Invasive Weeds (Pteridium aquililium -Agogo) and Land Use: A Growing ‘Nightmare’ to Graziers in Rangelands of the Savanna Grasslands of the Western Highlands of Cameroon

Authors : Mairomi Harry Wirngo

Volume/Issue : Volume 6 - 2021, Issue 1 - January

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Weeds are growing threats on rangelands. Pteridium aquililium is one species that is rapidly spreading in tropical Africa. A litany of literature exists on its spread but land use implications on its spread has not been sufficiently characterize in savanna grasslands of Cameroon. It is this complementary evidence that the paper unpacks with the changing vegetation composition. Using 64 cross sectional transects in 5 different topographic units in the western highlands of Cameroon, this paper seeks to 1) map the extent of Bracken fern invasion 2) discuss land use practices and implications on weed spread and 3) analyze the changes on vegetation composition with related impacts for grazing. From field evaluation, the study revealed that 1) more than 65% of rangeland are invaded by Bracken fern with 48% dense patches, 32% moderate and 20% light patches 2) land use involving overgrazing, suppression of palatable species and use of fire are facilitating factors for weed spread 3) the change in vegetation composition is sustaining annual selfperpetuating weed communities that impair the weedfree areas causing reduction in carrying capacity creating vulnerable conditions that facilitate invasiveness 4) larger patch densities are found in plateau summits between 1800-2000m causing shifts in species and pasture scarcity. The results enhance our understanding of the dynamics of rangeland vegetation and the need for a jelled policy on weed management as a future study avenue.


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31 - October - 2021

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