Local Farmers’ Perception towards Eucalyptus Woodlot: Lesson Drawn from the Jamma District, Northeastern Ethiopia
Eucalyptus woodlots are the most economically important and extensively planted exotic tree species in Ethiopia. However, there are different arguments on Eucalyptus’s contribution and its effect on the environment from scholars and communities as a whole. Hence, this study investigates farmers’ perceptions and factors affecting their perception of Eucalyptus woodlot plantation. The sample size of respondents was 150 farmers who were selected randomly, and data were collected using semi-structured questionnaires, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. The collected data were analysed through descriptive statistics and a binary logistic regression model. The result revealed that 65.3% of farmers had a positive perception, but they perceived negative effects like Nutrient competition of Eucalyptus on crops, effect on water resources, drying out of other plant species, shading effect, and causing soil infertility. Eucalyptus contributed 41.6% to the total household income, next to agriculture (54.2%). Degraded land, roadsides, and farm boundary were the common niches of Eucalyptus plantations. Furthermore, Eucalyptus wood products are the most preferable construction materials for local communities. The result shows that the majority of the farmers plant Eucalyptus on degraded land. The model result indicated that staying years in the area, farmers’ experience, age, educational status, and distance to market had significant effects on farmers’ perception towards Eucalyptus plantation. The findings recommended that different concerned bodies should work to address different socioeconomic and biophysical factors affecting farmers’ perception towards Eucalyptus woodlot. The findings further suggest that experts and policy-makers should consider the interests and perceptions of farmers to make decisions regarding Eucalyptus woodlot plantations
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