Rangeland vegetation diversity and transition pathways under indigenous pastoralist management regimes in southern Ethiopia

Chuan Liao, Patrick E. Clark

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Woody plant encroachment on the rangelands has been identified as a major threat to subsistence livestock herding globally. Among various determinants, indigenous pastoralist management regime strongly affects rangeland vegetation dynamics at a fine spatial scale. However, mechanisms of how different vegetation functional groups respond to livestock grazing under complex indigenous management regimes are yet to be explored. By integrating plant survey with GPS-tracking of cattle movement, we investigate rangeland vegetation diversity and spatial distribution of grazing intensity in an indigenous pastoralist community in southern Ethiopia, and explore patterns of plant-livestock interaction. The results indicate that vegetation structure and composition are significantly different under three distinct indigenous land use types. Spatial distribution of grazing intensity is heterogeneous under indigenous rangeland management regimes. Both plant diversity and richness are lower given moderate grazing intensity. While herbaceous cover is generally lower at locations with heavier grazing pressure, moderate grazing intensity is associated with the lowest woody cover. The findings imply that maintaining moderate grazing intensity helps to balance pastoralist livelihoods and resource sustainability.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)105-113
    Number of pages9
    JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
    Volume252
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 15 2018

    Fingerprint

    grazing intensity
    rangeland
    rangelands
    Ethiopia
    grazing
    vegetation
    livestock
    spatial distribution
    herding
    range management
    vegetation structure
    livelihood
    woody plants
    grazing pressure
    vegetation dynamics
    woody plant
    subsistence
    land use
    functional group
    cattle

    Keywords

    • Bush encroachment
    • Ethiopia
    • GPS-tracking
    • Indigenous grazing management
    • Rangeland

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology
    • Animal Science and Zoology
    • Agronomy and Crop Science

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Woody plant encroachment on the rangelands has been identified as a major threat to subsistence livestock herding globally. Among various determinants, indigenous pastoralist management regime strongly affects rangeland vegetation dynamics at a fine spatial scale. However, mechanisms of how different vegetation functional groups respond to livestock grazing under complex indigenous management regimes are yet to be explored. By integrating plant survey with GPS-tracking of cattle movement, we investigate rangeland vegetation diversity and spatial distribution of grazing intensity in an indigenous pastoralist community in southern Ethiopia, and explore patterns of plant-livestock interaction. The results indicate that vegetation structure and composition are significantly different under three distinct indigenous land use types. Spatial distribution of grazing intensity is heterogeneous under indigenous rangeland management regimes. Both plant diversity and richness are lower given moderate grazing intensity. While herbaceous cover is generally lower at locations with heavier grazing pressure, moderate grazing intensity is associated with the lowest woody cover. The findings imply that maintaining moderate grazing intensity helps to balance pastoralist livelihoods and resource sustainability.",
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    author = "Chuan Liao and Clark, {Patrick E.}",
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    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Rangeland vegetation diversity and transition pathways under indigenous pastoralist management regimes in southern Ethiopia

    AU - Liao, Chuan

    AU - Clark, Patrick E.

    PY - 2018/1/15

    Y1 - 2018/1/15

    N2 - Woody plant encroachment on the rangelands has been identified as a major threat to subsistence livestock herding globally. Among various determinants, indigenous pastoralist management regime strongly affects rangeland vegetation dynamics at a fine spatial scale. However, mechanisms of how different vegetation functional groups respond to livestock grazing under complex indigenous management regimes are yet to be explored. By integrating plant survey with GPS-tracking of cattle movement, we investigate rangeland vegetation diversity and spatial distribution of grazing intensity in an indigenous pastoralist community in southern Ethiopia, and explore patterns of plant-livestock interaction. The results indicate that vegetation structure and composition are significantly different under three distinct indigenous land use types. Spatial distribution of grazing intensity is heterogeneous under indigenous rangeland management regimes. Both plant diversity and richness are lower given moderate grazing intensity. While herbaceous cover is generally lower at locations with heavier grazing pressure, moderate grazing intensity is associated with the lowest woody cover. The findings imply that maintaining moderate grazing intensity helps to balance pastoralist livelihoods and resource sustainability.

    AB - Woody plant encroachment on the rangelands has been identified as a major threat to subsistence livestock herding globally. Among various determinants, indigenous pastoralist management regime strongly affects rangeland vegetation dynamics at a fine spatial scale. However, mechanisms of how different vegetation functional groups respond to livestock grazing under complex indigenous management regimes are yet to be explored. By integrating plant survey with GPS-tracking of cattle movement, we investigate rangeland vegetation diversity and spatial distribution of grazing intensity in an indigenous pastoralist community in southern Ethiopia, and explore patterns of plant-livestock interaction. The results indicate that vegetation structure and composition are significantly different under three distinct indigenous land use types. Spatial distribution of grazing intensity is heterogeneous under indigenous rangeland management regimes. Both plant diversity and richness are lower given moderate grazing intensity. While herbaceous cover is generally lower at locations with heavier grazing pressure, moderate grazing intensity is associated with the lowest woody cover. The findings imply that maintaining moderate grazing intensity helps to balance pastoralist livelihoods and resource sustainability.

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    KW - GPS-tracking

    KW - Indigenous grazing management

    KW - Rangeland

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