Ecological Change and Distribution in Southern African Rangelands

  • J. Arntzen


This article examines the ecological changes occurring in southern African range-lands-how such changes affect rangeland uses, and what the distributional consequences may be. There can be little doubt that rangeland ecosystems undergo rapid change, especially in terms of vegetation and fauna and to a lesser extent of erosion. Such changes are associated with the trend towards single-sector (livestock) rangeland use with adverse impacts on hunting and gathering. The poor are worst affected because degradation increases their risks – given the limited adaptation options at their disposal-and reduces their livelihood security. For a proper understanding of rangelands, a holistic approach covering all major uses and resources, is needed. Total sustainable productivity per hectare and per household become key parameters for sustainable rangeland management.