Evaluating people-environment trade-offs through low-tech intensification of livestock management in communal grazing systems in South Africa.

Lead Research Organisation: Coventry University
Department Name: Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resili

Abstract

In South Africa, communal rangelands (e.g. grassland, savanna and shrubland) systems provide a critical source of livelihood for smallholder farmers, primarily through their ability to support smallscale livestock production and through the provision of natural resources such as timber, fuelwood and thatching grass. These rangelands also provide other vital ecosystem services such as water and a habitat for biodiversity and contribute to climate resilience through carbon sequestration. However, their productivity is compromised both by their inherently low forage quality and rangeland degradation due to unregulated grazing, the spread of invasive alien plants (IAPs) and the encroachment of indigenous woody plants. All of these factors limit forage availability for livestock, reducing animal production and survival. This compromises the livelihood security of communal livestock farmers for whom livestock perform multiple roles, including the provision of meat, milk, draught and manure. The IAPs also affect the water supply and run-off to storage reservoirs throughout South Africa and their clearance has become a policy priority for the South African government.

This proposal builds on existing research in Eastern Cape Province, working with six local communities in Matatiele to explore alternative rangeland management strategies that yield livelihood benefits for local people as well as improved ecosystem benefits. Specifically, we will test the role of intensive grazing and corralling of community livestock, in conjunction with the removal of IAPs to increase primary production of grassland, soil carbon and fertility and water availability, as well as improve livestock productivity. As part of this we propose the novel use of the removed IAPs as a soil amendment and as a supplemental feed for livestock. In order to link these different production outcomes we will develop an integrated model of livestock and rangeland production. We will use the outcomes of this model to explore the potential trade-offs between local people and their environment and between different groups of stakeholders (e.g. between conservationists and local farmers and between different groups of farmers) in the context of clearly defined 'scenarios' for the use of communal rangelands, which will be co-developed with local stakeholders. Importantly, these scenarios will give voice to the more marginalised members of local communities, such as women, who many not have livestock and have greater dependency on the harvesting of natural resources. The trade-off outcomes will be shared with local stakeholders and used to support decisions about how best to make use of the alternative rangeland management techniques to achieve the different land use scenarios they have identified.

The proposal is unique in that it is the first attempt to use an integrated model of animal and plant production to explore trade-offs between different production scenarios in a communal grazing system in South Africa. If successful the approach has potential for extrapolation to many more communities throughout Eastern Cape and other communal grazing areas of South Africa through an existing 'Herding for Health' initiative that the proposal builds on.

Technical Summary

In South Africa, communal rangelands systems provide a critical source of livelihood for smallholder farmers as well as key ecosystem services such as water cycling and carbon sequestration. However, the productivity of these rangelands is compromised by their inherently low forage quality and rangeland degradation due to unregulated grazing, the spread of invasive alien plants (IAPs) and the encroachment of indigenous woody plants. All of these factors limit forage availability for livestock, reducing animal production and surviva, and as a consequence grazier livelihoods. The IAPs also limit water supply and run-off.

This proposal builds on existing research in Eastern Cape Province, to test the role of intensive grazing and corralling of community livestock, in conjunction with the removal of IAPs, to increase primary production of grassland, soil carbon and fertility and water availability, as well as improve livestock productivity. As part of this we propose the novel use of the removed IAPs as a soil amendment in the form of wood chips and biochar and their use as a supplemental feed for livestock in combination with natural hay as part of a controlled feeding trial. In order to link these different production outcomes we will develop an integrated model of livestock and rangeland production. This will be based on the SPACSYS model of grassland production developed by Rothamsted Research (UK), linked to an appropriate livestock module. We will use the outcomes of this model to explore the potential trade-offs between local people and environment and between different groups of stakeholders in the context of clearly defined 'scenarios' for the use of communal rangelands, which will be co-developed with local stakeholders. The trade-offs outcomes will be shared with local stakeholders and used to support decisions about how best to make use of the alternative rangeland management techniques to achieve the different land use scenarios they have identified.

Planned Impact

Three main groups of end users will be targeted for impact as part of this research.

1). Local smallholder farmers in Matatiele, stand to benefit in four main ways. Firstly, capacity will be built amongst livestock owners and local leaders in the development of sustainable, local institutions for rangeland management as part of a two day workshop at the start of the project. This will be important in ensuring in the longer term that there is the institutional capacity to undertake the intensive rangeland management that underpins the potential changes in production and ecosystem function that are being explored in this proposal. Secondly, and linked to this, will be the further development of a rangeland management 'toolkit', which has already been pioneered by Conservation South Africa (CSA). This outlines a protocol for landscape restoration and ways to enhance livestock production. The findings regarding the alternative rangeland management approaches trialled in the research will be incorporated into this through images and written text (in Xhosa) to enable further dissemination in the communities. This will be complemented by the creation of short videos illustrating the application of these rangeland management practices by local people, which will be serve to help train other local livestock farmers who are keen to engage with the practices. Thirdly, the outputs of the trade-offs analysis will serve as a discussion support tool, enabling informed community decisions to be made about the adoption of different rangeland management practices and the likely gains for different groups of people. Finally, the project will evaluate the potential for improving livelihoods of local farmers by linking the implementation of intensive grazing practices to ecosystem payments as part of a Verified Carbon Scheme (VCS). The first stage of this will to explore with livestock owners, as part of the grazing capacity training, their ability and willingness to undertake the intensive grazing required. Together with actual soil carbon measurements, CSA will then use this as a basis for brokering a potential pilot VCS arrangement between the six villages and the standard body.

