Causes and Effects of Rangeland Degradation in the Lowland Districts of the Bale Eco-Region, Ethiopia

Document Type: Research and Full Length Article

Author

Researcher at Sinana Agricultural Research Center

Abstract

This study was carried out in Bale Eco-Region (BER) which is located in Southeastern Ethiopia with the objective of addressing the cause and effect of ecological damage, particularly rangeland degradation. Both purposive and stratified random sampling approaches were used to select HouseHolds (HH). Individual interview, key informants and Focus Group Discussion (FGD) were the main sources of data for this study. The livelihood activity in BER lowland area was pastoralism before 1965 and it was based on highly productive, vast and free Rangeland with unlimited movement of the pastoralists. In the low land of BER, migration has a destination, pattern and objective to meet. These destinations are sources of mineral, a breeding site, feed and water. Migration is used as strong seasonal disease, water and feed shortage escaping mechanism. However, this is currently changed to Agro-pastoral or some of them to crop production do different disturbances. The change was mainly aggravated by expansion of agricultural investment, high population growth, illegal settlement and cultivation and banning of migration to Forest. Utilization of grazing land is communal and rangeland around homestead and watering points are overgrazed and resulted in bare land and encroached by unpalatable and thorny species. The vegetation cleaning and cultivation of drought prone area under rain-fed regimes have accelerated bare land expansion and unpalatable vegetation encroachment. The overall rangeland condition has deteriorated and the livelihoods were jeopardized. The people get in trouble, then moving from degraded area to protected and moist source forest land in Bale Mountain National Park and now causing serious deforestation. 

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