Rangeland as a common property resource: contrasting insights from communal areas of central Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

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Abstract

This paper explores the grazing management systems in operation in communal areas of central Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, through two contrasting case studies from the region. Considerable differences in current management systems are identified and are shown to depend primarily on the degree of control that can be exercised by communities over communal grazing resources. This in turn can be related to the social and ecological heterogeneity that characterises the region and how this influences pressure on grazing resources at the local level. On the basis of this study three broad levels of grazing management system are identified in these communal areas. These are: complete lack of management with grazing taking place in an ‘open-access’ manner; grazing being controlled on a community basis and grazing taking place on private land and being controlled entirely by the landowner. Many aspects of these scenarios find reflection in struggles over common property which are taking place in other parts of Africa. Understanding the variation in these systems from both a social and ecological perspective will be fundamental in challenging previous management paradigms, and facilitating the development of effective common property institutions for grazing management systems in communal areas of South Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-112
JournalHuman Ecology
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007

Bibliographical note

The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com

Keywords

  • common property regimes
  • grazing managment
  • livestock
  • rangeland
  • South Africa

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