African Journal of Range and Forage Science 2023-03-10T08:13:55+00:00 Publishing Manager Open Journal Systems The African Journal of Range &amp; Forage Science is the leading rangeland and pastoral journal in Africa. The Journal is dedicated to publishing quality original material that advances rangeland ecology and pasture management in Africa. <br /><p><strong></strong>Read more abou the journal <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. </p> African Rangelands and Pastoralism in a changing continent: Perspectives and Opportunities 2023-03-07T10:22:14+00:00 M Igshaan Samuels Anthony Egeru Prisca Mugabe <p>No Abstract.</p> 2023-03-07T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Expansion of the Grassland Biome in the eastern Karoo corresponds with changes in rainfall and livestock numbers 2023-03-08T08:47:49+00:00 G Arena MT Hoffman H van der Merwe TG O’Connor <p>The persistent spread of shrublands is a global phenomenon observed across semiarid grassland-shrubland boundaries. Observations in South Africa, however, have detected a contrasting trend of increasing grass cover across the transition between the Nama-Karoo and Grassland Biomes over the last few decades. A west-to-east gradient of increasing mean annual rainfall, and underlying geology, controls the natural transition of Karoo dwarf shrublands to semiarid grasslands. The availability of historical vegetation surveys and landscape photographs, weather, and livestock census records, made it possible to assess the nature, extent, and drivers of vegetation change across this biome transition. Rainfall has been generally higher over the last four decades compared to the years prior to the original surveys. This, together with a reduction in livestock numbers, is the main driver of the westward expansion by ~100 km of perennial grasses, and a general increase in dwarf shrub and total vegetation cover. Rangeland condition, as indexed by estimates of grazing capacity, has improved significantly. Despite a structural shift towards grassland-dominance, the original species complement has persisted. The rainfalldriven increase in grass fuel loads in the region, however, places these rangelands at risk of becoming altered by increasing fire frequency.</p> 2023-03-08T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Spatio-temporal status of vegetation, soil and cattle serum minerals in degraded communal rangelands of the Eastern Cape, South Africa: implications for livestock sustainability and management interventions 2023-03-08T08:50:38+00:00 Nangamso Mlaza Solomon Tefera Abubeker Hassen <p>In this study, we examined forage, soil and cattle serum mineral status, and their relationships in severely (SD) and less severely (LSD) degraded rangelands, South Africa. Such evidence is essential to inform rangeland policies and interventions. In each rangeland, three villages were identified, and sites near, at intermediate and far distance from homesteads were selected. Soil from LSD had generally greater macro and microelement levels than soil from SD rangelands. Soil elements (i.e. N, P, Mg and Cu) displayed variations at local scale (between villages or distance points from homestead) depending on degradation condition. Degradation level significantly influenced the local distribution of grasses between the distance points from the homestead (Themeda triandra Forssk., Aristida congesta Roem. &amp; Schult.) and between villages [Digitaria eriantha Steud., Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees, T. triandra]. Forage biomass was low (range: 45–223 kg ha<sup>−1</sup>) in both degraded conditions. During the dry periods, cattle grazing SD rangelands had most serum minerals below a critical level, but pastures showed Cu and N deficiencies only. We conclude that the low forage yield may limit animal mineral intake. On the other hand, the great abundance of grasses with high forage values (60–76%) indicates that degraded areas may be regenerated. In SD rangelands, complete mineral supplementation is recommended during the dry period.