Help me add trees to Mali farms

Christophe Lawrence chlawren at
Tue Apr 9 00:50:34 EST 1996

I'm a student seeking help on a research project.  My goal is to add
trees and their associated benefits to cropping systems in Mali 
(semi-arid West Africa).  The climate is wet-dry with 800 to 1200 mm 
rain per season, depending on location.  Soils are low in nutrients,
farmers can afford virtually no inputs and are focusing on subsistence,
not markets.  This is an area with maize, sorghum, millet and other
intercrops already grown under well-established nitrogen-fixing acacias
(Faidherbia albida).  Other trees are valued by local farmers.

How can I add more or different trees to this system?  My research
seems to indicate that alley cropping with nitrogen fixing woody species
won't work in a climate this dry.  I'm also under the impression that, 
in general, planting new trees in these fields (e.g. additional acacias)
is not realistic, given the effort and inputs needed to get them esta-
blished.  My impression is that I am limited to adding fodderwood or 
fuelwood banks in marginal farm areas.  Live fences, protective hedgerows
could also work.

What do you think?  Any advice on species or strategies?  I'm reluctant
to ask for help, but my library here can't provide me with many relevant
articles I've located through Agricola and other sources.  Maybe some-
one out there just got back from Mali with fresh ideas!

Thanks! chlawren at                          

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