The Role of Coffee Based Agroforestry System in Tree Diversity Conservation in Eastern Uganda

Abstract

Agroforestry farming system comprises considerable cultivated land area in the tropics. Despite the economic and social benefits of the system for farmers, it is also known to have an important role in the conservation of tree species. This study aims to evaluate the composition and distribution of tree species in coffee based agroforestry system to determine the potential for biodiversity conservation. To address the objective of this study, 57 sample plots in farmers’ coffee field and 12 sample plots in forest reserve were surveyed in Eastern Uganda. The result shows that the number of indigenous tree species in coffee farms was lower than that of forest reserve. Similarly, tree species richness per plot, Shannon and Simpson diversity indexes of forest reserve were significantly (p≤0.05) higher than that of coffee farms. However, with the inclusion of exotic tree species, coffee farms were found to be significantly higher than that of forest reserve for the above diversity indexes. On the other hand, the distribution of tree species in the coffee farms were mainly dominated by few tree species indicating the need for measures that ensure the sustainability of those less represented tree species.

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