The Agroecology of Faidherbia Albida on the Tonga Plateau of Southern Zambia

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Wahl, Trent Carl
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Faidherbia Albida is a tree species indigeous to semi-arid regions of Africa that substantially increases maize(Zea mays)yields in its immediate vicinity.In southern province of Zambia,F.albida is widely used in indigeous maize farming systems and this has apparently increased over the past two decades.Using a combination of interviews,group meetings,and observations,this study developed a holon agroecological analysis of the contexts that have shaped past and current uses of F.abida by farmers on the Tonga Plateau:cattle,land tenure,maize,soil,and government agricultural policy.We observed a bimodal age distribution of the trees in agricultural fields and posit that the missing cohorts were removed as weeds as a result of evolving notions of what constituted modern farming practices in the merging maize economy.With subsequent research and social promotion of the beneficial effects of F.albida,farmers are now being encouraged to allow the trees to grow in thier fields.This advice took root in farmer knowledge contexts because of positive regard for F.albida and timeless injunctions against cutting mature specimens.This case study illustrates the use of holon agroecology to develop a rich appreciation of how evolving contexts have shaped farmers' behaviour in Southern Zambia.
Agroecology , Faidherbia Albida