FODDER PRODUCTION AND LIVESTOCK REARING IN RELATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND POSSIBLE ADAPTATION MEASURES IN MANASLU CONSERVATION AREA, NEPAL
A study was conducted to find out the production potential and the farmers’ preferences of the most commonly available fodder trees along with the varying altitude, to help optimize the dry matter requirement during winter lean period. The study was done during Mar - Jun 2012 in Lho and Prok VDCs of Manaslu Conservation Area (MCA), Gorkha district, Nepal. The other objective of the research was to learn impact of climate change on livestock production linking it with feed availability. The study was conducted in two parts: social, and biological. Accordingly, a households (HHs) survey was conducted to collect primary data from 70 HHs focusing to the perception of respondent on impacts of climatic variability to the feeding management and the next part consisted of understanding yield potential of four most commonly available fodder trees (M. azedirach, M. alba, F. roxburghii, F. nemoralis), within two altitude range: (1500-2000 masl and 2000-2500 masl) by using a RCB design using 2×4 factorial combination of treatments, each replicated four times. Results revealed that majority of the farmers perceived the change in climatic phenomenon more severely within the past five years. Farmers were using different adaptation technologies such as collection of forage from jungle, reducing unproductive animals, fodder trees utilization, and crop by product feeding at feed scarcity period. Ranking of the different fodder trees on the basis of indigenous knowledge and experiences revealed that F. roxburghii was the best preferred fodder trees species (index value 0.72) in terms overall preferability whereas M. azedirach had highest growth and productivity (index value 0.77), F. roxburghii had highest adoptability (index value 0.69) and palatability (index value 0.69) as well. Similarly, fresh yield and dry matter yield of the each fodder trees was significant (P<0.01) between the altitude and within species. Fodder trees yield analysis revealed that the highest dry matter (DM) yield (28 kg/tree) was obtained for F. roxburghii but that remained statistically similar (P>0.05) to the other treatment. This indicates the scope of introducing productive and nutritive fodder trees species as all selected fodder has high yield potential even at the high altitude to help reduce fodder scarcity problem during winter. The finding also revealed the scope of promoting all available local fodder trees species as an adaptation measures in the scenario of climate change.