Bush encroachment is reducing rangeland productivity in Borana rangelands. This study was conducted in Teltele Woreda of Borana zone, to evaluate the effects of bush encroachment on plant species composition, diversity and its contribution to carbon stock. Bush encroached, non-encroached and bush thinned rangeland types were selected for the study. Nested plots for collecting tree, shrub, herbaceous and soil data were placed systematically along the geographic gradient within each of the rangeland types. Herbaceous plants were clipped to the ground, collected, oven dried, and their carbon stock was estimated. The tree/shrub biomass was estimated using allometric models, and converted to per hectare. A total of 53 vascular plant species belonging to 19 families were identified. Poaceae and Fabaceae families dominated the site. Bush encroachment had reduced diversity and species richness of herbaceous plants, but did not affect other tree/shrub plant diversity and richness. Although bush thinning improved herbaceous diversity and richness, it reduced tree/shrub richness. The tree/shrub aboveground carbon stock in bush encroached areas is greater than non-encroached rangeland types. Soil carbon stock is highest in bush thinned locales. Total organic carbon stock is ranked from largest to least as follows: Bush encroached, >Bush thinned, and >non-encroached. Generally, bush encroachment increased the rangeland carbon stock, but reduced herbaceous plant biomass and density.
Key words: Biomass, bush thinned, encroachment, herbaceous, rangeland type, soil carbon stock, climate change.
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