ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 82 Number 3
Sustainable communal veld land use and livestock production options in Kudumane and Ganyesa, South Africa. (241)
The savannah is the largest biome in southern Africa characterized by a grassy ground layer and a distinct upper layer of woody plants. Livestock farming plays a major role in the structure and function of the savannah. The Ganyesa and Kudumane districts of South Africa are characterized by dry climate and Kalahari Thornveld and Bushveld (a type of savannah). In this study, permanent plots were established on bare soil, ungrazed veld, moderately grazed veld, and heavily grazed veld to study the structure, function, and management of the veld ecosystem. The results showed that the number of species and individuals decreased under grazing condition, highly desirable grass species mainly appeared in ungrazed veld, while less desirable and undesirable grass species mainly grew in moderately grazed and heavily grazed veld. A shrub (Acacia mellifera) tended to predominate under grazing disturbance. The surface runoff and sediment loss increased, while soil organic C, and soil total N decreased under grazing conditions. However, during the natural succession of veld, there was a delicate balance between the tree and grass components of the savannah vegetation. It is clear that the main cause of veld degradation is over-grazing. The consequences and related social and economic issues of veld degradation based on Agricultural Research for Development approach was also discussed. With the objectives of attaining sustainable communal land use and improved livestock production, several development options were identified.
Keywords: Livestock production; Ecosystem degradation; Veld/savannah; South Africa