Water Research Commission
Research Project C2019/2020-00150
Deliverable 2
Draft submitted
1 February 2022
Table of content
1. Introduction3
1.1 Local context to the study area and connection to existing projects6
1.2 Project aims, outcomes and methods8
2. Assessment of Rainfall and Water Quantity: Progress to date and way forward10
2.1 Rainfall monitor10
2.2 Temperature monitor13
2.3 Streamflow monitor14
2.4 Way forward15
3. Mapping of land use and ecosystem services: Progress to date and way forward17
3.1 Participatory mapping17
3.2 Way forward23
4. Ecosystem health and functioning mapping: Progress to date and way forward24
4.1 Ezibomvini Village24
4.2 Costone Village31
4.3 Way forward37
5. Decisions and social-cultural factors: Progress to date and way forward38
5.1 Decision making in Costone39
5.2 Way forward41
6. Co-learning for sustainable management of land and water: Progress to date and way forward42
6.1 Multi-stakeholder engagement42
6.2 “Water village walks”45
6.3 Way forward46
7. Annual Reporting47
7.1 Capacity building47
7.1.1 Community47
7.1.2 Organization47
7.1.3 Postgraduate students47
7.2 Knowledge dissemination48
7.3 Work plan49
7.3.1 Timeline of aims49
7.3.2 Deliverables49
7.3.3 Work plan 202249
9. Appendices53
1. Introduction
Sustainablelandmanagementforwater,foodandecosystemservices is crucial, and particularly
challenging,indegraded,waterscarceand natural resources dependent communities, such as the
agriculturalvillagesintheDrakensberg,KwaZulu-Natal.Thesecommunities are often disproportionately
impacted by socio-economic hardships, as well as climate variability and weather-related hazards. Such
communitieshaveevolvedtodealwithenvironmentaland socio-economic disturbances that have
shapedlivelihoodstrategiesovergenerations (Ostrom 1990). Despite decades of initiatives to improve
livelihoodsandlong-termsustainabilityofdifferentrural and indigenous communities globally, the
successesofimplementationaredisparateandseemingly highly context-dependent. Scholars have set
outtoinvestigatesuccessfactorsintheimplementation of these innovations. Increased participation by
stakeholders and community members, co-management and integration of knowledgesystemshave
been suggested to positively impact the implementation ofnaturalresourcemanagementstrategies
(Reed et al. 2009, Tengö et al. 2014). It has been found that factors such as powerimbalances,poor
income distribution and gender inequities, as well as external and internal disturbances undermine
sustainability,andthus,impedethepotentialofsuccessfuloutcomesofcommunity-based natural
resourcemanagementstrategies(Delgado-Serranoet al. 2018). Repeated evidence that the success of
such innovations are greatly context-dependent, suggests that there is a gap in the understanding of how
the factors that make thesesmallholdercommunitiescontextuallydifferentinfluencestheland
managementdecisions. These communities are largely characterized by their cultural and historical
legaciesthatshapehuman-naturerelationshipswithinspecificculturaland institutional contexts, which
inturninfluencescollaborationaround these resources (Cockburn et al. 2020). Accounting for the
diversityofsocial-culturalvalues, attitudes and understanding of human-nature relationships increases
thecontext-sensitivityindecisionmakingprocesses such as land and natural resource management, but
isoften overlooked in both science and policy (Muhar et al. 2018). Motivations behind decisions are
rootedindifferentsocial-culturalconcepts such as worldviews, collective traditions and experiences,
beliefsand values, and play out both in individual and collective decision making processes. While
conventionalapproaches to natural resource management have taken on technical problem solving
processes,manyscholarshaverecentlyarguedthatwhendrawingon theories and methods from social
sciences,the human dimensions of natural resource management and environmental conservation can
bebetterunderstood(Charnleyetal.2017).Althoughscholarsproposeframeworksandmodels to
accountforsocial-culturalconceptstoimprovetheimplementation and success of natural resource and
land management, the methodological applications still need to be tested in real cases.
Decisionsonnaturalresourcesarelinkedtothepropertyregimeofthelandbeingmanagedand are
commonlycategorizedintofourbasicregimes:open access, private property, communal property and
stateproperty(Feenyetal.1990).This categorization is useful for theoretical analysis but reality is often
morecomplexwithcombinationsoftheseregimes; overlapping or conflicting. Communal property, or
common-property, is commonly the dominant property regime of smallholder communities such as
those in focus in this project. In theory, natural resourcesproducedwithincommon-propertyregimes
are managed by and accessible to a given community, where rights of equal access and use are shared by
thecommunitymembers.However,inpractice,access to resources is often not equal. In the South
Africancontext,post-apartheidlandtenurereforms ensured the retention of indigenous or customary
authorityovercommunallandbyestablishingtraditionalauthoritiestogovernthe communities’ land
andnatural resources. Rapid socio-economic and political change since the colonial era, which is when
thepolicyoftraditionallandtenure was established, has led to inequitable power structures in
communities (Benjaminsen et al. 2006). This is manifested through both formal and informal agreements
andkinshipnetworksthatinfluencecommunitymembers’access to land and natural resources.
Powerful actors have an advantage over the impoverished, and women often lack opportunities to
control and manage land (Cousins 2009). The combination of traditionalauthorityovercommunalland,
andnationallegislationandpolicy adds further complexity to the issues of decision making towards
long-term sustainability and resilience in land use management.
Centralto addressing the gap of understanding factors influencing decisions made by individuals and
collectives for land and natural resources management, istoinvestigatethehumandimensions,
psychologyandmentalmodelsaroundthehuman-naturerelationship.‘Social-cultural concept’ in this
contextisatermusedbyMuharetal.(2018),amongst others, to describe the worldviews, collective
traditions and experiences, beliefs, values and attitudes in relation to nature. This concept is often
missinginsocial-ecologicalsystemsresearchand natural resource management, but it is inherent in
decisions made by individuals or the collective. Having an understanding of what land uses are present
and what management strategies are in place is notsufficientfordevelopingresilientandsustainable
co-management of the resources in smallholder agricultural communities. The multifaceted dynamics
betweenindividualandcollectivedecisionsaroundtheuseand management of land, water and natural
resources determine the success of the same (Kenter et al. 2016). Therefore, social-cultural concepts
thatshapeindividualandcollectivedecisionsmustbeconsideredin studies and policies targeted
towards long-term sustainability.
Scientificadvancementbehindnatural resource management is increasingly being created using
sustainabilityscience, social-ecological systems and resilience thinking approaches. Sustainability science
isinherentlytransdisciplinary,andparticipatorymulti-methodapproaches are often required to address
thecomplexhuman-natureinteractionsthat occur within social-ecological systems (Binder et al. 2013,
Pacheco-Romeroetal.2020).Fundamentaltothetheoryofsocial-ecologicalsystemsisthenotion that
feedbackbetweensocial and ecological systems are interdependent and interact at various spatial and
temporal scales (Guerrero et al. 2018). Although water forms part of a social-ecological system, its
integratingandfundamentalcharacteristicscallsforadditionalemphasisinwaterfocusedresearch and
management.Thisprojectusesanovelconceptualframeworkwherethewaterdomainobtains explicit
attention within a social-ecological systems approach (Figure 1.1). This novelapproachincludesanalysis
of components therein, and the feedbacks between, the coupled systemsofwater,ecosystemsand
society.Thisthree-domain framework encompasses and draws on concepts and methods from the
dominating disciplines within each of the domainsseparately,aswellastheinterfacesbetweenthe
domains as follows: Water-Society:Sustainablemanagementanduseofwaterresourcesisthefocus of
IntegratedWaterResourcesManagement(IWRM),whichfundamentallydraws on the scientific
understandingoftheprocess-basedmodellingandthe dynamic interactions and feedbacks in coupled
human-water systems (socio-hydrology). Ecosystem-Water: There are also interlinkages between the
hydrological processes and the ecosystem functions (two-way dependencies), which is studied within the
field of eco-hydrology. Ecosystem-Society:Societies’dependencyonecosystems for their well-being and
livelihoods is commonly assessed through the concept ofecosystemservices,typicallystudiedusinga
social-ecological systems theory.
Figure 1.1. Conceptual framework: coupled water-ecosystem-society systems analysis.
Theconceptofecosystemserviceshasmoved from predominantly being used for raising public
awarenessaroundbiodiversity and habitat conservation, or highlighting the economic values of
ecosystemstosociety,to become a mainstream paradigm that expresses the diverse sets of benefits and
values humans attribute to human-nature interactions (Peterson et al. 2018). Ecosystemservices,being
thebenefitshumansobtainfrominteractingwithecosystems,relate to many dimensions of human
well-being. These interactions, between the natural environment, human skills and decisions, technology
andinfrastructure,social-culturalorganizationandinstitutions,resultin the co-production of ecosystem
services(Duraiappahetal.2014).Theresilienceofecosystemservicesis the capacity of a
social-ecologicalsystemtoreliablysustaina desired set of ecosystem services, in the face of disturbance
and ongoing evolution and change. Building resilience of a smallholderagriculturalcommunityby
focusingonthelong-termprovisionofecosystemservices is a means to sustain livelihoods and the
humanwell-beingofitsinhabitants–ataskcriticalin South Africa, and Africa as a whole. Novel ways of
assessingdifferent kinds of ecosystem services (e.g. provisional, regulating and cultural), as well as
linkingthemtolivelihood strategies, makes the ecosystem service concept particularly useful for
exploringhuman-naturebenefitsandvaluesassociatedwithdifferent kinds of land uses, property
regimes and social-cultural contexts (Henriksson Malinga et al. 2018).
The research conducted in this project will result in analysisofallthecomponents:waterresourcesand
hydrologicalprocesses,ecosystemfunctionsandecologicalprocesses, and people’s and societies’
resourceuse,management and dependence, as well as cross-domain dynamics. This research will obtain
acomprehensiveunderstandingofnotonlythenaturalresourcebase,but also the socio-economic
benefitsthecommunitiesobtain from natural resources such as water and ecosystems, within the
communitiesandinthe protected areas nearby. In addition, the social learning approach can provide for
more informed decision making about appropriate adaptive measures to amelioratenegativeimpacts
andsynergise for positive re-enforcements in the social-ecological system. This transdisciplinary research
seekstogenerate novel scientific knowledge to guide sustainable management of water resources and
promoteequitabledevelopment.This,seconddeliverableoftheproject, is an interim report and covers
progresstodatedetailingthemultipleactivitiescarriedout and the interim findings thereof. A
multi-stakeholderco-learningworkshopwasinitiallyplannedforthis reporting period, but has been
delayed due to the national COVID19 lockdown as well as the UKZNResearchEthicsOffice’s
COVID19-relatedrestrictionsinresearch activities involving human interactions and community
engagement.Theproject team has nevertheless covered a number of activities involving community and
stakeholderengagementaimingto lead up to a multi-level stakeholder co-learning workshop currently
plannedforApril2022.Theseactivitiesinvolvefocusgroupdiscussions,participatory mapping
workshops,“watervillagewalks”andamulti-stakeholdercommunityvisit,allofwhichare described in
therelevantsectionsbelow.Thereportfurtheroutlinesaworkplanandhowtheprojectismeeting its
capacity building targets.
