Soil quality gradients around water-points under different management systems in a semi-arid savanna, South Africa
Over 70% of South Africa is too arid for crop farming and is used for either commercial livestock ranching, communal livestock ranching, or game ranching. The inherently different management characteristics of these ranching systems and their effects on vegetation dynamics makes rangeland degradation a contentious issue. We used 500-m-long grazing gradients around water-points to evaluate the effects of management type on soil quality. Results showed significant negative effects of management type on soil parameters (i.e. soil pH, nitrogen, and organic carbon) within 0-100 m from the water-point. Commercial livestock ranching had the greatest negative effect on the immediate area around the water-point. Beyond 100 m, no effect of herbivore activity on soil parameters was detected under any management system. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.