Fuelwood production from Leucaena leucocephala established in fodder crops at Mtwapa, Coast Province, Kenya
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Fuelwood production from a high density leucaena-based fodder production experiment at Mtwapa, Coast Province, Kenya is reported. Leucaena with and without other fodder crops namely, Cassava, Bana and Napier grass, formed the main-plot treatments while leucaena densities ranging from 6,250 to 100,000 ha−1 planted in single- or double-line planting arrangements formed the sub-plot treatments of the split-plot design used. Each treatment was replicated four times. The experiment was established and maintained without the use of fertilizer, pesticides, irrigation. Hand weeding was done only during the first year.
After 2.7 years growth, height and diameter measurements were taken before cutting back the leucaena stems to 0.5 m above ground. Utilizable fuelwood (twigs greater than 0.5 mm diameter) was then sun-dried for 3 months and dry weights taken.
Fuelwood yields were significantly reduced by the fodder intercrops. Yield from leucaena intercropped with fodder crops were, on average, 30% lower than yield from sole stands of leucaena. Mean yields of the single-line plantings ranged from 13.7 to 21.2 tons ha−1. Yield from the double-line plantings were lower (on average 10%) than that of single-line plantings and were as well highly variable. Unlike tree heights, diameters in the single-line planting arrangement were not affected significantly by the fodder intercrops. In the single line plantings, yield of fuelwood from sole stand of leucaena was higher at all in-row spacings than the yield from intercropped leucaena. Increase in in-row spacing of leucaena generally led to reduced yield of fuelwood.
Fodder yields of intercropped Cassava, Bana and Napier grasses were near normal in the first year but zero or negligible in the remaining 1.7 years. Implications of the prolonged tree establishment period on fodder yields after opening of the canopy are discussed.
Key wordsfuelwood Leucaena leucocephala agroforestry intercropping single-lines double-lines fodder production yields
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