Tree planting practices were investigated on a total of 95 homesteads in two communities in rural Swaziland. Information was also collected on socioeconomic characteristics of the homesteads. In both the study areas, Sigombeni and Bhekinkosi, there was considerable variation amongst individual homesteads in size, relative wealth (as indicated by cattle and motor vehicle ownership), and amount and types of trees planted. Eighty-five percent of all homesteads in Sigombeni and 73% in Bhekinkosi had planted at least one tree. Common forms of planting included small woodlots, fruit trees, and ornamentals. Virtually all the woodlots consisted of two introduced wattle species (Acacia mearnsii and A. decurrens). The most commonly planted fruit trees were avocados, bananas, and peaches. No complex or labor-intensive agroforestry practices (such as maize/leucaena intercropping) were observed. There was some evidence that the poorest and newest homesteads were the least likely to have planted any trees and that the richest homesteads were the most likely to have planted woodlots. The results indicate that forestry research and extension efforts should take into account homestead characteristics, and strive to offer a range of tree planting options that vary in input requirements, labor needs, and complexity.
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Homestead tree planting in two rural Swazi communities