Developing sustainable landscapes in grasslands of South Africa

Full Solution
The EbA approach allows for improved rangelands and more productive cattle
Jacques van Rooyen

Conservation South Africa  (CSA) conducted a vulnerability assessment for the Alfred Nzo District Municipality which includes EbA priority maps and a climate change response strategy. CSA is piloting EbA by working as an implementing partner with the Department of Environment Environmental Programmes to keep areas free of alien invasive species post clearing, using ecorangers, to assist with restoration and working with restoration and working with communal farmers on sustainable grazing management.

Last update: 21 Feb 2023
Challenges addressed
Erratic rainfall
Land and Forest degradation
Some livestock owners do not comply with the village rotational grazing plans and therefore the sustainable land management practices. The spread rate and infestation of the alien invasive species (wattle species) are higher than our current financial resources can support shortage of human resources to remove all the invasive species. Insufficient budgets to maintain the cleared areas and to purchase vaccines which enhances livestock improvement.
Scale of implementation
Rangeland / Pasture
River, stream
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Tundra or montane grassland
Access and benefit sharing
Food security
Indigenous people
Local actors
Land management
Alfred Nzo, Eastern Cape, South Africa
East and South Africa

1) Communities have more access to water due to the removal of alien invasive species, and wetland and spring restoration/conservation. Women are travelling much shorter distances to fetch water compared to before. This reduced the number of incidents where women and children were being attacked and raped while walking through wattle jungle.

2) Farmers are more resilient as they have access to rangeland that can be grazed which was previously under alien vegetation, as well as by engaging in sustainable land management practices their livestock are more productive with better grazing lands.

3) Community engagements created a platform for elderly people to share indigenous knowledge with the younger people.

4) Farmers livelihoods are enhanced as their livestock are more productive and they have better access to markets.

5) Carbon sequestration below soils is a benefit of the approach but not being measured at present.

6) The river system is less susceptible to soil erosion and siltation of dams. There is a great sense of community engagement and ownership due to the direct benefits.

7) Health of the livestock has improved, diseases are being combatted and abattoirs are happier to buy cattle from communal areas due to vaccination interventions.

8) Enhanced biodiversity protection through removal of alien invasive and introduction of rotational grazing and resting.

employment for wattle removal and keeping areas free from infestation; ecorangers to help communities manage their stock; livestock owners who benefit from good grazing in wattle cleared areas; broader community through water resources protection
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 13 – Climate action
Head woman for one of the villages able to allocate land
The EbA approach involves alien invasive wattle removal to assist in improving water quantity and quality in the area as well as improving access to rangeland whilst preventing erosion and siltation of dams. The approach also includes employment of ecorangers who assist in supporting farmers with protection of cattle, rotational grazing practices etc This process ensures sustainable water supply as well as more sustainable rangelands and enhanced livestock production. Conservation SA engagement also provides for improved access to markets through auctions for cattle sales. At Mabheleni village, which is one of the sites where Conservation SA is working in Mvenyane in the Eastern Cape, families such Mr Bongani Maqashalala had lost finding graves of their loved ones that had been swallowed up by wattle species. Through this clearing, they now have access and can visit these graves once more. Other benefits to the Mvenyane communities is for those such as Mr Arthur Leisa Sello of Motseng who was not making income from their livestock is now along with others having access to livestock auctions through our intervention. Traditional authorities such as that of Mvenyane at Nkawulweni and Mabheleni are now able to allocate site for new homesteads in areas that were previously infested and impossible to demarcate for settlement.
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Sinegugu Zukulu
Conservation South Africa