</p> 2023-03-08T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Kraals or bomas increase soil carbon and fertility across several biomes 2023-03-08T08:54:34+00:00 Mia Momberg Anna Jean Haw Perushan Rajah Jacques van Rooyen Heidi-Jayne Hawkins <p>Knowledge about how pastoralism and kraaling may contribute to desired global objectives, such as soil fertility, is in danger of being lost. We tested whether short duration kraaling increases soil fertility across various biomes and countries via a meta-analysis (random effects model, <em>n</em> = 12 studies). Kraaling approximately doubled soil concentrations of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and slightly increased pH compared to non-kraaled areas (<em>p</em> ≤ 0.0158, all meta-analyses). Results support the idea of persistent nutrient hotspots post kraal abandonment as a generalizable phenomenon. Anecdotes from a case study, the Herding 4 Health Model, supported findings. However, inconsistency scores (<em>I<sup>2</sup></em> ≥ 90%) indicated that while the average effect size was positive, in some cases the true outcome may in fact be negative. Kraal age did not predict soil fertility in our analysis, possibly due to coarse time intervals. Some studies nevertheless found kraal age to be important, with relatively immobile elements such as P persisting over time while N and K decreased. Using kraals to achieve ‘desirable states’ such as wildlife-livestock coexistence, land restoration, and crop fertilisation will require monitoring, and maintenance of fertility within ecological bounds, ideally with inputs from scientists and pastoralists alike as part of global partnerships.</p> 2023-03-08T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Implications of the breakdown in the indigenous knowledge system for rangeland management and policy: a case study from the Eastern Cape in South Africa 2023-03-09T08:33:45+00:00 Andiswa Finca Suzanne Linnane Jill Slinger David Getty M Igshaan Samuels <p>Communal rangelands in South Africa are generally perceived as overgrazed owing to complexities in their histories and collective utilisation which often leads to improper management. A suitable solution has not been found in land management policies because local people’s contexts and their indigenous knowledge are ignored. Hence, this paper is aimed at (i) assessing the role indigenous knowledge can play in communal rangeland management, (ii) exploring working solutions to incorporate indigenous knowledge into effective communal rangeland management and land use policies, (iii) assessing mechanisms for generational transfer of indigenous knowledge. Findings from the Participatory Geographic Information System (PGIS) and Focus Group Discussion, conducted with Cata and Guquka villages in the Eastern Cape province were synthesised. This revealed that communal farmers have in-depth knowledge of their communal land, past and present rangeland management strategies and changes in rangeland condition. However, there is breakdown in the indigenous knowledge system whereby this knowledge is not being transferred and translated into good rangeland management practice, owing to the ageing population of communal farmers, limited youth involvement in livestock farming and limited access to extension services. This suggests a need for new policy approaches that would include participation of local people in policy planning and development.</p> 2023-03-09T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Participatory inventory and nutritional evaluation of local forage resources for smallholder free-range beef production in semi-arid areas of South Africa 2023-03-09T08:37:32+00:00 Ayanda Nyambali Julius T Tjelele Mthunzi Mndela Cletos Mapiye Phillip Strydom Emiliano Raffrenato Kennedy Dzama Voster Muchenje Ntuthuko Mkhize <p>Feed scarcity is a major challenge facing free-range beef farming in semi-arid areas. Specifically, low quality and quantity of forage in rangelands and higher feeding costs are the main constraints limiting smallholder free-range beef farmers’ participation in mainstream beef markets. Using farmers’ participatory approaches, this study identified major locally available forage resources (LAFRs) and evaluated their nutritional value. A total of 40 free-ranging commercially orientated smallholder beef farmers were interviewed using semi-structured questionnaires and tasked to identify LAFRs in the Cradock and Middelburg areas of the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Chemical analysis was conducted for the most cited forages such as African sheepbush (Pentzia incana), sweet thorn (Vachellia karroo) leaves and pods, reed (Phragmites australis), lucerne (Medicago sativa) hay, natural pasture grasses (NPGs) and barbary fig, or prickly pear cactus, (Opuntia ficus-indica) cladodes collected from twelve participants’ farms. Feed shortage was ranked by more than 53% respondents as the main constraint to smallholder beef production. Regardless of the farming area, crude protein content of V. karroo leaves and pods averaging 18.8 and 19.5%, respectively, was higher than other LAFRs. However, V. karoo pods had relatively low ash content than other forages in both farming areas. Opuntia ficus-indica attained high in vitro neutral detergent fibre digestibility at 12, 24 and 48 hr incubation periods, due to low neutral detergent fibre, acid detergent fibre and acid detergent lignin. Integration of participatory inventory and chemical analysis proved to be reliable in identifying LAFRs, with V. karroo leaves and O. ficus-indica cladodes being the main potential forage resources for inclusion in beef cattle diets. Further research is recommended to substantiate their supplementary nutritive value and level of inclusion in beef cattle finishing diets.