Uapaca kirkiana Muell Arg. is one of the most popular indigenous fruit trees in the Miombo woodlands of southern Africa. An investigation into existing indigenous knowledge and socio- economic use of this fruit tree was conducted in Malawi. The survey revealed that U. kirkiana fruits contribute considerably to livelihood as a food supplement and for income generation among local communities. However,U. kirkiana trees are not widely cultivated due to lack of improved planting materials and difficulties in establishment outside their natural habitats. The results from the survey indicate that fruits are the main non-timber products that contribute to demand for domestication and the attributes preferred by the rural communities for improvement are mainly related to fruit taste and yield. Poor management and anthropogenic activities have resulted in the destruction of forest reserves and the local people do not have maximum stewardship of U. kirkiana trees in the forest reserve. The indigenous knowledge on U. kirkiana trees provides a valuable basis for domestication, propagation and improvement of fruit and tree attributes, and management issues on both co-managed and government forest reserve.
Key words: Euphorbiaceae, domestication, forest reserve, Miombo.
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