1.1 Local context to the study area and connection to existing projects
TheuKhahlambaDrakensbergmountains,KwaZulu-Natal,isaprotectedarea that encompasses
transboundarynationalparks,game reserves, wilderness areas, and includes declaration of both Ramsar
wetlandimportanceandUNESCOWorldHeritageSite.Theseareasarehome to rich biodiversity of
endemicand threatened species and habitats, and also host long-term research on grassland
management,soilconservation, and fire regime research. There are distinct fence line effects between
the protected areas and the nearby communities, but the dynamics betweenthetwosidesofthefence
in terms of benefits or threats, arenot scientifically explored - a gap that this project seeks to address.
Further,theuKhahlambaDrakensbergisakeywatersourceareainSouthAfrica,andprovides water to
GautengandKwaZulu-Natal.Itisofnationalprioritytomanageand protect this water source to sustain
supplytotheendusers. Within the uKhahlamba Drakensberg are the long-term Cathedral Peak research
catchmentswhereextensive,interdisciplinarymonitoringandobservation is ongoing focused on the
impactsofglobal environmental change, water, carbon, biodiversity and energy. Research has shown the
rainfallinthe Cathedral Peak catchments to be declining, with greater declines evident in the
streamflow.Changeshavebeenshowninthefireregimeovertimeaswell.Beyondthis,the research in
the catchments is improving our understanding of hydrological processes.Theknowledgethathasbeen
generatedaboutthe hydrology/hydro-meteorology of Cathedral Peak nature reserve (CPNR) has
benefitedthemanagementofthereserve,regionalandnationalwaterplanningbuthasnotbeen of
directbenefittotheimpoverished, water insecure community downstream of the reserve who have a
fundamentalrighttoaccesstheresource.Thesecommunities,whoselivelihoodslargelydepend on
naturalresourcesandthelandtheyaremanaging,receiveonlysmall pockets of ad hoc support from
provincialGovernmentDepartmentssuchasKZNDARDandDSDandcivilsocietyorganizations. The
UthukelaDistrictMunicipality(UTDM)(11 326.12 sq km in extent and has a population of approximately
724 000 people)overseesandcoordinatessocialandeconomicdevelopmentaswellaswaterandhealth
services for the three Local Municipalities under its jurisdiction (Okhahlamba,AlfredDumaandInkosi
Langalibalele).Duetolackofresourcesandotherfactors,thecommunities in this area have received
littletonosupportrelatedto water services in their villages, relying instead on very old infrastructure
(pre1994)andundevelopedwatersources (springs and small streams) for their household water needs.
There is no focus at all on agricultural and landscape-based water resource management. Climate change
mitigation and adaptation processeshavebeenlimitedtotrainingandawarenesswithinmunicipal
structures,toenabledevelopmentofenvironmentalmanagementplans. Could the research and
monitoring in the CPNR be of direct benefit and be used in the communities decision making to lessen
their water insecurity? Further, could an understanding of the multiple benefits of high qualitywater
resultinopportunitieswherethecommunitycouldbecompensatedfor ensuring that the quality of the
waterdoesnot significantly decline as it moves downstream? Research into the dynamic
interrelationships between and within the water-ecosystem-society domains will help explore answers to
these questions.
Smallholderfarmersinthesecommunitiesrelyheavilyontheir natural resource base to support their
non-commercialto semi-commercial maize and livestock-based farming systems. Irrigation infrastructure
isvirtuallynon-existentalthoughsomeindividualsuselocalsourcesfor vegetable production at
householdlevel.Grazingmanagementsystemsaremanagedbythe traditional authorities and for the
mostpartislimitedtosettingannualdatesforthe cycles of livestock being moved into the mountain
grazingareas(summer) and being allowed back into the village confines (winter). Within this context it is
imperative for the local communities tounderstandandtostartgrapplingwiththeirresource
managementissuesandtogarnerasmuchsupportforthese processes as they can. Given the very high
levelsofpoverty in the area, these communities cannot be expected to implement these processes on
theirown,butthey can go a long way towards jointly setting their priorities of action and undertaking
jointandcollaborative activities within their ambit of influence. Mahlathini Development Foundation
(MDF)isasmallNGOworkinginpro-pooragriculturalinnovationsystemswhohave been supporting
smallholdersin20villages (~550 direct participants, ~3000 beneficiaries) in the Okhahlamba LM. Local
understanding,planningandimplementationofclimatesmartagroecologicalpractices,linked to local
valuechainsandeconomicdevelopmentcanincreasepeople’sadaptivecapacity and resilience in the
faceoffurtherchange.Tothisend,MDFand their partners have been working with two processes: i)
Creatingawarenessand appropriate models for implementation of Conservation Agriculture in
conjunctionwithGrainSAinKZNandtheEC(2013-2019)andii)Designing and implementation of a
decisionsupportsystemforsmallholderfarmerin implementation of a locally appropriate basket of
climatesmartagriculture practices in conjunction with the Water Research Commission (2017-2020).
The importance of also including broader natural resource and water management concerns intothese
processes have already been noted and initial steps have been taken with the learning groups involved
tofocusontheseissues;primarilyfodderflowandgrazingmanagementforlivestock and access to and
managementofwaterresourcesformicro scale irrigation. These processes have provided a strong entry
point into these communities for the exploration and adaptive planningrelatedtointegratedwater
resource management and ecosystem services that this project undertakes.
Thisresearch builds on knowledge gained through several projects involving the lead and collaborating
organizations,includingthe Mahlathini led WRC funded project “Collaborative knowledge creation and
mediationstrategiesforthedisseminationof Water and soil conservation practices and Climate Smart
Agricultureinsmallholderfarmingsystems(K5/2719/4), and the project “Establishment of a More
RobustObservationNetworktoImproveUnderstandingofGlobalChangeinthe Sensitive and Critical
WaterSupplyAreaoftheDrakensberg”(K5/2236),led by the CWRR. The research in this project further
relates to other projects implemented through CWRR and SAEON, as well as outreach activities by
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. SAEON is furthermore leading the establishment of the Expanded Freshwater and
TerrestrialEnvironmental Observation Network (EFTEON). EFTEON is a research infrastructure intended
to provide a platform of well-described and instrumented landscapes to the South African and
International research community, within which our project falls under the Northern Drakensberg
UKZN,throughtheCentreforWater Resources Research, forms part of the African Research Universities
Association(ARUA)WaterCentreofExcellence(CoE)alongwithseveral other South African and African
Universities.ThroughtheWaterCoE,the CWRR is involved with work on catchment restoration and
rehabilitationinaprojectledbythe Institute of Natural Resources (INR) and Umgeni Water in the upper
uMkhomazi.Thereare thematic synergies between the two projects on sustainable management of land
and water resources, and cross-learning andsharingofknowledgewilloccurbetweenthetwoproject
teams.Furthermore,thestudyareaof this projects falls within the South African National Biodiversity
Institute(SANBI) Thukela Catchment Living Catchment Project under which collaboration and co-learning
is taking place within a multi-stakeholder engagement process.
1.2 Project aims, outcomes and methods
The aims of the project are as follows:
Aim 1. To assess and quantify changes in rainfall patterns and water quantity over time to inform
communities’ decision making.
Aim 2. To develop a transdisciplinary social-ecological GIS support tool for decision making and
management of water and natural resources and link land uses with ecosystem services and
Aim 3. To survey ecosystem health and functioning including biodiversity of community land
based on the needs of the communities for their ecosystem services and livelihoods.
Aim 4. To improve the understanding of local decision making and resource use and
management and identify the social-cultural factors that influence decisions.
Aim 5. To design and test a framework for supporting innovation and decision making for
sustainable resource use management and improved livelihood opportunities.
Thefive aims are corresponding to the five components, described in short as; 1. Rainfall and water
quantity, 2. Map layers of land use, ecosystem services and livelihoods, 3. Ecosystem health and
functioning,4.Decisionsandsocial-culturalfactors,and 5. Co-learning for sustainable management of
land and water. Figure 1.2 provides an overview of how the aims correspond with theexpected
outcomes and methods. The progress and methods are further outlined and clarified in sections 2-6.
Figure 1.2. Overview of the five aims and how they relate to the outcomes and methods.
2. Assessment of Rainfall and Water Quantity: Progress to date
and way forward
The first aim of this project is:
- To assess and quantify changes in rainfall patterns and water quantity over time to inform
communities’ decision-making.
Thisaim relates to outcome 1.1 which focuses on understanding of the water resource (changes of water
quality, quantity, streamflow, recharge potential, sediment load). To achievethisaim,the
hydroclimatologicaldatafromtheCathedral Peak research catchments was assessed to determine any
changes over time that have occurred.
TheCathedralPeak Research catchments were established in 1945 for the purpose of investigating the
influenceoflandmanagementtreatmentsonstreamflowresponse.The catchments were highly
influentialininformingwaterpolicyinSouthAfrica,particularlyasitrelatestoafforestation.In 1995
(andearlieratsomestations),duetoa lack of funding, monitoring ceased in the Cathedral Peak
catchments.Recognisingthevalueofthehistoricaldatafromthecatchmentsforassessing long term
change, the SAEON Grasslands-Wetlands-Forests node became actively involved in the landscape in
2011,and over time intensified the monitoring the catchment and formally registering the Cathedral
Peak research catchments as a Long Term Ecological Research site.
Anupdatedassessment of the hydroclimatological data is presented below. The long term data including
thehistoricalperiodispresented,andqualitativecomparisonsdrawnatthisstage.Each month, SAEON
releases a rainfall and streamflow monitor for the catchments, the latest version of this is included.
2.1 Rainfall monitor
The SAEON Grasslands node has monitored rainfall for a full nine (2012/2013-2020/2021)hydrological
years(Oct-Sept)intheCathedralPeakcatchments.Theprimaryweatherstationsite,both now and in
thehistoricalperiod,istheMike’sPassweatherstation.Theannual rainfall totals for the hydrological
yearsthathavebeenmonitored (Figure 2.1) have been lower than the historical mean (1 392 mm) taken
as the period 1951 – 1980 except for the 2020 hydrological year. The mean wastakenforthisperiodas
the confidence in the data was high. The gap in the data between 1990 and 2012 attheMike’sPass
stationlimitstheanalyses.Thus,usingtheSAWSstationattheCathedralPeakhotel, the Mike’s Pass
station was patched for the period 1990 to 2011. The differences in altitude, localised rainfall events
characteristicofthearea, and only having one gauge available to patch from, implies that the patching is
notidealandisassociatedwithhighuncertainty.Theannual rainfall anomalies from the 1951 – 1980
meanforthefullperiodincludingpatcheddataareshowninFigure2.2.Giventhe short current record
period and the concerns about the quality of the patched record, no trend analysis has been undertaken.
Figure 2.1: Annual (hydrological years) rainfall anomaly for the Mike’s Pass meteorological station
Duringthedroughtexperiencedintheearly 1980’s (1979 - 1984), the lowest annual rainfall total
experiencedwas792mmin1984,andrelativetothe historical mean the total deviation for the six-year
periodwas 1 677 mm. During the more recent drought (2014 - 2019), the lowest annual rainfall total was
765mmin2018,thelowestannual rainfall total on record for the site. Although the difference between
thetotalin1984andthatin2018isrelativelysmall,it is the total deviation for the more recent six-year
period of 2 120 mm that indicates the severity of the more recent drought relative to the 1980’s drought.
