How could herd mobility be used to manage resources and livestock grazing in semi-arid rangeland commons?

  • Igshaan Samuels
  • Nicky Allsopp
  • M Timm Hoffman


Pastoralists in Namaqualand, South Africa, use herd mobility to manage livestock and rangeland resources. However, their socioeconomic conditions and ecological landscapes are changing and we explore the options that are available for pastoralists to respond to these changes. This paper presents five possible scenarios for managing livestock in rangeland commons in semi-arid Namaqualand and outlines some of the major advantages and disadvantages associated with each scenario. Scenarios in response to drivers of change include (1) maintaining the status quo with an assumption that current mobility practices are adapted to local environments, (2) integrating new lands into the existing commons for use by mobile pastoralists, (3) using existing lands under existing mobile pastoralism conditions but introducing grazing reserves for use in times of drought, (4) amalgamating herds into larger units under the care of skilled herders, and (5) developing commercial-scale farms for single-occupancy owners because government might be pressured to further promote black commercial farmers to deracialise the commercial farming sector in South Africa. We consider these scenarios as starting points for discussions on future management options that pastoralists in Namaqualand may wish to consider as the managers of rangeland commons.

Keywords: grazing management, herd mobility, Namaqualand, semi-arid

African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2013, 30(1&2): 85–89

Author Biographies

Igshaan Samuels
Agricultural Research Council–Animal Production Institute, c/o Botany and Conservation Biology Department, University of the Western Cape, Private Bag X17, Bellville 7535, South Africa
Nicky Allsopp
South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), Fynbos Node, Private Bag X07, Claremont 7735, South Africa
M Timm Hoffman
Plant Conservation Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9380
print ISSN: 1022-0119