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PANRUSA Briefing Note Summaries

1. PANRUSA - An Overview
This briefing provides an overview of the PANRUSA project and acts as an introduction to the PANRUSA Briefing Note series. PANRUSA is a DFID funded research project. It aims to inform policy makers and implementers of the impacts of natural resource related policies on poverty and sustainable natural resource use in drylands, identifying best experiences and practices from adjacent countries with comparable natural environments.
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1A. Investigating policy, poverty and livelihoods: methods for social research
This briefing outlines the way in which PANRUSA research has investigated issues of policy, poverty and livelihoods in its three study areas. It outlines the social methods that were adopted, including policy documents analysis, semi-structured interviews, participatory appraisals, and questionnaire surveys. The PANRUSA project has taken a dualistic approach, integrating social and environmental data collection, and this aspect is explored in more detail in Briefing Notes 1B.
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1B. Rangeland change and land user perspectives: research methods
This briefing outlines the way in which PANRUSA research has gained scientific measurements and land user perceptions of the state of rangeland resources. This combined approach has allowed observed vegetation states to be contextualised within the livelihood strategies of land users, so that changes from a natural state are not simply regarded as representing degradation.
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1C. Nutrients in mixed farming systems: research methods
This briefing outlines the way in which PANRUSA research has examined the sustainable use of soil resources. The quality of the soil, particularly in terms of the nutrients needed by crops, and the changes in these nutrients associated with farming practices, has been assessed using both laboratory-based measurements and quantitative assessments of nutrient movements within the farming system. This research approach has enabled both an assessment of environmental sustainability and the identification of the socio-economic factors affecting farmers' decision-making. This research has been applied in Area 3 where agriculture is based on mixed arable-pastoral systems.
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1D. Using Remote Sensing to Monitor Rangelands
This briefing discusses the use of remote sensing as a tool in the PANRUSA project to examine cross-border variability in rangelands. Remote sensing involves the remote collection of data from the air, in this case from the ATSR-2 satellite sensor, which has been used to estimate vegetation properties based on solar reflectance values.
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1F. Community Feedback- rationale and methods
This briefing provides an overview of the PANRUSA project community feedback meetings that were held in July 2001. The PANRUSA team visited each study area and held a series of local public meetings with research participants. In Botswana and Namibia relevant government, policy and NGO personnel were also invited to attend in-country policy meetings.
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2. Poverty, Policies and Natural Resource Based Livelihoods
Identifying who is poor, and what constitutes poverty in different regions, is a key challenge for researchers and policy makers. This briefing note draws on data from three study areas and explores the differentiated nature of poverty and what this means in terms of livelihoods, policy and NR use.
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3. CCD and Frameworks for Poverty Reduction and Sustainable NR Use
The CCD provides a framework for tackling desertification that embodies current thinking in the environmental and societal components of the issue. Using this framework, the briefing examines the impact of national and international policies on people's behaviour towards the environment, awareness of the links between poverty, natural resource use and degradation, and the importance of recognising indigenous people's knowledge, environmental sensitivity and rights.
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4. Land Policies in Communal Rangelands
This briefing compares the impact of different land policies on communal rangelands across dryland southern Africa. Privatisation of the communal range is now occurring across the region, both legally, illegally, and by individuals and communities. This poses important questions surrounding the sustainability of these actions, the consequences for those marginalised by this process and the future landscape of 'communal' rangelands.
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4A. Land Policies and Livelihoods in Communal Rangelands in the arid southwest
This briefing compares the impact of different land policies on communal rangelands in the arid southwest region of Botswana and the adjacent area of South Africa. Major land use changes in the region have led to shifts in farming practices on both sides of the border with long term impacts on natural resource availability and livelihood security and sustainability. This historical context is essential to understanding present day livelihoods.
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4B. Land Policies and Livelihoods in Communal Rangelands in the semiarid northwest
This briefing compares the impact of different land policies on communal rangelands in the semiarid northwest region of Botswana and the adjacent area of Namibia. Major land use changes in the region have led to shifts in natural resource management through the privatisation of the range on both sides of the border with long term impacts on natural resource availability and livelihood security and sustainability. This historical context is essential to understanding present day livelihoods.
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4C. Land Policies and Livelihoods in Communal Rangelands in the dry sub-humid south east
This briefing compares the impact of different land policies on communal mixed farming systems in the dry subhumid region of Botswana and the adjacent area of South Africa. Major policy changes in the region have led to shifts and changes in agricultural practices with long term impacts on livelihood security and sustainability. The historical context is essential to understanding these present day livelihood changes.
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5. People, Rangeland Change and Sustainability
This briefing considers the environmental outcomes of policy and land use changes on the sustainable use of southern African rangelands, and people's responses to these changes. Biological changes in both the balance between grasses and shrubs and species diversity are occurring. This has direct implications for the well-being of those whose livelihoods are dependent on rangelands. The use of, and value attached to, different plants is dependant on social factors, indigenous knowledge and adaptability, such that scientific views of the impacts of change do not necessarily capture the reality of impacts of livelihoods.
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5A. People, Rangeland Change and Sustainability in the semiarid northwest
Marked changes in land use and land allocations have occurred in recent decades, but livestock production is still the dominant livelihood in the semiarid northwest. Investigations in 1999 and 2000 included ecological assessments and the construction of 'participatory maps' with livestock owners on whose land the research has been conducted (methods are explained further in Briefing Note 1B). This has allowed the state of the environment to be assessed, and land users' interpretations and responses to be understood.
