Workpackage Rangelands

As part of the subproject "Livelihoods and farming systems", we focus on the ecology and on adaptive management options of Limpopo's rangelands.

At the heart of our activities is our field experiment LLL DroughtAct, located on the Experimental Farm of the University of Limpopo (see map of our study sites). By combining grazing and drought treatments, we address two main research questions: (1) What determines rangelands? stability (buffering capacity) in face of drought? (2) What are suitable management interventions to avoid degradation (shifts to undesirable states)?

  • After a pre-treatment year, we have set up passive rain-out shelters and grazing exclosure fences.
  • By doing so, we simulate a long-term severe drought in combination with differing resting schemes of the rangeland.
  • After releasing vegetation from drought, we will evaluate rangeland recovery and post-drought management options.

Besides this experimental activity, we also harness farmers' local knowledge on rangeland management for assessing functional interactions within the social-ecological systems.

In collaboration with our LLL partners from SP1, our findings are integrated in an adaptive Global Dynamic Vegetation Model (aDGVM) to explore management options in face of Global Change.