Doctoral Degrees (Geography and Environmental Studies)

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 46
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    Adverse impacts of agricultural expansion on hydrological and nutrient dynamics in a Renosterveld landscape – can natural vegetation offer solutions
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-03) De Waal, Jan; Van Niekerk, Adriaan, 1970-; Miller, J; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Geography and Environmental Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Agricultural systems deliver a range of products to human society including, food, fuel, textiles and pharmaceuticals. However, the global expansion of agricultural activities has resulted in several negative outcomes such as biodiversity loss, increased carbon emissions, topsoil erosion and water pollution. Thus, the degradation of natural landscapes due to agricultural transformation has resulted in a loss of ecosystem services over time by increasing habitat loss, nutrient movement, sedimentation of rivers and pesticide poisoning in non-target species. One of the most impacted landscapes in terms of agricultural transformation in South Africa is renosterveld vegetation. Lowland renosterveld is a small-leaved, evergreen shrubland found on the shale-rich, fertile soils of the south-western Cape of South Africa where it forms part of the Fynbos biome, a species-rich floral kingdom. Renosterveld typically occurs on fine-grained, clay-rich soils as opposed to the sandy, nutrient-poor soils on which fynbos is located. Agricultural expansion has resulted in the destruction of the indigenous renosterveld vegetation which now exhibits a great degree of fragmentation. This dissertation documents an investigation of the impact of agricultural expansion on the hydrological, sediment and water quality dynamics in the Overberg renosterveld landscape in theWestern Cape. An evaluation is reported of whether conservation of this threatened vegetation can allow for the delivery of ecosystem services in vegetation buffers in terms of phytoremediation of nutrient inputs from agricultural slopes. The impact of changing landuse on hydrological characteristics of the area at a landscape level is examined first, followed by a case study of the Bot River by implementing a fully differentiated hydrological model with a sediment delivery component. Results confirm that hydrology on a landscape level has been greatly impacted by changes in landuse, while modelled soil erosion from the Bot River catchment depicts an increase in soil erosion from 22 t/km2/year under natural conditions to 490 t/km2/year under 2018 landuse. A one-year monitoring programme of the river was undertaken to evaluate changing dissolved nutrient dynamics down the river’s long profile through the use of ion-chromatography and stable isotope analysis. The results of this analysis indicate that nutrient loading in the river is linked to agricultural landuses and that NO[x]-N levels in the river vary seasonally and periodically exceed water quality guidelines for aquatic ecosystems. Finally, an assessment was made of the potential for natural vegetation buffer strips to mitigate nutrient inputs from agricultural hillslopes. This was performed by an analysis of soil samples via inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES), laboratory-based testing for bio-available phosphorus, nitrate and ammonium as well as isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS) testing of N and C isotopic composition in soils. Results show that N concentrations in cultivated field and renosterveld soils are impacted by fertilisation of agricultural lands. There is significantly (p <0.05) more P in cultivated fields than in renosteveld soils, while renosterveld soils have a significantly (p <0.05) higher C content than cultivated fields, thus acting as a valuable carbon sink. Renosterveld fragments are shown to remediate polluted agricultural runoff, and so provide a valuable ecosystem service in the landscape.
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    A chaos theory approach to understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism businesses in Plateau State, Nigeria
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-12) Iirmdu, Tina Odinakachi; Donaldson, S. E.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Geography and Environmental Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Nations worldwide are grappling with the challenges of crises and disasters affecting the tourism industry. The coronavirus (COVID-19) which unexpectedly broke out in 2019 in Wuhan, China spread around the world in 2020, paralyzing tourism businesses. Previous crisis impact management strategies in tourism have relied heavily on linear deterministic models, which are incapable of considering the complex and chaotic nature of the tourism system. The use of chaos theory for crisis management in the tourism industry during the pandemic is still an emerging field that is yet to be fully explored. This study helps bridge this knowledge gap by using chaos theory to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism businesses in the Plateau State of Nigeria. A pragmatic mixed-method inductive research approach was followed in this study. This approach made it possible to obtain valid and reliable data by conducting semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire survey as the primary data collection techniques. A total of 24 semi-structured interviews were conducted with the managers and owners of tourism businesses to gather information on the business management practices and risk management strategies they used during the health crisis. In addition, tourism business managers completed a total of 227 questionnaires on the impact of the pandemic on their businesses, while 408 tourists completed the questionnaire on their experiences during the pandemic. The information from the semi-structured interviews was thematically analyzed and descriptive statistics were used to examine questionnaire survey data. Findings about the tourists’ experiences during the pandemic show that non-pharmaceutical interventions have changed tourism practices and tourist behaviour. The pandemic has boosted self-organization among tourists, they have become more aware of the pandemic and they are wary of protecting themselves when travelling, instead of avoiding travel altogether. Moreover, the pandemic has significantly affected the economy of tourism businesses. Due to lockdowns and restrictions, business managers increased product prices because of sharp rises in food prices, witnessed reduced demand and cutbacks in staff wages. Other tourism businesses were able to retain their workers and maintain staff salaries because they were profiting by raising prices of products and providing essential services to customers which they considered a blessing in disguise. The study also identified business management practices and risk management strategies used by the managers of tourism businesses during the pandemic. Businesses suddenly found themselves on the edge of chaos. As a result, managers had to self-organize and invest in new markets while creating unusual attractions as a lock-in effect to reward and retain existing customers and, perhaps, add new ones. The study also provided empirical evidence confirming the futility of the one-size-fits-all approach of deterministic linear models in crisis management. It is recommended that further Stellenbosch University iv investigation be done into the socio-economic impact of the pandemic on other components of the versatile tourism industry in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. The research results contribute to a better understanding and management of crisis from the point of view of chaos theory, with particular emphasis on the tourism sector of Plateau State.
