Wildlife or livestock? New directions for developing communal rangelands in South Africa
AbstractThe paper agrees with three fundamental points raised by Vetter (in this issue), whilst highlighting an emerging trend in wildlife land use, which should be considered in policy making. Firstly, the paper supports the argument that communal rangelands are important as objects of biodiversity conservation and, secondly, the argument that livestock production alone is not sufficient as a mechanism for alleviating poverty, but rather livelihoods diversification and multisectoral strategies are required for this purpose. Lastly, the paper supports the need for mechanisms to ensure tenure security for sustainable use of communal rangelands. I argue that the historical shift to wildlife land use previously observed on private farms in South Africa is now inevitable on communal rangelands and will require explicit consideration in the policy on communal rangelands. Although such development in the communal rangelands has potential to meet the important goals of livelihoods diversification as indicated by Vetter, it also has potential to threaten existing rural livelihoods. The paper suggests several issues to be considered as wildlife becomes part of the rural landscape in some areas, in addition to issues raised by Vetter relevant to policy making.
Keywords: communal rangelands, conservation, land use, livestock, wildlife
African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2013, 30(1&2): 51–55