Institutions for sustainable land management: reflections on institutional aspects of implementing the UNCCD in South Africa

  • G von Maltitz


By its nature, combating desertification is a complex, multidisciplinary activity that requires coordinated responses at a multitude of levels spanning both scientific disciplines and government departments. In the final analysis, it is at the level of the land user where the bulk of activities take place, and where the greatest impact is to be gained. Providing access to knowledge, a supportive environment and, in some instances, financial assistance that allows the land user to counter  desertification is important. However, the nature of desertification processes is such that, in many instances, they extend beyond the domain of control of a single land user and require a coordinated response from multiple land users. This is especially true of situations where resources are used and managed communally as is the case in much of southern Africa. Though global and national institutional structures may facilitate implementation, it is proposed that sound local-level institutions are one of the most important components for successful sustainable land management interventions. The need to differentiate between private and communal land in terms of the nature of structures and forms of incentives to promote the combating of desertification is highlighted.

Keywords: communal land use; community-based natural resource management; desertification

African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2009, 26(3): 159–168

Author Biography

G von Maltitz
Natural Resources and the Environment, CSIR, PO Box 395, Pretoria 0001, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9380
print ISSN: 1022-0119