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    Deconstructing vulnerability: exploring the lives of young black men in urban informal settlements
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-12) Zweig, Patricia; Visser, Gustav; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Geography and Environmental Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Globally, over a billion urban dwellers live in slum conditions today, increasing by around ten million inhabitants annually. Much of this growth is occurring in Africa, where some estimates suggest that more than half the urban population already lives informally. Generally unplanned and inadequately serviced, these densely settled urban areas are becoming hot spots of urban risk, strongly rooted in social and economic vulnerabilities associated with unstable sources of livelihood and deplorable living conditions. Daily life in these contexts is thus a precarious and constant confrontation with the lived realities of poverty that shapes the way people respond to the world around them. In these environments, women and children are generally considered to be most vulnerable to the hazards associated with daily life. But there is growing concern about the lives of men and their perceived marginalisation, feelings of self-worth, and collective and individual vulnerability in an urban environment in which their roles have fundamentally changed. If we are to influence behaviour change among young men to reduce the acknowledged risks they pose to others, we must understand how they are being made vulnerable in a changing society that no longer defends their rights. This study sought to understand the challenges faced by young Xhosa men and the nature of their vulnerabilities in informal settlements in contemporary South Africa, by determining the building blocks of their vulnerability and how these are shaped and change over time and space. In contemporary South Africa, poor young Black men are being confronted with new circumstances that are profoundly shaping their identities. Adopting an interpretivist theoretical approach, a grounded methodology involving suite of methods was employed to interrogate the nature of the young men’s perceived vulnerabilities, how they coped with them and how in response they constructed their identities. These ranged from adapted participatory methods involving drawing, to diary-keeping and one-on-one discussions. In describing their lives in informal settlement environments the young men in the study revealed how they were made vulnerable and what they were vulnerable to, which included physical threats but also less tangible forms of susceptibility that included navigating relationships in a changing world, unemployment, living up to the social and cultural expectations placed on Xhosa men - both by themselves as well as others around them - and trying to accommodate new gender and other fundamental rights discourses brought by democracy that have brought traditional masculine forms of identity into question. In navigating complex urban informal landscapes, the identities of young men were found to be constantly mediated in response to new circumstances in which they find themselves. As a consequence, they shift interchangeably between different masculine identities to reduce their perceived vulnerability, often accommodating conflicting value systems, with each man positioning himself in relation to the power dynamics he encounters, shifting from hegemonic to subordinate forms of masculinity. This study has revealed that young men are currently conflicted in not knowing how to accommodate change without forfeiting the very essence of what it is that they believe makes them men. It suggests that we should adopt a far more culturally attuned and Afro-centric approach to understanding poor young African men that considers the ways in which they are made to feel vulnerable. This means challenging our preconceived notions about the masculine identities we think they are invested in.
