Tree density and germplasm source in agroforestry ecosystems in Meru, Mount Kenya

A.G. Lengkeek, R. Kindt, L.J.G. van der Maesen, A.J. Simons, D.C.C. van Oijen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Farmers use and conserve a large variety of tree species. In Meru, a tree census on 35 farms covering 60 ha was conducted. This study included farmer interviews and biological measurements, with about 63,000 trees and 297 species being recorded. This paper discusses tree densities per species and germplasm sources for trees and species. The low densities and limited influx of germplasm from outside the farming community for some species, may result in an increased vulnerability to inbreeding and genetic erosion. This paper aims to provide some baseline data for understanding genetic resource management in agroforestry systems. It also provides suggestions for interventions to lower the vulnerability for species in Meru. Farmers need to have increased access to germplasm to diversify their farms in terms of species evenness, by substituting trees of more common species with trees of rarer species, or by increasing trees of rarer species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-721
JournalGenetic Resources and Crop Evolution
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • forest fragmentation
  • conservation
  • populations
  • diversity

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