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Influence of Grazing Intensity on Soil Properties and Shaping Herbaceous Plant Communities in Semi-Arid Dambo Wetlands of Zimbabwe

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DOI: 10.4236/jep.2013.410135    3,716 Downloads   5,304 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Key issues of concern regarding the environmental impacts of livestock on grazing land are their effects on soil, water quality, and biodiversity. This study was carried out to determine how grazing intensity influences soil physical and chemical properties and occurrence of herbaceous plant species in dambo wetlands. Three categories of grazing intensity were selected from communal, small scale commercial and large scale commercial land. Dambos from the large scale commercial land functioned as the control. Data analysis included ANOVA and multivariate tests from CANOCO. There were significantly negative changes to soil nutrient status in communal dambos though with a higher number of rare taxa. Sodium, phosphorous, pH and infiltration rate were significant determinants of plant species occurrence. Overgrazing is threatening the productivity, stability, and ecological functioning of dambo soils in communal Zimbabwe. These dambos also require special conservation and management priorities as they contain a large number of rare plant species.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

E. Dahwa, C. Mudzengi, T. Hungwe, M. Shoko, X. Poshiwa, S. Kativu and C. Murungweni, "Influence of Grazing Intensity on Soil Properties and Shaping Herbaceous Plant Communities in Semi-Arid Dambo Wetlands of Zimbabwe," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 4 No. 10, 2013, pp. 1181-1188. doi: 10.4236/jep.2013.410135.

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