Rangeland Degradation and Livelihood Vulnerability of the Pastoralists in Erer District of Shinile Zone, Eastern Ethiopia
The research was conducted in Erer district of the Shinile Zone of the Somali Regional State, Ethiopia. This study was undertaken to assess the perceptions of the communities about rangeland degradation and its effect on livelihood and to identify the causes of rangeland degradation. Data were collected through structured questionnaire (80 households), group discussions and visual observations. The average family size per household in the district was 7.27. Regarding their income source, 52.5% of the respondents obtained their income from milk sale, 93.75% from sale of livestock, 37.75% from sale of agricultural products, 5% were employed in government farm land in Erer as daily laborer, 1.3% sale fire wood, 2.5% rent their camels for contraband transportation purpose. All of the pastoralists indicated that the rangeland was degraded and the main causes were drought and overgrazing. Rangeland degradation reduced the income and made the communities vulnerable to even minor climatic shocks. Rangeland is the major feed resource for livestock and livestock is the backbone for the life of pastoralists, but the feed resource available for livestock has declined through time (animals did not get their feed requirement from the degraded rangeland). With the decrease in livestock number and productivity, the pastoralists and agro-pastoralist livelihood is vulnerable to poverty.
Key words: Degradation, Livelihood, Livestock, Overgrazing, Rangeland
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