Natural resources and local management in the Hewu District of the Eastern Cape : limitations to achieving sustainability

Nkansa-Dwamena, Yaw (2000) Natural resources and local management in the Hewu District of the Eastern Cape : limitations to achieving sustainability. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

The Mceula Commonage Land in the Hewu district lies due northwest of Whittle sea and west of Queenstown in the Eastern Cape. This thesis has two main objectives. Firstly, to survey and analyse the condition of the natural resource. base in the Hewu district with particular reference to water, soil, vegetation and land use. Secondly, to investigate the relationship between scientific approaches to assessing land use degradation and to compare these to the results obtained using a participatory approach of the rural environment of the Hewu district of the Eastern Cape. Random quadrats (4m2) were sampled and corresponding line transects were done with increasing distances from the villages. The Braun-Blanquet method was used to find the cover and abundance of the various species of plants. Data obtained from point sampling along 100 metre line transects was used to assess the condition of the veld using Trollope's technique. Six communities were defined using TWINSP AN, and grazing capacities and veld condition scores of the respective sites were calculated. It was concluded that the six communities were distributed along a gradient of palatable to non palatable grass and grasslike species. Rangelands close to the villages had low veld condition scores and percentage plant cover as opposed to those farther away from the villages. The null hypothesis of no significant difference between the percentage plant cover and condition of the veld close to the villages and farther away from the villages was rejected. Whilst it is urgent to resolve political disputes around land through land distribution, a key issue for the future is sustainability of the natural resource base of South Africa. To attain this, the old traditional methods of research must be supplemented with the participatory method, where the local community becomes fully involved. The central theme of the participatory approach was to investigate the possibility of promoting local management of the natural resources. Workshops were conducted to involve the local community in the project. The community formed six discussion groups that met regularly to discuss environmental issues. The six groups that were formed were: Firewood or woodlot collectors, shepherds / livestock raisers, crop fanners / agriculturists, water collectors, building material / soil collectors and medicinal plant users. The results obtained from the meeting of the discussion groups were used to compare the scientific results obtained from Braun-Blanquet method. Perceptions about their environment, which came out of the results of the discussion groups showed that the local knowledge of the rural community of Mceula was sufficient to train them to manage their environment sustainably.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Natural resources, Management, Eastern Cape
Subjects:Q Science > QK Botany
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Botany
ID Code:2468
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:13 Feb 2012 09:15
Last Modified:13 Feb 2012 09:15
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