2). Policy makers and development practitioners. Policy makers and NGO practitioners at a local, national and international level have the potential to benefit from the trade-offs analysis approach being pioneered within the six research communities. The outcomes of the trade-offs analysis will provide an informed basis for local decision making on how best to develop policy and practice to support the integrity and function of rangeland systems and balance this with maximising production benefits and livelihood security for local people. Furthermore, the methodological protocol adopted in this proposal, involving the initial creation of scenarios aligned with different stakeholder objectives through to the development of the integrated model to deliver the outputs from which potential trade-offs are explored, provides a template for further application of the trade-offs approach more widely in communal grazing systems both within South Africa and other developing countries.

3). Early career researchers. Capacity will be built amongst the two PDRAs involved in the proposal by facilitating them to present research findings at one conference per year over two years of the project. The Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) PDRAat Coventry University will further be trained in participatory methods by being involved in the organisation and facilitation of the stakeholder workshops and focus groups, contributing to the development of additional skills. The PDRAs will also attend the Royal Society's annual two-day residential Communication and Media Skills course to help develop their writing skills and develop confidence in their communication of research findings.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Stakeholder workshop video and animation 
Description We are creating a short video from the two-day stakeholder workshop on trade-offs in communal rangelands held in October 2019. The video is a mixture of film material from the workshop combined with animated text to help frame the context of the workshop and the structure of the video. The main aim of the video is to provide a short, user-friendly visual alternative to the written workshop report, which captures the rationale for the workshop, the key activities participants engaged with and their reflections on the value of the workshop. The video will serve to stimulate further awareness of and engagement with the project and encourage participation of stakeholders in the final project workshops in both South Africa and the UK. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact To early to say at this point as the video is still in draft form awaiting finalisation of graphics. A draft of the film footage without the graphics is provided in the url link below. 
URL https://youtu.be/vGAEi12mu-w
 
Description Although only at a fairly early stage, the project has already resulted in some important findings, which are summarised here.

Firstly, fieldwork within the research communities helped to clarify the multiple goals of users regarding rangeland use and key differences between groups. In line with the more conventional understanding of rangeland use in communal areas, men viewed the primary importance of rangeland in terms of its ability to support livestock production. Women in contrast valued it more for its ability to provide household products such as herbs, medicines and thatching grass. Importantly, all community members were actively utilising local alien trees such as the highly invasive wattle (Acacia spp) which is currently invading large tracts of their rangeland, for household timber, fuelwood and livestock fodder and in some cases for commercial sale to middlemen for use in timber and paper production. This was important because it helped to provide a more nuanced picture of rangeland use by local people and also to clearly identify how more marginalised members of these communities (in this case women) were making use of rangeland resources.

Importantly, the stakeholder trade-offs workshop helped to establish a consensus between different stakeholders regarding alternative community land use scenarios, which would help to realise as many of the different social and environmental goals of these stakeholders as possible. Most community representatives present were happy to accept a scenario were the majority of the invasive alien trees (wattle) currently proliferating on their rangeland were removed as long as some areas are retained for local use. This would free up additional areas of land for grazing, increase water availability within the system as well as enabling continued use of wattle trees for timber, fuelwood and fodder. Although such a scenario does, in principal, run counter to the current policy mandate to completely eradicate these alien invasives, it was accepted by all stakeholders that this is unrealistic anyway given the resources available.

This consensus did however, bring into focus a series of critical questions about how to realise such a scenario, which the workshop itself could not fully resolve. What is the most effective way to achieve wattle clearance e.g. should it be simply clear-cut as per current guidelines or might it be thinned to create a mosaic of trees and grassland? To what extent are communities willing to take at least partial responsibility for undertaking this, as opposed to looking entirely to local government? How can management of existing rangeland areas and newly released (from wattle) areas be improved (particularly in terms of livestock grazing) to maximise benefits for the environment as well as local people? What institutional capacity is there within communities to achieve this and how effective is it? These are helping to focus some of the trial work the project is currently undertaking, particularly the thinning of wattle trees by local communities.
Exploitation Route The project outcomes are still at a very early stage. Nonetheless, they are already showing clear avenues for further development within and beyond the project. The cross stakeholder collaboration that has been initiated in conjunction with local communities is helping to shape the land use scenarios necessary for delivering locally appropriate environmental and social outcomes. These scenarios will be important not only in informing the remainder of the project but also for other actors at governmental and third sector level to take forward afterwards, informing their ongoing work with communities to try and achieve them. Some of the early trial work being undertaken within communities is also showing promise. Some community members have been trained in wattle thinning and this has the potential for further extension to other communities through CSA and, importantly, will be integrated into the rangeland management 'toolkit' being co-developed as part of the project, enabling further diffusion of the concept. Measurement from this and other management interventions will also form part of a PhD studentship funded through CU, which is due to commence in September 2020.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL https://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/research-directories/current-projects/2019/evaluating-people-environment-trade-offs-through-low-tech-intensification/
 
Description Influenced ecologically appropriate planned grazing via draft grazing guideline in the broader Herding for Health programme in sub-Saharan Africa
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Improved practices (as outlined in a draft grazing guideline) have improved grazing lands (increased remote sensing NDVI/greenness) and animal condition as indicated by sales of livestock (R4.5 million in 2019) with over 300 households supported. These values pertain to South Africa. Values from other areas (mainly Botswana) are net yet available from partners.
 
