1 April 2021
Livestock is important for livelihoods of millions of people across the world and yet climate change risk and impacts assessments are predominantly on cropping systems. Climate change has significant impacts on Net Primary Production (NPP) which is a grassland dynamics indicator. This study aimed to analyze the spatio-temporal changes of NPP under climate scenario RCP2.6 and RCP8.5 in the grassland of Tanzania by 2050 and link this to potential for key livestock species. To this end, a regression model to estimate NPP was developed based on temperature (T), precipitation (P) and evapotranspiration (ET) during the period 2001–2019. NPP fluctuation maps under future scenarios were produced as difference maps of the current (2009–2019) and future (2050). The vulnerable areas whose NPP is mostly likely to get affected by climate change in 2050 were identified. The number of livestock units in grasslands was estimated according to NPP in grasslands of Tanzania at the Provincial levels. The results indicate the mean temperature and evapotranspiration are projected to increase under both emission scenarios while precipitation will decrease. NPP is significantly positively correlated with Tmax and ET and projected increases in these variables will be beneficial to NPP under climate change. Increases of 17% in 2050 under RCP8.5 scenario are projected, with the southern parts of the country projected to have the largest increase in NPP. The southwest areas showed a decreasing trend in mean NPP of 27.95% (RCP2.6) and 13.43% (RCP8.5). The highest decrease would occur in the RCP2.6 scenario in Ruvuma Province, by contrast, the mean NPP value in the western, eastern, and central parts would increase in 2050 under both Scenarios, the largest increase would observe in Kilimanjaro, Dar-Es-Salaam and Dodoma Provinces. It was found that the number of grazing livestock such as cattle, sheep, and goats will increase in the Tanzania grasslands under both climate scenarios. As the grassland ecosystems under intensive exploitation are fragile ecosystems, a combination of improving grassland productivity and grassland conservation under environmental pressures such as climate change should be considered for sustainable grassland management.