Abstract: Vitellaria paradoxa is one of the dominant and important fruit tree species in savanna woodlands of Africa. The butter extracted from the nuts of this tree is used in medicine, food and cosmetics. However, there is limited information on factors that influence fruit production in V. paradoxa. Researchers conducted a 2 years study to assess fruit yield of this tree in relation to dendrometric traits and land use types in four localities within the Shea Belt of Uganda. We determined the patterns of fruit yield by land use categories; inter-annual variability in fruit yield between successive years and different tree sizes. We also developed fruit yield prediction models based on dendrometric traits and land use types. Sampling was done in sites with old fallows, young fallows and cultivated fields within selected districts of the Shea belt in Uganda. Four plots of 50x50 m were established systematically in each land use type. Fruiting trees were randomly selected and fruit yield assessed over two fruiting seasons. Current fields and young fallows had better fruit yield compared to old fallows. Fruit yield varied between the 2 years of data collection. Most dendrometric traits exhibited a weak positive correlation with fruit yield. The likelihood of fruit yield increase was high in current fields than fallows. Trees with few branches at first forking of the stem were more likely to have better fruit yield than those with many branches. Therefore, Dbh, land use types and number of branches at first forking were suitable explanatory variables for fruit yield prediction. Farmers need to preserve large DBH trees with few branches at first forking under conditions of either current fields or young fallow if fruit production is the main objective of managing Shea parklands.
Patrick Byakagaba, Gerald Eilu, John Bosco L. Okullo, Edward N. Mwavu and Susan B. Tumwebaze, 2012. Shea Butter Tree (Vitellaria paradoxa Gaertn.) Fruit Yield in Relation to Dendrometric Traits and Land-Use in Uganda. Research Journal of Applied Sciences, 7: 92-99.