Furthertothis,themorerecentdrought comes on the back of two years of below average rainfall (2012
and2013).Themost recent hydrological year (Oct 2020 – Sept 2021) was wetter than the historical
averageby200mm.Toprovidecontext,thestandarddeviationofthe historical annual rainfall is 206
mm,thusalthoughwetterthemostrecentyear was within one standard deviation of the historical
annual rainfall.
ThemonthlyrainfallmonitortotheendofDecember2021isprovided in Figure 2.3. The above average
rainfallfor the 2020/2021 hydrological year is due to the above average monthly rainfall at the start of
the2020/2021summerseason.Thewintermonthsof the 2020/2021 were drier than average, as has
been noted for the other hydrological years since the start of the contemporary record at the site.
Figure2.2:Annual (hydrological years) rainfall anomaly for the Mike’s Pass meteorological station for the
full period 1949 – 2020 using a combination of in-situ gauged data and infilled data
Figure 2.3: Monthly rainfall anomaly for the Mike’s Pass meteorological station
2.2 Temperature monitor
ThemeanannualtemperatureattheMike’sPass weather station since monitoring resumed in 2012 has
beenabovethe historical (1951 - 1980) mean average temperature, and has been greater than the mean
by more than 0.5 Ceach year with 2015 and 2019 being more than 1.5 C warmer than the historical
mean average temperature (Figure 2.4).
Themonthlymean temperature anomaly for the current period is shown in Figure 2.5. The monthly
meantemperaturehasgenerallybeengreaterthanthehistorical mean of the monthly average
temperature, especially during the winter months. Interestingly, the month of October in the current
period has often been colder than the historical mean for October (Figure 2.5).
Figure 2.4: Annual mean temperature anomaly for the Mike’s Pass meteorological station
Figure 2.5: Monthly mean temperature anomaly for the Mike’s Pass meteorological station
2.3 Streamflow monitor
Majozi(2017)showedadecliningtrendinthestreamflowsforCathedral Peak, Catchment IV from 1950
to1995.Withthecurrentstreamflowperiodbecominglonger,withafullsevenhydrological years of
streamflowdatanowavailable for the current period an analysis of the trends in flow will be undertaken
in this project in the next year.
Asexpected,thestreamflowresponseslagtherainfallexperiencedasthey are moderated by the soil
and groundwater stores. The annual streamflow anomaly for the historical and current record period
relative to the 1961 - 1987 mean for CatchmentVI,CathedralPeakisshowninFigure2.6.Thelowest
annualstreamflowonrecordwasexperiencedinthehydrologicalyear of 2018, in alignment with the
lowest annual rainfall total. During the current meteorological drought period, the streamflows in 2016
and2017wereabovenormal.Thereasoning for this is related to the pattern of the rainfall experienced,
theunusuallywetJulyof2016andtheFebruary2017whichwas200mmwetterthanthe historical
averageforFebruary.Inalignmentwiththeaboveaveragerainfallduringthe2020/2021 hydrological
year, the streamflow was above normal.
The monthly streamflow anomaly for the current period (Figure 2.7) reflects the samepatternasthe
annual streamflow graph, showing the influence of the wet July 2016 and February 2017 on the flows. As
wellastheinfluenceofthewetstarttothesummerrainfallseasonof2020/2021,wherethe rainfall in
October 2020 to January 2021 was above normal resulting in the above normal flows inJanuaryand
February 2021.
Figure 2.6: Annual (hydrological years) streamflow anomaly for Catchment VI, Cathedral Peak
2.4 Way forward
Thetemperature, rainfall and streamflow monitors for the Cathedral Peak area will continue to be
producedonamonthlybasis.Howtheinformationis prepared for the communities will be altered
through consultation with the project team and community learning groups. In addition, the data from
the MDF weather stations in the larger study area will be included and assessed.
Furtherindicestodescribethepatternsintheclimateandassociatedvariables such as fire risk, have
beenproduced and are being considered as possible inclusions based on community interests. The ACRU
agrohydrologicalmodel has been configured for the catchment area with broad information. The
informationgathered through the mapping exercise (Section 4) will be used to improve the model
configuration in the next two months.
Figure 2.7: Monthly streamflow anomaly for Catchment VI, Cathedral Peak
3. Mapping of land use and ecosystem services: Progress to
date and way forward
The second aim of this project is:
-To develop a transdisciplinary social-ecological GIS support tool for decision making and
management of water and natural resources and link land uses with ecosystem services and
This aim relates to outcomes 2.1-2.5 as follows:
Outcome 2.1: Map of locally redefined land use, “social-ecological patches”
Outcome 2.2: Map of ecosystem services and livelihoods
Outcome 2.3: Understanding of gaps and priorities
Outcome 2.4: Overview of current management strategies and limitations
Outcome 2.5: Identification of power dynamics and inequitable access
Toachievethisaimaseriesofmapsisbeingcreatedinto a comprehensive GIS support tool for decision
making,compilingdatafromall the three domains water, ecosystem and society. These maps will
provideopportunitiesformulti-dimensionalspatialanalysisforidentificationof multi- and
transdisciplinaryfeedbacks,synergiesandtrade-offsbetweencomponentsofthe three domains.
Availableland use/land cover maps are typically produced at course resolutions, based on satellite
imagery, secondary data and assumptions. These maps are useful for large-scale landscape and
developmentplanningandregionalland management. However, in order to create more locally relevant
landusemapsfor local decision-making, verification, ground-truthing and re-classification of land uses
are needed. The methods beingusedinordertoachievethisaimareacombinationofmethodsdrawing
frommultipledisciplines,acrossnatural,social and sustainability sciences. These include GIS,
participatorymappingwithtransect/village walks, focus-group discussions. COVID19 restrictions have
resultedinadelayinfieldworkrequiredfor the maps, however some progress has taken place and
interim findings are being presented here and in section 4.
3.1 Participatory mapping
Threeparticipatorymappingexercises have been taken place in each of the communities Ezibomvini and
Costone;onegroupwithwomen, one with men and one with decision makers (i.e. people in the
communitiesinvolvedindecisionmakingprocessessuchasgrazingorwater committees), between
September 2021 and January 2022.
High-resolution satellite images sourced from Google Earth were used in order for the workshop
participantstomark and identify relevant places, land uses, ecosystem services and features in their
communitylandscapes.Theseimageswere printed out on A3 papers and mounted on a flip chart and
thequestions/discussion followed a guide found in Appendix 1. The boundaries that were marked out by
thecommunityleadersand members during the inception field visit to the communities were confirmed
or revised as a start.
Table3.1 (Costone) and Table 3.2 (Ezibomvini) provide overviews of some of the reflections and
comments that were gathered during the workshops, as well as what features were discussed and
markedinthemaps. Processing of all the rich qualitative and GIS data that was collected during these
workshopsare underway. The information presented below should therefore be considered only parts of
the findings. Figure 3.1 shows an example of a map being created during the workshop with men in
Costone,andFigure3.2the initial data processing into a google earth satellite image. Figure 3.3 similarly
showsanexampleofamapcreatedduringtheworkshop with women in Ezibomvini, and Figure 3.4 the
initial data processing into a google earth satellite image.
Table 3.1 A selection of reflections and comments gathered during threeparticipatoryworkshopsin
Costone, with women, men and decision-makers respectively.
Women (n=9)
Men (n=8)
Decision makers (n=7)
Identify natural
resources and land
Livestock also graze within the
No specific area allocated as
cemetery but bury around their
No specific place for
medicinal plants collection -
everywhere on the landscape
Many do cropping
No specific place for medicinal
plants collection - everywhere
on the landscape
Thatch grass is only found along
the edges of the cropping fields
but when fields are cultivated
Identify areas of
inadequate supply
Some women used to collect
firewood from KwaKhanyile
forest but restricted now
The small dam is silted - sand
and plastics. If the dam could
be rehabilitated, it can help in
irrigating their cropping fields
The road to ehlathini
elimpunga is eroded, they can
no longer go and collect
firewoods, poles for funerals
and construction
They only get water from
springs and no taps
They mark an area no longer
used for livestock grazing
because of stock theft
Several degraded areas were
marked on the map
Road to Ehlathini elimpunga is
eroded and dongas formed. It is
difficult to get to the cropping
field near ihlithi elimpunga
The old road is no longer
working because of soil and gully
erosion and a wetland has
formed around that area.
The road that goes up to the
mountain on the way to
KwaMnukwa is eroded and the
oxes can't get up to load the
poles or ungcuba.
Water sources that no longer
have water or in short supply
were noted
Identify restricted
areas and unequal
access to resources
No restricted place within their
Women are only restricted in
the kraal at their household as
part of the culture
The forest called UMntwana
and KwaKhanyile are restricted
for only collecting poles that
are used in funerals
The forest called UMntwana
is restricted for only collecting
poles that are used in
Livestock grazing is communal
The forest called UMntwana is
restricted. Only for collecting
poles for funerals.
Priorities/needs of
community on land
use and natural
Water is essential to them
Fence the cropping fields
Fence cropping area
Maintain the springs
Some of the springs are
drying up on winter and dug
out in summer - e.g.
umthombo ngakwa Miya
The need a cropping field area to
be fenced to prevent livestock
and begin to cultivate again
They also want a fence along the
main road to prevent livestock
from entering the homestead
Suggestions for
managing land and
water resources
sustainably and
Need policy to manage
resources equally and
Check how much water is
available and protect it
Install a tank at the top of the
mountain and connect a pipe
that provides water, big enough
for everyone to get water.
No one should collect water for
washing clothes but instead do
the laundry by the river
Elect one person to open and
close the tank at agreed times
Work together
Community members should
be an eye to everything
Community should work
together. Decisions should be
taken together. Agree together
as community on things that
help them
the community will sit down and
have a discussion about
protecting and managing their
resources and come out with
Women know their area very
well, especially places where
they collect firewoods, washing
clothes and water sources
They are afraid of entering the
intact forest called Umntwana
Grazing areas, dip, forest,
cropping fields identified as
important to men.
Umntwana omkhulu
nomncane are
indigenous/natural forest
Empungeni is gumtree
The contractor that put fence
in the area separated the
cropping fields and
homesteads but placed the
fence incorrectly.
There is an area where they
collect medicinal plants but
restricted and outside their
This group was able to identify
many degraded areas such as
eroded roads
Figure 3.1 An example of a map being created during the participatory workshop with men in Costone.
Figure3.2Initialdataprocessingfrom participatory mapping workshop with decision makers in Costone.
Work still in progress thus missing features and labels.
Table 3.2 A selection of reflections and comments gathered during threeparticipatoryworkshopsin
Ezibomvini, with women, men and decision-makers respectively.
