Factors influencing conservation of trees on farmland and silvicultural management activities in a Sudanian agro-ecosystem, West Africa
The loss of tree resources and low productivity of soil are the main environmental problems affecting the livelihoods in developing countries. This paper reports a study of factors influencing farmers decision to protect and manage trees on their farmland that aims to restore degraded land and improve biodiversity. The data were collected from personal interviews conducted with farmers in the Center-West region of Burkina Faso and were analyzed using Principal Component Analysis, multiple linear regression and binary logistic regression. The results showed that farmers decision to participate in conservation of trees on farmland was mainly influenced by silvicultural knowledge and skills, participation in farmers' groups or other social organizations with interest in tree conservation, the social value of biodiversity in the rural, and the perceived economic benefits of trees on farm. These factors need to be taken into consideration to enhance farmers' participation in agroforestry and to achieve tree cover restoration. Regression analysis showed that important variables for explaining variation in levels of motivation in tree conservation on farms include household wealth, gender, ethnic group, age, education level, marital status, religion, residence status, farm size, household size and technical support. These results indicate that organizations promoting agroforestry among poorer smallholders will have more success if they consider the diversity of smallholder socioeconomic and perceptional characteristics. The findings from this study will help in the restoration of degraded rural landscapes, the conservation of biodiversity and improve resilience in farmland and natural land formations.