Changes in soil characteristics and grass layer condition in relation to land management systems in the semi-arid savannas of Swaziland

Tefera, Solomon
Dlamini, B J
Dlamini, A M
Journal of Arid Environments
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The issue of sustainability and productivity of open communal rangelands compared to fenced rangelands is often subject to controversy. This study investigated differences in soil and grass layer variables between land management systems having high (communal land), low (government ranch) and medium (game reserve) stocking rates, and soil types (lithosol and vertisol or raw mineral). The results showed that differences in land management systems had caused considerable variations in most soil and vegetation variables. Soil from low or moderate stocking rate had highest K, Ca, P and N levels. Cenchrus ciliaris, Panicum maximum and Heteropogon contortus were most abundant in the low stocking rate, while annuals Tragus berteronianus and Aristida bipartita were most frequent on high stocking rate. There were differences in frequency of these species between soil types. Significant variations for most vegetation and soil variables between land management systems suggested grazing pressure differences might be the primary cause. This supports the equilibrium model, which stresses the importance of livestock density on the soil and vegetation dynamics.
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.