2 Aug 2021
Grazing by livestock is an increasing and unmanaged threat to the biodiversity and ecosystem service of the most protected areas and considered an immediate priority for action. In the mountain region of Ethiopia including areas around protected areas, livestock production is the primary and most widespread activity among local people. Grazing of these animals takes place without any regulation and may have strong negative effects on biodiversity and ecosystem service. Maintaining the health and productivity of grazing lands by controlling the livestock stocking rate to remain within carrying capacity is of significance to ensure sustainable management of grazing lands ecosystems (Cheng et al., 2017; Mersha et al., 2019).
In addition, understanding livestock carrying capacity (CC) and stocking rate (SR) provide evidence to support decision making over suitable sustainable management decisions. Despite the importance of understanding CC and SR of a significant area of the priority areas to support the development conservation compatible livestock production which is very crucial to protect biodiversity and ecosystem services that protected areas provide, there have been only a handful of studies from Ethiopia. Of these studies, only minor attention was paid to determine livestock CC and SR in the protected areas of Ethiopia. The only study cited along this line is that of Vial et al. (2010) and Gidey et al. (2018) that assess the livestock CC and SR in areas inside the parks. However, it would be meaningless to conduct the study in areas inside the park without considering the areas used by the same animals outside the park. Yet, the determination of the CC and SR of an area inside the park and areas used by the same animals outside the parks are lacking. Absence of adequate study prevents timely management and conservation decisions that could help to protect biodiversity and ecosystem services provided by the parks and buffer zone areas. Therefore, this study will be designed:
(1) to determine the carrying capacity of grazing lands in the areas used by the communities in Tena, Degeluna-Tijo, Shirka, and Lemu-Bilbilo districts including Galama Mountains of Arsi Mountains National Park, Ethiopia by considering herbivores wildlife;
(2) to determine the stocking rates of livestock in the areas used by the communities in Tena, Degeluna-Tijo, Shirka, and Lemu-Bilbilo districts including Galama Mountains of Arsi Mountains National Park, Ethiopia; and
(3) to assess socio-economic factors that drive the communities in Tena, Degeluna-Tijo, Shirka, and Lemu-Bilbilo districts to graze their livestock in the Galama Mountains of Arsi Mountains National Park, Ethiopia