</p> 2023-03-09T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Spatial variability of herbage yield, grazing capacity and plant diversity in a tropical savannah rangeland ecosystem 2023-03-09T08:40:41+00:00 ND Anane R Ayizanga FO Sarkwa T Ansah EC Timpong-Jones <p>To improve ruminant livestock production, evaluation of rangelands must be a routine. Rangeland evaluation gives information about the vegetation structure, biomass yield and quality. The Guinea savannah rangelands of Ghana lack research that characterises the spatial variability of herbage yield and quality. It was hypothesised that there is spatial heterogeneity in herbage yield, grazing capacity and plant diversity in the Guinea savannah rangelands of Ghana. The objective was to evaluate the spatial structure of herbage production and grazing capacity in the Guinea savannah rangelands of Ghana for sustainable livestock production. Data were collected from 105 sampling sites and integrated into geo-statistics, using ordinary kriging interpolation to generate herbage yield and grazing capacity estimates. Herbage yield and grazing capacity ranged from 0.63 t ha<sup>−1</sup> to 13.43 t ha<sup>−1</sup> and 0.18 LU ha<sup>−1</sup> to 3.79 LU ha<sup>−1</sup> respectively. The root mean square error and the average standard error values were close (2.38 and 2.51 respectively for herbage yield and 0.67 and 0.71 respectively for grazing capacity). Species diversity using the Shannon’s index ranged from 1.13 to 2.40. There was spatial heterogeneity in herbage yield, grazing capacity and species diversity in Ghana’s Guinea savannah rangelands with some parts needing effective site-specific improvement strategies for sustainable livestock production.&nbsp;</p> 2023-03-09T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Performance of goats browsing on <i>Vachellia karroo</i> encroached communal lands and open grasslands in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa 2023-03-09T08:43:44+00:00 W Maguraushe JF Mupangwa S Washaya V Muchenje <p>The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of season, rangeland type, and herd size on the performance of goat browsing. A total of eighty communal household goat herds from Mbashe and Nkonkobe municipalities were monitored for twelve months. The effect of season, rangeland type and herd size on average daily gain (ADG), body condition score (BCS), body weight (BW), births, purchases, sales, deaths, goat production potential (GPP) and goat production efficiency (GPE) were evaluated. The Mbashe community was regarded to represent open grassland, while the Nkonkobe community represented the <em>Vachellia karroo</em> encroached rangeland. Approximately 1 560 goats of all classes were monitored. Results showed that more entries, births and sales, but fewer deaths, were recorded in<em> V. karroo</em> encroached rangeland than open grassland for larger herds (p &lt; 0.05). The GPP and GPE were higher in <em>V. karroo</em> encroached rangeland than open grassland for larger than smaller herds (p &lt; 0.05). Goat population dynamics, BW for castrates, sales and GPE were significantly higher among seasons (p &lt; 0.05). It was concluded that larger herds of goats browsing <em>V. karroo</em> performed better in comparison to those that grazed open grasslands, which demonstrates that bush encroachment can benefit goat farming.