Assessing Context-Specific Factors to Increase Tree Survival for Scaling Ecosystem Restoration Efforts in East Africa

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Increasing tree cover in agricultural lands can contribute to achieving global and national restoration goals, more so in the drylands where trees play a key role in enhancing both ecosystem and livelihood resilience of the communities that depend on them. Despite this, drylands are characterized by low tree survival especially for tree species preferred by local communities. We conducted a study in arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya and Ethiopia with 1773 households to assess how different tree planting and management practices influence seedling survival. Using on-farm planned comparisons, farmers experimented and compared tree survival under different planting and management practices as well as under varying socioeconomic and biophysical contexts in the two countries. Seedling survival was monitored at least six months after planting. Results show that watering, manure application, seedling protection by fencing and planting in a small hole (30 cm diameter and 45 cm depth) had a significant effect on tree seedling survival in Kenya, while in Ethiopia, mulching, watering and planting niche were significant to tree survival. Household socioeconomics and farms’ biophysical characteristics such as farm size, education level of the household head, land tenure, age of the household head had significant effects on seedling survival in both Ethiopia and Kenya while presence of soil erosion on the farm had a significant effect in Kenya. Soil quality ranking was positively correlated with tree survival in Ethiopia, regardless of species assessed. Current findings have confirmed effects of context specific variables some involving intrahousehold socioeconomic status such education level of the household head, and farm size that influence survival.
Authors: Magaju, C.; Winowiecki, L.A.; Crossland, M.; Frija, A.; Ouerghemmi, H.; Hagazi, N.; Sola, P.; Ochenje, I.; Kiura, E.; Kuria, A.; Muriuki, J.; Carsan, S.; Hadgu, K.; Bonaiuti, E.; Sinclair, F.
Subjects: canopy, arid zones, on-farm research, seedling production, trees, ecological restoration
Publication type: ISI, Journal Article, Publication
Year: 2020
ISSN: 2073-445X

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