Using nutritional quality of forage and faeces for predicting sustainable livestock and game stocking rates at Pniel Estates in Northern Cape, South Africa

Mbatha, Khanyisile R. (2006-03)

Thesis (PhD)--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.


The aim of the study was to assess the importance of spatial and temporal variation in diet quality and abundance for determining sustainable stocking rates on commercial, communal and game ranches in a semi-arid savanna, with the ultimate goal of avoiding land degradation in the long term, to provide sustainable livelihoods in rangelands and to make policy that will help in managing the available natural resources in the rangelands. Thus, firstly the effects of grazing, fire, nitrogen and water availability on nutritional quality of grass in semi-arid savanna was assessed. Secondly, spatial and temporal variation in plant quantity and quality among management (commercial, communal and game) types and habitat types (open savanna, rocky, shrubby and pans) and stocking rates in different management types were determined. Thirdly, the quality and quantity of variation inside and outside herbivore exclosures among commercial, communal and game management and habitat types in the semi arid savanna were estimated. Fourthly, faecal profiling was used to assess the effects of different management types on diet quality in semi-arid savanna. Lastly, policy based on the results of the present study was formulated.

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