Original Articles

Veld management in the semi‐arid bush‐grass communities of the eastern cape


Abstract

Ecologically and economically the most acceptable way of using the vegetation in these ecosystems is to stock with grazers and browsers to utilize both the herbaceous and the woody plants. The major factor limiting primary production is a low and erratic moisture supply. Management to ensure the most efficient use of the incoming precipitation is outlined. The highly variable rainfall emphasises the need to provide a fodder reserve to combat drought and the need to stock the grazers and browsers within the grazing and browsing capacities. For the herbaceous component, resting a third of the total area is advocated to provide adequate rest and the drought fodder reserve. The resting requirements of the woody component are given. The calculation of the grazing capacity and the browsing capacity is outlined. They are computed according to the botanical composition of the herbaceous component and the botanical composition and availability of the woody component. Optimum periods of stay and absence are given for both rotational grazing and browsing. It is important that cattle be the predominant grazer and that a ratio of 1 beast to 3 sheep not be exceeded. Multi‐camp systems are advised. However, the layout must ensure that the minimum adverse effect on the environment due to animal concentration occurs and that fence lines must be aligned along vegetation boundaries to minimise area selective grazing and browsing.

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