Description Training of local communities in planned grazing, corralling and rangeland resting and in the thinning of alien invasive plants.
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Conservation South Africa (CSA), the local NGO partner, is involved in the co-construction of grazing agreements with the local Mvenyane community. Whilst these have primarily dealt with planned grazing, corralling and resting (see further information in accompanying entry in this section), a novel extension of these, as part of this project, has been to train local community members in the thinning of invasive alien plant (primarily wattle). This idea can be traced directly to the stakeholder workshop in Matatiele, where it was conceived as an alternative to clear-cutting. In December 2019, 10 people from the Mvenyane community where trained by CSA staff in the thinning of wattle, as part of a trial intervention. At present no quantitative outcomes of this work are available as the results will only be realised over the longer term. However, the practical skills in wattle management the community members have been provided with, will enable the work to be continued in the longer term and act as a point of diffusion to other communities e.g. through subsequent filming undertaken as part of project impact.
 
Title DayCent and Spacsys 
Description Both the DayCent (Parton et al. 1998; Kelly et al. 2000; Del Grosso et al. 2001) and Spacsys models (Wu et al., 2007) are daily-timestep biogechemical models designed to forecast changes in plant growth, soil nutrients including carbon and nitrogen with changes in climate or land management, given measured inputs. Inputs include location, daily weather data, soil physical and chemical characteristics, primary production or proxy, and known land management at the time of measurements for as many years as possible. Key submodels of DayCent include soil water content and temperature by layer, plant production and allocation of net primary production (NPP), decomposition of litter and soil organic matter, mineralization of nutrients, N gas emissions from nitrification and denitrification, and CH4 oxidation in non-saturated soils. The Spacsys model is similar but also has an animal production submodel. We are using at least two models and sites as part of good practice in assessing validity of model outputs. We are not developing these models but making use of them to inform good practice in land management, with global change. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The input data has been recently gathered and is being used to develop, calibrate and validate models. We have no model outputs at this stage. 
URL https://soil-modeling.org/resources-links/model-portal/spacsys
 
Title Using a large aperture scintillometer (LAS) to measure actual evapotranspiration over wattle-invaded hillside seeps. 
Description Global models of evapotranspiration (ET) and NPP will be used to assess water and carbon gains or losses before and after the removal of invasive alien plants (IAPs) in this project. The recent successful use of earth observation (EO), various instruments (eddy covariance and large aperture scintillometer) and expertise within the Rhodes University research group facilitates the parameterization and validatation of ET predictions from EO. Data outputs will be used to validate the PML ET model. Soil moisture changes with IAP removal will also be a data input to SPACSYS. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The PML ET model refined by Gwate et al (2019) will be applied to data collected by the LAS and the associated micro-meteorological system. This model and its validation characteristics will feed into national policies relating to the benefits of clearing these IAPs. Gwate O, Mantel SK, Finca A, Gibson LA, Munch Z & Palmer AR 2019 Estimating evapotranspiration in semi-arid rangelands: connecting reference to actual evapotranspiration and the role of soil evaporation. African Journal of Range & Forage Science 36 17-25. 
 
