Original Articles

Rangeland assessment and monitoring: the elusive elixir


'Classical' rangeland monitoring is discussed in the context of its fitness-for-purpose. The theoretical or descriptive models that underpin global approaches are considered and reviewed. The needs and types of measurements are discussed as are developments in southern Africa over three decades. It seems that no universal approach to audits will ever be found to satisfy the full range of objective-driven demands for rangelands to yield the variety of goods, services and functions expected of them. Furthermore, the use of sophisticated techniques that accumulate complex data do not necessarily provide an effective way of detecting system rundown, irrespective of scale. The use of simple methods of audit and soft-systems approaches is advocated.

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