Women (n=6)
Men (n=7)
Decision makers (n=17)
Identify natural resources
and land uses
No wetland - dried out and people
have built houses there
The mountainous area called
Inyunyana is used as a grazing area
Thatch grass is found along the edges
of cultivated fields within the
Collect umlahlankosi at Inyunyana. no
women allowed to collect it, only men
or boys
Cropping fields are only found along
the homestead together with
vegetable gardens
Notes not
yet available
Livestock graze everywhere within
the community
Wildfood includes uMdolofiya,
umkhwebezane, amakhikhizelo,
ishaqa, amakamuketshe
No proper firewood but they do
collect inhlaba,uhalabhamo,
isiqhapheyane, ugagane,
intozwane, isitibhili
Buy poles from SAPPI. Thatch grass
is scarce and only get it when
cropping fields are cultivated.
They said no recreational area
Used to go to embhengeni/
nyanyane area to pray for rain in
the old days.
Collect amanqatha (incansi
eluhlaza) for cultural uses.
Collect imbomvu for painting wall.
Collect different type of building
sand along the river.
Use land within their homestead to
make mudbricks.
Identify areas of inadequate
Most natural water sources are no
longer available
Built infrastructure such as tanks are
no longer working because pipes are
cut off
Notes not
yet available
Used to get bee honey in the area
called Engosisi but has been closed
by rocks
Some natural water sources
marked on the map are no longer
Some medicinal plants are no
longer found because of lack of
management such as following
rules of collecting medicinal plants.
Identify restricted areas and
unequal access to resources
Notes not
yet available
No restricted area. e.g livestock are
free to graze or move around
Priorities/needs of
community on land use and
natural resources
Water - protect the water sources.
Get Jojo tanks
Notes not
yet available
Protect water source, grazing areas
and preserve medicinal plants.
Suggestions for managing
land and water resources
sustainably and equitable
Get Jojo tanks installed at homestead
to harvest rain water.
Get jojo tank installed and a tap next
to the spring. Connect a pipe from a
tank for everyone to get water but
make sure the area is protected.
Provide fences to prevent livestock
from reaching the cropping fields.
Notes not
yet available
Work together. Be an eye of the
community. Be a good example of
the community.
Additional reflections
Notes not
yet available
The participants seem to be very
interested in making use of what
they have. Can do thing by
themselves if they get support.
They no longer want to wait for
government to assist them.
The group was confused about the
Rules such as collecting medicinal
plants were lost because of lack of
traditional leadership. e.g. time of
harvesting and ploughing.
Figure 3.3. An example of a mapbeingcreatedduringtheparticipatoryworkshopwithwomenin
Figure3.4Initialdataprocessingfrom participatory mapping workshop with women in Ezibomvini. Work
still in progress thus missing features and labels.
3.2 Way forward
The data and information processed from the participatory mapping workshops will be completed during
February2022.Additionaldatathatwill feed in to aim 2 will be collected during community walks, focus
group discussions and in-depth interviews with key informants.
Social-ecologicalpatches will be identified, which is spatial sub-units of land use that encompass the
naturalresourcebase,vegetation,property regime (individual and communal land access) and the
socio-economicdependencyandbenefitsin terms of ecosystem services and livelihoods opportunities
that people using the land obtain or seek to obtain (Sinare et al. 2016). Thisinformationwillbelayered
withGISdatagatheredunderaim3(section 4). These maps will be presented and discussed with the
communities during the series of co-learning workshops being planned under aim 5 (section 6).
4. Ecosystem health and functioning mapping: Progress to
date and way forward
To contribute to Aim 3 of the project viz. “To survey ecosystem health and functioning including
biodiversity of community land based on the needs of the communities for their ecosystem services and
livelihoods”, field and desktop surveys are to be used to develop maps of the ecosystem condition for
both the Ezibomvini and Costone villages. The section of the deliverable reports on the progress towards
the development of maps of ecosystem condition.
The maps of ecosystem condition will be informed by three aspects,
field based surveys which focusonwatersources,includingspringsandwetlands,erosionand
invasive alien species and woody encroachment
use of land use and land cover satellite imagery and terrain maps, and
veld condition assessments.
DuetonationalCOVID19lockdown restrictions and those imposed by the University on undertaking
work in community areas, the surveys were delayed. The field based surveys in both villageswere
conducted between August and November 2021. However, the field componentoftheveldcondition
assessmentswereonlyconductedinlateJanuary 2022 with the plant identifications and analyses
continuing into February 2022.
Thus,thefield based surveys using GPS which mapped the water sources, including springs and
wetlands, erosion and invasive alienspeciesandwoodyencroachmentarereportedinthisDeliverable
foreachvillage.Themapsanddiscussionspresentedhere are interim and will be finalised following the
completionofallaspectsoftheveld condition assessment. Boundaries for the villages were determined
withthecommunity members during activities described in section 2. The field surveys considered areas
outside of the village boundaries to ensure that any upstream factorsaffectingtheecosystemcondition
were included.
4.1 Ezibomvini Village
Within the village boundary demarcated bythevillagememberstherearetwodistinctareas,ahigher
lyingupper area which consists predominantly of grassland, woody vegetation and wetlands and the
lowerlyingareawhichisdominatedbyhomesteads, agriculture and small grassland blocks (Figure 8).
Threestreamsrunthroughthe Ezimbomvini village and feed into the Lindequespruit River. The field
survey was undertaken for the catchment areas of two of the streams, and focused on the higherlying
areas(Figure4.1).Thelowersectionconsistsofhomesteads,agriculturalzones and grasslands. A
notable,uniqueandrarebotanicalfeatureoftheareaisa natural Aloe hybrid population between
A.arborescens and A.marlothii.
Figure4.1:Ezibomvinivillageboundarywiththestreams,wetlands and springs and locations of E.Coli
tests, as well as the known points of water extraction and use.
Severalspringsareusedfordrinkingwaterbythe village. These springs are mainly in the higher lying
area, near the rivers (Figure 4.1). The water is mainly collected by buckets. Thespringsarealsousedby
cattle.Thesprings,however,arenothighyielding.Watersourcesarelimited,andarea significant
concern in this village. The water collected from the rivers is used in household cleaning, washing clothes
andbathing.Cattle,goats,pigsand ducks drink from several points along the river (Figure 4.1). The
lowerregions of the streams are subjected to dumping of building rubble, household refuse, glass
bottles and nappies. The presence of the above mentioned will affect water quality. The presenceof
E.coli(Escherichiacoli)wastestedatseveralpointsalong both streams, with samples either testing
positiveforE.coliorColiformsBacteria(Figure 4.2). These tests are going to be repeated as they were a
singlesnapshot in time. However, given the dependence of the village on these water sources the results
wereconcerning.Areaswhichappeartobe wetlands were noted adjacent and near to the river systems
(Figure 4.1). These areaswerewetinthedryseasonandhadvegetationcharacteristicoffrequently
saturatedareas. No formal delineation of the wetlands was undertaken. The condition of the wetlands
identifiedvariedfromseverelyimpacted(Figures4.3and4.4)tonear-pristine, however, the majority of
thewetlandsweredegradedandthefunctioningimpairedwithsignificanterosion present. Further, the
riparianareasofthestreams have been eroded (Figure 4.4), in some areas significantly with deep gullies
havingformed.The impacts on the wetlands and riparian areas noted in the field included cattle grazing,
erosion,invasivealienspeciesandclayharvestingforbrickmaking. The degradation of the wetland and
riparian areas in the upper higher lying areas of the villagewasnotedasasignificantconcern.Itislikely
that the extent of the degradationhasalreadynegativelyimpactedthewaterquantityandqualityinthe
streams, with the risk that further degradation could have significant negative impacts.
Figure 4.2. Results from the E.coli testing. A green colour indicates the sample is positive for E.coli, a
yellow sample indicates Coliforms Bacteria. The locations the samples were taken fromareindicatedon
the map.
Figure 4.3. A Poplar stand growing within the wetland area adjacent to a stream (left) and an example of
the gully erosion in the catchment areas (right).
Figure 4.4. A wetland area where clay has been harvested from to be made into bricks.
To illustrate the extent of impactandconcernofpotentialimpactsgoingforwardshouldinterventions
notbeputin place. A concrete water tank with further tanks downslope were noted during the mapping
survey.Communitymemberswereaskedaboutthetanks,fromtheir knowledge and memory the tanks
wereinstalledbytheDepartmentof Agriculture and supplied water to various households and gravity
feddownslopeareasthroughpipes.Apipefromthetankwas pointed out by the community and it was
notedthatitno longer supplied water. It was understood that the tanks used to be fed by a spring with a
v-box protection high up in the catchment area. On visiting the site ofthesupposedspringsite,
significant erosion was found, no spring or evidence of it could be found anditappearedasifthev-box
had collapsed years prior due to the significant erosion.
Theareasoferosionwerenotlimitedto the riparian areas, with erosion mapped across the higher lying
areasofthevillage (Figure 4.5). Deep gullies have been formed which, in some cases, have been invaded
byalienspecies(Figure4.6).Scatteredrockyareasoccurinthehighlyingareasof the village.An
extensivenetworkofcattlepaths was noted in the invaded, rocky areas. This is presumably caused by
herds of goats. These rocky areas have been invaded by woody vegetation (Figure 4.7), mainlyLantana
camara (Lantana) and Aloemarlothii (Mountain Aloe). Lantana is one of the worst weeds in the world
and category 1b invasive speciesinSouthAfrica.Therocksprovideafavourablemicrohabitatfor
LantanaandAloetoflourish.Theyprovideshelterfromveldfires,shade,andincreasedmoisture. Field
observationsoftheMountainAloeshowallage groups present in the population. The opposite is found
forLantanawhich mainly comprises of mature adults. The old aloe leaves and dead lantana branches are
collectedformakingfires.In this community, Lantana is dispersed by frugivorous birds defecating on the
rocks.Althoughtheconditionoftheveldis yet to be determined, it was noted that the Lantana
encroaches into and competes with the grassland species.
Figure 4.5. The areas of significant erosion in the Ezibomvini Community.
Figure 4.6. Images of erosion within the Ezimbovini village.
A further invasive species noted and mapped was Poplaralba (silver-leaf poplar). The Poplar, a category
2invader,wascommonlyseengrowingalongorwithintheriver.ThePoplarhasbeen planted and is
maintainedbythecommunityasitisusedforwoodenpoles for building and fencing. They have a
colonial growth form and create dense stands, andgiventhedeeprootednatureandgreaterbiomass,a
higherwaterusethanthe grassland species they replaced. The water use of Poplar alba has not been
determined in South African conditions, however, Ntshidi et al.(2018)foundPoplar canescens to have a
conservativeimpactonwaterusein the Western Cape due to the deciduous nature of the tree which
shortensthetranspirationlengthduringtheyearunlikethe Acacia, Pinus and Eucalyptus invasive
species.Ntshidietal. (2018) suggested a low priority of Poplar canescens in the alien clearing programs.
As Poplar canescens is considered a hybrid of Poplar alba,intheabsence of field based measurements,
the water use of these trees could be considered a low priority.
Historicalimagerywillbeusedto determine whether the extent of the alien species invasion has
increasedovertime or remained relatively constant during the next stages of the map development. The
nextstageswillalsoincludeusingimagerytofurtherassessthethirdriver. A preliminary field survey
foundthethirdcatchmenttobe highly eroded, with extensive Lantana invasions. Large wet areas
adjacenttotheriver dominated by Imperata cylindrica were noted, however, the preliminary survey was
undertakenfollowinglarge rainfall events. Unplanted maize fields were noted in the catchment. Growing
within fallow maize fields is Lespedeza cuneata.Thisleguminousspecies was introduced to South Africa
asaforagespecies.However,ithasthepotentialtobecome a serious invasive weed due to the seed
banks which can remain for decades. It has been declared aseriousweedinseveralUSAstateswhereit
was introduced for erosion control and proved to be an extremely aggressive invader inopenareas(
Figure 4.7. The woody vegetation components in the upper region of the community.
