A reconstruction of the history of land degradation in relation to land use change and land tenure in Peddie district, former Ciskei

Kakembo, Vincent (1997) A reconstruction of the history of land degradation in relation to land use change and land tenure in Peddie district, former Ciskei. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




A history ofland degradation is reconstructed in a part of the dividing ridge between the Great Fish and Keiskamma rivers, in Peddie District, former Ciskei. The study entails a comparative investigation of the progressive changes in land use, vegetation and soil erosion in three tenure units, namely: former commercial farms, traditional and betterment villages. Analysis of the sequential aerial photography of the area for 1938,1954, 1965, 1975 and 1988 is employed. This is backed by groundtruthing exercises. Data thus obtained are quantified, and linkages between degradation, anthropogenic and physical factors are derived using PC ARC/INFO GIS. Differences in land tenure systems emerge as the main controlling factor to variations in land degradation. Confinement of vegetation diminution and erosion to traditional and betterment villages is observed at all dates. Scantily vegetated surfaces and riparian vegetation removal are a characteristic feature of both areas throughout the study period. 'Betterment,' introduced in the early 1960s to curb land degradation is, instead observed to exacerbate it, particularly soil erosion. Trends in land use change are characterised by the abandonment of cultivated land, which is noted to coincide with a sharp rise in population. Erosion intensification into severe forms particularly between 1965 and 1975, coincident with a period of extreme rainfall events, emerges as the most significant degradation trend. A close spatial correlation between abandoned cultivated land and intricate gullies is identified. So is the case between grazing land and severe sheet erosion. Within the grazing lands, an examination of erosion and categories of vegetated surfaces reveals that erosion occurs predominantly on the scanty vegetation category. Such erosion-vegetation interaction largely explains the non-recovery of the scanty vegetation category, even during periods of intense rainfall. Extensive channel degradation is evident along stream courses with scanty riparian vegetation. Physical factors are noted to have a significant bearing on erosion. The high prevalence of erosion on the Ecca group of rocks confinns its erosion-prone nature. Pockets of colluvium and alluvium accumulation in the steep bottomlands are identified as the sites of the most severe gully erosion. Field surveys at some of the sites indicate that a dolerite sill through the area fonns a boundary of colluvium accumulation and the upslope limit to gully incision. That these sites are recognised as fonnedy cultivated land, portrays the interaction between physical and anthropogenic variables with regard to inducing degradation in the area.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Land use, Eastern Cape, South Africa, Erosion, Degradation, Tenure
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Geography
ID Code:2628
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:17 Apr 2012 10:11
Last Modified:17 Apr 2012 10:11
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