Land degradation has become a global concern that requires countries to take prompt actions. The objective of the study was to assess land management in respect to activities of livestock keeping in the Ruvu and Zigi river basins in Eastern Tanzania. The two basins attract a huge number of livestock from nearby and relatively distant areas in pursuit of pasture and water resources. The results indicated that modes of livestock keeping differs with more free grazing in the lowland and zero grazing in the mountainous areas. Overall, the free grazing in the lowland is dominated by seasonal movement of livestock in and out of the basins in various times of the year. Of the two basins, Ruvu is highly affected by haphazard livestock keeping compared to Zigi. Challenges associated with excessive number of livestock include forest degradation, increased incidences of wildfire, soil degradation, poor maintenance of water resources and ensued conflicts with crop farmers. The number of livestock involved in both basins is under reported due to the non-cooperation received from the pastoralists during livestock census. Pastoralists in the two basins often times defies the government decrees prohibiting movement of livestock from district to another. Limited conflicts have been reported among pastoralists from different tribes while the situation is critical with crop farmers. This study observed that monitoring of livestock movement in the two basins is crucial. The study recommends assessment of the carrying capacities of the basins and subsequent development of the basin-wide rangeland management plans.
Key words: Rangeland management, livestock management, land degradation, water catchment.
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