Natural Regeneration offers an Effective Way for Large-Scale Restoration of Degraded Lands in Tigray, Ethiopia

Journal: Land Degradation & Development.

Published: 25 June 2023



Haileselassie Ghebremariam Araya1|  Oliver Vivian Wasonga1|Stephen Mureithi1|  Emiru Birhane


Land rehabilitation through exclosures has been recognized as a promising practice in the restoration of degraded drylands. This study evaluated woody species density, cover, and biomass production from three regeneration approaches (EMTs):(1) Naturally Regenerated (ENR) exclosures, (2) exclosures with Soil and Water Conservation Structures (ECNR), and (3) those enriched with exotic and local plant species in addition to SWC structures (ECP) among which empirical evidence of comparisons are lacking for appropriate decision making of which restoration strategy to promote. Primary data were collected from a total of 72 study plots located across transects laid within exclosures and in adjacent grazing areas with similar eco-logical condition. Interview with 331 households and focus groups was used to further understand the effects. Regression analysis revealed that the mean difference in herbaceous and canopy cover, herbaceous and woody biomass, and woody species density and diversity of the three EMTs was statistically significantly higher than in the adjacent open grazing areas. Moreover, herbaceous biomass in ECP differed significantly from that of ECNR. The results indicated that ENR and ECP equally enhanced the selected vegetation parameters. This is predominantly attributed to the comparable responsiveness of many degraded areas to natural regeneration as they do to active regeneration approaches. Implementation of natural regeneration is suit-able for immediate recruitment of strategy in terms of resources, time, and meeting objectives before decisions are made for assisted models of exclosure that require massive campaigns to construct soil and water conservation structures and huge seedling production in the dryland areas.

KEYWORDS: degraded lands, exclosure management type, landscape-regeneration, restoration.