4.2 Costone Village
The Costone village is characterizedbyahighaltitudemountainboundary,threeriversystems,alarge
wetlandinthecommunity area and grasslands. The high altitude regions contain springs that feed the
three rivers the flow down through the homestead areas (Figure 4.8). Thesteepmountainslopesare
characterized by a rich diversityofindigenoustrees.Thelowerregionsarecoveredbygrasslands,
wetlands,homesteadsandagriculturalzones.Asthevillage area is substantially larger than the
Ezimbomvinivillage,thefullcatchmentareasoftheriverscouldnotbe walked. Thus, key areas were
identified prior to the field survey.
IncontrasttotheEzimbomvinivillage,Costonehasanumberofwater sources. A borehole has recently
beendrilled in the village, with a pump and tanks installed that supply water to a sector of the village.
There is a borehole with a hand pump above thehomesteadarea,neartowhichthereisaprotected
spring(v-box)thatfeeds into two JoJo tanks from which community members collect water (a significant
distancefromanyhouseshowever). A further key feature with regards to water, is a large wetland in the
lowerhomesteadareaofthevillage(Figure4.9).Therearethreespringsinthisarea that, at the end of
thedryseason,hadfairyield. Drinking water is collected from these springs, however, they are not
protected thus are used by cattle for drinking as well. Awetlandassessmentanddelineationwasnot
done. However, fromthe field survey it was noted that the majority of the wetland vegetationremains
intact.Aportion is used for agriculture during dry years and left fallow in wet years. Cattle are allowed to
grazewithinthewetland. There is a good flow of water exiting the wetland into the river. The
importanceofprotectingthiswetlandandbuilding spring protections to ensure a sustainable water
source for the community was evident. TwosetsofE.Coli tests were undertaken on the springs and flow
exitingthewetland(Figure 4.10). The first tests were taken at two of the springs in the wetland (Points D
andEinFigure4.9)and at the flow exit from the wetland (Point F in Figure 4.9). The second set were
takenatthethreespringsandtheexitofthewetland.During October a spring tested positive for E.Coli
whileinNovemberthe flow from the exit of the wetland was positive. As these are points used for
drinking water collection, protection is needed.
Upstreamofthelargerwetland,a smaller wetland was noted (Figure 4.9). The smaller wetland was
significantlydegradedwiththeimpacts noted being overgrazing, clay harvesting for bricks and
agriculture. There was no flow exiting this wetland.
Figure 4.8. Costone Village boundary with rivers,springsandpointsofwaterextractionshownaswellas
locations of sampling for E.Coli
Figure4.9:LowerportionofCostoneVillagewithrivers,springs and points of water extraction shown as
well as locations of sampling for E.Coli, erosion areas and invasive species.
Other water features identified were springs in the upper areas of the village. Three springs inthehigh
lyingareassurveyed(Figure4.11),twoofthesprings(labelledA and B in Figure 4.9) were flowing while
one was dry. The first spring was downstream of an indigenous forest patch. The area immediately below
the spring eye is eroding, with the gulliesformingandwattleinvasionsinthesegullies(Figure4.12).The
impacts noted on the area below the spring are cattle paths and overgrazing. The eye of thesecond
springwasnotobserved during the field survey, however, wet areas in the landscape were noted. The
areaischaracterisedbydeepcontinuousgrazinglines,anddownstreambyamature Podocarpus forest
patch. The third spring, which had the highest discharge, was on a steep slope withwattleinvasionson
evident upslope of the spring eye, while significant erosion near and downstream of the springwere
noted(Figure4.13).Watersamplestaken at both flowing springs showed the presence of Coliforms
Bacteria (Figure 4.14). These were a snapshot in time after the dry season.
IncontrasttotheEzimbomvinivillagearea,theerosionin the Costone village area was primarily limited
tonearoradjacenttothestreams.Similarly, the extent of the alien invasive species noted was less than
Ezimbomvini.Isolatedpatches of Poplar trees near to streams were noted. The riparian areas of the
streams in stretches appeared to be in a near-pristine state, and the upper regions of the village area had
a high diversity of indigenous trees and shrubs.
Fig4.10.E.colisamplestakenfrompoints in the wetland on two different dates. A green colour indicates
the sample is positive for E.coli, a yellow sample indicates Coliforms Bacteria. Thelocationsthesamples
were taken from are indicated on the map.
Figure 4.11: Lower portion of Costone Village with rivers, springs and points of water extraction shown as
well as locations of sampling for E.Coli, erosion areas and invasive species.
Figure 4.12. Erosion downstream of the eye of the first Spring (Spring A)
Figure 4.13. Images showing the erosion and presence of wattle near the third Spring (Spring B)
Figure4.14.E.colisamplestakenfromspringsinthehighlyingareas in October 2021. A green colour
indicates the sample is positive for E.coli, ayellowsampleindicatesColiformsBacteria.Thelocationsthe
samples were taken from are indicated on the map.
4.3 Way forward
This part of the research aims at linking ecological and hydrological knowledge to inform sustainable land
managementbasedontheidentifiedneedsofthecommunitiesto enhance prioritised ecosystem
services and livelihood options. The finalised maps from the field surveys presented in sections4.1and
4.2 will be combined with the participatory mapping (section 2) to produce spatial maps of land uses and
ecosystemservices and health for use in the co-learning activities and workshops. The co-learning will be
basedontheexistingconditionofthelandandavailability of resources, and on the understanding of
whatthecommunitiesprefertoobtainfromthatenvironment, and whether the ecosystems obtain
sufficientlevelsofwatertomaintaintheecologicalfunctions.Thebasis of this approach is to be able to
provide knowledge supportformanagementoptionsthatarenotpurelytop-down,i.e.scientists
informingstakeholderswithoutconsiderationoftheirneeds.Thus,this ecosystem health and ecological
surveyingwillrespondtocommunityneedsandsurveythehabitats,species composition and various
aspects of biodiversity that is relevant for informed decisions regarding landmanagementsuchasfor
grazing,medicinalplants,wildfoods,buildingmaterials,orenergysources.Themaintenance and
enhancement of these different ecosystemservicesinevitablyrequiredifferentsetsofecosystem
functions,speciescomposition, as well as sufficient levels of water quantity and flow, all of which
comprise a comprehensive set of variables within the ecological domain of the social-ecological system
(Pacheco-Romeroetal.2020).Thisapproachwillalso identify potential synergies and trade-offs
betweenservices,i.e.whatmanagementpracticeswill enhance multiple ecosystem services
simultaneously,andwhatpracticesleadtodeclinesinother services when targeting a specific service
(Lindborgetal.2017).Relevantspatialand statistical analyses will be performed to identify correlations,
synergies,trade-offs,spatialpatternsand interlinkages between the natural resource base, land use,
ecosystemservicesandlivelihoods.Thesemayinclude,butare not limited to, cluster mapping,
redundancy analysis, principal component analysis and multivariate analysis.
5. Decisions and social-cultural factors: Progress to date and
way forward
The fourth aim of this project is:
-Toimprovetheunderstandingoflocaldecision-making,resourceuse and management, and
identify the social-cultural factors that influence decisions
Thisaimrelatesto outcome 4:1, which focuses on understanding of local, individual and communal,
decisionmaking.Inorderto guide and support decision making towards sustainable land and water
resourcesmanagementincommunities,itisimperativetounderstandthefullset of factors that
influence the decisions made for the land, including land that fall under individual propertyregimes,as
wellascommunallymanagedlanduses. This project will therefore investigate the social-cultural
concepts(e.g. worldviews, collective traditions and experiences, beliefs and values) behind individual
andcollectivedecision-makingmadewithinthevariouslanduses.Thedecisionsinfocus here are what
managementpracticesareused,andwhat ecosystem services are targeted, by individuals in their
private land plots and in their use ofcommunallands,andbycollectives(communityleaders)intheir
management and decisions regarding the communal lands.
Fortheassessmentof the social-cultural concepts behind collective decision-making, community leaders
andotherrelevantstakeholderswillbeengagedthrough an iterative series of focus-group discussions
(FischerandYoung2007).Thisprocesswillallowfor inductive reasoning, interaction and reflection of
thesocial-culturalconcepts between the participants and facilitators, and is particularly useful in
researchprocessesthataimatpreparingground for natural resource co-management strategies such as
thisproject.Thefirst rounds of such focus group discussions have taken place, namely one group in
EzibombiniandtwogroupsinCostone.InEzibomvini,agroupof20communitymembers attended (17
womenand3men).Fiveparticipantsrepresentingwateranddiptankcommitteesin Costone were part
ofonefocusgroupdiscussion,and 22 community members (not in committees) attended the other
group (20 women and 2 men). The discussions aimed at learning and understanding from the
communities in relation to a number oftopicssuchas:naturalresourcemanagementandlanduse;land
usepracticesinpast,presentandfuture;whomakes decisions, and for whom; who have access to
resources;communities’relationshipstotraditionalauthorities and ward councillors; roles of ward
councillors;changesinaccess to resources over the past decade; and the impact of climate change on
naturalresourcesandcommunitymembers’accessthereto(seeAppendix 2). Below follows the
summarizednotesfromoneofthesefocus group discussions, namely one of the groups in Costone
(n=22)-includedhereasanexampleofthe outcomes of these discussions. The notes from the other
twogroups(oneinCostoneandoneinEzibomvini), along with more focus group discussions being
scheduled for February - April 2022, will be compiled and analyzed.
5.1 Decision making in Costone
Understanding of natural resource management. Theparticipantsclearly defined an important role of
naturalresourcesintheircommunityinwhichthegrassesandtrees provide grazing lands for their
livestock,shelterthroughbuildingthatchedhouses,habitatsandfoodsource for wild animals, some of
whicharehuntedbycommunitymembers. Other herbs and indigenous trees are used to mix traditional
medicineshence deforestation of wild forests and destroying these resources will mean that the
communitywillnothavetheabove-mentionedbenefitslong-term.Thewaterresourceis a cornerstone
intheircommunitywithmanyuses,theirlivesdepend on groundwater and streams found within the
area hence pollution of natural water sources found in their community will harmtheirlivelihoods.The
community advocates against water pollution including litter and toxic chemicals at or near their water
sourceswhichchannelthroughtheircommunityandaretheironlysourceof water for drinking by
humans and animals in the area.
Land use priorities. Firstly,asCostoneisafarming community, land use management means sustainable
food production for them; withouthealthysoilsandsufficientsoilmoisturetheircommunitycannot
growcrops.Communitymembershavetherefore adopted conservation agriculture practices which
reducessoil erosion and enriches the topsoils with organic matter important for the sustainability of
food production for the future generation.The community has grazing rangelands where they keep their
livestockduring the planting season. They do not allow anyone to use the rangelands for farming or
buildinghomesbecausetheywilldisturbtheirlivestock from grazing. There are also protected forests
thatareonlyusedforcollectinglogsusedinburialpracticeandnooneis allowed to collect wood from
those forests for other uses. Furthermore, there are protected streams for drinking water.
