Domestic Animal Biodiversity in Ethiopia and its Threats and Opportunities with Emphasis to Changing Climate: An Overview

Habtamu Lemma


Ethiopia has long been recognized as a center of diversity for domestic animal genetic resources which is vital component of agro-biodiversity. Ethiopia is the major livestock country in Africa and enjoys considerable livestock resources both in terms of number and diversity. The level of economic gains made from agro-biodiversity depends mainly on the existing indigenous crop/plant and livestock diversity, and on the practices and knowledge of the local farmers. To these communities, losses in agro-biodiversity (more serious in livestock) mean less option in their production systems and hence reduced overall welfare and food security. Climate change is likely to become the dominant direct driver of biodiversity loss. Feed shortage and disease burden exacerbated by climate change. Livestock production in already marginal ecosystems in Ethiopia is severely affected by climate change induced disasters. Sheko cattle, the only taurine breed in East Africa and with Trypanotolerant traits appears to be highly threatened. More efforts of livestock genetic characterization are needed to broaden the range of indigenous genetic resources and options available to livestock keepers seeking to adapt to climate change. The information systems and community-based animal genetic resources conservation researched by such stakeholders as ILRI and maintaining pure indigenous breeds in government breeding Ranches and research centers are positive experiences. The ratification of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Interlaken Declaration, and some policy issues are also opportunities towards cost-effective way of conservation and utilization of existing/indigenous animal genetic resources which ensures food security and sustainable agriculture. Therefore, this paper is aimed at discussing current state of knowledge on livestock biodiversity and some potential adaptation and biodiversity conservation options to reduce the consequences of climate change.

Keywords: Adaptation efforts, Climate change, Conservation, Livestock biodiversity, Policy issues


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ISSN (Paper)2224-7181 ISSN (Online)2225-062X

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