Traditional farming and plant species diversity in agricultural landscapes of south-western Uganda


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Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier Science B.V.


An effort was undertaken in Bushwere Parish (Mbarara district, south-western Uganda) between 1999 and 2000 to develop sustainable and participatory approaches to plant biodiversity conservation at the farm level. One hundred farmers were interviewed on their socio-economic profiles and plant use strategies. Plant diversity was assessed in 400 plots of 5 mX5 m established in 53 field types of seven land-use categories. The most species-rich land-use category was under annual crops (149 plant species) while the most species-rich field type was planted with bananas (118 species). Shannon diversity and Sorensen's similarity indices were used to compute species diversity and similarity, respectively, between field types and land-uses. The most plant diverse land-use was natural woodland, the least fallow. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) showed that occurrence of species, field type or land-use depended upon environmental factors such as elevation, position on the slope and soil type. Redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that species utility and occurrence were related to the socio-economic status of farmers. Plant species were most diverse in land-uses located on hill tops and steep slopes. Farmers should therefore be advised on how to maintain plant diversity in agricultural landscapes.



Biological assessment, Humid zones, Ecosystem, Environmental impacts, Agriculture, Land use management, Conservation, Agricultural ecosystems, Natural resource management, Biodiversity conservation, Plant diversity, Agricultural landscape, Farming, Land use, Field type, Ecosystem Farm/Enterprise Scale


Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 99: 125-134