Given the growing popularity of indicators among policy-makers to measure progress toward conservation and sustainability goals, there is an urgent need to develop indicators that can be used accurately by both specialists and nonspecialists, drawing from the knowledge possessed by each group. This paper uses a case study from the Kalahari, Botswana to show how participatory and ecological methods can be combined to develop robust indicators that are accessible to a range of users to monitor and enhance the sustainability of land management. First, potential environmental sustainability indicators were elicited from pastoralists in three study sites. This knowledge was then evaluated by pastoralists, before being tested empirically using ecological and soil-based techniques. Despite the wealth of local knowledge about indicators, this knowledge was thinly spread. The knowledge was more holistic than published indicator lists for monitoring rangelands, encompassing vegetation, soil, livestock, wild animal, and socioeconomic indicators. Pastoralist preferences for vegetation and livestock indicators match recent shifts in ecological theory suggesting that livestock populations reach equilibrium with key forage resources in semiarid environments. Although most indicators suggested by pastoralists were validated through empirical work (e.g., decreased grass cover and soil organic matter content, and increased abundance of Acacia mellifera and thatching grass), they were not always sufficiently accurate or reliable for objective degradation assessment, showing that local knowledge cannot be accepted unquestioningly. We suggest that, by combining participatory and ecological approaches, it is possible to derive more accurate and relevant indicators than either approach could achieve alone.
Ecological Applications – Ecological Society of America
Published: Jul 1, 2008
Keywords: Botswana ; Kalahari ; land degradation ; local knowledge ; participation ; southern Africa ; sustainability indicators
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera