The potential of agroforestry in the conservation of high value indigenous trees : a case study of Umzimvubu District, Eastern Cape.
Mukolwe, Michael O.
MetadataShow full item record
South Africa is not well endowed with indigenous forests which are now known to be degraded and declining at unknown rates. This constitutes a direct threat to quality of life of the resource-poor rural households who directly depend on them and to ecological integrity. It is also recognised that the declining tree resources, particularly the high value indigenous tree species, are increasingly threatened by a number of growing subsistence demands. This emphasised the need to cultivate and conserve high-value tree species such as Englerophytum natalense, Ptaeroxylon obliquum and Millettia grandis on-farm in Umzimvubu District. Agroforestry is recognised as a viable option for optimising land productivity, reducing pressure on the indigenous forests, ensuring a sustainable supply of desired tree products and services and improving the quality of life of the resource-poor rural households. This Thesis examines whether agroforestry in Umzimvubu District and similar areas of South Africa has the potential for addressing these needs. It recognises that for successful initiation, implementation and adoption, agroforestry should be considered at two levels, namely, household and institutional. Responses based on structured questionnaires were obtained at these levels. Questionnaires were used to determine whether the households and institutions were aware of, and responding to, the need to intensify and diversify on-farm production, ease pressure on indigenous forest, improve income opportunities and problem solving capacities to address agroforestry related issues. An ecological inventory of E. natalense, P. obliquum and M grandis was carried out to provide a sound basis for integrating high-value species into appropriate agroforestry systems and to facilitate the preparation of future management guidelines for these resources in Mt. Thesiger Forest Reserve. The study: i) confirms that most high value indigenous tree species merit integration into subsistence farming systems through agroforestry, ii) appreciates that some rural households have been unknowingly practising agroforestry, iii) recognises that agroforestry is implied in South Mrica's White Paper on Sustainable Forest Development of 1997, but notes that similar emphasis has not been adopted or incorporated in the National Forestry Action Programme of 1997, and iv) notes that challenges to promoting agroforestry research and development in the South Mrican context of the institutions and resource-poor rural households are many, but can be resolved. The study concludes that agroforestry stands to benefit many resource-poor rural households and enhance environmental resilience in South Africa in the next millennium.