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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? : a minor field study on the relationship between land degradation and rural populations in the Ovitoto region in central Namibia

Rosengren, Izabella (2011) In Lunds universitets Naturgeografiska institution - Seminarieuppsatser
Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Abstract
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%)... (More)
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. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Hälften av Afrikas befolkning - mer än 300 miljoner människor - hotas idag av markförstöring och
ökenspridning. De flesta forskare är överens om att markförstöring orsakas av mänsklig aktivitet
som avsiktligt eller oavsiktligt rubbar balansen i redan känsliga ekosystem.
Namibia det torraste landet söder om Sahara, vilket följaktligen gjort att landet är mycket utsatt för
ökenspridning och markförstöring, både naturligt och antropogent. Förutom brist på nederbörd har
ohållbart jordbruk och brist på kunskap satt press på den redan stressade jorden, något som triggat
markförstöring ytterligare.
Syftet med denna studie var att undersöka vilken effekt markförstöring har på jordbrukarna i det
kommunala området Ovitoto, i centrala... (More)
Hälften av Afrikas befolkning - mer än 300 miljoner människor - hotas idag av markförstöring och
ökenspridning. De flesta forskare är överens om att markförstöring orsakas av mänsklig aktivitet
som avsiktligt eller oavsiktligt rubbar balansen i redan känsliga ekosystem.
Namibia det torraste landet söder om Sahara, vilket följaktligen gjort att landet är mycket utsatt för
ökenspridning och markförstöring, både naturligt och antropogent. Förutom brist på nederbörd har
ohållbart jordbruk och brist på kunskap satt press på den redan stressade jorden, något som triggat
markförstöring ytterligare.
Syftet med denna studie var att undersöka vilken effekt markförstöring har på jordbrukarna i det
kommunala området Ovitoto, i centrala Namibia. I Ovitoto finns runt 21 000 djur, vilket är cirka 15
000 djur över beläggningstäthetens rekommendationer (= över 600%). Resultatet är att området
lider av extrem överbetning, vilket urlakar jorden och gör den obrukbar. Genom att intervjua bönder
angående områdets markförändringar drogs en slutsats om böndernas inverkan på markförstöring
och vice versa. Intervjuerna kompletterades med deltagande observationer och analys av rapporter
och övrig relevant information.
Trots den lokala uppfattningen har nederbörden i området inte minskat signifikant och kan inte
heller förklara de ökenliknande förhållanden som är allt vanligare i Ovitoto. Tvärtom, så har de
senaste årens nederbörd varit mycket riklig.
Hälften av bönderna höll med om att området är överbetat och överfyllt av djur, och var också
överens om att detta var en högst trolig bidragande faktor till markförstörelsen. Desto mindre villiga
var bönderna till att sälja sina djur för att låta jorden vila. Alltför många djur, avsaknad av
herdebruk och utarmning av betesmarker har skapat en nedåtgående spiral, vilken kommer fortsätta
såvida inte bönderna börjar anamma mer hållbara jordbruksmetoder. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Rosengren, Izabella
supervisor
organization
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
physical geography, land degradation, overgrazing, drought, naturgeografi, Namibia, markförstöring, överbetning, torka
publication/series
Lunds universitets Naturgeografiska institution - Seminarieuppsatser
report number
210
funder
SIDA, Minor Field Study programme (MFS)
language
English
additional info
Patrik Klintenberg, Research and Training Coordinator at the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN).
id
2154371
date added to LUP
2011-09-06 08:19:30
date last changed
2011-12-28 11:07:09
@misc{2154371,
  abstract     = {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.},
  author       = {Rosengren, Izabella},
  keyword      = {physical geography,land degradation,overgrazing,drought,naturgeografi,Namibia,markförstöring,överbetning,torka},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Lunds universitets Naturgeografiska institution - Seminarieuppsatser},
  title        = {Land degradation in the Ovitoto region of Namibia : what are the local causes and consequences and how do we avoid them? : a minor field study on the relationship between land degradation and rural populations in the Ovitoto region in central Namibia},
  year         = {2011},
}