Indigenous  /inˈdijənəs/ – adjective

October 9, 2019

Definition: A plant or animal species that originates or grows naturally in a particular country or region; native

In the Forest Garden: Trees for the Future works with local forestry specialists and Forest Garden farmers to identify the appropriate tree species for each Forest Garden. While Trees for the Future farmers plant a wide variety of plants and trees, most of the trees planted are either indigenous or naturalized to the given environment, meaning they already exist and grow in that country.

For Forest Garden farmers, the primary concern is not indigenous vs. non-native, but rather, of invasiveness. Whether a species is invasive or not is a complex issue; the same species may or may not be considered invasive, depending on local environmental conditions. Because of this complexity, Trees for the Future works with the communities themselves to identify the best tree species for each place we operate.

Did you know? Faidherbia albida also called Acacia albida is indigenous to many African countries and is commonly considered one of the best agroforestry trees for intercropping in fields and coppicing. 

Faidherbia albida Products:

  • Fodder: The leaves and pods are palatable and can provide an important source of protein for livestock in the dry season.
  • WoodF. albida is commonly used for fuelwood. It does not make a great timber due to staining and twisting, but it is easy to work by hand.

Faidherbia albida Agroforestry Uses:

  • Shade and ShelterF. albida is often used on farms to shade coffee as well as livestock in the dry season.
  • Reclamation: Its spreading root system offers excellent protection to the banks of rivers and streams.
  • Alley Cropping: Shedding its leaves in the rainy season, it provides nutrient-rich green fertilizer when crops need it most. Being leafless during the rainy season also reduces competition for sunlight with the crops. Repeated pruning during periods of average biomass production stimulates leaf production.
  • Dead and Living Fences: The thorny branches can be chopped off to form a dead fence, which is extremely important to place around a newly-planted living fence where there is risk of attack from roaming livestock. It also makes a great barrier for the outer row of a living fence.
  • Apiculture: It has the advantage of producing flowers at the end of the rains while most sahelian species flower before them, so can be used as a main source of bee forage at this time.

Learn more about agroforestry trees in Module 9: Popular Agroforestry Tree Species For more information on how we select tree species to plant visit,