Erosion control: An aggressive
taproot system helps break up compacted subsoil layers, improving
the penetration of moisture into the soil and decreasing surface
Shade or shelter: L. leucocephala
is used as a shade tree for cocoa, coffee and tea; it generally
acts as a shelterbelt, providing shade and wind protection for a
variety of crops, especially during early growth.
Reclamation: L. leucocephala thrives
on steep slopes and in marginal areas with extended dry seasons,
making it a prime candidate for restoring forest cover, watersheds
Nitrogen fixing: It has high nitrogen-fixing
potential (100-300 kg N/ha a year), related to its abundant root
Soil improver: L. leucocephala
was one of the 1st species to be used for the production of green
manure in alley-cropping systems. Leaves of L. leucocephala, even
with moderate yields, contain more than enough nitrogen to sustain
a maize crop. The finely divided leaves decompose quickly, providing
a rapid, short-term influx of nutrients. It has even been suggested
that the leaves decompose too rapidly, resulting in leaching of
nutrients away from the crop-rooting zone before they are taken
up by the crop. This also means that they have little value as mulch
for weed control.
The tree has the potential to renew soil fertility
and could be particularly important in slash-and-burn cultivation,
as it greatly reduces the fallow period between crops. A recent
report from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization shows the
pace of deforestation worldwide slowed in the last decade. Clearing
land for farming remains the leading cause of deforestation. But
in Haiti, the loss of tree cover -- and the erosion that results
-- have made it much harder for farmers to grow food. It's a major
contributor to the country's hunger problems.
on the video link below to see the efforts that are underway
to try to return trees to Haiti's denuded hills.
Ornamental: Suitable as an ornamental
and roadside landscaping species.
Boundary or barrier or support:
Used as a live fence, firebreak and live support for vines such
as pepper, coffee and cocoa, vanilla, yam and passion fruit.
Intercropping: Leucaena is one
of the most widely used species in alley cropping, where it is planted
in hedges along contours at intervals of 3-10 m with crops in between.
Other services: The dried seeds are widely used for ornamentation.
The young foliage is very palatable to cattle, rich
in protein and nutritious. Pods and seeds are used in some
countries as a concentrate for cattle. Feeding trials with
swine have shown no ill effects from rations consisting of
up to 15% leaves.
Feeding dairy cows on cut-and-carry leucaena foliage increases
milk production by 14% on average and also increases milk
fat and protein contents.
Cows fed Leucaena leucocephala eat less concentrate
and do not need to be fed on heavy fertilized grasses. They also
have higher live weight gain. However, the leaves should not be
fed to breeding animals, however, as they may affect reproduction,
stillborn calves are numerous, calving percentage is poor (66% vs.
88%), and calf weight at birth is lower.
Leucaena leucocephala is one the highest
quality and most palatable fodder trees in East Africa.
to view the documentary.
is very palatable to sheep. Grazing sheep or sheep fed on grass
hay have higher performances when they are supplemented with
25-50% of dried leucaena leaves. Higher amounts can be fed in
periods of diet scarcity. Leucaena leaf meal or fresh leaves
can also replace concentrate or ammoniated rice straw since
it increases DM intake, protein intake, N retention and thus
growth performance .
Lambs fed leucaena leaf meal have higher survival
rate and growth rate. In spite of mimosine content, reproductive
performance is not altered by dry or fresh leuceana forage in rams.
Ewes fed leucaena hay had good body weight at mating time with higher
ovulation rates. Leucaena may reduce the cost of parasitic control
Leucaena leaf meal included at 45% to supplement natural pastures
increased crude protein intake, weight gain and fibre growth in
Pigs: It is possible to feed pigs
with low levels of Leucaena leucocephala: 5 to 10 % leucaena leaf
meal are recommended in growing and finishing pigs.
In broilers, 5 % inclusion rate of leucaena leaf
meal is recommended since it gives higher feed conversion.
If roasted, the inclusion rate may be as high as 15 % with
no alteration of animal performance.
In laying hens, the recommended inclusion
rate for leucaena leaf meal is 10 %. Xanthophylls extracted
from leaves of Leucaena leucocephala can maintain animal performance
while reducing feed costs and improving yolk colour.
Rabbits: Fresh or dried Leucaena
leucocephala or leaf meal improves feed intake, feed efficiency
and animal performance in rabbits. The recommended inclusion rate
ranges from 24% to 40% for growing or fattening rabbits fed on fresh
Leucaena leucocephala leaves can replace alfalfa. Leucaena leaf
meal may be included at 25% when supplementing a diet based on cassava
peels and at 30-40% when rabbits are fed with Arachis pintoi. Leucaena
leucocephala is more palatable than Arachis pintoi.
Not all rabbit trials with leucaena have been positive.
The inclusion of fresh leucaena leaves at 20-25% had deleterious
effects on the mortality of female and young rabbits (up to 55%
Fish: It is possible to feed catfish
with leucaena leaf meal as a protein source 30% inclusion is suitable
for catfish. Leucaena seed meal is a good alternative to soybean
meal for catfish fingerlings diets at 20% inclusion level.