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    Towards a conceptual framework for the analysis of governance arrangements and livelihoods of small-scale fisheries in Norton, Zimbabwe
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-04) Jimu, Tawanda; Williams, Samantha; Manfred, Spocter; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Geography and Environmental Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Governance arrangements and their impacts on the livelihoods of small-scale fisheries (SSF) in Zimbabwe are an understudied phenomenon. Government and local authorities are very active, vocal and visible in the management of other livelihood activities such as farming, and artisanal mining. However, very limited attention is paid to the fisheries sector. The SSF sector in Zimbabwe has been marred by mis-governance coupled with a poor, fragmented regulatory framework that has resulted in limiting access for several fishing communities. This situation consequently has threatened livelihoods. This study sought to investigate the nature of governance and power relations in SSF and their impact on fisherfolk’s livelihoods. To do so, the research was structured and mediated by several research questions including: what are the current governance arrangements within the SSF sector in Norton? The study adopted a grounded theory approach to allow the participants (fisherfolk) to speak for themselves, narrating their perceptions. It employed qualitative methods for data collection such as primary (interviews and focus group discussions) and secondary (newspapers, government policy documents) to address the research questions. A total of 113 respondents who included individual fishers, and cooperatives took part in the study. The conceptual foundation of this study was informed by the interactive governance approach because it focuses on interpreting the governability of societal systems. Results have shown that SSF in Zimbabwe are instituted through an overlapping hierarchical centralised system by various government departments and ministries. This formal centralised system is often confusing and difficult to implement since it is poorly regulated, and fragmented. The weak centralised hierarchical arrangements resulted in the emergence of informal fishing which is dominant and visible in Norton SSF. Formal and informal fishing arrangements operate simultaneously in some instances and there is significant overlap and interaction between formal and informal fishing with informal fishing considered larger than formal fishing. These informal fishing arrangements are dominant and visible in the governance of SSF in Norton and also reflect reliance on and use of indigenous fishing rights amongst the fisherfolk. SSF in Norton have proven to be important as a source of livelihoods, yet the continued marginalisation of informal arrangements in decision making continues to undermine the potentially positive socio-economic benefits for some actors. Instead, informal arrangements have created quasi-judicial epochs of power that threaten the sustenance of the whole SSF in Norton. By giving a detailed account of the multi-layered governance structures (both formal and informal) through the development of a conceptual framework suitable for SSF in Norton, this study contributed to ongoing debates on fisheries governance under the three existing governance modes which are (hierarchical, co-governance, and self-governance). Realising the important role, played by informal fishing, the study calls for co-management participatory process between the government and small-scale fishers in formulating a dedicated stand-alone policy for SSF in Zimbabwe.
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    Negotiating grey spaces: A southernised relational analysis of customary land-use regulation mechanisms in peri-urban Informal mixed-use developments - A case study of the Helderberg District in Cape Town
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-12) Geyer, H. S.; Donaldson, Ronnie; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Geography and Environmental Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The study investigates the phenomenon of mixed-use development in informalised public housing (Colloquially referred to as RDP housing) developments in the Helderberg region of the City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. This settlement is ironically termed the Location by its residents. There is an irony that these informal mixed-use developments have several attributes of smart growth, such as high densities, affordable housing, accessibility, employment opportunities, etc., in contrast to zoned formal settlements that mostly do not have these characteristics. Informal mixed- use developments occur without the influence of zoning, but is informally regulated through customary land management systems (CLMS). Another irony is that these ‘smartified’ settlements are by no means ideal spaces to live and are generally regarded as unsustainable modes of living due to its informal nature by formal actors. This study investigates these paradoxes in terms of Relational theory and Southern theory, analysing how space is actively produced, organised, and regulated in the everyday life politic of the actor. The study analysed three research problems: Is informal mixed-use development smart, i.e., sustainable? How are these settlements regulated in a CLMS? And how can we plan and zone for these settlements? The study used an ethnomethodological research method to analyse these problems using in-depth interviews. The research results indicate that the mixed-use informalisation of RDPs creates a juxtapositional and contradictory urbanism, a Heterotopia. Informality creates liveable, polymorphic spaces from the marginalised and segregated Location. It develops several smart growth characteristics, not for aesthetic reasons but to make space functional and personal for the subaltern. This creates a new mode of urbanism that gives the actor the freedom to produce their own urban, but it also disconnects the actor from the city as an informal with an uncertainty of rights and standing, it limits the accumulation of wealth, and it creates dangerous and unhealthy living conditions. The Street, a local CLMS self-regulates informal mixed land-uses in the Location. These highly organised, democratic, and transparent organisations record their transactions in ‘black’ books. The Street layers authorities and procedures to create an open and idiosyncratic method of negotiating informal land-use externalities. This system is based on the principles of Ubuntu, which customarily defines propertied relations and incentivises self-regulation of land-uses, enabling the Street committees to provide several voluntary magisterial functions. It provides de facto security for informal land uses, but also complements and reinforces the role of the state in certain limited functions. However, this is also an imperfect system that struggles to regulate non-privatised externalities and accommodate ethnic plurality. The Street committees are also often dysfunctional or corrupt. The combination of informal mixed-uses and CLMS creates a legal grey zone in the Location with alternate zonings, legislations and polycentric authorities and a hybridity of regulations. This peri-urbanisation of the Location unmaps space and protects tenure but does not provide enough legitimacy for novel policing through zoning. This delegitimises zoning but it also creates a new role for planning and zoning, away from traditional socio-technical management by specialists to a more pragmatic and selective enforcement of zoning based on common law and substantial relations tests, in close collaboration with the Streets. Although this is by no means without its challenges, continually operating within a criticality of instabilities and crises, it does, however, strengthen the role of the state as a final and objective authority and benevolent provider of services. The Location thus has the best of both worlds: a formally zoned substructure and a peri-urbanised informal top structure that provides citizenship and agency to the subaltern.