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University of the Western Cape (2006)

Patterns of resource use by livestock during and after drought in a communal rangeland in Namaqualand

Samuels, Mogamat Igshaan

Titre : Patterns of resource use by livestock during and after drought in a communal rangeland in Namaqualand

Auteur : Samuels, Mogamat Igshaan

Université de soutenance : University of the Western Cape

Grade : Magister Scientiae – MSc 2006

Résumé partiel
Pastoralists in Africa have developed complex mechanisms by which they can alleviate the threat of drought. They practice mobility as one of the strategies to avoid the worst effects of natural stress and disperse grazing pressure. In the past in South Africa, the indigenous Nama people occupied large areas of land and moved around extensively to exploit seasonal differences in the availability of forage and water. With the settlement of the Europeans in the Cape the indigenous people lost most of their land to the colonists. The Nama people were, therefore, restricted to smaller rangelands and their patterns of rangeland use had to adapt to the spatial constraints. Descendents now herd livestock from semi-permanent stockposts that are scattered throughout the commons. Herders use a range of practices to manage their livestock. The aims of this study are to : • Assess the agro-ecological knowledge of livestock keepers • Assess the condition of the rangeland during drought • Determine the herding strategies of herders during drought • Determine the spatial foraging patterns of herds in the Paulshoek communal area during and after a drought and correlate these patterns with biotic and/or abiotic features along their grazing routes. Field interviews were conducted with livestock keepers to collect information on local agro-ecological knowledge. Herders’ perceptions of rangeland condition during drought were gathered through cognitive maps generated by herders. Herd management strategies of herders were observed during the grazing period. Herds were followed for a single day during and after the drought and the position of the herd in the rangeland was recorded with a GPS at regular intervals to determine daily grazing movements of individual herds. Livestock keepers regard rain as the main determinant of rangeland condition. However, they still consider that livestock can impact negatively on the rangeland and try to prevent trampling by alternating their daily grazing routes. Herders regard mountains as the key resource areas for their livestock during a drought. Areas with high toxic plant abundance are regarded as forbidden for livestock.

Mots clés : Rangelands ; Monitoring ; South Africa ; Namaqualand. Pastures ; South Africa ; Namaqualand. Grazing ; Management ; South Africa ; Namaqualand. Cattle herding ; South Africa ; Namaqualand.

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