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5B. People, Rangeland Change and Sustainability in the arid southwest
The arid southwest study area has few natural resources. It is an area of rolling, partially vegetated, sand dunes and dry river valleys. All settlements and farms depend on borehole water. For several decades livestock production centred on farms in the Mier area of South Africa and in Botswana close to the Nossob valley. Boreholes in SW Botswana have increased in number since the 1970s, leading to villages and cattleposts developing eastwards from the Nossob. Sheep, cattle and goats are the most important stock but diversification to include wildlife ranching is occurring, especially in South Africa. Dune crests are naturally active in drought periods but this becomes a permanent phenomenon where land use pressures are high. PANRUSA research in 2000 included environmental assessments and the construction of 'participatory maps' with livestock owners (see Briefing Note 1B). Allied research in the Mier area has focussed on stabilising active dunes on heavily degraded farms as part of a community-based land restoration programme (see BN 4A).
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6. Soil Fertility and Policy Change
This briefing reviews the key issues surrounding soil fertility management and the sustainability of the mixed farming systems in NW Province (South Africa) and the Barolong farms (Botswana) in the current era of policy change. Recognising the importance of human and social capital, the briefing seeks to address the 'chains of communication' involved in transfers of knowledge among farmers and extension workers. These farmer-extension-policy interactions have important implications for the long-term viability of farming in these dynamic dryland environments.
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7. Chains of Communication in the Policy Process
This briefing explores the chains of communication between policy makers, NGOs, community organisations, households and individuals. These are critical in affecting place-to-place outcomes of policies, and affecting actual implementation as well as resource practices employed at community, household and individual level. The links within the chains and the factors that define the nature of the links at different stages are important variables to understand, whether natural resource management and livelihood programmes are principally guided by top-down or bottom-up factors.
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8. Managing Risk in Southern African Drylands
Managing risk, in whatever form (social, environmental, economic etc.), requires flexibility and the capability to cope with variability and uncertainty. This briefing explores the key facilitating and inhibiting factors governing livelihoods across the region and the flexible adaptations people make to cope with environmental and policy change.
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8a. Managing Risk in Southern African Drylands in the arid southwest
Managing risk, in whatever form (social, environmental, economic, political) requires flexibility and the capability to cope with variability and uncertainty. This briefing explores the key facilitating and inhibiting factors governing livelihoods in the arid south west region and the flexible adaptations people make to cope with environmental and policy change. The main risk identified for this region is drought.
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8b. Managing Risk in Southern African Drylands in the semiarid northwest
Managing risk, in whatever form (social, environmental, economic, political) requires flexibility and the capability to cope with variability and uncertainty. This briefing explores the key facilitating and inhibiting factors governing livelihoods across the semiarid northwest and the flexible adaptations people make to cope with environmental and policy change.
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8c. Managing Risk in Southern African Drylands in the dry sub-humid south east
Managing risk, in whatever form (social, environmental, economic, political) requires flexibility and the capability to cope with variability and uncertainty. This briefing explores the key facilitating and inhibiting factors governing livelihoods across the dry sub-humid south east and the flexible adaptations people make to cope with environmental and policy change.
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9. Land Reform, Power and Participation
Within the PANRUSA cross-border study areas, a key policy challenge has been to respond to the legacy of colonial and subsequent apartheid land policies that have resulted in land shortages and pressured the livelihoods of the rural poor. In this briefing note, three very different approaches to land reform are examined. The implications and the challenges they represent for rural natural resource based livelihoods and for local empowerment in the study areas are discussed.
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10. Policy Intervention, Livelihood Sustainability and the Environment
This briefing note illustrates the ways in which specific policies (or components of policies) can have quite radical and different impacts on poverty, livelihoods and the environment in different contexts. Case studies from South Africa, Namibia and Botswana are used to illustrate the very different ways in which policies are perceived on the ground and thus the flexible adaptations adopted by rural populations in response policy and environment interactions.
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10A. Policy Intervention, Livelihood Sustainability and the Environment: TGLP
This briefing examines Botswana's Tribal Grazing Land Policy (TGLP), which was introduced in 1975 and funded under the country's Second Livestock Development Project (LDPII). The TGLP was introduced to address an ambitious range of issues linked to the country's post-independence development: to enhance the commercial livestock industry and allow it to compete on the world market; to address issues of environmental pressure in the most heavily grazed area (the eastern hardveld); and to achieve social and economic development in the remotest parts of the country: the sandveld.
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10B. Policy Intervention, Livelihood Sustainability and the Environment: The FAP
This briefing examines the Financial Assistance Programme in SW Kgalagadi (Area 1b) and its impact on poverty, livelihoods and the environment. Specific policies (or components of policies) can have quite radical and different impacts at the micro level depending on the way in which they are implemented and how they are perceived and interpreted on the ground. This briefing provides in-depth analysis of the Financial Assistance Programme (FAP) and its impact in SW Kgalagadi District of Botswana.
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11. Policy, Poverty and the Role of Safety Nets
This briefing examines the role of policy in the creation of safety nets to alleviate poverty in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa where rural livelihoods in the region are sensitive to environmental change, market fluctuations and demographic forces. Case studies drawn from field data are used to identify vulnerable groups, livelihoods stressors and to evaluate intervention policies.
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12. The Environment, Natural Resources and Livelihoods in Southern Africa
This briefing contrasts the environmental impacts of traditional, flexible, dryland land use systems with more rigid sedentary activities. For a variety of reasons, including growing populations and the quest to develop and commercialise, the latter dominate dryland use in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Such systems have already had profound environmental impacts and are not likely to be sustainable unless they incorporate mechanisms that allow natural resource use flexibility during times of stress, or unless practitioners have alternative livelihood support systems for these times.
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13. Community Feedback - outcomes and priorities
This briefing provides an overview of the outcomes and priorities of the people attending the community feedback sessions held in July 2001.
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This information has been provided by C. Twyman and P. Bragg
© PANRUSA. Last updated: 17 Aug 2001

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