Title page for ETD etd-08042009-171427

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Collett, Anneliza
Email collett@ananzi.co.za
URN etd-08042009-171427
Document Title The determination, protection and management of high potential agricultural land in South Africa with special reference to Gauteng
Degree MSc
Department Plant Science
Advisor Name Title
Prof G J Bredenkamp Supervisor
  • natural resources
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • GIS
  • South Africa
Date 2009-04-15
Availability unrestricted

Humankindís survival is dependant on the sustainable availability and subsequent management of natural resources. Humans are central to ensuring the sustainable use of the natural resources and the administration of future development. South Africa is one of the signatories of the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. This Declaration stipulates that development should occur in a way that it will fulfil the developmental and environmental needs of current as well as future generations (Aventis CropScience 2000:2).

South Africa is continuously exposed to extremes, not only from an environmental perspective, but also from a land use and management perspective. The country is exposed to a wide range of climatic conditions as well as varied soil and terrain characteristics. Limited high potential agricultural land is available for cultivation purposes and the management and protection of this land is crucial for continued food security. The wide variety of animal and plant species unique to South Africa should all be protected. Continued pressure has negatively impacted on the natural resources and in several instances resulted in their loss.

The management of these resources has received much attention over the years and many research projects have focused on a better understanding of the resources and how they should be managed. One of the primary requirements in the effective management of natural resources is accurate information. The development of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) as well as spatial data sets and information systems focusing on natural resources have contributed to improved monitoring and management thereof. Through the use of GIS, improved, modelled data sets and decision support systems could be developed that assisted in the decision making, management and monitoring of the resources.

The optimal utilization of South Africaís resources has, to a large extent, contributed to the country becoming independent in terms of food production and therefore currently regarded as food secure. The commercial agricultural sector has adapted to risks through effective cultivation practices and the optimal utilization of the landís resources. At the same time, however, the countryís land reform programme has given new farmers access to land, but through this process exposed them to challenges they are not equipped to deal with. Moreover, in some instances, agricultural production has also impacted negatively on the environment.

For South Africa as a developing country, there is great emphasis on residential, industrial and economic development and the advancement of citizens through job creation and the alleviation of poverty. These developments are mostly financially driven without proper consideration as to their impact on the environment. Legislation, strategic objectives and policies have raised awareness of ensuring that environmental assessments should form part of any proposed development. Nevertheless, these directives are not fully implemented.

The Gauteng Province, of special reference to this study, is regarded as the economic hub of the country and is therefore continuously faced with development pressures. However, this province also has a disproportional amount of high potential agricultural land.

Against this background, the study focused on current legislation, policies and decision support systems in the protection and management of agricultural land for future production.

Copyright © 2008, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Collett, A 2008, The determination, protection and management of high potential agricultural land in South Africa with special reference to Gauteng, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-08042009-171427/ >

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