A seminomadic traditional land use system, based on the ecological properties of a unique environmental constellation at the boundary between winter and summer rainfall climate, might have been instrumental in conserving natural resources in the Northern Richtersveld (Northwestern Namaqualand, Northern Cape Region, RSA). In the arid to semiarid northern part of the Richtersveld, desertification processes are of relatively low intensity, if compared with the southern part of the Richtersveld, in spite of the generally higher level of aridity on the Northern Richtersveld. This observation is of wider interest because the two regions of the Richtersveld have experienced a different history of land-tenure and land use practices, which might, in part, have caused the different level of resource degradation: In the Northern Richtersveld until today traditional seminomadic pastoralism in a communal rangeland tenure system has been maintained, although locally replaced by mining areas, permanent settlements and, since 1991, a National Park.In the Southern Richtersveld, the communal rangeland was subdivided by fences into economic units. These have been managed by farmers for a number of years. In spite of the short survival of the economic units concept, the fences still subdivide the landscape.This chapter describes patterns of environmental factors, biodiversity, land use and desertification indicators. Several possible functional interactions between desertification processes and land use are discussed and focal areas for further research are indicated.
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- Remarkable Differences in Desertification Processes in the Northern and Southern Richtersveld (Northern Namaqualand, Republic of South Africa)
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg
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