Vegetation degradation and its influence on rangeland of condition and trend in semi-arid Mashuru division, Kajiado district, Kenya :oil
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Rangeland condition and trend in Mashuru s. .DivIsion of Kajiado District in Kenya has been deteriorating in terms of grazing capacity due to degradation of vegetation resources. Therefore a research study was conducted in 2001/2 with the objective of analyzing the types of vegetation degradation, their causes and their influence on rangeland condition and trend. The results ofthe qualitative study showed that excessive use of the woody species by humans for woodfuel, building and fencing materials, medicine and ornamentals had led ,I I to vegetation degradation due to loss of cover, change in plant composition and biodiversity. On the other hand, overgrazing and ecological succession of the grazing ]ands had led to bush encroachment and thickening. These types of vegetation degradation have had an overall effect of loss of grass cover and hence loss of grazing capacity for livestock, especially cattle. The causes of vegetation decrease or increase over the last 30 years have been due to deforestation (trees and shrubs), bush encroachment and thickening, change in plant species composition and natural calamities such as droughts, wild fires and armyworm invasions at various times. The overall results indicated that there has been a downward trend in range condition over the last 30 years which had affected livestock productivity. There is need therefore, for concerted efforts to be made to reverse or halt further vegetation degradation in the area through the participation of the local people, governmental and non-governmental organizations presently involved in rehabilitation and conservation of vegetation resources in the area.