Are Namibia's grasslands desertifying?

Ward, D.
Ngairorue, B.T.
Rangeland Ecology & Management / Journal of Range Management Archives
Publication Year: 
We compared the herbage standing crop on 31 farms along a rainfall gradient in Namibia (southwestern Africa) in 1997 with the results attained for the same gradient by Walter (1939). We found that the slope for the regression of herbage yield on mean annual rainfall in 1997 was 5.93, i.e. 5.93 kg herbage was produced per hectare for every 1 mm increase in rainfall along the gradient. This regression slope is considerably lower than that in Walter's (1939) study (slope = 10.34). Thus, current grassland productivity per unit of rainfall in Namibia is about half that of 50 years ago. There is no evidence of a change in annual rainfall over this period, nor is there any evidence that either short-term (current) or longer-term (11 years) stocking densities affect current herbage yield. We conclude that, while desertification has taken place, grazing over the last decade has not been the cause of this reduced productivity.DOI:10.2458/azu_jrm_v53i2_ward
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Society for Range Management

Rangeland Ecology & Management (formerly the Journal of Range Management) serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of facts, ideas, and philosophies pertaining to the study, management, ecology, and use of rangelands and their resources. The journal is peer-reviewed and provides international exchange of scholarly research and information among persons interested in rangelands. The Global Rangelands collection includes REM content up to 5 years from the current year. More recent content is available by subscription from BioOne and the Society for Range Management, and may be available at your local university library.
(Become a SRM member)