Towards Improved Decision-Making in Degraded Drylands of Southern Africa: an Indicator Based Assessment for Integrated Evaluation of Restoration and Management Actions in the Kalahari Rangelands

Niels Dreber, Taryn M. Kong, Taryn M. Kong, Klaus Kellner, Klaus Kellner, Christiaan Harmse, Christiaan Harmse, Albert van Eeden, Albert van Eeden, Anahi Ocampo-Melgar, Anahi Ocampo-Melgar


The loss of ecosystem resilience and land productivity is a major problem in drylands of southern Africa. This needs to be addressed in an integrated way linking science to society. Identifying best practices for land restoration and sustainable land management in a process combining local and scientific knowledge is therefore very important as regional perspectives are created and knowledge shared among affected land-users. A corresponding bottom-up framework was suggested by the multinational EU-project PRACTICE, which has been tested in arid Kalahari rangelands of South Africa. Following the identification of a multi-stakeholder platform (MSP) related to the livestock farming community of the study area, the participants’ baseline assessment and site-specific indicators for the evaluation of locally applied restoration and management actions to combat desertification were obtained in a participatory process. The MSP ranked the relative importance of the indicators on an individual basis using the pack-of-cards method, and re-ranked these indicators following group discussions. The individual ranking results were combined and integrated with biophysical and socio-economic measurements for the indicators through a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA), which ranked the alternative actions according to their relevancy and performance. The MCDA outcome was shared back with the MSP to stimulate group discussion and re-evaluation of the restoration and management actions aiming at improving management decision-making in Kalahari rangelands. The steps of this participatory approach are documented and results and the overall potential for implementation in local and national policy frameworks is critically discussed.


Land Degradation; Impact Assessment; Land Use; Indicator Development; Sustainability; Restoration; Land Management

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