Theme 1: Rangeland/Grassland Ecology--Oral Sessions

Description

Parthenium hysterophorus is an invasive alien species native to South and Central America. The plant is ranked as one of the most dreaded weeds of the world. Parthenium hysterophorus affects grassland community through the release of allelochemicals that inhibit the germination and growth of grass species. However, little is known about its effects on native grassland community in Nyando sub-county of Kenya. Therefore, this study sought to investigate the effects of P. hysterophorus on grass species, livestock production and its control. A total of 121 farm household heads were interviewed using semi-structured interview schedules. Descriptive analysis and the T-test at 5% level of significance were used to analyse data. Sixty-three percent of respondents reported that P. hysterophorus replaced major native pasture species consequently reducing the quantity of milk yield per cow significantly by 3.81 litres. Majority households (98.3%) controlled P. hysterophorus by uprooting, slashing and hoeing while the remaining households used herbicides. The cost of controlling P. hysterophorus is expensive at about Kes. 6,253.33 per acre. Parthenium hysterophorus has the potential to negatively affect grasslands in Kenya with adverse impact on human livelihoods by reducing milk and beef production, lack of high quality nutrition food as well as the attainment of development targets such as those set in the Big Four Agenda, the Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Effects of Parthenium hysterophorus on Grassland Community in Nyando Sub-County, Kisumu County, Kenya

Parthenium hysterophorus is an invasive alien species native to South and Central America. The plant is ranked as one of the most dreaded weeds of the world. Parthenium hysterophorus affects grassland community through the release of allelochemicals that inhibit the germination and growth of grass species. However, little is known about its effects on native grassland community in Nyando sub-county of Kenya. Therefore, this study sought to investigate the effects of P. hysterophorus on grass species, livestock production and its control. A total of 121 farm household heads were interviewed using semi-structured interview schedules. Descriptive analysis and the T-test at 5% level of significance were used to analyse data. Sixty-three percent of respondents reported that P. hysterophorus replaced major native pasture species consequently reducing the quantity of milk yield per cow significantly by 3.81 litres. Majority households (98.3%) controlled P. hysterophorus by uprooting, slashing and hoeing while the remaining households used herbicides. The cost of controlling P. hysterophorus is expensive at about Kes. 6,253.33 per acre. Parthenium hysterophorus has the potential to negatively affect grasslands in Kenya with adverse impact on human livelihoods by reducing milk and beef production, lack of high quality nutrition food as well as the attainment of development targets such as those set in the Big Four Agenda, the Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.