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Addis Ababa University (2005)

Cactus in Southern Tigray : Current Status Potential Use Utilization and Threat

Lemma, Habtu

Titre : Cactus in Southern Tigray : Current Status Potential Use Utilization and Threat

Auteur : Lemma, Habtu

Université de soutenance : Addis Ababa University

Grade : Masters in Environmental Science 2005

Résumé partiel
The cactus pear (Opuntia ficus indica) is expanding throughout Southern Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Its current status, use, potentials and threats were investigated at Tabia Kara Adishabo of Raya Azebo Wereda, using socio-economic survey and environmental analysis. Knowledge and perception of farmers on the cactus pear was gathered through use of questionnaires and discussions with elders. Vegetation was sampled using quadrants from areas of differing cactus infestation. Soils sampled from different sites (dense cactus area, cactus cleared area, vegetated area, arable land and decayed cactus piles) were analyzed for percent organic matter, total nitrogen, available phosphorus, pH, electrical conductivity (EC), and bulk density at 0-15 and 15-30 cm soil depth. Despite heavy infestation of potential crop fields, about three quarters of the households who participated in the interview appreciated the economic value and presence of cactus in the area. Farmers indicated that the plant is utilized primarily as food for human consumption and as feed for livestock, especially during period of drought. The main constraint associated with cactus pear was indicated to be harboring of crop pests and invasion of cropland. The vegetation study indicated that average vegetation cover (other than cactus) declined. Average cover for ten dominant woody species declined as infestation of cactus increased. On the other hand, the number of woody juvenile individuals per hectare at three sites showed significant difference among cactus free, intermediate, and complete invasion sites. Regeneration and recruitment of juvenile woody species was found to be higher in the high cactus cover than cactus free area. High organic matter content was recorded from dense cactus areas, which was significantly different from the other sites at 0-15 cm soil depth. There was no significant variation for total nitrogen in both soil depths at different sites. Significant variation among sites was observed for available phosphorus at both soil depths. Soil samples from decayed cactus pile and dense cactus areas showed the highest mean available phosphorus values at 0-15 cm soil depth, which was significantly different from the other sites

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