Sustainable land use in Namaqualand, South Africa : Key issues in an interdisciplinary debate

Hoffman, M T
Allsopp, N
Rohde, R F
Journal of Arid Environments
Publication Year: 
This paper introduces the Special Issue on Sustainable Land Use in Namaqualand which arose out of a conference held in the region in May 2005. It outlines the main themes and issues covered by 19 papers within an increasingly interdisciplinary debate on land use in this semi-arid region. The first theme describes the unique environmental, historical and social context for understanding current land-use practices in the region. The point is made that it is difficult to discuss the issue of land use outside of these contexts which are themselves strongly influenced by national and international events. The second theme addresses land use and its long-term impact on the biota, production systems and restoration potential of the region. A dual land tenure system of private and communal ownership, which is rooted in South Africa's colonial and apartheid past, has profoundly influenced the way in which the land is used as well as the way in which benefits have been derived from agricultural production by different sectors of the population. The dynamic and complex nature of these practices and how strongly influenced they are by local circumstances is an important element in the contributions. The third main theme investigates the progress of South Africa's post-apartheid land reform programme in the region. The slow pace of reform as well as the difficulty of finding a solution which benefits the most marginalised groups within Namaqualand society is highlighted. A final paper synthesises the debate and emphasises the rapid pace of change brought about by several important biophysical and socioeconomic events of the last century. An understanding of the pathways of change as well as their uncertainties forms an important part of this final synthesis.
Name of Journal: 
Journal of Arid Environments
Resource Type: 
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Grassland Society of Southern Africa

The Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA) is involved and concerned with the science and practice of range and pasture management. This broad field involves primarily the use and conservation of natural resources. It encompasses applied fields such as livestock production, wildlife management, nature conservation, water catchment management and range and mine-dump rehabilitation. The disciplines include, amongst others, ecology, botany zoology, range and pasture science, animal science, soil science and genetics. This collection includes journal articles from the African Journal of Range and Forage Science as well as related articles and reports from throughout the Southern African region.