Traditional management and conservation of Shea trees (Vitellaria paradoxasubspeciesnilotica) in Uganda
Okullo, John Bosco Lamoris
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Traditional practices are universally recognised as a basis for conservation ofbiodiversity. However, such practices are often not included in natural resource conser-vation policies. This study assessed local conservation practices of shea trees (Vitellariaparadoxa) within different farming systems in Uganda and developed conservationguidelines for the species. The assessment involved 300 respondents, 15 focus groups and41 key informants. Content analysis was used to identify the most important managementand conservation practices. Local uses were categorised on the basis of shea tree productswhile differences in conservation practices were analysed using the Friedman test. Theresults show that eight shea tree products are used for 36 different purposes. Respondents’age significantly influenced their knowledge about the shea tree. Traditional conservationpractices include on-farm retention during cultivation and the use of folklore (mainly taboos), customs and rituals. Traditional management practices include weeding, bushburning, pollarding and pruning. Based on the current management and traditional con-servation practices, a framework for the conservation of shea trees is proposed for inte-gration into conservation policy decisions.