Kikuyu agroforestry: an historical analysis

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This paper provides a historical analysis of indigenous agroforestry practices among Ndia and Gichugu Kikuyu cultivators in Kirinyaga District, Kenya. The Kikuyu have long-devised agroforestry practices such as selective cutting, protection of woodland, and intercropping, in response to competing pressures for retaining and removing tree cover. Traditional religious beliefs, common property resource tenure, and farm forestry practices contributed to the conservation of trees. It is argued that indigenous agroforestry techniques and strategies mitigated the impact of deforestation by incorporating valued multipurpose trees in local production systems. The paper briefly examines how indigenous agroforestry was modified by state forestry, agricultural, and land use policies and programs. Although communal tree management strategies have collapsed, indigenous farm forestry practices remain a resilient and viable part of contemporary land use strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-54
Number of pages10
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Sep 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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