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Grass Species Diversity and Ground Cover of Herbs in the Grassland Plains of Nech Sar National Park, Ethiopia

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DOI: 10.4236/jep.2017.83019    865 Downloads   1,247 Views

ABSTRACT

Natural ecosystems harbor a variety of landscapes which are significantly important for the continuation of life forms on planet earth. Grasslands are natural habitats dominated by grasses and may contain few trees and shrubs. In the context of protected areas, these resources form the basic foundation for the availability of food in an ecosystem as it plays a magnificent role for the survival of herbivore wild animal and the entire food chain. In many protected areas, including Nech Sar National Park, these ecologically valued resources are facing functional challenges due to the competition for resources. Local communities usually see these resources as the green pasture to feed their livestock and hence compete with the scarce feed resources which are meant for wild animals. This study was aimed to explore the effect of livestock pressure on the availability of grass by examining the proportion of ground cover of herbs and different species of grass. The research also tried to identify the type of grass species in the Nech Sar grassland plain area of the Park. So as to gather information, 38 experimental plots measuring 3 m × 3 m were deployed along with 2 transect lines. Analysis of the finding shows that, the livestock pressure in the area is having a significant impact on the availability of feed for the wild animals. In the experimental plots, livestock related pests like ticks were also observed. Therefore, immediate actions which could stop the entrance of the livestock to the grassland need to be placed if the ecology of the Park has to continue providing its intended ecosystem services.

Cite this paper

Alemu, M. , Bhattacharyya, S. , Reeves, A. and Lemon, M. (2017) Grass Species Diversity and Ground Cover of Herbs in the Grassland Plains of Nech Sar National Park, Ethiopia. Journal of Environmental Protection, 8, 250-257. doi: 10.4236/jep.2017.83019.

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