Condition of major grazing areas in the rangelands of Gambella, southwestern Ethiopia
The study was conducted in Nuer pastoral area of Gambella, southwestern Ethiopia, with the objectives of evaluating the condition of the major grazing areas of the rangelands. For the vegetation survey the pastoral area was stratified by districts namely: Itang and Jikawo and each district further divided into major grazing types (less, seasonal, communal grazed and river basins). Data were collected on grass species composition, basal cover, litter cover, number of seedlings, age distribution, soil erosion, soil compaction; woody species composition, density and height. There were a highly significant (p<0.05) differences in the total range condition scores among the major grazing areas of the districts. In Itang district, the mean condition scores of less, moderately, communally grazed and river basins were: 36.23±0.10, 28.78±0.20, 21.76±0.16 and 15.82±0.16, respectively. Whereas the corresponding values in Jikawo district were: 34.91±0.10, 27.20±0.10, 18.69±0.16 and 13.58±0.16, respectively. In general, the present study confirmed that the condition of the communally grazed areas were in precaution and has deteriorated. To this end, an attempt to employ appropriate management systems along with monitoring of the grassland condition might be needed to promote the productivity of the grassland of the study areas to the level of the carrying capacity to ensure its sustainable utilization.
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