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International Institute for Geo-information Science & Earth Observation (ITC) 2002

Household herd size among Pastoralists in relation to overstocking and rangeland degradation (Sesfontein, Namibia)

Gulelat, Wendessen

Titre : Household herd size among Pastoralists in relation to overstocking and rangeland degradation (Sesfontein, Namibia)

Auteur : Gulelat, Wendessen

Etablissement de soutenance : International Institute for Geo-information Science & Earth Observation (ITC) Netherlands

Grade : Master of Science (MSc) in Natural resource Management (Environmental Systems Analysis and Monitoring 2002

Arid rangelands are sensitive to degradation. Overgrazing is one of the major causes of degradation particularly around permanent settlements and watering centres. However, the effects of permanent settlements and establishment of permanent water supply on arid rangelands of Sesfontein of Namibia are not well known. Furthermore, Pastoralists behaviours of maximizing stock number, which will leads to overstocking and consequently rangeland degradation is one of the major problems of rangeland management. _ The purpose of this study is to assess the rangeland condition with respect to vegetation variables in relation to distance to settlements and high capacity boreholes and the primary motives of pastoralists for increasing herd size and factors affecting herd size at the house hold level. Combinations of field measurement and socio economic survey were conducted. For the field survey three permanent settlements and two high capacity boreholes were selected. From each settlements starting from the last house towards the grazing direction a total of 45 samples of 50 m x 50m on vegetation variables were taken at 0 meters, 500 metre and 3000 meters and statistically compared. Similarly, from two-water points, 30 samples on vegetation variables were taken at a distance of 100 meters, 500 meters and 1500 meters in the grazing direction and statistically compared. Moreover, correlation and regression analysis were used in data analysis. For the household survey, 52 household farmers from 11 different settlements were selected through stratified random sampling techniques. _ Grass covers, basal cover, grass height and basal thickness are decreasing closer to settlements and boreholes while tree cover is increasing close to settlements. The extent of bare soil is increasing close to settlements and boreholes. Moreover, there is a significant positive relation between grass cover and distances from settlements and water points. The livestock population has been increasing and still it is in the growth phase. Almost all pastoralists in the study area want to increase their livestock holding. In addition to the problem of market infrastructure low motivation of the pastoralists, which is justified by the multiple social, ceremonial and economic functions of livestock are a constraint of livestock marketing. There is a strong positive relation between the number of animals sold and the total livestock number. Household family size has significant but weak positive relation with total livestock size and strong positive correlation with total livestock size less than 100. Household herd size has a weak significant negative relation with additional income. Household herd size has weak positive correlation with access to veterinary service and uncertainty factors. _ There is rangeland degradation in terms of grass biomass close to settlements and boreholes. This degradation is attributed to a variety of interlocking factors such as, poor livestock and rangeland management, uneven distribution of water points, absence of planning to relate the borehole capacity with the rangeland carrying capacity and an increase in number of livestock over time of good years. Although the main motives of the pastoralists to increase their livestock number is to gain economic benefits, social and cultural significances of livestock also have a considerable contribution. Along with other environmental, social and cultural factors, family size, additional source of income, alternative means of saving, uncertainties in livestock production and access to veterinary service are the interlocking factors determining the household herd size

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