Coffee Shade Tree Selection Criteria and Management Techniques in Smallholder Coffee-Based Agroforestry System in Gomma Woreda, Southwest of Ethiopia
To maintain the balance of productivity and increase coffee yield in the coffee agroforestry system, understanding the selection and management practices of shade trees is crucial. The purpose of this study was to examine shade tree selection factors and farmers management methods in a smallholder coffee-based agroforestry system in Gomma woreda, south-west Ethiopia, along an elevation gradient. Upper, middle, and lower gradients of the elevation were stratified, and two villages were randomly chosen from each elevation group. A total of 115 households were selected for interviews to examine coffee shade tree management practices and selection criteria. Moderated interviews that included both closed- and open-ended questions were administered. The information was gathered on the farmer's understanding and practice with regard to coffee shade tree selection and management. Result found that there is no correction between respondents age, sex and coffee shade management practices in study site. Farmers preferred both indigenous and exotic shade tree species such as 20% Cordia africana, 20% Albizia gummifera, 19%Croton macrostachyus, 5.2% Persea americana, 13% Grevillea robusta, and 3.5% Mangifera indica for coffee shade. Shade tree selection was based on tree height, origin, leaf size, shade quality, and leaf decomposition rate attributes.. Farmers also valued coffee shade trees for other additional ecosystem goods and services such as fruit, timber, construction wood, soil fertility maintenance, fodder, soil, and water conservation. Coffee shade tree provided both economic re-turn and biological conservation in study site.
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