Evaluation of Agroforestry Practices in the Southern Highlands of Yemen

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Abdel Salam Hayel Mohamed Abd, El Galil
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This study was conducted to evaluate the traditional agroforestry practices of Southern Highlands of Yemen. It aimed at assessing the factors influencing their sustainability. The study area is located in wadis and terraces of Taiz and Ibb Provinces. The data collected included: a. A comprehensive questionnaire involving 159 farmers, designed to collect information on the sociodemographic characteristics, sources of energy, crops, forest trees, livestock and extension services. b. Soil sampling and analysis to provide information on soil properties (physical and chemical) beneath the canopy of forest trees and in the open fields in wadis and on terraces. c. Measurement on woody vegetation as species composition, number of trees/ha (tree density) and canopy cover. Several statistical techniques were used to analyse the data. These include: a- Simple descriptive statistics such as frequency distribution b- Chi-Square was used to test association between variables. c- Stepwise regression was used to examine the relationships of the dependent and independent variables of the hypothesized relationships. The frequency distribution analysis are given on: crop yield, uses of animal manure, dominant forest trees species, methods of forest tree protection, objective of forest tree cutting, livestock, sources of animal feeds, types of fuels and extension services. The results indicated that Ziziphus spina-christi dominates in Taiz. Farmers raise more animals than in Ibb; trees are used for animal feed; follow communal forest trees protection and cut trees for timber and fuelwood. In Ibb Acacias and private forest tree protection dominate. Farmers use more animal manure than the farmers in Taiz. Qat is widely cultivated in wadis of Ibb and farmers cut forest tree to avoid competition with Qat. The role of extension service is more appreciated in Ibb than in Taiz. In both provinces energy obtained from biomass is the dominant type of fuel. Farmers in Taiz use more finewood than those in Ibb. The Chi-Square test revealed strong positive relationships between the tangible benefits (fodder, firewood timber) the farmers get from forest trees and planting trees. Farmers in Taiz conserve and seem apt to practise tree planting more than in Ibb where farmer cut forest trees to avoid their negative effect onQat. The regression analysis results showed an unexpected role of extension which was found to be promoting and encouraging Qat plantations. The positive and significant relationships between Qat and negative attitudes towards forest trees due to their belief that trees have disadvantageous effect on Qat are expected to jeopardize the sustainability of the agroforestry practices. Availability of gas for cooking at a reasonable price, has a positive (less or no cutting) and direct effect on forest trees. Cutting of forest trees has exposed soil terraces for erosion and lowered crop yield. Protection of forest trees, communal or private, together with direct benefits obtained from forest trees favour planting of forest trees. Qat itself is negatively and significantly affected by the positive attitudes of farmers towards forest trees. Literacy occupation of farmers and extension services were found to have no significant effect on planting forest trees.
Evaluation of Agroforestry Practices in the Southern Highlands of Yemen