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International Journal Of Horticulture, Agriculture And Food Science(IJHAF)

Rangeland Degradation and Rehabilitation: Indigenous Ecological Knowledge and Perceptions of Pastoralists in the Adamawa High Plateau of Cameroon

Adamu Mbah Awalu , Manu Ibrahim Nformi


International Journal of Horticulture, Agriculture and Food science(IJHAF), Vol-6,Issue-4, July - August 2022, Pages 1-24, 10.22161/ijhaf.6.4.1

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Article Info: Received: 16 Jun 2022; Received in revised form: 05 Jul 2022; Accepted: 13 Jul 2022; Available online:19 Jul 2022

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Pastoralists’ perceptions and indigenous ecological knowledge of vegetation changes are often ignored despite the debate about their role in rangeland management. Yet, pastoralists are known to have extensive ecological knowledge which could complement scientific knowledge and contribute to improved understanding and sustainable management of savanna Ecosystems. This study was aimed at exploring pastoralists’ perceptions regarding rangeland degradation in the Adamawa highland plateau. More specifically, it was geared to examine their awareness of rangeland degradation, the current status/condition of the rangelands, the drivers and major root causes of degradation, negative consequences, existing management practices, and a methodological framework to make these measures more resilient. The study applied a descriptive statistics method. Focus group discussions, field observations and structured/semi-structured survey questionnaires, were used for data collection, where 240 pastoralists were targeted. The study covered 4 sub-divisions within Faro & Deo District of the plateau based on the intensity of degradation (high, medium and less). The major findings indicate that, the main livelihood activity is cattle rearing and crop cultivation (86.43%) with a certain degree of sedentarization. The major livestock production constraint proved to be insufficient and poor pasture available for cattle (65.71%). A great majority (93.6%) also confirmed that the present rangeland state/condition has become poor and non-conducive for cattle production. This is clearly interpreted in the drastic drop of the ‘cheptel’ (average holdings) and a decline in the quality of pastoral resources/outputs offered to the communities. The major root causes of degradation were overgrazing, bush encroachment, uncontrolled bush fires, soil erosion, population pressure and limited care/attention paid to rangelands. The major socio-economic consequences were poverty, food insecurity, conflicts, loss of cultural heritage, rural exodus and high crime waves. Through their indigenous ecological knowledge pastoralists conserve their rangelands through: mechanical and chemical fight against bush encroachment (Bush clearing and use of selective herbicide respectively), seasonal herd mobility/transhumance, use of paddocking systems, destocking of herds, adoption of improved pastures, and improvement on pastoral hydraulics. Government and NGOs’ supports to rangeland management, proved to be limited in the study area. The degradation of rangelands in the study area is progressing at an alarming rate which gives the impression of difficulty to restore it in the future if proper measures are not taken by stakeholders.

Degradation, Ecology, Indigenous, Pastoralism, Perception, Rangeland.

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