Trees in the traditional farming systems in Southeastern Nigeria. A case study of Imo State
AbstractA survey of traditional farming systems in Southeastern Nigeria with specific reference to Imo State was undertaken so as to determine the place and role of trees/shrubs in such systems with a view to building upon this traditional knowledge of tree growing when initiating a new agroforestry strategys for the area. Data were generated through three main methods namely formal survey of farmers in the study area, survey of a farmer key informants and sample plot surveys. The result showed that tree/shrub species were dominant features of the traditional farming systems in the state. While a greater percentage (51%) of these trees were deliberately planted, others resulted from natural regeneration. Deliberate tree planting were however more pronounced on compound farms than in the other farm types. For instance, whereas 74.42% of the tree/shrub species found in compound farms were planted, the number was only 27% in the far fields. These tree/shrub species make valuable contributions to the family dietary and income needs. Approximately one-half of the entire food collected from the fallow and on-farm tree/shrub species are consumed by the family members, accounting for as much as 36.4% of the family food needs; incomes from the sale of the remaining one-half accounts for as much as 43.6% of the total family income. The study on species abundance on fallow and farm lands show that the need to ensure regular sources of food was the major consideration in the choice of tree/shrub species for planting and/or protection on fallow and farm lands. More that 90% of trees/shrubs were consumed as food either by humans or animals. It is recommended that location specific agroforesty technology be evolved in Southeastern Nigeria building upon this traditional knowledge about tress/shrubs and their roles in farming systems with more emphasis placed on compound farms.
Keywords: agro forestry, traditional knowledge, key informants, species abundance, wildlings, trees, shrubs, seed bank, gene bank
Journal of Environmental Extension Vol 5 2005: 25-31