Integration and role of planted trees in a bush-fallow cultivation system in central Zambia

TitleIntegration and role of planted trees in a bush-fallow cultivation system in central Zambia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1988
AuthorsChidumayo, EN
JournalAgroforestry Systems
Date Published1988
Keywordsnitrogen fixation

The purpose of natural fallow in bush-fallow cultivaton systems is to improve soil fertility following a phase of cultivation and to provide useful forest products, including livestock feed. When natural fallow fails to serve these purposes, it can be supplemented or replaced by planted trees. This paper describes the development and function of Acacia fallow in the Soli tribal land of central Zambia and examines the supplementary role of planted trees.

The 31 woody species at five fallow sample sites were dominated byAcacia polyacantha. Thirty-nine percent of the species are leguminous and N-fixing while 42% are fodder plants. These species make this Acacia fallow suitable for regeneration of soil fertility and production of fodder. The dominant species, A. polyacantha, has an extensive lateral root system and may attain a mean maximum girth at breast height (BH) of 125 cm within 20 years. In the study areaAcacia fallow regenerates from seed and root-stocks and with a maximum annual stem basal area increment of 0.87 m2ha-1 at BH can acumulate a total of 17.4 m2ha-1 in 20 years.

However, Acacia fallow is poor in edible wild fruits and durable construction wood. The scarcity of fruits in the study area has been compensated by widespread planting of exotic fruit trees. Ninety percent of households have fruit trees (mean 2.3 fruit species per household). However, in spite of the scarcity of good construction wood in the Soli tribal land, no local initiative has developed to plant timber trees. A clear opportunity therefore exists to promote timber tree planting. Such a tree planting programme was started in the study area during the 1985/86 planting season (December-February) when 25,100 seedlings of Eucalyptys grandis, Gmelina arborea and Leuceana leucocephala were distributed, free of charge and the programme will continue until 1988. A survey carried out five to seven months after planting revealed that the survival of E. grandis, L. leucocephala and G. arborea seedlings was 65%, 90% and 92%, respectively. The high mortality of E. grandis seedlings was due to termite damage.

Journal Abbreviation

Agroforest Syst


0167-4366; 1572-9680

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