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Rosengren, I. 2011. Land degradation in the Ovitoto region of Namibia: what are the local causes and consequences and how do we avoid them?. Bachelor Thesis, Seminar series nr 210, Lund University, Sweden


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Land degradation in the Ovitoto region of Namibia: what are the local causes and consequences and how do we avoid them?

Summary / Notes:

Half of Africa's population - more than 300 million people - is threatened by land degradation. In general, land degradation is initiated when people intentionally or accidentally disturb the balance in a already fragile ecosystem. Poor management practices such as overgrazing, puts pressure on land already close to exceed the limits of sustainability. Besides suffering from overgrazing issues, Namibia is the driest country south of Sahara and consequently very exposed to land degradation. The objective of this study was to examine the effect land degradation had on farmers in the small communal area of Ovitoto, situated in central Namibia. The small area inhabits around 21 000 heads of cattle, which is around 15 000 units (=600%) above stocking rate recommendations. As a result, the area suffers from severe overgrazing. By interviewing representatives of the local population about potential land changes, a result was reached concerning the effect farmers have on land degradation and vice versa. The interviews were complemented by participant observations and analysis of reports and other relevant information. Despite the local opinion, there has been no significant decrease in rainfall that could explain the drought-like conditions in Ovitoto. On the contrary, the last years have been wetter than usual. Half of the farmers, acknowledged the fact that the area is overstocked and also agreed that this is a likely cause of land degradation. However, non of the respondents seemed keen on selling their animals in order to put less pressure on the land. Together with overstocking, the absence of herding contributes to depletion of grazing, which created a downward ecological spiral, which is irreversible unless the farmers start to approach more sustainable farming methods.

Year: 2011

Type: Thesis

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