Present land use practices. Eventhoughthenumberofpeoplewhoarefarmingin their community has
reducedinrecentyearscomparedtothepast,aconsiderablenumberofpeoplearestillfarmingin the
community,especiallytheoldergeneration.Thecapable youth majority is moving into big cities and the
remainingyouthinthecommunityisshowinglessinterest in farming.Job opportunities have improved
inthecommunitythroughtheExpandedPublicWorks Programme (EPWP), which include clearing
roadsides,communityhalls,schools,andalieninvasive species. The use of grasslands, forests and
wetlands for various benefits include sand mining (mainly for building houses), fetching water fromthe
stream(wherethereisnoJojo tanks connected to the groundwater and borehole taps), collecting red
clay to use for sunscreen and fetching wood, thatch grass, mud for bricks to build houses.
Land use practices in the past. ThelandthattheCostonecommunitycurrentlyresideson was a private
commercialbeeffarmwhich was managed as grazing land with grazing camps and a rotational grazing
schedule.Thecommunitywasrelativelysmallwithfewerfamilieslivingand working on the farm and
alsoutilizedthecommercialfarmer’sgrazinglandfortheir livestock. Oxen-drawn ploughs were used for
landpreparation. Growing crops was common in their community as everyone was farming to
supplement their earnings from the farm, then commonly applying conventional tillage practices.
Communitieswerenotyet introduced to making mud bricks to build houses. The houses were instead
built using wood to erect the structure of the house and hard soil blocks were dugonthefieldsand
carefullyplacedbetweenthewoodtohavecomplete house walls. The roofs were entirely made from
thatch or straw before the corrugated metal was introduced to them. They wereentirelydependenton
naturalresourcestobuildtheirhomesteads.Themajoritydependedon the firewood for cooking and
warming their households.
Land use practices in the future. The number of people who are farming are believed by the participants
todrasticallydeclineinfutureasinterest in farming is being noticed among younger generations.
Participantsalsoforeseelongdryspells prohibiting farming and causing death to livestock as the grazing
lands will be reduced and streams providing drinking water will dry up as a result ofclimatechange.
Forests are believed to become depleted due to deforestationorasaresultoftheincreasingdrought
conditionthatthreatenstheconditionsforforestsandwildanimals. The participants foresee that roads
leadingtotheirdeep rural village rich in many resources will attract investments, and as a result,
industrializationoftheir village for job creation for youth. People will gain financial freedom which will
allowthemtochangefrommakingmud brick houses to upgraded houses made from concrete bricks.
Participantsseethecollectionoffirewoodasadyingpracticeasotherpeoplehaveadoptedtheuse of
electric stoves for cooking and warming. They also believe that their community has abundant
groundwaterandthosewhocanaffordto drill boreholes will have them in the future. They furthermore
foresee a development towards the delivery of drinking water by the municipalitywithinfrastructure
reaching to peoples homesteads through pipes and taps.
Decisionmakersand decision making. The decisions which affect the community are largely made by the
community members, especially men, to maintain peace andpreservethenaturalresourcessuchasthe
protectionoftheforestsusedforcollecting wood for burials is something that the community men
discussed amongst each other and informed other community members to followontheidea.The
grazingrangelandsareprotectedbythe livestock farmers who forbid anyone from settling their
homesteadsor farming in these areas and the local chief assists them in solving the disputes arising from
thismatteriftheyencounteranyresistancefromthenew occupants. With regards to cropping the
communitydecidesontheirownwhentoplant and the livestock farmers follow instinctively when to
taketheirlivestocktograzingareasaway from the community to avoid any disputes arising from
livestockdamaging growing crops as many growing fields do not have proper fencing to prevent livestock
fromgrazingthroughthefields.Anydisputearisingfromthis matter is solved at the discretion of the
field and livestock owners. Any failures to solve the matter betweenthetwoareforwardedtoalocal
chiefwhoprovidesresolutionsand penalties with fines to the matter depending on who is at fault. At
harvestingseason,thelocalchiefgivespreciseharvestingdates to community members, anyone who
harvestsbeforethegivendatesbytheisiqongoissubjected to a fine, and failures to complete the
harvest within the given time frame is considered the farmer's faultasthelivestockownersareallowed
tobringbackthelivestockfrommountains to forage in the community for stover remaining on the
harvested fields.
Access to resources. Everyonehasaccesstocommunityresources including non-community members
once permitted by the community,especiallyforacquiringlandtobuildahomesteadorfarming.New
residents must communicate with a landowner at first regarding purchasing or renting thelandfor
buildingorfarmingandthelandownermust further inform the community members and the local chief
about the change of land ownership. Oncethoseprocessesarecompletedthenewresidentsmayutilize
the land in any way they choose. Other resources like theJojotanksinstalledinthecommunityto
provideeasyaccesstodrinkingwaterforcommunity members are open to everyone included extended
community members.
Relationship between community and local chief and councillors. Thecommunitymembershavea solid
relationshipwith the local chief as he resides in the nearest village called Eqeleni, unlike the local
councilorswhoresideateMaswaziniwhichisavillagefurtherawayfromtheir community. They
communicatewiththelocalchiefthroughthecommunaliNdunaif they have matters that require his
interventiontosolveseriouscommunaldisputes.The community can only interact with the councilor to
address their matters or listen to him talk on the meetings calledonceinawhilehostedatthe
community hall or the, for many inaccessible, Bergvillecityhall.Currently,thecouncillorhasnotangible
role that is known to the participants.
Impact of climate change on natural resources. Thetypeof grass which is specifically used to build
thatch houses has become scarce in the community as they have to select certain patches orwalklong
distances to find good grass material used in building thatch houses andtheybelievethatthisiscaused
byclimatechange.Otherwatersourcesare drying up as a result of climate change which forces them to
walklongdistancesto find water sources with potable water. The long dry spells in previous years forced
the community to change their planting periodasaresultoflowrainfallinthoseyearswhichresultedin
reduced yield production.
5.2 Way forward
Furtherfocusgroupdiscussionsregardingdecisionsofcommunal land are scheduled to continue during
FebruarytoApril2022.Theoutcomes,inform of narratives and personal perceptions will be analysed to
assessthesocial-culturalconcepts(e.g.worldviews,collectivetraditionsand experiences, beliefs and
values) behind decision making. Key informants identified as those who form part of decisionswill
furtherparticipateinin-depthinterviewsandsmallerfocusgroupworkshops.Toassess the
social-cultural concepts behind individual decision making (i.e.homesteadsand agricultural plots), a
combination of in-depth interviews, multiple-response option surveys and/orparticipatorygames
(Pardoe et al. 2016) will be used, also during the first half of 2022.
6. Co-learning for sustainable management of land and water:
Progress to date and way forward
The fifth aim of this project is:
-To design and test a framework forsupportinginnovationanddecisionmakingforsustainable
resource use management and improved livelihood opportunities.
Thisaimrelatestooutcomes5.1,whichistotestinnovationsincludingtechnicaltrainingand providing
equipment, 5.2, which focusesonco-designingaframeworkforsustainableresourceuse,and5.3,which
willevaluatesustainablemanagement of resources and scoring of sustainability indicators. The project
teamincludingscientists,communitymembersandleadershave,fromthe onset of the project, been
involvedinaseries of activities that aims to lead to the co-design of a framework for supporting
innovation and decision making for sustainable management of landforfood,waterandecosystem
services,thattakesequity,diversityandinclusion,andtheenvironmentintoconsideration. The
co-learningprocessandco-developmentoftheframeworkrequires iterative communication,
collaborationandconsensusthroughouttheproject.Theknowledgeproduced during Aims 1-3, and the
deeperunderstandingofdecision-makingprocessesunderAim4will strengthen the outcomes of Aim 5
andprovidethecontentof the workshops according to themes. Following the introductory visit in the
Costone,EzibomviniandMhlwazinicommunitiesinNovember2020,thecommunity engagement has
proceeded in the Ezibomvini and Costone communities.
Thecore group of participants in each community are the groups that have been participants of the MDF
led WRC project K5/2719/4. These groups are already in the process of developing decisions, assessing
andplanninginnovationsinvolvingpracticessuchas stream protection, conservation agriculture, fodder
production and grazing rotation. Additional community level stakeholdershavebeeninvitedto
participate in the activities, including community leaders, community facilitators, committee members of
grazing committees and water committees, youth groups and other community members.
6.1 Multi-stakeholder engagement
Forthe purpose of engaging a wider range of stakeholders, other than community members and leaders,
astakeholdermapping exercise was prepared to provide a provisional overview of relevant stakeholders,
their role in/in relation to the community and what insight or information they canprovidetothe
communityand/orproject(seeTable6.1). A multi-stakeholder co-learning workshop was initially
plannedforthisreportingperiod,but has been delayed due to the UKZN Research Ethics Office’s
COVID19-relatedrestrictionsinresearch activities involving human interactions and community
engagement.TheSANBI2ndCatchment-based Indaba on Ecological Infrastructure, held 2-4 November
2021inthe neighboring Didima Resort, however provided an opportunity for the project team to engage
with a variety of stakeholders among those listed in Table 6.1.
Table 6.1 Overview of relevant stakeholder categories, their role(s) in the community and the source of
insight and information they (can) provide the community.
Sources of
Local community members (e.g. individuals,
landowners, committees, co-operatives)
Community, NGOs,
researchers, extension
Traditional leaders
Local communities, decision
making processes
Community facilitators
Local people and researchers
Ward councilor
Local governance
Mahlathini development foundation (NGO)
Local communities,
OKhahlamba local Municipality
Local communities and
government, District
uThukela district Municipality
Government, Local
municipality, Water
UThukela water
Department of Agriculture and Land Reform
Local communities,
commercial farmers
Department of Water and Sanitation
Cathedral Peak Hotel
Drakensberg-Ukhahlamba Park,
Maloti-Drakenberg Transfrontier Park,
Ezemvelo KZN wildlife, SANBI
Neighbouring protected
areas, environmental
community land protection
Students, scientists and researchers working
across various disciplines (UKZN, INR, SAEON,
Scientific knowledge,
problem solving
Educators (natural science teachers and
Department of Education
Commercial farmers association/club
The project team is closely involved in the DSI/WRC funded SANBI Living Catchments Project,Thukela,
aimingatenhancingresearch,developmentand innovation for socio-economic impact through engaged
communitiesofpracticeinkeycatchmentsassociatedwithstrategicwatersourceareas,through and
supporting existing collaborativeplatformsatcatchmentleveltointegrateresearch,planningand
implementation.Ourprojectliewithinthegeographical area and scope of the Thukela Living Catchment
project and close collaboration with the convener team (INR, UKZN andMDF)isunderway.Around110
delegates from the spheres ofgovernment,academia,researchinstitutionsandcivilsociety
organisationsattendedthe2ndCatchment-basedIndabaon Ecological Infrastructure within which the
MDFhostedafieldvisitintheEzibomviniandCostone communities. A group of 24 visitors representing
the INR, SANBI, DUCT, Amanzi Ethu Nobuntu,UKZN,Ezemvelo,MDTP,WRC,andWWF,visitedthree
projectparticipantsandwerediscussingthe implementation of Climate Resilient Agriculture practices,
resource conservation and water managements practices as well as crop-livestock integration.
