This working paper by Tesfaye Desalew, Azage Tegegne, Lisanework Nigatu and Worku Teka on Rangeland condition and feed resources in Metema district, North Gondar Zone, Amhara Region, Ethiopia was released on 10 January, 2011.
It focuses on a study conducted in 2006/07 in Metema district, North Gondar Zone of Amhara region, Ethiopia, with the objectives to characterize the existing rangeland and to determine the feed resources utilization practices, to assess the natural grazing land condition based on herbaceous, woody and soil condition and to evaluate the chemical composition of major livestock feed resources of the area. It concluded that there is low feed resources conservation and utilization and very poor traditional grazing land management system in Metema. The abundant feed resources in the wet season are wasted. In the dry season, grasses are turned to ash by wild and man-made fire in the process of forest honey harvesting and crop land cleaning. As a result, the livestock populations seriously suffer from the critical feed shortage during the long dry season. The rangeland, species composition and biomass production are also affected by human, livestock and natural factors (biotic and abiotic factors). The human population of the district has increased due to settlement programs, investment induced settlers, expanding crop cultivation and have increased the pressure on the rangelands and natural grazing areas. Bush encroachment and overgrazing are also serious problems. Shifting cultivation practice is also contributing to the increased bush encroachment. The seasonal movement and transhumant livestock production by highlanders in adjacent districts also increases the grazing intensity. Absence of adequate baseline information about the rangeland resources, unsynchronized seasonal availability of feed resources and cropland encroachment to the rangeland are some of the main constraints of the district, and studies on rangeland management systems and improved livestock production should be initiated.