Southern African Pasture Science in the 21st Century

Posted 29 June 2015 by NISC under Announcements & Notices • Journal: African Journal of Range & Forage Science
Southern African Pasture Science in the 21st Century

With the estimation of the world’s population reaching nine billion people by 2015 challenges for agriculture have come to the fore with more food needing to be produced from smaller areas in ways that promote sustainability, both socially and environmentally. 

With the decline of areas available to produce agricultural products due to degradation, increased population pressures and urbanization, agriculturalists note these problems to threaten cultivated pastures or improved rangelands in Southern Africa, which contribute significantly to food security in this region. 

The aim of this special issue, titled, Southern African Pasture Science in the 21st Century is to introduce past and current research on pastures in Southern Africa, to highlight the research priorities in pasture science and to provide an agenda for future research in this discipline.

Approximately 151 million hectares of the Southern Africa’s agricultural area is covered by permanent meadows and pastures. Although the majority of this area is natural grasslands and not managed to arrest successional processes, certain areas with lower agricultural potential have been intensified to improve pasture production for grazing animals, or to harvest forage.

Research and development of technologies that either increase, sustain, or avoid losses of productivity is imperative to increase the efficiency of production from pastures and, at the same time, ensure environmental sustainability.

Research on cultivated pastures is scarce or outdated despite the need to improve production from these areas. 

The lead review paper of this special issue highlights the historical changes in research priorities relating to cultivated pastures from the early 1900’s and addresses key future research priorities in southern African pastures (Truter et al. 2015). 

This paper titled, 'Southern African Pasture and Forage Science entering the 21st Century: Past to Present’  is freely available until the end of July along with another review paper entitled 'Managing cultivated pastures for improving soil quality in South Africa: Challenges and opportunities,'  Read more of Doctor Swanepoel’s Editorial of this special issue, on which this news article is based, here

The special issue will be officially launched at the 50th Congress of the GSSA, hosted at the Royal Agricultural Showgrounds, Pietermaritzburg from 19 to 23 July 2015. The research presented in this special issue will contribute towards a better understanding of potential to improve the productivity and efficiency of cultivated pastures in southern Africa.

Read more about the Journal of Range & Forage Science.

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Photograph Credit: Pieter Swanepoel.

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