An integrated agro-forestry-energy approach to land use in the Western Cape, South Africa

Soil erosion and local dust and sand storms are a characteristic phenomenon of most drylands of the world. Low vegetation cover, the ample availability of sand and fine material at the soil surface, arid conditions for at least parts of the year and high wind speeds due to specific synoptic constellations generate local sand storms and collateral soil erosion. This leads to a loss of important organic soil material and renders the soils susceptible for further erosion in periodical rain events. In affected areas, loss of soil and soil fertility continuously drive land degradation and desertification. These effects have serious impacts on food security, impact the local economy and can result in the loss of many base of production in large rural areas. The requirements for the landscapes to provide ecosystem services for the human-well-being have increased. Besides food and feed production, demand of the production of renewable energy will increase in the next decades and needs to be incorporated into the landscape and its sustainable use. This calls for Agro-Forestry approaches that incorporate the production of renewable energy. 

Objectives of the project is to develop concepts for  integrated agroforestry systems along the West Coast (Western Cape, South Africa) of South Africa to minimize sand and dust storms and to increase soil fertility, and land productivity and combine these land use systems with the decentralised production of renewable energy on local farms. These concepts will be developed and tested in close collaboration with local farmers in the West Coast region and in the Winelands near Stellenbosch in case studies. 


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University of Stellenbosch,
Department of Forestry and Wood Science
DLC - Dr. Littmann Consulting, Ennepetal, Germany

Funded by National Research Foundation South Africa and Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery 

(2014 - 2017)


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