Description TOCASA (Trade-offs in communal areas of South Africa) 
Organisation Conservation International
Department KhuselĂ­ndalo South Africa NPC t/a Conservation South Africa
Country South Africa 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Dr James Bennett (JB) and Dr SL, supported by a project officer and accountant, all based at Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, comprise the Coventry University (CU) research team. JB as project PI is responsible for the coordination of all project activities. Administratively, this has involved appointing a post-doc (LM) to the project (1st September 2019) and then re-appointing a replacement (TM) after LM left at the end of October 2019. This reappointment has taken effect from 1st March 2020. JB and support team coordinated the recruitment and selection process on both occasions. It has also involved organising and chairing quarterly project steering meetings between all partners. In addition JB and team have arranged for ethical clearance through CU for all stages of the project, the setting up of a bespoke project website (see link below) and a secure Sharepoint site administered by CU for the sharing of all data between partners. The project officer and accountant have also coordinated the creation of a Collaboration Agreement between partners and have used this as a basis for processing invoices made to CU by partners. Finally, JB and the project officer have been in liaison with UKRI over a change to project request on behalf of one of the SA partners, for an alteration to the livestock feeding trial currently underway in South Africa. This took two months to resolve (November-December 2019). In terms of travel and fieldwork, JB has made two visits to the UK partner, Rothamsted Research, to liaise with the Co-I (LW) over project logistics and the appointment of their post-doc. There have also been two extended visits to South Africa by both JB and SL for fieldwork. The first occurred in June 2019 and involved primary data collection to understand access to and use of rangeland resources by local communities in Mvenyane, employing transect walks and interviews with key informants and separate focus groups with men and women. This provided a vital platform for understanding the dynamics of resource access by different community members and informing the next stage of the fieldwork. All discussions were recorded, transcribed in detail and the key points summarised into a presentation for feedback at the subsequent stakeholder workshop in South Africa. At the same time, in conjunction with the first CU post-doc (LM) detailed preparations were made for the initial stakeholder workshop in Matatiele. Invitations were made to a range of local and national stakeholders with an interest in the management and dynamics of communal rangelands systems, including NGOs, government policy makers and academics as well as representatives of the communities themselves. Two stakeholder workshops were held at the beginning of October 2019 in Matatiele, facilitated by the CU research team (JB and SL). The first was a two day workshop focusing on the different sets of stakeholders discussing the key trade-offs required in communal rangelands systems to arrive at a local consensus for their use and management. This involved presentations and interactive activities including priority setting and creation of alternative land use scenarios. All of this was captured through both video audio recordings and has been written up as a final report (see website) and a short video to try and maximise impact. On the third day a separate but related workshop was undertaken between the CU team and community representatives focused on the conceptualisation of and management of their rangelands as a commons. Critical here was understanding the constraints people were experiencing in trying to manage rangelands a collective resource. This has also been written up as a short report. In November 2019 JB and SL submitted a joint abstract based on the main findings of the Trade-Offs stakeholder workshop, for the forthcoming International Rangelands Congress (IRC) in Nairobi in October 2020.
Collaborator Contribution Conservation South Africa (CSA) are the main project partner in South Africa through Dr HH. Through ongoing monitoring protocols HH has since the initiation of the project been coordinating the collection of field data from Mvenyane sites on plant biomass, species composition and on soil pH, bulk density and elements including carbon. This feeds into the environmental modelling work being undertaken (see below). Soil samples have also been analysed in accordance with protocols being established between HH and colleagues in the USA. HH was also part of both field visits involving CU partners (see above) in June and October 2019. In June 2019 HH assisted with introductions to field sites and helped broker the focus groups undertaken by CU staff. In October 2019, HH made an important contribution to the stakeholder workshop, leading some of the discussion groups through which the idea of thinning (rather than clear-cutting) as an alternative protocol for dealing with woody invasive plants (wattle) was developed with other stakeholders present. These ideas were put into practice beginning December 2019, when local people in Mvenyane were trained in protocols for wattle thinning. Subsequently, in January and February 2020 thinning was conducted in pre-selected areas with measurement of key parameters such as NDVI, tree biomass and leaf area index (NDVI) before and after by CSA staff. HH has also been liasing closely with LW and GS of Rothamsted Research (see below) in the modelling component of the work. A key part of this has been the compilation and provision of long term biomass, soil and climate data from local sites in South Africa for the paramterisation of the SPACYS production model Rothamsted has developed. In November 2019, HH and LW also submitted a joint abstract for the International Rangelands Congress (IRC) based on this. Rhodes University (RU) is one of the other partners in South Africa, through the Co-I, Dr AP. AP was part of the first field visit to Mvenyane in June 2019, involving UK partners and used this to scope a suitable field site for the installation of the large aperture scintillometer (LAS), to be used in the measurement of evapotranspiration from woody invasive plants. This and associated micro-meterogical equipment were subsequently installed by AP and associates from RU in October 2019 immediately prior to the stakeholder workshop, which AP also participated in. After approptiate parameterisation, this was used to collect 10 days of continuous evapotransipiration data (measurement every 20 minutes) for the field site. This was complemented by the use of Google Earth Engine to ascertain the extent of proliferation by alien invasive plants. Stellenbosch University (SU) is the third partner in South Africa, linked to the project through Dr CM. CM has appointed an MSc (Research) student to assist with data collection and delivery of the livestock feed trial that SU is responsible for. In June 2019, CM and student travelled to Mvenyane and undertook an inventory of available feeds, collected samples of wattle from different stands and liaised with local farmers about the possibility of conducting the feed trial using their livestock, in 2020. The wattle samples have subsequently been analysed for feed quality. CM has also sourced quotes from suppliers for the delivery of required materials for the construction of the feed pens to be used in the trial. The construction was delayed slightly by a change request submitted to UKRI for alteration of the focus animal in the experiment from cattle to sheep, which was not approved until January 2020. Nonetheless, construction of pens is now underway with the hope that the grazing trial will commence in April 2020. The fact that the grazing trial has yet to commence, accounts for why we have answered 'no' under the additional mandatory section 'Animal Use'. We will report fully on this in the next ResearchFish submission. Rothamsted Research (RRes), is the other UK partner on the project. The Co-I, Dr LW, has recruited a post-doctoral researcher (Dr GS) to assist with the parameterisation of the SPACSYS model (since January 2020). They have also been in close liaison with HH at CSA to source the South African data necessary to achieve this and in the joint submission of an abstract for the IRC in Kenya. Also of great assistance in project delivery has been the local NGO, Environmental and Rural Solutions (ERS). Whilst they are not a formal part of the project, they have been important in facilitating access to field sites, in the sharing of background information and in identifying relevant local stakeholders who should attend the trade-offs workshop in October 2019 and encouraging attendance by local communities.
Impact Several outcomes and outputs have resulted so far. Firstly, a summary presentation has been created of the key findings from the initial focus group discussions undertaken at three research villages in Mvenyane. Secondly, the stakeholder trade-offs workshop in October 2019 in Matatiele has established an effective platform for the interface of local practitioners/NGOs, policy makers, academics and community members in the co-development of land use scenarios and associated management strategies. In the short term this has resulted in a worshop report and a short video to capture the dynamics of the interactions and key outcomes. In the longer term it will provide a basis for ongoing collaboration, including the final workshop at the end of year 2 of the project. Collaboration in both cases has been multi-disciplinary, drawing on the expertise of rangeland scientists and social scientists with interest in rangelands governance and the societal outcomes of the research.
Start Year 2019
 
