The effects of consolidation of grazing lands, arable lands and the human settlement on fragile ecosystems: the case of Barolong farms area
This study presents an investigation of the effects of consolidation of grazing lands, arable lands and the human settlement on fragile ecosystems. The study, had two basic objectives: to review the existing land .uses and identify prevailing conflicts in the Barolong sub-district of Botswana, and, to suggest possible policy measures for resolving the identified land use conflicts. 'Barolong farms area is a mixed farming region in the " ' Southern District of Botswana. Arable Agriculture is the mainstay of the area's economy. It amounts to approximately 75 percent of the area's economy. The area, is one of the first regions in Botswana where mixed farming became practiced. The desire to carry out this study, was prompted by the fact that various studies on agricultural production systems in Botswana, attributed low. agricultural production to the traditional settlement pattern of the Botswana. They identified long distance travel, cost of travel and absence from production areas for effective management as the basic problems of the settlement system. They recommended consolidated settlement patterns as the solution to low agricultural production since they would provide for effective action of arable lands, grazing lands and the human·settlement can result in high agricultural production only if efficient measures of combating environmental degradation are taken into consideration. It was noted that although the trend of settlement is towards the consolidated pattern of settlement; as indicated by the increase in human populations, and the intensified utilization of the area's natural (resources, consolidation lays much pressure on the area's physical environment. The study identified two major problems of pressure on land and pressure on water resources. It went further to identify two land use conflicts of: conflict between arable and livestock farming,and conflict between the human settlement and agricultural activities. In view of the above, the study basically recommends that the government should re-direct it~ policy outlook to include the conservation of the natural resources in its development programmes. This should include the creation of public awareness on the need to protect the environment from further deterioration for the attainment of sustained development.