestead compared to cropland suggest that veillagisation and land redistribution have promoted a sense of insecurity. The type of farming practices also has a similar effect. The competitions between cash crop, particularly sugar cane, and tree crop for land is posing a constraint in the three PAs. In cereal producing Goto onoma PA, dry season and fallow grazing on cropland is especially destructive to seedlings and young trees.
To propagate trees farmers have the necessary skill. More than 50% of the sampled households use natural regeneration direct seeding wildings, and cuttings. This indicates that to propagate trees, nurseries are not always needed. Similar to this finding, about 50%of the source of planting material is farmers themselves. One-fifth of the farmer are already engaged in farm nursery and the remainders are willing to establish their own nurseries, provided the necessary input is made available to them. This willingness makes a good entry point to further intensify farmers’ tree growing efforts.
Shortage of land and lack of preferred planting material were reported as problems to establish more trees on farms. Other factors, which could affect farmers’ decision to add more trees or maintaining, were considered. However, there was insufficient evidence to support the influence of the socio-economic position of the farmer, access to the forest, and the size of farm on the decision of retaining and planting. WG offers a good opportunity to improve farmers’ tree management practices. The sub-humid climate is ideal for growing a variety of trees. Moreover, there is a strong tradition of tree growing among farmers. If the stimulating role of forestry institutions in the study area is well tuned with farmers’ tradition of tree planting the resultant effect will be enormous
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