Description TOCASA (Trade-offs in communal areas of South Africa) 
Organisation Rhodes University
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Dr James Bennett (JB) and Dr SL, supported by a project officer and accountant, all based at Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, comprise the Coventry University (CU) research team. JB as project PI is responsible for the coordination of all project activities. Administratively, this has involved appointing a post-doc (LM) to the project (1st September 2019) and then re-appointing a replacement (TM) after LM left at the end of October 2019. This reappointment has taken effect from 1st March 2020. JB and support team coordinated the recruitment and selection process on both occasions. It has also involved organising and chairing quarterly project steering meetings between all partners. In addition JB and team have arranged for ethical clearance through CU for all stages of the project, the setting up of a bespoke project website (see link below) and a secure Sharepoint site administered by CU for the sharing of all data between partners. The project officer and accountant have also coordinated the creation of a Collaboration Agreement between partners and have used this as a basis for processing invoices made to CU by partners. Finally, JB and the project officer have been in liaison with UKRI over a change to project request on behalf of one of the SA partners, for an alteration to the livestock feeding trial currently underway in South Africa. This took two months to resolve (November-December 2019). In terms of travel and fieldwork, JB has made two visits to the UK partner, Rothamsted Research, to liaise with the Co-I (LW) over project logistics and the appointment of their post-doc. There have also been two extended visits to South Africa by both JB and SL for fieldwork. The first occurred in June 2019 and involved primary data collection to understand access to and use of rangeland resources by local communities in Mvenyane, employing transect walks and interviews with key informants and separate focus groups with men and women. This provided a vital platform for understanding the dynamics of resource access by different community members and informing the next stage of the fieldwork. All discussions were recorded, transcribed in detail and the key points summarised into a presentation for feedback at the subsequent stakeholder workshop in South Africa. At the same time, in conjunction with the first CU post-doc (LM) detailed preparations were made for the initial stakeholder workshop in Matatiele. Invitations were made to a range of local and national stakeholders with an interest in the management and dynamics of communal rangelands systems, including NGOs, government policy makers and academics as well as representatives of the communities themselves. Two stakeholder workshops were held at the beginning of October 2019 in Matatiele, facilitated by the CU research team (JB and SL). The first was a two day workshop focusing on the different sets of stakeholders discussing the key trade-offs required in communal rangelands systems to arrive at a local consensus for their use and management. This involved presentations and interactive activities including priority setting and creation of alternative land use scenarios. All of this was captured through both video audio recordings and has been written up as a final report (see website) and a short video to try and maximise impact. On the third day a separate but related workshop was undertaken between the CU team and community representatives focused on the conceptualisation of and management of their rangelands as a commons. Critical here was understanding the constraints people were experiencing in trying to manage rangelands a collective resource. This has also been written up as a short report. In November 2019 JB and SL submitted a joint abstract based on the main findings of the Trade-Offs stakeholder workshop, for the forthcoming International Rangelands Congress (IRC) in Nairobi in October 2020.
Collaborator Contribution Conservation South Africa (CSA) are the main project partner in South Africa through Dr HH. Through ongoing monitoring protocols HH has since the initiation of the project been coordinating the collection of field data from Mvenyane sites on plant biomass, species composition and on soil pH, bulk density and elements including carbon. This feeds into the environmental modelling work being undertaken (see below). Soil samples have also been analysed in accordance with protocols being established between HH and colleagues in the USA. HH was also part of both field visits involving CU partners (see above) in June and October 2019. In June 2019 HH assisted with introductions to field sites and helped broker the focus groups undertaken by CU staff. In October 2019, HH made an important contribution to the stakeholder workshop, leading some of the discussion groups through which the idea of thinning (rather than clear-cutting) as an alternative protocol for dealing with woody invasive plants (wattle) was developed with other stakeholders present. These ideas were put into practice beginning December 2019, when local people in Mvenyane were trained in protocols for wattle thinning. Subsequently, in January and February 2020 thinning was conducted in pre-selected areas with measurement of key parameters such as NDVI, tree biomass and leaf area index (NDVI) before and after by CSA staff. HH has also been liasing closely with LW and GS of Rothamsted Research (see below) in the modelling component of the work. A key part of this has been the compilation and provision of long term biomass, soil and climate data from local sites in South Africa for the paramterisation of the SPACYS production model Rothamsted has developed. In November 2019, HH and LW also submitted a joint abstract for the International Rangelands Congress (IRC) based on this. Rhodes University (RU) is one of the other partners in South Africa, through the Co-I, Dr AP. AP was part of the first field visit to Mvenyane in June 2019, involving UK partners and used this to scope a suitable field site for the installation of the large aperture scintillometer (LAS), to be used in the measurement of evapotranspiration from woody invasive plants. This and associated micro-meterogical equipment were subsequently installed by AP and associates from RU in October 2019 immediately prior to the stakeholder workshop, which AP also participated in. After approptiate parameterisation, this was used to collect 10 days of continuous evapotransipiration data (measurement every 20 minutes) for the field site. This was complemented by the use of Google Earth Engine to ascertain the extent of proliferation by alien invasive plants. Stellenbosch University (SU) is the third partner in South Africa, linked to the project through Dr CM. CM has appointed an MSc (Research) student to assist with data collection and delivery of the livestock feed trial that SU is responsible for. In June 2019, CM and student travelled to Mvenyane and undertook an inventory of available feeds, collected samples of wattle from different stands and liaised with local farmers about the possibility of conducting the feed trial using their livestock, in 2020. The wattle samples have subsequently been analysed for feed quality. CM has also sourced quotes from suppliers for the delivery of required materials for the construction of the feed pens to be used in the trial. The construction was delayed slightly by a change request submitted to UKRI for alteration of the focus animal in the experiment from cattle to sheep, which was not approved until January 2020. Nonetheless, construction of pens is now underway with the hope that the grazing trial will commence in April 2020. The fact that the grazing trial has yet to commence, accounts for why we have answered 'no' under the additional mandatory section 'Animal Use'. We will report fully on this in the next ResearchFish submission. Rothamsted Research (RRes), is the other UK partner on the project. The Co-I, Dr LW, has recruited a post-doctoral researcher (Dr GS) to assist with the parameterisation of the SPACSYS model (since January 2020). They have also been in close liaison with HH at CSA to source the South African data necessary to achieve this and in the joint submission of an abstract for the IRC in Kenya. Also of great assistance in project delivery has been the local NGO, Environmental and Rural Solutions (ERS). Whilst they are not a formal part of the project, they have been important in facilitating access to field sites, in the sharing of background information and in identifying relevant local stakeholders who should attend the trade-offs workshop in October 2019 and encouraging attendance by local communities.
Impact Several outcomes and outputs have resulted so far. Firstly, a summary presentation has been created of the key findings from the initial focus group discussions undertaken at three research villages in Mvenyane. Secondly, the stakeholder trade-offs workshop in October 2019 in Matatiele has established an effective platform for the interface of local practitioners/NGOs, policy makers, academics and community members in the co-development of land use scenarios and associated management strategies. In the short term this has resulted in a worshop report and a short video to capture the dynamics of the interactions and key outcomes. In the longer term it will provide a basis for ongoing collaboration, including the final workshop at the end of year 2 of the project. Collaboration in both cases has been multi-disciplinary, drawing on the expertise of rangeland scientists and social scientists with interest in rangelands governance and the societal outcomes of the research.
Start Year 2019
 