</p> 2023-03-09T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Customary ecological conservation of Mwanda-Marungu Pastoral Commons in Taita Hills, south-west Kenya 2023-03-09T08:46:16+00:00 Daniel Maghanjo Mwamidi Abdirizak Arale Nunow Pablo Dominguez <p>Rural commons in East-Africa have historically played key socio-economic and environmental sustainability. Despite growing interest in this arena, there are still surprisingly few studies that examine rural customary management of pastoral communities in East Africa. This is striking given that this region is an exemplary area for pastoralism and thus ideal for communal systems such as commons. Deficient studies and political support in this area could be linked to widespread prejudice of branding pastoralism as perilous to the environment. We set out to conduct a study to examine and test pastoralists’ customary norms that underpin environmental sustainability/unsustainabity of pastoral commons focusing on Mwanda-Marungu, in Taita hills, Kenya where the first author originates and brought up as a pastoralist up to the age of 24. Through ethnographic approaches and semi-open interviews to 193 respondents conducted in 2019–2021 during water and pasture stress during the dry months of July–October, we examined whether customary governance of Mwanda-Marungu would offer sustainable model that conforms to the IUCN’s Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECMs). Our study showed that pastoral communities in this area have been developing inventive measures for generations that improve good management and ecological protection. These may be tied to the principles of OECMs which contests the misconception about pastoralism.</p> 2023-03-09T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) A balanced perspective on the contribution of extensive ruminant production to greenhouse gas emissions in southern Africa 2023-03-09T08:48:52+00:00 Michiel M Scholtz Frans J Jordaan N Thuli Chabalala Georgette M Pyoos M Joel Mamabolo Frederick WC Neser <p>There is a general perception that ruminants produce large quantities of greenhouse gases (GHG) which contribute to global warming. Ruminant production is also known as the world’s largest user of land, and southern Africa is no exception. Recent estimates indicate that livestock are responsible for approximately 4% of the world’s GHG emissions through methane production, compared with an initial estimate of 18% by the FAO. Estimates indicate that the total GHG emissions directly related to livestock production in southern Africa did not increase over a period of 20 years, whereas the intensity of livestock–production-related GHG emissions (per kg animal product) was reduced by 40%. This may be the result of increased livestock productivity and breed selection. For instance, increases in the productivity of four indigenous beef cattle breeds decreased the calculated carbon footprint by 7–12%. Recent studies indicated that the methane intensity between beef breeds in South Africa can differ by 44%, and that crossbreeding can have small to moderate effects on the carbon footprint of weaner calf production. Interventions such as the use of indigenous and adapted genotypes, alternative breeding objectives, alternative production systems as well as sustainable management will be key to environmentally friendly livestock production.</p> 2023-03-09T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Transhumance pastoralism in West Africa – its importance, policies and challenges 2023-03-09T08:51:33+00:00 Eric Cofie Timpong-Jones Igshaan Samuels Felix Owusu Sarkwa Kwame Oppong-Anane Ayodele Oluwakemi Majekodumni <p>The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) recognises transhumance pastoralism as a beneficial livestock production system that can contribute to food security together with economic and political stability. Thus, the subregional bloc put together the ECOWAS Protocol on Transhumance and supporting regulations to actualise these benefits. These policies seek to regulate transhumance pastoralism by ensuring that herd movements are along defined migratory corridors among member states. This review assesses the importance of transhumance pastoralism in West Africa, local and cross-border policies, and associated challenges, with emphasis on herder–farmer conflicts. It was realised that the movement of large numbers of livestock into rangelands (1) provides employment for many, and thus improves livelihoods; (2) improves productivity through high milk production and high fertility; (3) reduces moribund and combustible forage materials in the dry season; and (4) enhances seed dispersal, soil fertility and plant diversity on rangelands. This review shows that the ECOWAS cross-border transhumance protocols have led to infrastructural developments in some member states, but the partial enforcement of protocols has led to herder–farmer conflicts. We conclude that transhumance pastoralism and the regulatory policies have several benefits. However, to ensure policy compliance and avoid herder–farmer conflicts, the policies need to be reviewed and discernible gaps eliminated.</p> 2023-03-09T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c)