Climate variability and adaptation in agro-pastoral production systems of southern Zambia

Climate variability and change which manifests itself through increase in temperature and frequent occurrence of floods and droughts is increasing agro-pastoralists vulnerability and inability to sustain their sources of livelihood, hence their need for coping adaptive strategies. This study was undertaken in the drylands of Choma District in Southern Zambia to generate information to aid in coming up with sustainable coping strategies as an adaptation to climate variability. The objectives of the study were to: Determine the extent of climate variability and the agro-pastoralists coping strategies in extreme weather conditions; Identify the livestock feeding strategies employed by agro-pastoralists as an adaptation in extreme weather conditions; Evaluate preferred local fodder treelbrowse productivity for high dry season biomass yield by coppicing at different levels; and Determine the nutritive quality of the preferred browse species -..u. sing in-vitro digestion in order to ascertain the most appropriate. ~age of feeding to animals. Semi-structured interviews and focused group discussions/were used to capture primary data. Secondary data was also collected. Effects of coppicing on the preferred drought tolerant browse tree was conducted. The treatments were percent removal of the stems at 25, 50 and 75% replicated three times. After one year, measurements on the number of shoot re-growth and biomass yield were done. A survey was also conducted to determine intensity of harvesting of the preferred browse tree by the agro-pastoralists. In-vitro dry matter digestibility trials of leaves of the preferred browse .tree at four different post-sprouting stages were conducted to determine their nutritional quality as dry season feed for ruminants. Data sets were subjected to descriptive trend analysis, and analysis of variance as appropriate. The study revealed that there has been an increase of 1.0 -c in the average annual temperatures over the previous five decades, Variability in the amount of annual rainfall received has increased by 33% over the same period while there was a general decline in average annual rainfall received. Most of the agro-pastoralists ar~ copin~ with these extreme weather conditions through sale of livestock and harvest of forest products, which can pose a threat , to sustainable use of the forest resources in the long run. The major livestock feeding strategies during extreme weather conditions were upland grazing and browse utilization
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
Southern Africa
RUFORUM Theses and Dissertations
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Access restriction: 
Printed resource

PhD thesis