Farmer Perceptions on Optimization of Tree Cover in Agroforestry Landscapes in the Central Rift-Valley of Ethiopia
This study revealed that farmers in the region want to have more trees both on their farm lands and homesteads than what they have currently. However, this study also clearly showed differences in the two sexes in terms of where they want to have more trees. Female farmers want to have more trees on their homesteads than male farmers. The other important finding from this study was that the average canopy cover of trees on croplands in the region was 5.6 %, and the average optimal canopy cover farmers are suggesting was 8 %, which was much lower than what experts are recommending. This needs further detailed study before implementing a policy of specific tree canopy coverage on croplands in this part of the country as there are such policies in other countries. Then again, among constraints related to tree survival was animal damage which is associated with the free grazing widely practiced in the wider region. Livestock, particularly, camels come from the pastoral communities from neighboring districts as well as from other regions as far as the Afar region. Farmers repeatedly say that unless a policy is designed to control this situation, it will continue to be a serious problem. The survey also revealed that farmers in the region were not getting sufficient support from the natural resources management department. The lack of support was much worse for women farmers than men. For instance, those farmers who didn’t get any support were all women. They were 45 % of the women farmers interviewed.