Assessment of degradation and economic analysis of rangeland rehabilitation practices in Uganda’s cattle corridor
Nabbanja, Zamzam Rahmah
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Rangeland degradation is a major problem in the cattle corridor of Uganda that needs to be addressed to ensure sustainable and long-term productivity of livestock. Rangeland degradation in Uganda is greatly manifested in land use and cover change with significant consequences that have prompted rehabilitation using various interventions to restore productivity. The objectives of this study were to determine the dynamics and magnitude of rangeland degradation and evaluate the economic benefits of rangeland rehabilitation interventions in the central and southern parts of Uganda’s cattle corridor. Dynamics and magnitude of degradation were obtained through assessing land use and cover change over a ten-year period using satellite images to obtain how much area in square kilometres was under degradation and how the different land uses and cover types were changing. Four-rangeland rehabilitation interventions, reseeding, night kraaling and reseeding, bush clearing and over sowing, and night kraaling were evaluated and the total costs involved in their establishment and benefits obtained assessed. Cost benefit ratios were obtained for each of the interventions and these were used for comparison among the interventions and farmers’ practices. It was observed that forests were the most degraded (82%) land cover followed by grasslands 56% from 1990 to 2020. These were transformed into bare land (5,442.26km2 to 18,129.55km2), cropland (8,923.38km2 to 9,373.14km2) and settlements (12.13km2 to 372.87km2) from 1990 to 2020. Reseeding was the most cost beneficial intervention with cost benefit ratios less than one (0.18; 0.14) followed by night kraaling and reseeding (0.22; 0.17), night kraaling (0.27; 0.21) and bush clearing and over sowing (0.40; 0.31) was the least cost beneficial over the ten year period. The study therefore concluded that there were conspicuous changes in the magnitude and patterns of all land use/cover types with significant loses of grassland cover. Also all rangeland rehabilitation interventions had lower cost benefit ratios and higher net incomes than the farmers’ practices in the medium and long term, with reseeding having lower C:B ratios a6d more net income even in the short term. The study also recommended that there is need to reduce rangeland destruction and rangeland rehabilitation practices be employed because farmers’ practices are not sustainable for livestock production.