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Stellenbosch University (2020)

ASSESSING THE POTENTIAL OF HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT IN THE RURAL VILLAGE OF MCEULA IN THE ZULUKAMA REGION, EASTERN CAPE

Magan, Jiten

Titre :

Auteur : Magan, Jiten

Université de soutenance : Stellenbosch University

Grade : Master of Philosophy in Sustainable Development 2020

Résumé
South Africa is comprised of approximately 80% rangelands, much of which is considered degraded. Rangeland degradation is substantially worse in the former homelands and where people are most reliant on the natural resource base for survival. Holistic Management has been proposed as an alternative that could potentially reverse rangeland degradation occurring on both commercial and communal rangelands. Because it, controversially, proposes increasing stocking rates, it has been viewed with suspicion by many scientists and farmers. Although success with Holistic Management has been documented, both internationally and locally, on commercial farms, it has yet to be evaluated in the former homelands of South Africa. This study evaluated the first pilot project attempting to introduce Holistic Management in the communal village of Mceula in the Ciskei. A case study analysis using semi-structured interviews was used to evaluate the implementation process of Holistic Management and the effect the programme had on the rangeland, livestock and livelihoods of the communal farmers involved. Interviews were conducted with those responsible for the implementation of the project and with communal livestock farmers. A reflexive thematic analysis was then used to identify themes in the interviews and an inductive analysis was used to analyse them. Results showed that there was unanimous agreement that the Holistic Management project was a success. The more immediate and tangible effects of Holistic Management were evident in the improvement of the veld, improvement in livestock survival and an increase in incomes derived from the sale of wool. More intangible effects were evident in the paradigm shift that occurred when farmers began to view grass as an essential part of their livelihood. Equally important was the capacity building that occurred which gave the farmers the tools to manage both their livestock and veld. Further themes were identified, although not articulated in the interviews, and deductive analysis was used to link these to established literature. First, the importance of co-production, second, the assimilation of traditional knowledge into the management framework and third, the ability to manage communal lands in order to prevent tragedy of the commons from occurring. In summary, Holistic Management was successfully implemented in Mceula and although rangeland restoration was not achieved due to an ongoing drought, the veld had improved enough to increase livestock survival and farmers’ incomes. While the Holistic Management system was very effective technically, the method of implementation should not be overlooked and this provided the foundation for the success of the project. Due to the success in Mceula, other villages have requested the Holistic Management training and the project has expanded organically into the surrounding villages.

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