A tree for high places
MetadataShow full item record
CTA. 1994. A tree for high places. Spore 54. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49521
Mimosa scabrella is a multi-purpose tree indigenous to southeast Brazil. In 1990 it was introduced, along with 64 other species with 24 provenances, to the Gakuta Research Station in western Rwanda. The purpose was to identify species that could be...
Mimosa scabrella is a multi-purpose tree indigenous to southeast Brazil. In 1990 it was introduced, along with 64 other species with 24 provenances, to the Gakuta Research Station in western Rwanda. The purpose was to identify species that could be best adapted to the difficult conditions of the rugged Zaire-Nile Crest, and ultimately to diversify the range of multipurpose trees in the area. This mountainous ridge has an altitude of 2500m and very acidic soils high in aluminium. It is usually very windy and temperatures are relatively low, with sunshine less than 60% of daylight hours. At Gakuta, mimosa trees grew faster than all the other species that were tested. After two years mimosa trees were, on average, almost twice as tall as certain other species and the trees also produced a substantial amount of fresh leaf material. Management trials also showed that mimosa coppices extremely well. Trials were also set up to determine which of the species introduced to the Gakuta Research Station provided the best fodder. Overall the goats preferred the grass mixed with Acacia koaia but the mixture of the grass and mimosa leaves came a close second. Indeed, the goats ate the mimosa-grass mixture as readily as they did the pure grass. Mimosa is rich in protein, with a content of 24.5% which is comparable to other species popularly used in Rwanda. Mimosa trees are not just acceptable to goats. Farmers also welcome the trees and the positive results obtained on the research station were duplicated on the farms. Farmers favourably compared the usefulness and the morphology of the mimosa trees with those of leucaena and sesbania. Mimosa scabrella shows great promise as a multipurpose agroforestry tree in the rugged highlands of Rwanda. Studies are underway to assess the range of its uses on farms, the qualities and uses of its wood and its interaction with crops. ICRAF PO Box 30677 Nairobi KENYA Less good news for Rwanda is the arrival of the Leucaena psyllid (Hetropsylla cubana). Just two years after this tiny, but extremely destructive, insect was first spotted in eastern Africa, researchers report that it has now reached the central and eastern regions of Rwanda The damage seems to be greatest on Leucaena leucocephala and L. diversifolia. This news of the psyllid's migration westwards into Rwanda spells trouble for leucaena which is an agroforestry tree there. Fortunately it comes just as ISAR/ICRAF researchers report exciting findings from trials with Mimosa scabrella. (see above)