THE INDIGENOUS WONDER

By Celia Kenyangye |05 August 2022|5 Min Read

In the era of climate change and its related hazards, planting fast growing Indigenous trees enhances forest cover; a solution to raising local and global temperatures, while increasing commercial gains to potential investors in the forestry sector. 

Maesopsis eminii also known as Musizi tree is one of the indigenous tree species grown in the low moist areas of east, central and west Africa. Over the years, many people have selected Musizi to other indigenous tree species because of its fast maturing period; varying accordingly from 8-25years depending on the grower’s needs that is poles, timber/saw log. It’s important to note that the species does not currently have improved seedlings on the market; and therefore farmers/investors must obtain seedlings from approved nurseries.

Figure 1: Maesopsis eminii tree planted by FFP in Nakaseke district (source: Flight Free Projects)

Co-benefits

The semi-deciduous nature of the tree species has supported agro-forestry practices where annual crops such as coffee, cocoa and tea are grown together with the trees (Here). They act as a shade for the crops. Some farmers in Uganda have further planted beans in rows with the tree species.

Commercially, Maesopsis has great market potential as it produces widely used general purpose timber for poles, plywood, crates, furniture and indoor construction materials. Furthermore, the growing demand for fuel wood has seen more farmers grow it as a source of firewood.

Maesopsis eminii has been widely planted for restoration of degraded landscapes, thanks to its ability to quickly colonize forest gaps and become dominant in logged and disturbed forests. Birds such as the hornbill feed on the fruit of the tree hence play an important role in the colonization of the species to new areas.  Read more.

Planting

In one hectare of land, 625 seedlings can be planted. The spacing for the Musizi plantation should be 4m×4m whereas agro-forestry 6m×6m. In addition, trees should be planted in the open space because they grow towards the sun and also common management practices such as weeding should be done timely. 

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