Livestock Diversification: an Adaptive Strategy to Climate and Rangeland Ecosystem Changes in Southern Ethiopia uri icon

abstract

  • Pastoral cattle production in southern Ethiopia is becoming increasingly vulnerable to impacts of climate variability and rangeland resource degradation, giving rise to livestock diversification. Using a household (n = 242) survey among herders, the relative functions, adaptability and vulnerability of four livestock species and factors influencing livestock diversification were analyzed. The stated major drivers of livestock diversification were recurrent droughts, bush encroachment, increased vulnerability of cattle and growing demand for adaptive species. Different livestock species are kept to fulfill various livelihood priorities with subsistence objectives outweighing production goals of the herders. Adaptability and vulnerability analyses of the livestock species showed camels and cattle to be the most and least adaptable species, respectively. Livestock species diversification varied significantly with family size and per capita holding of cattle, implicating the influence of labor and economic factors on adoptions. Multispecies herding emerged as the dominant local adaptation strategy, likely because it enhances resilience of households to climate and rangeland ecosystem changes by broadening the set of existing strategies.

publication date

  • 2014
  • 2014