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Non-wood Forest Benefits and Agroforestry Practices in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea - page 7 / 12

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Non-wood Forest Benefits and Agroforestry Practices

Table 1. Local people’s positive (+) and negative (-) opinions about living fences and tree plantations on fallow fields in Fouta Djallon, Guinea.

Living fences

+

  • -

    Monetary investments not needed

  • -

    They are alive

  • -

    They can provide other products also like fruits and soap-making materials

  • -

    Poles would not be needed

  • -

    Shade

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Effects can not be seen immediately Replacing a broken tree takes time They can not prevent animals from passing to a home garden Tree that is too tall may be blown down by a storm wind Termites would quickly destroy the fence “Our ancestors didn’t use them either.”

Tree plantations

  • -

    Prevent drought and attract rains

  • -

    Provide building materials

  • -

    Shade

  • -

    Visual aesthetic values

  • -

    “Trees do not have bad effects.”

-

-

-

-

Impossible to plant in fallow fields They can be successful only on good soils Animals would destroy the seedlings Planting and other management practices take time from the works

In recent years NGOs working in the region have started to contribute to the establishment of tree plantations. In one village, people had planted acacias (Acacia mangium), but none of the villages visited had tree plantations on fallow fields. The knowledge of different tree species and their site and nutrient demands seemed to be weak among interviewees. Five men argued that it would be impossible to plant trees on the fields because of shifting cultivation practices. They said that burning the trees and soil is indispensable to successful agriculture, but that would destroy the planted trees. The interviewees did not express the possibility that trees could be exploited before the next burning, which was the practice for the plantations that were established in other villages. Barren soil was also considered an obstacle since some of the interviewees thought that trees could be planted only on clay.

Despite the expressed doubts, plantations still interested interviewees and they listed several benefits that they believed tree plantations could offer, such as providing building materials. The interviewed villagers were willing to try tree growing if they could find time for it part from other work and if seeds and advice were provided. The acquisition of seeds would soon be easier when seeds could be collected from the local plantations near the villages. All women emphasised that gardens and crop fields had priority over all activities.

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