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van der Post, C.H.M. 2004. Human sprawl and the African wilderness of the Okavango. South African Geographical Journal, 86(2): 122-130


Description:

Human sprawl and the African wilderness of the Okavango.

Summary / Notes:

Expansion of human settlement and infrastructure or 'Human Sprawl' near regionally significant wetland and wilderness areas is of worldwide concern. The Okavango Delta is a Ramsar Site, a relatively pristine wetland and a world-class wildlife-tourism destination. Using recent census data and simple GIS techniques this work concludes that rural sprawl, urban sprawl and infrastructure expansion result in disturbance of about 8 per cent of the region's surface and contribute to fragmentation of natural habitats. This is well below disturbance levels elsewhere but of concern because of the region's pristine character.
Accelerated population growth, facilitated by post-colonial improvements in health care, is shown to be a major driving force behind human sprawl, with rural sprawl resulting from increasing numbers of people looking for rural subsistence opportunities and urban sprawl resulting from increasing numbers of young educated people seeking urban employment. Similarly, infrastructure development, implicated mostly in habitat fragmentation, is related to environmentally inconsiderate economic expansion, mostly in cattle ranching. Attempts to modify the human sprawl trend near the Okavango, currently in an initial phase, need to address these underlying forces, i.e. population growth, rural income opportunities, urban employment opportunities and environmentally inconsiderate infrastructure development.

Year: 2004

Type: Journal Article

URL: http://reference.sabinet.co.za/document/EJC93187


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