Figure 6.1. Multi-stakeholder field visit to Ezibomvini/Costone 2 November 2021duringSANBI2nd
Catchment-based Indaba on EcologicalInfrastructure.Topleft:MamZikodeexplainingtheconstruction
and use of her bucket drip irrigation system in her tunnel. Top right: Mam Hlongwane showingThe header
tank(2400L Eco tank) where spring water is collected before being reticulated to 200l drums (blue drum)
foreachof9households.Bottom left: Mam Hlongwane’s micro tunnel. Bottom middle: Mam Nothile’s
enclosurebuiltforstorageofhaybalesmadefromcovercropsand veld grass. Bottom right: Visitors and
community members.
Thefirstvisitwasat Thulile Zikode’s homestead in Ezibomvini, where participants were being introduced
to vegetable production in micro tunnels where drip irrigation and grey water was used for watering
(Figure6.1,top left). Drip irrigation occurs through buckets containing sand filters to enable the use of
greywater.Ezibomvinidoesnothaveanyaccesstowatersuppliedbythegovernmentandfor the most
partsmallholdersundertakedrylandcroppingand extensive grazing of livestock only. Some of the
learning-groupparticipantsareamongthefew engaged in small-scale irrigation for vegetable
production.The participants then visited Phumelele Hlongwane (Ezibomvini), who explained the
expansionof her garden and the multiple water sources used – grey water, water from the group
self-supplyschemefroma protected spring and most recently drilling of her own borehole at her
homestead(Figure6.1,topright,bottomleft).Lastly,theIndabavisitors visited Nothile Zondi’s
homesteadinCostonediscussingactivities related to crop-livestock integration and showed the visitors
theveld hay bales collected for livestock supplementation. They also discussed their use of winter
supplementationaswellasproductionoffoddercropswithintheirConservation Agriculture systems.
These activities have been designed to augmentthenaturalgrazing,toreducegrazingpressureandalso
to provide for better nutrition for livestock in general, with a view tocattlesalesatlocalauctions.
Homesteads in this village also do not have accesstowaterinfrastructureforpotablewaterorirrigation
and as springs are far, irrigation is undertaken strictly with rainwater or grey water.
6.2 “Water village walks”
WhiletheAims1-4willincreasethecommunities’knowledgeandunderstandingof their natural
resource base to be betterpreparedtomakedecisionsforimprovingtheirmanagementpractices,the
communitiesarenottechnicallyandfinanciallyequipped to test and experiment innovations. This
projectthereforeaimstoprovidetheparticipantswith additional support for community
experimentationduringYear2and3,totestinnovationswhichthey, through this long-term co-learning
decisionmakingprocess,have thoroughly reached consensus to implement. This experimentation may
includetechnicaltrainingand funds to purchase equipment and material. Building the innovation testing
onthoroughdecisions, including reflecting on how decisions are made under Aim 4, reduce the risk of
projectfundingto be inefficiently used. As a preparation of such innovations (and as part of the resource
mapping described in section 4), water and resources mapping walks (“water village walks”) were carried
outinthetwo communities. These walks were aimed at co-assessing the water sources with the most
potential to be protected and developed for water provision to the communities. Theprojectteamand
keyinformantsfromthe communities (water committee members) were accompanied by an agricultural
engineeringconsultantwhichprovidedvaluableopportunitiestoco-learnaboutthe landscape,
resources,options,needsandpriorities.Theagricultural consultant thereafter developed potential
layoutand access scenarios for a number of options, aligned with the priorities of the community
representativesandfeasibility.Theprioritization looked at the geographical positions, strength and
conditionofthesesourcesaswellastheir potential to supply as many households as possible with
water. These scenarios are to be used in the coming weekstoworkwiththecommitteeandcommunity
members to finalise the options for implementation. The prioritization looked atthegeographical
positions, strength and condition of these sources as well astheirpotentialtosupplyasmany
householdsaspossiblewithwater.Thesescenariosareto be used in community planning workshops to
prioritize and finalise the options for implementation. Conversations and planning with thewater
committe in Costone has been initiated during January 2022.
6.3 Way forward
Aplannedco-learningworkshop series will systematically cover the thematic contents of the aims and
activitiesofthevariousprojectcomponents.Thesethemesincludesrainfallandstreamflowand how
observedchangesarelikelytoaffectwateravailabilityinthefuture(Aim 1), vegetation and biodiversity
andhow the current condition of the grassland areas determine opportunities for land management
activities(Aim3),individualandcollectivedecisionmakingandhow social-cultural factors influence the
decisionsmaderegardingwaterand natural resources (Aim 4), and testing of innovations for sustainable
water and land resources management. The workshop series isbeingplannedasprocessingofdataand
analysis of the information gathered thus far is being completed.
Inordertoguidesustainablemanagementofresources,thereisa need to evaluate the sustainability of
land and water resource management strategies from anecosystemserviceandlivelihoodsperspective.
Inotherwords,throughasetofindicators,thecapacity of the communities to reliably sustain a desired
setofecosystemservicestosecurelivelihoodsandhumanwell-being of its inhabitants will be scored
throughascience-communityco-learningexercise. Initially, such evaluation was planned to take place at
thebeginningandattheendoftheworkshopseries.Given the delays of the workshop series due to
COVID19regulations,theevaluationprocessneedstobe adapted. The sustainability evaluation, using
maps,analysisandfindingsfromtheprevioussections will be discussed during a workshop in mid 2022,
andasetofsustainabilityindicatorswillbescoredbythe participants, team members and additional
stakeholders. The indicators used to provide the scores are modified from Biggs et al. 2015 and
Delgado-Serranoetal.2018,andinadditiontotheconditionofthe land and water resources that
sustainecosystemservices,theyincludeaspectsof knowledge and learning,governance and equity,
infrastructureandhealth,andlivelihoods.Theseindicatorswillassist communication with community
leadersandotherrelevantstakeholderstodetermineifthecharacteristicsof their current and future
waterandnaturalresourcemanagementstrategiesarelikelyto be conducive or may impede the
potential long-term sustainability.
For extended learning exchange, cross-study visits between the different participating community groups
are planned for exchange of experience, dissemination of results,andforfurtheradvancementofthe
framework, towards the second half of 2022.
7. Annual Reporting
7.1 Capacity building
7.1.1 Community
The Costone and Ezibomvini communities are throughtheirinvolvementinthisandrelatedprojects
gaininganincreasedunderstandingofthenaturalresourcebasewhichthey depend on and manage for
ecosystemservicesand livelihoods. The participation in mapping exercises and focus group discussions
increase the awareness of their surrounding landscapes and theuseandmanagementofthese
resources.Thiswillbestrengthenedthroughtheupcoming multi-stakeholder co-learning workshop and
thematicworkshopswherebythecommunitieswillbebetterinformedandequipped to implement
sustainable and equitable land management strategies. Through technical and financial support the
communities can test innovations they would not otherwise have capacity for.
7.1.2 Organization
Themulti-andtransdisciplinary nature of the research, and bringing a diverse research team together to
address several aspects of the complexity that sustainable water andnaturalresourcemanagement
entails, will benefit UKZN. Material and products, and lessons learnedwillbeincorporatedinthe
undergraduateandpostgraduateprograms.Further,SAEON,aswell as the EFTEON platform will benefit
and develop from participating in this project. Bringing a diverse team of scientiststogetherand
respondingtothe needs of the communities will strengthen the organization's capacity to address
complexissues from a multi- and transdisciplinary approach. Ezemvelo will draw on lessons learned from
the interactions with the local communities adjacent to the protected areasanddeveloptheiroutreach
activitiesaccordingtotheneedsandrequestsofthe communities identified through this project.
Participatinginthisproject is also leading to institutional development of Mahlathini by increasing the
facilitators'knowledgeandunderstandingofthenaturalresourcebase and the processes that influence
community members' and leaders' decision making and management of resources.
7.1.3 Postgraduate students
TwoMScstudents are involved in this project. Mr Mdoda Ngwenya registered in April 2020 for an MSc in
Hydrology at UKZN, and is supervised by Dr Rebecka Henriksson (UKZN) and Erna Kruger (MDF).
Ngwenya has a National Diploma in NatureConservationfromNelsonMandelaMetropolitanUniversity,
aB-TechinNature Conservation from Mangosuthu University of Technology and a BSc Honours in
EnvironmentalSciencefromRhodesUniversity.Hiscurrentresearch will further broaden his field of
expertise,alsogainingfromhismanyyears experience in community facilitation and outreach in various
naturalresources management projects. Ngwenya’s MSc project titled “Participatory mapping and
analysis of social-ecological patches, ecosystem services and livelihoods in the Drakensberg,
KwaZulu-Natal”fits within Aim 2 of this project and is instrumental in completing the expected outcomes
underthisaim.Crucialtotheworkofthisaim is a deep understanding of the local conditions, the
socio-culturalcontext and language. Ngwenya is a native isiZulu-speaker and is furthermore originating
fromavillagelocatedonlyafewkilometersawayfrom the study area. His background significantly
contributes to a greater understanding of the lives the community members lead and the contexts within
whichtheirnaturalenvironmentsarebeingmanaged,whichwillbenefit the kind of field research his
MScprojectentails.Ngwenyahasfurthercompletedthecourse“TrainingofTrainers - Introductory
coursetofacilitatingsociallearningandstakeholderengagementin natural resource management
contexts”atRhodesUniversity.Thecourseaimed to build capacity of current and future practitioners of
environmentallearningprocessessuchas training, facilitation, stakeholder engagement and information
sharing by drawing onup-to-datelearningtheory,methodsandprocesses,whichwillgreatlybuild
Ngwenya’spersonalcapacities,andbenefitthegreaterprojectas well. Ngwenya is currently completing
his research proposal and literature review, and started his fieldresearchinOctober2021.Ngwenya’s
disabilitystatus(visualimpairment)hasbeenconsideredinthesupervisorysupport through assisting
withprinting out reading material and providing a computer monitor for use at home during the Covid19
lockdown.Hehasfurtherbeenassisted by UKZN’s disability support unit and been granted access to the
UKZNvisualsupportLAN.ThisLAN was however not open during the lockdown. The project lead
continuously assesses Ngwenya’s need for support to facilitate his work.
ThesecondstudentwhohascontributedtotheprojectisMrSachinDoarsamy, who is registered for an
MScinGrasslandScience, served as an intern on the project. Mr Doarsamy has a BSc and BSc Honours in
Grassland Science and EcologyfromUKZN.MrDoarsamyhascontributedtowardstheprojectbyusing
his knowledge gained through his MSc to undertake the mapping aspect and veld condition assessments.
7.2 Knowledge dissemination
Theresearcherswithintheteam,andtheirrespectiveorganizationsformpartofnumerous networks
andpartnershipsinSouthAfricaandglobally,whichwillcontributetoa wide dissemination of
knowledge, information, and collaboration. The expected knowledge dissemination inthisprojectcover
arangeofapplications.Projectteammembers will attend the Southern African Mountain Conference in
March2022,atwhichanoralpresentationwillbeheld, titled “Community based climate change
adaptationintheCentralDrakensbergimprovesresilienceofsmallholderfarmers”(authors:E Kruger, R
Henriksson and M Toucher, see Appendix 3 for accepted abstract).