Description TOCASA (Trade-offs in communal areas of South Africa) 
Organisation Rothamsted Research
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Dr James Bennett (JB) and Dr SL, supported by a project officer and accountant, all based at Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, comprise the Coventry University (CU) research team. JB as project PI is responsible for the coordination of all project activities. Administratively, this has involved appointing a post-doc (LM) to the project (1st September 2019) and then re-appointing a replacement (TM) after LM left at the end of October 2019. This reappointment has taken effect from 1st March 2020. JB and support team coordinated the recruitment and selection process on both occasions. It has also involved organising and chairing quarterly project steering meetings between all partners. In addition JB and team have arranged for ethical clearance through CU for all stages of the project, the setting up of a bespoke project website (see link below) and a secure Sharepoint site administered by CU for the sharing of all data between partners. The project officer and accountant have also coordinated the creation of a Collaboration Agreement between partners and have used this as a basis for processing invoices made to CU by partners. Finally, JB and the project officer have been in liaison with UKRI over a change to project request on behalf of one of the SA partners, for an alteration to the livestock feeding trial currently underway in South Africa. This took two months to resolve (November-December 2019). In terms of travel and fieldwork, JB has made two visits to the UK partner, Rothamsted Research, to liaise with the Co-I (LW) over project logistics and the appointment of their post-doc. There have also been two extended visits to South Africa by both JB and SL for fieldwork. The first occurred in June 2019 and involved primary data collection to understand access to and use of rangeland resources by local communities in Mvenyane, employing transect walks and interviews with key informants and separate focus groups with men and women. This provided a vital platform for understanding the dynamics of resource access by different community members and informing the next stage of the fieldwork. All discussions were recorded, transcribed in detail and the key points summarised into a presentation for feedback at the subsequent stakeholder workshop in South Africa. At the same time, in conjunction with the first CU post-doc (LM) detailed preparations were made for the initial stakeholder workshop in Matatiele. Invitations were made to a range of local and national stakeholders with an interest in the management and dynamics of communal rangelands systems, including NGOs, government policy makers and academics as well as representatives of the communities themselves. Two stakeholder workshops were held at the beginning of October 2019 in Matatiele, facilitated by the CU research team (JB and SL). The first was a two day workshop focusing on the different sets of stakeholders discussing the key trade-offs required in communal rangelands systems to arrive at a local consensus for their use and management. This involved presentations and interactive activities including priority setting and creation of alternative land use scenarios. All of this was captured through both video audio recordings and has been written up as a final report (see website) and a short video to try and maximise impact. On the third day a separate but related workshop was undertaken between the CU team and community representatives focused on the conceptualisation of and management of their rangelands as a commons. Critical here was understanding the constraints people were experiencing in trying to manage rangelands a collective resource. This has also been written up as a short report. In November 2019 JB and SL submitted a joint abstract based on the main findings of the Trade-Offs stakeholder workshop, for the forthcoming International Rangelands Congress (IRC) in Nairobi in October 2020.
Collaborator Contribution Conservation South Africa (CSA) are the main project partner in South Africa through Dr HH. Through ongoing monitoring protocols HH has since the initiation of the project been coordinating the collection of field data from Mvenyane sites on plant biomass, species composition and on soil pH, bulk density and elements including carbon. This feeds into the environmental modelling work being undertaken (see below). Soil samples have also been analysed in accordance with protocols being established between HH and colleagues in the USA. HH was also part of both field visits involving CU partners (see above) in June and October 2019. In June 2019 HH assisted with introductions to field sites and helped broker the focus groups undertaken by CU staff. In October 2019, HH made an important contribution to the stakeholder workshop, leading some of the discussion groups through which the idea of thinning (rather than clear-cutting) as an alternative protocol for dealing with woody invasive plants (wattle) was developed with other stakeholders present. These ideas were put into practice beginning December 2019, when local people in Mvenyane were trained in protocols for wattle thinning. Subsequently, in January and February 2020 thinning was conducted in pre-selected areas with measurement of key parameters such as NDVI, tree biomass and leaf area index (NDVI) before and after by CSA staff. HH has also been liasing closely with LW and GS of Rothamsted Research (see below) in the modelling component of the work. A key part of this has been the compilation and provision of long term biomass, soil and climate data from local sites in South Africa for the paramterisation of the SPACYS production model Rothamsted has developed. In November 2019, HH and LW also submitted a joint abstract for the International Rangelands Congress (IRC) based on this. Rhodes University (RU) is one of the other partners in South Africa, through the Co-I, Dr AP. AP was part of the first field visit to Mvenyane in June 2019, involving UK partners and used this to scope a suitable field site for the installation of the large aperture scintillometer (LAS), to be used in the measurement of evapotranspiration from woody invasive plants. This and associated micro-meterogical equipment were subsequently installed by AP and associates from RU in October 2019 immediately prior to the stakeholder workshop, which AP also participated in. After approptiate parameterisation, this was used to collect 10 days of continuous evapotransipiration data (measurement every 20 minutes) for the field site. This was complemented by the use of Google Earth Engine to ascertain the extent of proliferation by alien invasive plants. Stellenbosch University (SU) is the third partner in South Africa, linked to the project through Dr CM. CM has appointed an MSc (Research) student to assist with data collection and delivery of the livestock feed trial that SU is responsible for. In June 2019, CM and student travelled to Mvenyane and undertook an inventory of available feeds, collected samples of wattle from different stands and liaised with local farmers about the possibility of conducting the feed trial using their livestock, in 2020. The wattle samples have subsequently been analysed for feed quality. CM has also sourced quotes from suppliers for the delivery of required materials for the construction of the feed pens to be used in the trial. The construction was delayed slightly by a change request submitted to UKRI for alteration of the focus animal in the experiment from cattle to sheep, which was not approved until January 2020. Nonetheless, construction of pens is now underway with the hope that the grazing trial will commence in April 2020. The fact that the grazing trial has yet to commence, accounts for why we have answered 'no' under the additional mandatory section 'Animal Use'. We will report fully on this in the next ResearchFish submission. Rothamsted Research (RRes), is the other UK partner on the project. The Co-I, Dr LW, has recruited a post-doctoral researcher (Dr GS) to assist with the parameterisation of the SPACSYS model (since January 2020). They have also been in close liaison with HH at CSA to source the South African data necessary to achieve this and in the joint submission of an abstract for the IRC in Kenya. Also of great assistance in project delivery has been the local NGO, Environmental and Rural Solutions (ERS). Whilst they are not a formal part of the project, they have been important in facilitating access to field sites, in the sharing of background information and in identifying relevant local stakeholders who should attend the trade-offs workshop in October 2019 and encouraging attendance by local communities.
Impact Several outcomes and outputs have resulted so far. Firstly, a summary presentation has been created of the key findings from the initial focus group discussions undertaken at three research villages in Mvenyane. Secondly, the stakeholder trade-offs workshop in October 2019 in Matatiele has established an effective platform for the interface of local practitioners/NGOs, policy makers, academics and community members in the co-development of land use scenarios and associated management strategies. In the short term this has resulted in a worshop report and a short video to capture the dynamics of the interactions and key outcomes. In the longer term it will provide a basis for ongoing collaboration, including the final workshop at the end of year 2 of the project. Collaboration in both cases has been multi-disciplinary, drawing on the expertise of rangeland scientists and social scientists with interest in rangelands governance and the societal outcomes of the research.
Start Year 2019
 
