African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6578

Full Length Research Paper

Evaluation of potential indicators for payment of environmental services on the impact of rehabilitation of degraded rangeland sites

Khalid Mansour1*, Terry Everson2 and Onisimo Mutanga1
1Geography Department, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, P/Bag X01, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg, 3209, South Africa.  2School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, P/Bag X01, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg, 3209, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 16 April 2013
  •  Published: 25 April 2013

Abstract

An understanding of the response of indicators of rangeland degradation following rehabilitation is essential to the successful implementation of the Payment for Environmental Services initiative that is currently being developed in the communal rangelands of the Drakensberg mountains of South Africa. We evaluated the following four potential indicators of rangeland degradation: Range condition, basal cover, species diversity, and soil fertility. The indicators were measured in degraded and rehabilitated sites at Okhombe in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Two transects were established at each site for basal cover and species composition. Soil samples were collected from each site and their elements analysed. The results revealed that differences between the rehabilitated and degraded sites can be quantified using indicators of range condition, basal cover, and species diversity. There were highly significant differences in certain soil properties (that is, P 11.36 mg/kg, K 0.47 cmol/kg, pH 4.20, OC 6.33% and N 0.70%) after rehabilitation. Based on these results, we argue that these indicators have the potential to be used in monitoring and certifying the delivery of watershed services at a local level in this communal rangeland.

 

 Key words: Decreaser and increaser, species diversity, soil fertility, rangeland condition.