Ecological based management of termites in semi-arid ecosystems
The ecology of subterranean termites on grazing lands in semi-arid ecosystems
The objectives of the study were: 1) to investigate farmers’ ethno-ecological knowledge of the termite problem, 2) to examine the termite assemblage structure and 3) to analyze the effect of ecological factors on foraging intensity of termites.
60% of the farmers rated severity of the termite problem as high and noted that deterioration of the rangeland ecosystem attributed to overgrazing and deforestation was the genesis of the termite problem.
Farmers’ perceptions on the genesis of the termite problem were supported by results from trials on consumption of vegetation by termites which revealed that foraging intensity of termites was higher in areas cleared of vegetation.
The termite assemblages were dominated by generalist feeders that predominantly feed on liter.
The study concluded that the termites in the study area are largely litter feeders but resort to consumption of vegetation when inappropriate rangeland management techniques deprive them of adequate feed (litter) sources implying that techniques that enhance accumulation of adequate litter and maintenance of adequate basal cover are critical in mitigating termite damage on rangeland vegetation.
Mugerwa Swidiq is a Ugandan national born on 3rd march 1980.He completed his PhD at the University of Nairobi in Kenya where he studied the ethno-ecology of termites in semi-arid ecosystems.
He is currently working as an animal nutritionist at the National Livestock Resources Research Institute, Uganda.
He can be contacted at:[email protected]