Silvicultural management of smallholder commercial tree plantations in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania : characterization and influencing factors

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Title: Silvicultural management of smallholder commercial tree plantations in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania : characterization and influencing factors
Author: Rams Beltrán, Elisabet
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Maatalous-metsätieteellinen tiedekunta, Metsätieteiden laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Forest Sciences
Helsingfors universitet, Agrikultur- och forstvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för skogsvetenskaper
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2019
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Metsien ekologia ja käyttö
Forest Ecology and Management
skoglig ekologi och resurshushållning
Abstract: Small-scale commercial tree plantations are considerably increasing in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, and offer an alternative to large-scale plantations to reduce the increasing gap in supply and demand of roundwood. Currently, some donor-funded incentive schemes are taking place in the area to provide extension to farmers. This extension aims to develop rural areas by engaging farmers to plant and sustainably manage commercial tree plantations. Application of silvicultural activities up to the standards is essential for the profitability and productivity of commercial tree plantations. This study aims to characterize and analyze the factors influencing silvicultural management of smallholder tree plantations; in order to find the possible issues, which are currently hindering a better success of tree-planting initiatives. The research took place in twelve different villages, in the districts of Ludewa, Njombe, Makete and Mufindi. Data was collected through semi-structured questionnaires at household level and field surveys to cross-check the information given by the farmers. A total of 114 farmers were interviewed and 44 smallholder plantations were surveyed. Complete and adequate silvicultural management was generally low. However, nearly all farmers believed that their woodlots performed well. The results indicate that current silvicultural management satisfied most of the farmers since markets existed also for lower quality wood, and farmers were able to only allocate some of their labour for silvicultural management (tree planting was a secondary livelihood option for them). However, the current level of management did not provide higher quality wood required for industrial purposes. The management applied differed between woodlots of the same household and between seasons. External support from an incentive scheme (e.g. free/subsidized seedlings and extension), participation in tree-growers’ associations and favorable attitudes, influenced positively the level of certain management activities applied (i.e. site preparation, weeding and firebreaks). The age of the farmer, the number of household members, the number of children at school, the total household land area, and the number of years planting trees; also had an effect on the level of silvicultural management. The results suggest that training and technical advice given to farmers on silvicultural management should be more consistent, detailed (i.e. timing, frequency and intensity of activities) and dependent on the climatic conditions and the site characteristics of the tree plantations. To conclude, the creation and development of networks (such as farmers’ groups and company-community partnerships) aiming to provide support to farmers beyond tree-planting schemes is likely to offer the most long-term positive outcomes in smallholder commercial tree planting. Ultimately, for extension to be most successful it must be relevant to farmers’ needs. Farmers receiving extension and extension providers should share similar goals – i.e. extension should target to a specific group of farmers. Accordingly, it is advisable to consider if the extension for rural development can have the same target group and provide the same incentives as the extension for commercial tree planting.
Subject: Tanzania
tree plantation
silvicultural management
forestry extension

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