Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 87, Issue 6, pp 1283–1293 | Cite as

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

  • Tesfaye AbebeEmail author
  • F. J. Sterck
  • K. F. Wiersum
  • F. Bongers


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.


Determinants of on-farm tree diversity Enset-coffee homegardens On-farm density of trees Landuse changes Sidama Zone 



We express our gratitude to the World Agroforestry Centre (formerly, the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF), for financing the field research, and Wageningen University for a PhD sandwich scholarship to TA. Also we thank the farmers and agricultural offices of the four districts in Sidama Zone (Aleta Wondo, Dale, Dara and Hawassa Zurya) for all their support and unreserved cooperation during data collection.

Supplementary material

10457_2013_9637_MOESM1_ESM.doc (234 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 234 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tesfaye Abebe
    • 1
    Email author
  • F. J. Sterck
    • 2
  • K. F. Wiersum
    • 3
  • F. Bongers
    • 2
  1. 1.College of AgricultureHawassa UniversityHawassaEthiopia
  2. 2.Centre for Ecosystem StudiesWageningen University and Research CentreWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Forest and Nature Conservation Policy GroupWageningen University and Research CentreWageningenThe Netherlands

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