SALLnet ─ South African Limpopo Landscapes Network

Rangelands, arable lands and orchards are very common land-use types in southern Africa. In their specific spatial arrangements, they constitute multifunctional landscapes that provide essential ecosystems services, for example: food production, biodiversity, pollination, and carbon sequestration. Many of the ecosystem services provided by these landscapes are crucial for supporting local livelihoods and protect biodiversity, and a wide range of other sustainable development goals (SDGs), in particular SDGs 1, 2, 3, 6, 13 and 15: No poverty, zero hunger, good health, clean water, climate protection and sustainable land-use respectively. Yet, through continued strong population increases and accelerated climate change with more frequent and severe adverse climate extremes such as drought in southern Africa, the already fragile savannah ecosystems and the multiple services they provide, including human livelihoods, are increasingly threatened.

Therefore, SALLnet focuses on how we can enhance the resilience of multi-functional landscapes in southern Africa under the conditions of climate change, a growing population and increased resource limitations.

We chose the province of Limpopo as our case study area because of its diverse land-use, biodiversity and high spatiotemporal climatic variability. Due to these characteristics, the region is particularly appealing to generalize the findings and make recommendations for similar managed ecosystems in southern Africa. We are developing and testing new approaches and methods for more sustainable land-use, with a focus on the interactions between the connected land-use types: arable lands, rangelands and tree orchards. We will provide integrative tools and modelling platforms to develop land-use scenarios and management options to enhance the ecosystems’ resilience. Key to developing feasible and acceptable land-use scenarios and sustainable management options is that stakeholders will be involved in the research process. Through joint risk evaluation and development of risk management strategies and policy recommendations we will create a basis to reach a higher level of sustainability in local and regional land-use.

In SALLnet, six German and five South African partner institutions cooperate. To meet the goals of the project, researchers from different disciplines such as agroecology, agronomy, soil science, agricultural economics, and agricultural systems modelling are contributing.

The SALLnet project is one of nine German-South African research collaborations within the framework of the SPACES II programme, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and managed by Project Management Agency DLR with additional funding by German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).