Description TOCASA (Trade-offs in communal areas of South Africa) 
Organisation University of Stellenbosch
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Dr James Bennett (JB) and Dr SL, supported by a project officer and accountant, all based at Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, comprise the Coventry University (CU) research team. JB as project PI is responsible for the coordination of all project activities. Administratively, this has involved appointing a post-doc (LM) to the project (1st September 2019) and then re-appointing a replacement (TM) after LM left at the end of October 2019. This reappointment has taken effect from 1st March 2020. JB and support team coordinated the recruitment and selection process on both occasions. It has also involved organising and chairing quarterly project steering meetings between all partners. In addition JB and team have arranged for ethical clearance through CU for all stages of the project, the setting up of a bespoke project website (see link below) and a secure Sharepoint site administered by CU for the sharing of all data between partners. The project officer and accountant have also coordinated the creation of a Collaboration Agreement between partners and have used this as a basis for processing invoices made to CU by partners. Finally, JB and the project officer have been in liaison with UKRI over a change to project request on behalf of one of the SA partners, for an alteration to the livestock feeding trial currently underway in South Africa. This took two months to resolve (November-December 2019). In terms of travel and fieldwork, JB has made two visits to the UK partner, Rothamsted Research, to liaise with the Co-I (LW) over project logistics and the appointment of their post-doc. There have also been two extended visits to South Africa by both JB and SL for fieldwork. The first occurred in June 2019 and involved primary data collection to understand access to and use of rangeland resources by local communities in Mvenyane, employing transect walks and interviews with key informants and separate focus groups with men and women. This provided a vital platform for understanding the dynamics of resource access by different community members and informing the next stage of the fieldwork. All discussions were recorded, transcribed in detail and the key points summarised into a presentation for feedback at the subsequent stakeholder workshop in South Africa. At the same time, in conjunction with the first CU post-doc (LM) detailed preparations were made for the initial stakeholder workshop in Matatiele. Invitations were made to a range of local and national stakeholders with an interest in the management and dynamics of communal rangelands systems, including NGOs, government policy makers and academics as well as representatives of the communities themselves. Two stakeholder workshops were held at the beginning of October 2019 in Matatiele, facilitated by the CU research team (JB and SL). The first was a two day workshop focusing on the different sets of stakeholders discussing the key trade-offs required in communal rangelands systems to arrive at a local consensus for their use and management. This involved presentations and interactive activities including priority setting and creation of alternative land use scenarios. All of this was captured through both video audio recordings and has been written up as a final report (see website) and a short video to try and maximise impact. On the third day a separate but related workshop was undertaken between the CU team and community representatives focused on the conceptualisation of and management of their rangelands as a commons. Critical here was understanding the constraints people were experiencing in trying to manage rangelands a collective resource. This has also been written up as a short report. In November 2019 JB and SL submitted a joint abstract based on the main findings of the Trade-Offs stakeholder workshop, for the forthcoming International Rangelands Congress (IRC) in Nairobi in October 2020.
Collaborator Contribution Conservation South Africa (CSA) are the main project partner in South Africa through Dr HH. Through ongoing monitoring protocols HH has since the initiation of the project been coordinating the collection of field data from Mvenyane sites on plant biomass, species composition and on soil pH, bulk density and elements including carbon. This feeds into the environmental modelling work being undertaken (see below). Soil samples have also been analysed in accordance with protocols being established between HH and colleagues in the USA. HH was also part of both field visits involving CU partners (see above) in June and October 2019. In June 2019 HH assisted with introductions to field sites and helped broker the focus groups undertaken by CU staff. In October 2019, HH made an important contribution to the stakeholder workshop, leading some of the discussion groups through which the idea of thinning (rather than clear-cutting) as an alternative protocol for dealing with woody invasive plants (wattle) was developed with other stakeholders present. These ideas were put into practice beginning December 2019, when local people in Mvenyane were trained in protocols for wattle thinning. Subsequently, in January and February 2020 thinning was conducted in pre-selected areas with measurement of key parameters such as NDVI, tree biomass and leaf area index (NDVI) before and after by CSA staff. HH has also been liasing closely with LW and GS of Rothamsted Research (see below) in the modelling component of the work. A key part of this has been the compilation and provision