Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-fv566 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-20T22:25:38.410Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

UNDERSTANDING COMMUNITY PERCEPTIONS OF LAND USE CHANGES IN THE RANGELANDS, ZIMBABWE

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 January 2011

ANDREW SIBANDA*
Affiliation:
ICRISAT Bulawayo, P.O. Box 776, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
SABINE HOMANN-KEE TUI
Affiliation:
ICRISAT Bulawayo, P.O. Box 776, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
ANDRÉ VAN ROOYEN
Affiliation:
ICRISAT Bulawayo, P.O. Box 776, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
JOHN DIMES
Affiliation:
ICRISAT Bulawayo, P.O. Box 776, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
DANIEL NKOMBONI
Affiliation:
Matopos Research Institute, Bag K5137, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
GIVIOUS SISITO
Affiliation:
Matopos Research Institute, Bag K5137, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
*
Corresponding author: a.sibanda@cgiar.org; sagugu2000@yahoo.com

Summary

The objective of this study was to investigate the user communities' understanding and interpretation of changes in rangeland use and productivity in the communal lands of Zimbabwe. While external knowledge has been instrumental in defining the drivers and effects of ecological changes hitherto, the role of local knowledge is becoming increasingly important in explaining factors that inform user community perceptions and guide their decisions on the use of rangeland resources. Data on community perceptions were collected in four villages, using Participatory Rural Appraisals in each village and household surveys with a total of 104 households. This study showed that user communities in Nkayi district differentiate rangelands among seven categories of livestock feed resources and how these have changed over time. Communities viewed rangelands not as one continuous, designated and specialized land parcel, but differentiated the land by location, productivity, management and uses in different times of the year. Although land use changes affecting these livestock feed resources were considered to be widespread and multi-directional (both negative and positive) they did not cause widespread degradation. Rangelands converted to croplands were not completely lost, but became important dual purpose land parcels fulfilling both household food security needs and dry season livestock feed requirements. The importance of croplands as a feed resource is reflected in the emergence of new institutions governing their use for livestock grazing and to guarantee security of tenure. On the other hand institutions governing the use of common property rangelands decreased or weakened in their application. The study concludes that while this situation presents ecological challenges for the rangelands, it offers opportunities to find innovative ways of utilizing croplands as the new frontier in the provision of dry season feed resources to smallholder farmers in highly variable environments. Implications for livestock water productivity need to be investigated and water saving technologies should be promoted in the land use intensification processes.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

REFERENCES

Alexander, J., McGregor, J. and Ranger, T. (1998). Violence and Memory: One hundred years in the dark forests of the Matabeleland. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Behnke, R. H. and Scoones, I. (1992). Rethinking range ecology: Implications for rangeland management in Africa. Issue Paper 33. London: International Institute for Environment and Development.Google Scholar
Breman, H. and de Ridder, N. (1991). The economic linkages between rural poverty and land degradation, some evidence from Africa. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 82:355370.Google Scholar
Cousins, B. (1987). A survey of current grazing schemes in the communal areas of Zimbabwe. Harare: Centre for Applied Social Sciences, University of Zimbabwe.Google Scholar
Ciracy-Wantrup, S. V. and Bishop, R. C. (1975). Common property as a concept in natural resources policy. Natural Resources Journal 15:713727.Google Scholar
Central Statistics Office (1992). National Census 1992. Harare: Government of Zimbabwe.Google Scholar
Dejene, A. (1997). Land degradation in Tanzania. World Bank Technical Paper 370. Washington: The World Bank.Google Scholar
Galaty, J. G. and Johnson, D. L. (1990). The World of Pastoralism. Herding systems in comparative perspective. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
Hardin, G. (1968). The tragedy of the commons. Science: 162;12431248.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Homann, S. Van Rooyen, A, Moyo, T. and Nengomasha, Z. (2007). Goat Production and Marketing: Baseline information for semi-arid Zimbabwe. Bulawayo, International Crops Research Institute.Google Scholar
Homewood, K. and Rogers, W. A. (1987). Pastoralism, conservation and the overgrazing controversy. In Conservation in Africa (Eds.Anderson, D. and Grove, R.). Cambridge: Cambridge University.Google Scholar
Little, S. (2002). Development and use of state-and transition models for rangelands. Journal of Range Management 56: 114126.Google Scholar
Mazzucato, V. and Niemeijer, D. (2001) Overestimating degradation, underestimating farmers in the Sahel. Issue Paper 101. London: International Institute for Environment and Development.Google Scholar
McCabe, J. T. (1990). Turkana pastoralism. A case against the tragedy of the commons. Human Ecology 18: 81103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moyo, S., Robinson, P., Katerere, Y., Stevenson, S. and Gumbo, D. (1991). Zimbabwe's Environmental Dilemma: Balancing resource inequalities. Harare: ZERO Publishers.Google Scholar
Reed, M. S. and Dougill, A. J. (2002) Participatory selection process for indicators of rangeland condition in the Kalahari. The Geographical Journal 168: 224234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reed, M. S., Dougill, A. J. and Taylor, M. J. (2007). Integrating local and scientific knowledge for adaptation to land degradation: Kalahari rangeland management options. Land Degradation and Development 18:249268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Scoones, I. and Wilson, K. (1993). Coping with drought, responses of herders and livestock in contrasting savannah environments in Southern Zimbabwe. Human Ecology 20: 293314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Swift, J. (1981). Rapid appraisal and cost effective participatory research in dry pastoral areas of West Africa. Agricultural Administration 8: 485492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar