Differences of soil properties between planned and unplanned grazing sites in semi-arid pastoral rangelands of northern Kenya
Wasonga, Oliver V.
Odadi, Wilfred O.
Ngugi, Robinson K.
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Livestock grazing can affect soil structure, function and productivity, with the strength of its effects hinging heavily on the type of grazing management system adopted. Planned grazing management, involving short-duration, high-intensity, rotational grazing has been proposed as a tool for improving rangeland soils, but its efficacy in this regard has never been evaluated in communal pastoral lands. This study compared soil physical and chemical properties between sites subjected to planned grazing management and those managed under non-planned open access continuous grazing in a semi-arid pastoral rangeland in northern Kenya. Soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, CEC, K+ and P, moisture content, aggregate stability, hydraulic conductivity was significantly higher in planned than in non-planned grazing areas. Conversely, soil bulk density and penetration resistance were significantly lower in planned grazing sites. These findings show that planned grazing as practiced under the conditions of this study could potentially be used to enhance soil productivity in pastoral rangelands.
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