The interplay of knowledge, attitude and practice of livestock farmers' land management against desertification in the South African Kalahari

Taryn M. Kong, Diane E Austin, Klaus Kellner, Barron J Orr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Desertification is a major environmental problem in South Africa with serious socio-economic consequences. Despite enormous efforts made to understand its causes and best management to combat desertification, little is known about the relation between land users' perspectives on land management and their actual practice. This study used the types of land tenure and livestock production scale to develop a farmer typology to explore the relation between livestock farmers' knowledge about, attitude towards and practices of three land management actions in Mier and Molopo-Taung, South Africa. Semi-structured interviews and photo elicitations were used to capture their knowledge, attitude and practice status of rotational grazing, woody plant control with herbicide, and revegetation. We found that high level of knowledge and positive attitude alone did not always result in actual practice of a management action on a full-scale. Situational factors such as financial resources, farm infrastructure, farm size, and land tenure challenged or constrained farmers' land management practices. Socio-economic disparities created by past institutional factors still affect contemporary land management. A farmer's land tenure and livestock production scale elucidate the situational factors that are likely to be constraints and challenges to his/her land management practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-21
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Dryland restoration
  • Land degradation
  • Land reform
  • Local knowledge
  • Participatory evaluation
  • Sustainable land management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Ecology

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