Erosion control: An aggressive taproot system
helps break up compacted subsoil layers, improving the penetration
of moisture into the soil and decreasing surface runoff.
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 and grasslands.
Nitrogen fixing: It has high nitrogen-fixing potential
(100-300 kg N/ha a year), related to its abundant root nodulation.
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
Click 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
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.