of long term biomass, soil and climate data from local sites in South Africa for the paramterisation of the SPACYS production model Rothamsted has developed. In November 2019, HH and LW also submitted a joint abstract for the International Rangelands Congress (IRC) based on this. Rhodes University (RU) is one of the other partners in South Africa, through the Co-I, Dr AP. AP was part of the first field visit to Mvenyane in June 2019, involving UK partners and used this to scope a suitable field site for the installation of the large aperture scintillometer (LAS), to be used in the measurement of evapotranspiration from woody invasive plants. This and associated micro-meterogical equipment were subsequently installed by AP and associates from RU in October 2019 immediately prior to the stakeholder workshop, which AP also participated in. After approptiate parameterisation, this was used to collect 10 days of continuous evapotransipiration data (measurement every 20 minutes) for the field site. This was complemented by the use of Google Earth Engine to ascertain the extent of proliferation by alien invasive plants. Stellenbosch University (SU) is the third partner in South Africa, linked to the project through Dr CM. CM has appointed an MSc (Research) student to assist with data collection and delivery of the livestock feed trial that SU is responsible for. In June 2019, CM and student travelled to Mvenyane and undertook an inventory of available feeds, collected samples of wattle from different stands and liaised with local farmers about the possibility of conducting the feed trial using their livestock, in 2020. The wattle samples have subsequently been analysed for feed quality. CM has also sourced quotes from suppliers for the delivery of required materials for the construction of the feed pens to be used in the trial. The construction was delayed slightly by a change request submitted to UKRI for alteration of the focus animal in the experiment from cattle to sheep, which was not approved until January 2020. Nonetheless, construction of pens is now underway with the hope that the grazing trial will commence in April 2020. The fact that the grazing trial has yet to commence, accounts for why we have answered 'no' under the additional mandatory section 'Animal Use'. We will report fully on this in the next ResearchFish submission. Rothamsted Research (RRes), is the other UK partner on the project. The Co-I, Dr LW, has recruited a post-doctoral researcher (Dr GS) to assist with the parameterisation of the SPACSYS model (since January 2020). They have also been in close liaison with HH at CSA to source the South African data necessary to achieve this and in the joint submission of an abstract for the IRC in Kenya. Also of great assistance in project delivery has been the local NGO, Environmental and Rural Solutions (ERS). Whilst they are not a formal part of the project, they have been important in facilitating access to field sites, in the sharing of background information and in identifying relevant local stakeholders who should attend the trade-offs workshop in October 2019 and encouraging attendance by local communities.
Impact Several outcomes and outputs have resulted so far. Firstly, a summary presentation has been created of the key findings from the initial focus group discussions undertaken at three research villages in Mvenyane. Secondly, the stakeholder trade-offs workshop in October 2019 in Matatiele has established an effective platform for the interface of local practitioners/NGOs, policy makers, academics and community members in the co-development of land use scenarios and associated management strategies. In the short term this has resulted in a worshop report and a short video to capture the dynamics of the interactions and key outcomes. In the longer term it will provide a basis for ongoing collaboration, including the final workshop at the end of year 2 of the project. Collaboration in both cases has been multi-disciplinary, drawing on the expertise of rangeland scientists and social scientists with interest in rangelands governance and the societal outcomes of the research.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Stakeholder workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Two stakeholder workshops were held at the beginning of October 2019 in Matatiele, facilitated by the CU research team (JB and SL). The first was a two day workshop involving 30 people (NGO practitioners, policy makers, academics and community members) coming together to discuss the key trade-offs required in communal rangelands systems to arrive at a local consensus for their use and management. All of this was captured through both video and audio recordings and has been written up as a final report (see website) and a short video to try and maximise impact. On the third day a separate but related workshop was undertaken between the CU team and 12 community representatives focused on the conceptualisation of and management of their rangelands as a commons. The main aim was to understand the constraints local people were experiencing in trying to manage rangelands a collective resource. This has also been written up as a short report. In both cases it is difficult in such a short space of time to ascribe any direct impact to either workshop in terms, for example, of behaviour change. However, both were a vital part of the co-construction process of the project, for example in defining the most important trade-offs that needed to be considered in communal rangelands systems and how these relate to alternative patterns of land use and management.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019