African Journal of Range and Forage Science

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Silvopastoral system based on Ficus thonningii: an adaptation to climate change in northern Ethiopia

M Balehegn, L.O. Eik, Y Tesfay


This study in northern Ethiopia investigated local people’s perception of climate change and the role of indigenous silvopastoralism in adaptation to that change. Two hundred and forty respondents participated in a questionnaire survey and group discussions. Local communities perceive climate change in terms of biophysical and socioeconomic indicators. In selecting, evaluating and comparing fodder trees for a climate-resilient silvopastoral system, local farmers used 20 criteria of varying importance and belonging to three categories: animal-based, plant-based and multipurpose. In terms of suitability for climate-resilient silvopastoral system, Ficus thonningii was ranked first among the top 10 species of trees with a composite score of 8.7 out of 10, followed by Cordia africana, Eucalyptus cameldulensis and Rhus natalensis. Locally developed protocols for propagation and use of F. thonningii have enabled establishment of a climate-resilient, sustainable silvopastoral system. As this practice combines climate change mitigation and adaptation, silvopastoral practices using locally adaptable species are recommended.

Keywords: agroforestry, arid, browse, cattle, climate change
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