Diversity, composition and density of trees and shrubs in agroforestry homegardens in Southern Ethiopia

T. Abebe, F.J. Sterck, K.F. Wiersum, F. Bongers

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Diversity of trees and shrubs in agricultural systems contributes to provision of wood and non-wood products, and protects the environment, thereby, enhancing socioeconomic and ecological sustainability of the systems. This study characterizes the diversity, density and composition of trees in the agroforestry homegardens of Sidama Zone, Southern Ethiopia, and analyses physical and socioeconomic factors influencing diversity and composition of trees in the systems. A total of 144 homegardens were surveyed from 12 sites. In total, 120 species of trees and shrubs were recorded of which, 74.2 % were native to the area. The mean number of tree species per farm was 21. Density of trees varied between sites with mean values ranging from 86 to 1,082, and the overall average was 475 trees ha-1. Four different crop-based enset (Enset ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman)-coffee homegarden types were recognized and they differed not only in the composition of major crops but also in the diversity, density and composition of trees. The composition, diversity and density of trees is influenced by physical and socioeconomic factors. The major physical factors were geographical distance between sites and differences in altitude of farms. The most important socioeconomic factors were farm size and access to roads. Tree species richness and density increased with farm size. Increased road access facilitated marketing opportunities to agricultural products including trees, and lead to a decline in the basic components of the system, enset, coffee and trees. In the road-access sites, the native trees have also been largely replaced with fast growing exotic species, mainly eucalypts. The decrease in diversity of trees and perennial components of the system, and its gradual replacement with new cash and annual food crops could jeopardize the integrity and complexity of the system, which has been responsible for its sustenance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1283-1293
JournalAgroforestry Systems
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • crop diversity
  • home gardens
  • sri-lanka
  • system
  • mexico

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