A conceptual tool for improving rangeland management decision-making at grassroots level: the local-level monitoring approach
AbstractFor many years, rangeland monitoring has mainly been the field of scientists, academics and extension workers trying to fine-tune methods to assess the condition of rangelands. Frameworks and monitoring systems developed with their associated indicators are often complex and inaccessible to land users who lack the advanced equipment to implement them, and the relevant training to analyse and interpret monitoring results. After reviewing the challenges and opportunities in rangeland monitoring, this paper describes the local-level monitoring (LLM) conceptual tool, which is flexible, adaptive and easy to use by local land users for monitoring and documenting changes in natural resources and livestock conditions in order to guide and support management responses accordingly. As a concept, the LLM approach is currently being tested and implemented by agricultural extension services in the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District municipality (North West province, South Africa). At this stage, the LLM concept should be seen as a continuous and evolving learning process that will be updated over the long term through decision support to include several other components essential to implement effective and sustainable rangeland management practices by local land users.
Keywords: desertification; indicators; land degradation; local knowledge; rangeland monitoring; scientific knowledge
African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2009, 26(3): 139–147