Browsing by Subject "dryland"

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  • Mganga, Kevin Z.; Ndathi, Aphaxard J. N.; Wambua, Stephen M.; Bosma, Luwieke; Kaindi, Eric M.; Kioko, Theophilus; Kadenyi, Nancy; Musyoki, Gilbert K.; van Steenbergen, Frank; Musimba, Nashon K. R. (2021)
    Context. Rangeland grasses native to Africa constitute the main diet for free-ranging livestock and wild herbivores. Leaf:stem ratio is a key characteristic used for assessing quality of forages. However, studies to determine the allocation of biomass to leaves and stems as well as chemical components and nutritive value, especially of grasses in African rangelands, are rare. Aim. This study was conducted to establish biomass allocation and chemical and mineral components in leaf and stem fractions of three grasses, Eragrostis superba, Enteropogon macrostachyus and Cenchrus ciliaris, all indigenous to African rangelands. Methods. Plant height, plant densities, plant tiller densities and biomass yields were estimated at the elongation stage, before inflorescence. Chemical and mineral components were determined from biomass harvested at the vegetative phase for all three grass species. Dry matter, ash content, organic matter, crude protein, neutral detergent fibre, acid detergent fibre, acid detergent lignin, and calcium, phosphorus and potassium contents were determined. Key results. Enteropogon macrostachyus displayed significantly greater plant and tiller densities and plant height than the other two species. Leaf and stem biomass fractions varied significantly (P <0.05) among grasses. Leaf:stem ratio of E. superba was double that of E. macrostachyus and C. ciliaris. Crude protein and organic matter yields and net energy for lactation were highest (P <0.05) in E. superba leaf biomass, as was Ca content. Conclusions. Eragrostis superba demonstrated greater potential as a forage species for ruminant animal production than E. macrostachyus and C. ciliaris. Implications. Eragrostis superba is a key forage species that warrants promotion in pasture establishment programs in its native environments.
  • Toure, Ibrahim; Larjavaara, Markku; Savadogo, Patrice; Bayala, Jules; Yirdaw, Eshetu; Diakite, Adama (2020)
    Land degradation (LD) in Mali is prevalent and leads to an enduring environmental and humanitarian crisis. Farmers' ecological knowledge has proven to be a valuable tool in addressing its challenges. How farmers perceive LD affects how they deal with induced risks, and their responses to these perceptions will shape restoration options and outcomes. Therefore, this study assessed farmers' perceptions of LD along a climatic gradient in three regions of Mali. We interviewed 270 farmers, and we analyzed their responses using descriptive statistics and Spearman rank‐order correlation. We found that the respondents were aware of LD and have identified its key indicators and its impacts on their livelihoods. Moreover, we found that farmers' perceptions are not influenced by gender, age, or education level, but rather by agricultural training, participation in agricultural labor, the practice of fallowing, shortage of firewood, livestock, household size, appearance of some plant species and famine. Additionally, farmers' perceptions of LD vary along the climatic gradient as they correlate to different variables in each agro‐ecological zone. LD's impacts, however, decrease in severity along the north–south gradient, although they are linked to the same variables. As LD is seen through a reduction of ecosystem services provisioning capacity because of the local communities' heavy dependence on natural resources, actions should be geared towards agronomic and vegetative land management options. Such actions should prioritize context‐specific soil and water conservation techniques and proven indigenous practices.