Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2020, Vol. 11 ›› Issue (2): 159-170.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2020.02.004

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Effects of Vegetation Cover, Grazing and Season on Herbage Species Composition and Biomass: A Case Study of Yabello Rangeland, Southern Ethiopia

Yeneayehu FENETAHUN1, XU Xinwen2, YOU Yuan2, WANG Yongdong2, *   

  1. 1. University of Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100049, China;
    2. State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institution of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Science, Urumqi 830011, China
  • Received:2019-05-14 Accepted:2020-01-06 Online:2020-03-30 Published:2020-05-30
  • Contact: WANG Yongdong, E-mail: wangyd@ms.xjb.ac.cn
  • Supported by:
    The Funding Source Science and Technology Partnership Program, Ministry of Science and Technology of China (KY201702010); The China-Africa Joint Research Center Project of the Chines Academy of Science (SAJC201610).

Abstract: The Yabello rangeland is a semi-arid area in Borana, Ethiopia that is facing great degradation challenges. Increasing infestation of vegetation cover, over grazing and high seasonal variation have significantly affected the herbage composition and biomass in the Yabello rangeland. This study focused on assessing the effect of vegetation cover, grazing and season on both herbage composition and biomass in the Yabello rangeland. An experiment was conducted using randomized plots of 1 m × 1 m. Sites were selected based on vegetation cover type and grazing variation, and seasonal impacts were also assessed. Data on herbage composition, height and mass with respect to those parameters were analyzed using SAS statistical software version 9.1 (SAS Institute, 2001) and Microsoft Excel. A total of 26 grass species were recorded and Chloris roxburghiana Chrysopogon aucheri and Chrysopogon aucheri grass species showed the highest average single species cover height and biomass production, for all the sites among all parameters. As a result, those grass species are highly recommended for the rehabilitation of degraded rangeland in the study area. This study also showed that vegetation cover type grazing and seasonal variation were the key factors in determining herbage species composition, height and biomass production. Finally, we recommended that sustainable management which controls bush vegetation cover and balances grazing levels is essential for sustainable herbage production and biodiversity conservation in the area.

Key words: Yabello rangeland, species composition, biomass, bush land, grazing, herbage height, rainy season, dry season