Title page for ETD etd-11302009-194359


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Potgieter, Johan Hendrik
Email j.h.p@absamail.co.za
URN etd-11302009-194359
Document Title Rangeland condition in the Tembe Traditional Area, Maputaland, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Degree MSc
Department Animal and Wildlife Sciences
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof J du P Bothma Committee Co-Chair
Prof M W van Rooyen Supervisor
Keywords
  • range condition
  • Tembe Elephant Park
  • grazing capacity
Date 2009-09-02
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
This study, undertaken under the auspices of the Centre of Wildlife Management and the former Centre for Indigenous Knowledge (University of Pretoria) was conducted in Maputaland, with special reference to the Tembe Elephant Park, Sileza Nature Reserve and in the neighbouring traditional wards (izigodi) of Mbangweni, Bhekabantu, Kwandaba, Zama-zama, Tsokotho, Manqakulani (which includes the Tshanini Community Conservation Area), Lulwane, Mntikini, Ndlondlweni, Ndovu and Sibonisweni. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the range condition and grazing capacity of the natural veld. A management plan for the Tshanni Community Conservation Area is presented, which could potentially serve as template for similar areas. To accomplish these objectives a cattle as well as a vegetation survey were conducted. The cattle surveys were conducted among the local communities (mentioned above) to identify and to evaluate the role played by cattle in the everyday lives of the communual people and to identify the types of grazing regime (practices). The vegetation surveys were undertaken to evaluate the range condition, grazing capacity and grazing quality of the herbaceous vegetation. The study also included methods to determine the number, distribution and health status of cattle present in the study area.

The results indicated that social and religious values that were associated with cattle in the older Zulu culture have clearly faded in the Tembe Traditional Area. The current values of local communal people regarding cattle were concentrated on utilization and investment for future uncertainties. Cattle were still seen as wealth and status symbols in the local communities and were highly prized possessions if they could be obtained. The official cattle numbers did not seem to reflect the actual cattle numbers in the study area at the time of study. It was also clear that cattle were distributed in areas where the water supply was sufficient. The main grazing areas were thus in the east of the study area in the hygrophilous vegetation to the east of Manqakulani and mainly in Ndlondlweni. No specific grazing management practices could be identified and the grazing system could be best described by a continuous grazing practice. Grazing was not restricted to any part or piece of land inside the specific isigodi as long as the cattle stayed out of other people’s cultivated land. Overstocking the grazing area was not occurring at the time of the study as the stocking density was well below the area’s capacity. The general perception of the majority of the cattle owners was that their cattle were in a good condition.

An analysis of the results obtained from the vegetation survey indicated that the herbaceous biomass yield did not vary noticeably among the management units within a site as well as among the different sites. The small fuel loads in the Tshanini Community Conservation Area did not necessitate burning and were probably below fuel loads needed for fires to spread. However, it was frequently observed that fire could be maintained in areas where the herbaceous biomass yield was below 2 000 kg/ha. The results represented in this study also indicated that the management units of the Tshanini Community Conservation Area were generally in a good condition and that the range condition of the Tshanini Community Conservation Area compared relatively well with the other reserves in the study area.

The modified Ecological Index Method was reliable and time saving, yet simplistic enough for assessing the range condition of the management units of the Tshanini Community Conservation Area and the entire Tembe Traditional Area.

The stocking density must be adaptable and based on the quantity and quality of grazing available at any time. The model that was used to calculate the stocking density of the study area allows for several elements to be modified to suit the conditions on a particular wildlife reserve at a particular time. For example, in future it may become necessary to adjust the percentage composition of graze and browse in the diet of some animal types for the calculation of Grazer Units (GU) and Browser Units (BU), mainly because the diet of the same type of animal may vary regionally. Finally, changes in the choice of the types of wildlife can be accommodated depending on the preferences and objectives of the management and steering committee of the Tshanini Community Conservation Area. This model can be applied as a tool for active adaptive management because it allows more control over the quantity and quality of available food plant resources and hence the stocking density of animal resources.

It is proposed that the results of the present study be combined and integrated into a Geographic Information System (G.I.S.) database that could form the ecological basis for future management planning of the Tembe Traditional Area as part of the Usuthu-Tembe-Futi Transfrontier Conservation Area.

© 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:

Potgieter, JH 2008, Rangeland condition in the Tembe traditional area, Maputaland, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-11302009-194359/ >

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