Assessment of Rangelands Around Molepolole Village of Botswana to Ascertain Its Potential to Support Free Range Beef Cattle Despite Its Long Term Use as a Grazing Area

Shimane Washington. Makhabu, Seabe Ntoroko, Mpho Rinah Setlalekgomo, Boikhutso Sebidio


In Botswana, cattle rearing can either be in farms or in communal grazing areas. In communal grazing areas, carrying capacities are never adhered to, hence degradation sometimes occurs. This negatively impact on the livestock industry since cattle are mainly free ranging. This therefore calls for periodic checks of grass species to determine whether grazing areas still have potentials to sustain livestock production. A study was done to take stock of grass species and bush encroachment status around the biggest village of Botswana, known as Molepolole. The survey looked at species composition, distribution and production. The survey was done by using line transects, quadrats and plots in the northern and western direction of the village. In each quadrat, grass species were identified, counted by species, height measured and biomass determined by clipping. In plots, woody plants were counted for all species. The survey revealed that despite heavy grazing and periodic droughts the grazing area still has some grass species of good grazing value and the area is being threatened to being encroached by woody species. Thus there is still a potential for use of the area for grazing but at lower stocking rate. However, it was noted that the area needs some restoration by controlling bush encroachment and reintroduction of good grass species.

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