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Identification of spice shade and support tree species, south western Ethiopia


Shade tolerant spices such as Aframomum angustifolium and Piper capense are found as indigenous wild species in the Sheka, Kaffa and Bench Maji forests in Ethiopia. The farmers in Bench Maji, Kaffa and Sheka zones are engaged in harvesting and production of non-timber forest products including forest wild and semi-wild coffee, forest honey, wild forest spices and bamboo. The aim of the study was to identify trees used as shade or support for spices and their characteristics in the study area. Five potential districts were purposively selected based on the availability of shade loving spice resources. A total of 130 farmer households and 10 investors those who work on spice related activities were randomly selected from the five districts. Farmers’ households and investors were interviewed with semi-structured questionnaires. Observation, key informant interview and focused group discussions were also used with an interdisciplinary team. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. Results of the study indicates that averagely households has 2.54 ha land for cultivating different agricultural crops including spices. Most of the shade species for spice production (82.3%) were indigenous tree species retained on home gardens and also some of the tree species planted by farmers are native to the area. In general, Millettia ferruginea and Albidia gumminifera were frequently used shade trees for spices production over other tree species. Grevillea robusta and Erythria brucei were used as support tree species.

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We would like to acknowledge Forestry Research Center and Teppi National Spice Research Center for funding the research project and also providing some materials and technical support. We extend our thanks to all Agricultural Development Staff members of zones and districts levels for their contribution to the work.

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Correspondence to Gemedo Furo.

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Furo, G., Manaye, A. & Negasa, A. Identification of spice shade and support tree species, south western Ethiopia. Agroforest Syst 94, 95–102 (2020).

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  • Shade trees
  • Support tree
  • Aframomum angustifolium
  • Piper capense