Theme 7: Capacity--Oral Sessions

Description

Numerous scientific studies have highlighted the complexities associated with the collective management of communal rangelands. To date, policy interventions in rangelands have largely ignored people’s traditional ways of managing, with adverse effects on rangeland productivity. Thus, local knowledge has not been considered in spatial planning, despite the fact that local rural communities are often repositories of key indigenous knowledge. Hence this study set out to evaluate the role of indigenous knowledge in the management of the communal rangeland in Cata and Guquka, now and in the future. This was achieved through the use of Participatory GIS (PGIS), specifically participatory mapping to analyse how the communities use and view their rangelands now and how this has changed over time, and whether this can form a potential resource for effective communal rangeland management in the future. Results revealed that Cata and Guquka participants held extensive indigenous and spatial knowledge in relation to their communal areas. However, the existing knowledge is not translated into effective management of the communal rangelands, instead it is trapped in the older generation. These findings were attributed to social challenges including an ageing population, lack of youth involvement, fear of livestock theft, lack of mutual trust amongst community members and lack of resources such as fencing, access to dipping tanks and government services, and financial constraints. Thus, factors inhibiting the use of the existing indigenous knowledge for effective management of the communal rangelands in Cata and Guquka are more social than environmental. This suggests that new policy approaches incorporating local people’s indigenous knowledge in spatial planning which takes into account their unique local situations and the relationships between people and their resources are necessary. When people feel like their voices are heard and opinions valued, the adoption and sustainability of policy-based interventions becomes less challenging. Therefore, indigenous local knowledge, if effectively harnessed, could form a key component in adaptive management of these communal rangelands.

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The Role of Indigenous Knowledge in the Effective Collective Management of the Communal Rangelands

Numerous scientific studies have highlighted the complexities associated with the collective management of communal rangelands. To date, policy interventions in rangelands have largely ignored people’s traditional ways of managing, with adverse effects on rangeland productivity. Thus, local knowledge has not been considered in spatial planning, despite the fact that local rural communities are often repositories of key indigenous knowledge. Hence this study set out to evaluate the role of indigenous knowledge in the management of the communal rangeland in Cata and Guquka, now and in the future. This was achieved through the use of Participatory GIS (PGIS), specifically participatory mapping to analyse how the communities use and view their rangelands now and how this has changed over time, and whether this can form a potential resource for effective communal rangeland management in the future. Results revealed that Cata and Guquka participants held extensive indigenous and spatial knowledge in relation to their communal areas. However, the existing knowledge is not translated into effective management of the communal rangelands, instead it is trapped in the older generation. These findings were attributed to social challenges including an ageing population, lack of youth involvement, fear of livestock theft, lack of mutual trust amongst community members and lack of resources such as fencing, access to dipping tanks and government services, and financial constraints. Thus, factors inhibiting the use of the existing indigenous knowledge for effective management of the communal rangelands in Cata and Guquka are more social than environmental. This suggests that new policy approaches incorporating local people’s indigenous knowledge in spatial planning which takes into account their unique local situations and the relationships between people and their resources are necessary. When people feel like their voices are heard and opinions valued, the adoption and sustainability of policy-based interventions becomes less challenging. Therefore, indigenous local knowledge, if effectively harnessed, could form a key component in adaptive management of these communal rangelands.