Abrief information video was produced by SANBI during the 2nd Catchment-based Indaba field visit on 2
November2021.This video was narrated by the field visit host, MDF facilitator M Malinga who
presented an overview of the topics discussed in the three homesteads during the field visit.
Apolicybrief will be produced, and policy makers will be invited to relevant meetings and feedback
sessionsforfurtherdissemination. The research team, community members and relevant stakeholders
willparticipateinyearlylearningforums/workshops for community feedback and conversation between
scientists,communitiesand others. All learning material relevant to community members will be
translatedintoisiZulu and distributed, and available at the relevant project partners’
websites.Disseminationwillalsooccurthrough popular articles or blog posts, and continuous progress
updatesinleadandcollaboratingorganizationsnewsletters(CWRRand SAEON). The academic
advancementswillbepresented at national and international scientific conferences and symposiums
and through peer-reviewed publicationsinscientificjournals(byresearchersandMScstudents).The
knowledgeproduced will further be incorporated in lecturing of undergraduate and postgraduate
students at UKZN, and two MSc theses are expected to be finalized.
7.3 Work plan
7.3.1 Timeline of aims
Figure 9. Timeline of the activities under each aim.
7.3.2 Deliverables
The deliverables of this project are as follows:
1.FirstAnnualProgressReport: Report on progress to date including inception workshop invitation
anddocumentation.Clarifyingmethodologyandfinalising activities among the research team.
Submission date: 15 December 2020 - complete
2.InterimReport:Multi-stakeholderco-learningWorkshopinCommunity. Report detailing interim
results and reporting from Community Workshop. Target date: 31 January 2022
3.Second Annual Progress Report: Report on progress to date including findings and reporting back
on community engagement. Target date: 31 May 2022
4.InterimReport/PolicyBrief:Policyrecommendationsbasedonmethodological advancements
and findings. Target date: 15 November 2022
5.FinalReport:Comprehensive synopsis, methodological advancement, conclusions and
recommendations from above-mentioned deliverables. Target date: 13 December 2022.
7.3.3 Work plan 2022
Del. Title
Deliverable and Tasks
Due date and status
Second Annual
Report on progress to date including findings and reporting
back on community engagement.
Field work by MSc student S Doarsamy: Veld assessment and
February - March 2022
Field work by MSc student M Ngwenya: village walks and
in-depth interviews
February - April 2022
Series of community engagements, thematic workshops and
focus group discussions
February - May 2022
Development of GIS decision tool: combining maps
March - May 2022
Multi-stakeholder co-learning workshop. Co-hosted with
the INR (uThukela SANBI Living catchement Project
co-learning conveners).
April 2022
Interim Report:
Policy Brief
Policy recommendations based on methodological
advancements and findings
Policy user needs assessment: Consult stakeholders (decision and
policy makers) on format and content of policy brief
July 2022
Finalize community engagement (focus group discussions and
co-learning workshops)
July - September 2022
Cross-study visits between communities for enhanced
September 2022
Develop policy brief according to user needs
September - October 2022
Final Report
Comprehensive synopsis, methodological advancement,
conclusions and recommendations from above-mentioned
Stakeholder feedback workshops in communities
November 2022
8. References
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Namaqualand, South Africa. Ann Assoc Am Geo 96:524–540
Biggs, R, Schlüter, M, & Schoon, M Ed. 2015. Principles for building resilience. Sustaining ecosystem
services in social-ecological systems. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Binder, C, Hinkel J, Bots, P et al. 2013. Comparison of frameworks for analyzing social-ecological systems.
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Charnley, S, Carothers, C, Satterfield, T. 2017 Evaluating the best available social science for natural
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Delgado-Serrano, M, Oteros-Rozas, E, Ruiz-Mallén, I et al. 2018. Influence of community-based natural
resource management strategies in the resilience of social-ecological systems. Reg Environ Chang
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9. Appendices
Appendix 1.
Participatory Mapping Workshop Schedule
Village: Ezimbomvu/Costone Date:
Group: Men/women/decision makers
Equipment: Maps, flipchart, markers, camera
Introduction – (3 mins)
Goals and objective: The objective of this mapping workshop is to identify and map different
social-ecological patches found across the village landscape
Why: In order to assist the community to manage their natural resources sustainably and equitably
How: By mapping all key natural resources that are perceived to be important by local community
With who: Different community members and groups – (Community leaders/decision-makers, local
facilitators/community liaison ppl, Water committee, Grazing committee, MDF group members,
Non-MDF group members
Output: Village map of key social-ecological patches
Step 1: Introducing the activity to participants – (3 - 5mins)
· A clear explanation to participants on what the map will be used for, and what it will not be used
· The map will not be used for any official uses such as land demarcation, and will not be shared with
those outside the research team such as local government or other implementers
· Explain clearly what mapping activity will be done during the session with each group (e.g. grazing
lands with grazing committee group, water sources with water committer group or cropping fields lands
with crop farmers)
· Explain that any use of the map (e.g., in future scientific publications) will maintain the anonymity
of the village and need prior approval from participants
· Allow some time for questions and for addressing concerns.
· Each group will be assigned with different colour makers for each category so that it is easy for the
researcher to analyse the results and when presenting the maps to participants.
· Ask participants to make a mark or draw a polygon to locate a feature.
Step 2: Familiarizing participants with the map – (5-10 mins)
· Participants will be given a chance to familiarize themselves with the map before the mapping
activity; to make sure everyone understands the mapping exercise;
· Participants will be asked to first draw the village boundaries and identify key locations in the
Village that people are familiar with (e.g. roads, houses, spaza shops, fields, mountains, etc.)
Step 3: Identify and map main land uses – (15 -20 mins)
Participants will be asked to mark and draw the following main land uses:
· Where your residents located (their houses)?
· Where are grazing lands located?
· And what types of livestock are grazing there the most?
· Where are your farmlands (homesteads, crops fields)?
· What types of crops are grown most?
· Where are recreational and sacred areas (sacred areas or gravesites)?
· Do men and women have their own/separate land?
Step 4: Identify and map ecosystem services – (15 -20min)
Ask participants to list all the key ES found in their village and where these collected:
· Water
· Livestock grazing
· Hunting
· Firewood
· Medicinal plants
· Building materials (poles, thatch grass, broom grass)
· Recreational and cultural meeting places (playground – soccer, river swimming)
· And more
Step 5: Identify areas of inadequately supply – (2 mins)
· Ask participants to mark and draw where ecosystem services are no longer or provide insufficient
supply (e.g. degraded areas which includes overgrazed areas, gullies, dongas, wetlands, bush
Step 6: Identify power dynamics and unequal access to ES – (2 mins)
Ask participants to mark and draw areas with restricted/open access
If restricted why?
Step 7: Priorities/needs of ES – (2 mins)
· Ask participants to mark and draw areas that need to be prioritized in terms of social-ecological
patches, ecosystem services and livelihoods.
Step 8: Suggestions for managing land and water resources sustainably and equitable – (3mins)
· how ES can be protected, conserved and managed equitably and sustainably for the benefits of
women and society.
Step 9: Asking participants to update the map – (1 min)
· Ask participants to change village boundaries or add anything that may be wrong or missing.
Appendix 2.
Guide for focus group discussion on decision-making.
Focus group questions DECISION-MAKING
What do you understand by natural resource management and land use management (See what
people say and then add some definitions to assist)?
What are the land use practices in your area at present. What were they in the past? What might
they look like in the future? (consider cropping, livestock, water, harvesting of wild plants, cutting
of trees for firewood, sand mining, demarcation of land, PTO’s etc)
Who makes decisions in each case? And how are these decisions made? (For each of the land use
management practices described in question 2)
Who gets access and who doesn’t. Please explain and outline? (e.g., men-women, poor-rich,
friends-others, long term residents-new residents etc)
What is the relationship of community members with TAs and Councillors? (Is it the same for all
people, how do you gain access, can anyone interact, what are the rules)
What role do the councillors play? (Do they have any role in natural resources and land use
management – e.g., water,
How has access changed in the last 10 years and why?
How has CC affected the natural resources? And community members access to these?
Appendix 3.
Accepted abstract for oral presentation at Southern African Mountain Conference in March 2022.
Community based climate change adapTation in the Central-Drakensberg improves resilience of
smallholder farmers
Kruger, E.1, Henriksson, R.2and Toucher, M.3
1Mahlathini Development Foundation, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. 2Centre for Water
Resources Research, University of KwaZulu Natal, Pietermaritzburg, KZN, South Africa. 3
Grasslands-Wetlands-Forests Node, South African Environmental Observation Network,
Pietermaritzburg, KZN, South Africa
Keywords: CbCCA, Social-ecological systems, climate resilient agriculture, resilience impact assessment.
Weathervariabilityandclimatechangehavesignificant impacts on the livelihoods of the rural poor in
communal tenure villages in the Central Drakensberg region. While annual rainfall totals have been lower
inthecatchmenttherecentdecadecompared to the historical mean (1951 – 1980), the mean annual
temperaturehasbeenabove the historical mean (1951 – 1980) by more than 1.5 C. Increased
co-learningwithlocal communities is necessary to be better equipped to adapt to the changing
social-ecological circumstances and to tackle climate challenges.
Villagebasedclimateresilientagriculture(CRA)learninggroupswere aimed to provide for a coherent
social-ecologicalsettingforexplorationandimplementationofadaptive strategies and practices, as well
as improved understanding of the natural resource base and its useandmanagementwithinthe
Inthistransdisciplinarymixed-method approach, 250 smallholder farmers across 18 villages have
implementedarangeofCRApracticesincludingregenerativeagriculture, livestock integration and
intensive homestead food production alongside rainwater harvesting, soilandwaterconservationand
managementoflocalwatersourceareas.Asuiteofclimateresilienceimpactindicatorsand indices has
beendevelopedtotracksocial,economic,environmentalandproductivityaspectsof resilience and
provide snapshots for improved adaptation and resilience. In two villages,asocial-ecological
participatorymappingexerciseisbeingdevelopedtoassessthenatureresource base, local land uses
and associated ecosystem services and livelihood benefits.
Smallholderfarmers have made significant strides in improving the sustainability of their farming
systemsand developing local value chains and food systems and have improved their livelihoods through
increasedproductivityandlocal marketing initiatives. Positive trends in soil health, water availability and
infiltrationandwaterproductivityhavebeenmeasured, and increased understanding of the climate
impactsandmanagementimplicationsonthe community landscape and its resources is being
Thisapproachhashighlightedtheimportancetoimprovesocialagencyfornatural and water resources
managementincommunitybasedclimateadaptation. Ongoing mentoring and implementation of CRA
strategies,alongsidewith co-learning within a multi- and transdisciplinary team provides sustainability in
community level management of current and future resources.
Furtherdeepeningoftheco-learningprocessandlong-termestablishmentofinnovations is required to
maintain the positive impacts of this approach, and methods to upscale the project are necessary.