Southern Africa: FactsMost people (70%) live in rural areas anddepend on subsistence agriculture for theirlivelihoods.They depend on land for agriculturalproduction or for conservation (parks orconservancies).A large area in the region, equivalent to70% or more, is arid or semi-arid while partof it is complete desert.
Southern Africa: Facts (Cont)Land and water are necessary forsustaining agriculture and rurallivelihoods. Majority of the soils are poor with lowfertility, low organic matter content, andhave low water retention.
Southern Africa: FactsThe soils are vulnerable to water andwind erosion, leaching and salinization ifput under irrigation.
Southern Africa: Land DegradationThe process of land degradation inSouthern Africa is blamed on water andwind erosion, sedimentation, long-termdestruction of vegetation and diminutionof the bio-resources.
Degradation (cont)Also included is salinization of soils dueto poor farming methods (inability of theinhabitants to employappropriate/improved farmingtechniques).
Degradation (cont)Type of land use as well as surfacephysical configuration affects landdegradation.The situation varies from country tocountry with the type of physicalenvironment and the type of usage.
Degradation (cont)Climatic vagaries such as droughtsalternating with floods have led to theloss of top rich soil through soil erosionand sedimentation rendering large tractsof land worthless to those dependent onexploiting an area’s bio-resources.
Degradation (cont)Other related culprits include civil strifeand regional conflicts, political instability,low literacy levels and poor governance.
Degradation (cont)External forces including the state of theglobal economy, inaccessible marketsand unfavorable commodity prices, thedebt burden, unequal terms of trade andprotectionism plus import barriers indeveloped countries may increase ratesof natural resource exploitation bypreventing diversification.
Degradation (cont)Others include: brain drain which maycripple viable planning and naturalresource utilization and
Degradation (cont)Population pressure and human activitiessuch as over-cultivation which exhauststhe soil, overgrazing which removes thevegetation cover that protects soil fromerosion, deforestation which removestrees and vegetation which binds the soilto the land and poorly designedirrigation that turn cropland saline.
Start of Water Erosion over Motor Tracks and Adjacent Land
Land UseMost farmers who live in the rural areasare poor and practice small-scale rain-fedagriculture and/or agro-pastoralism.
Land use (cont)Other than agriculture, approximately17% of land is formally protected asforest/game reserves and/or nationalparks where animals are protected fortourists viewing or periodic trophyhunting. A form of land management.
Land use (cont)Many indigenous people displaced byconservation move to adjacent areaswhere they upset previous land carryingcapacities causing land degradation thusdiminishing land productivity.
Land use (cont)Similarly, large mining concessions orsettlement schemes have also causedland degradation through pollution andover use.
Land Use (cont)Expansive areas are owned bycommercial farmers producing for export.They own large ranches or practiceirrigated agriculture (predominantly so inSouth Africa, Namibia and Botswana andpre-land reforms Zimbabwe).
HIV/AIDSHIV/AIDS pandemic has significantlycompounded the problem of non-management of the agricultural land andhence its degradation through severeloss of mature population andsubsequently loss of farm labour andagricultural knowledge.
Land Degradation ManagementThose who derive their livelihoods fromfarming and heavy use of naturalresources yet do not own the land, do notappreciate land management programsimplemented in their areas.
Management (cont)Land ownership and land tenuredetermines the success rate oftechnology adoption as well aswillingness to invest in land managementinitiatives.
Management (cont)Relevant and interesting technologydevelopment has been addressed overtime by donors, NGOs and individualcountry Governments focusing mainly onthe small-scale farmers.
Management (cont)Despite the various initiatives and theavailability of these technologies, therehas been low rate of adoption by themajority of the small-scale farmers due topoverty and inability to afford the requiredinputs or due to low literacy which inhibitsunderstanding and appreciation of thesetechnologies.
Management (cont)Other reasons include non-involvementof the rural farmers (who are thecustodians of the land) during projectformulation or non-consideration of theirland management practice.
Management (cont)Also some of the technologies arereported to be too general so that they donot address the problems facing aspecific area thus lacking in relevanceand applicability to different micro-environments.
Management (cont)Therefore coming up with appropriateland management packages remain agreat challenge for the situationpertaining in the management of landdegradation in Southern Africa.
Management (cont)Various policies and managementprograms and projects have been put inplace including farmers’ training onrelevant activities such as grass seedingfor marginal and degraded lands,construction of grade stabilizationstructures and stone lines on therangelands, check dams and progressivesoil survey and mapping.
Sheet Erosion Control using Old Fencing and Brush
Control of Erosion Caused by Runoff from Road Surface
Protecting Culvert Mouth Against Erosion from Channeled Water
Management (cont)In most of the countries, inadequate budgetaryallocations and lack of or poorly articulatedregulations on implementation of the policiesand coordination remains the greatestchallenges facing these policies.Others include inadequate capacity to enforcethese policies as well as lack of commitmentand political will.
Management (cont)In some of the countries, current changesin land ownership have baffled many,both landowners and land managementadvisors.Land is being mismanaged and/or under-utilized because of the sudden change.
Management (cont)Networking is lacking and there is failureto share vision; there is increasedduplication of efforts leading to increasedinefficiency and failure to create a criticalmass of expertise around landdegradation management issues.
ConclusionsRestoring degraded lands providesconsiderable opportunities for introducingchange, improving conservation andultimately reduction of entrenchedpoverty in Southern Africa.
Conclusions (cont)Land degradation and restoration issuestake time to yield results; investors andbeneficiaries have displayed impatienceand expressed disappointment whenexpected results were not forthcomingwithin the plan periods.
Conclusions (cont)Destructive and poorly conceived landtenure policies undermined indigenousold-age land management mechanisms.Civil strife and prolonged war in DRC,Mozambique and Angola for exampleplundered resources and have renderedlarge areas unusable because of landmines and destroyed infrastructure.
Conclusions (cont)Inappropriate research and landmanagement policies as well as donorrigidity denied most of the countries inSouthern Africa room to maneuver,leading to accumulation of large debtslimiting investment into land managementand other development issues.
Conclusions (cont)Additionally, unfavorable terms of theworld trade have induced Southern Africacountries to overexploit their land andother natural resources accelerating therate of land degradation and minimizinginvestment in degradation management.
Conclusions (cont)The magnitude of land degradationrelated problems facing Southern Africais so high that national governmentsalone cannot exhaustively manage themhence need for viable and practical smartpartnerships.
Conclusions (cont)It is now accepted that the indigenouspeople particularly those in the ruralareas, whose survival is at stake, have tobe involved at all levels.
Conclusion (cont)Programs geared towards training andraising awareness and capacity of ruralcommunities on the land degradationmanagement issues as well as researchhave been instituted in the majority of thecountries acknowledging the role thatlocal communities play in landdegradation management.
Conclusions (cont)Success of these undertakings it is hopedwill help alleviate related problems of soiland land degradation, loss of biodiversityand need for assistance to rural small-scale farmers.
RecommendationsThere should be an increase in trainingand awareness building through shortcourses and seminars or workshops onamong others land use planning andmanagement, fertility and farmingsystems including their impacts onland degradation management andsustainability.
Recommendations (cont)People-centered development shouldbe a priority in Southern Africa takinginto account access to land, landownership, land development andmanagement.Appropriate policies and viablepractical smart partnerships should beexplored and instituted.
Recommendations (cont)Coordination and networking is vital forsuccessful management of landdegradation issues in Southern Africadue to the fact that ecosystems cutacross political boundaries.Realistic plan periods are necessarywithin which to realize and assessexpected outputs.
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