Frequently asked Questions 

 

What is LandCare?

LandCare is essentially a concept involving a process of participation that focuses on land resource management through the promotion of sustainable use practices. LandCare involves ‘local people taking local action in their local area’ to achieve sustainable land use and management. LandCare includes individual and group activities directed at on-ground action. It also provides an opportunity for local landholders to take a leading and responsible role in planning and undertaking activities to conserve their most important assets. LandCare encourages community interest and action through the formation of LandCare groups. LandCare groups assess local problems, determine priorities and undertake action. Local leadership and initiative leads to a greater understanding of the issues. In this way, the local communities become owners of the solutions.

 Why the LandCare concept?

A LandCare Programme was established in South Africa because the Government, communities and individuals accepted the need for changing the way we manage and use our land and water resources, so that their long-term potentials are sustained and optimised. Since the origins of modern Agriculture, poor farming practices have led to land degradation for example: Soil erosion, overgrazing, wetland and watercourse destruction and bush encroachment. These land degradation problems have been, to some extent, a cost to achieving a highly productive agricultural sector. They are also due to inadequate information being available to land-users regarding the consequences of their land management decisions and also the off-site effects of some land-users’ actions on others. Continued deterioration of our land resource base is likely to result in further costs to the people of South Africa through the loss of economic production, loss of ecological processes and biological diversity, decline economic opportunities in rural communities, and the degradation of other related resources such as freshwater. These costs may impose a burden on future generations and restrict their capacity to choose how their land and related resources are utilized.

 What is the vision for LandCare in South Africa?

The development and implementation of systems of land use and management that will sustain individual and community benefits, now and in the future.

 What are challenges for LandCare?

The LandCare concept will be expanded through a communication process local monitoring of natural resources. LandCare is therefore a grass-roots programme, which is supported by both the public and private sector through networking between a series of partnerships. The challenge is to stimulate partnerships at local level. The National LandCare Programme also offers practical assistance for land conservation activities, which have been identified, implemented and monitored, primarily by the Provincial LandCare Co-ordinators. LandCare has been influential in bringing about sustainable land use and encouraging the adoption of agricultural and livestock production systems, which are economically viable, and serve as protection for the biophysical environment. The need to adopt improved land management practices widely recognized. The challenge is to increase the adoption of these practices by land-users, while exploring more effective, efficient and equitable ways for ensuring an economically and ecologically sustainable future for our agricultural sector.

 What is the future plan for the LandCare Programme?

The National LandCare Secretariat plans to build on previous experiences locally and in Australia to develop the National LandCare Programme. This will increase community awareness and help those, involved in LandCare work towards sustainable land use. The National LandCare Secretariat seeks to establish a climate that will favour the development of realistic, transdisciplinary solutions by those who face particular problems. This will require policies and programmes, which encourage desirable actions and discourage undesirable actions, through the balanced use of incentives, standards and penalties.

 What are the principles underlying the LandCare plan?

  • Integrating economic and environmental goals in policies and activities;
  • Emphasis on transdisciplinary approaches and socio-economic development;
  • Sustaining agricultural production over the long term;
  • Providing for equity within and between generations;
  • Dealing cautiously with risk and irreversibility; and
  • Recognizing the global dimension of action.

These principles will be best applied to practical land management situations where the management objective is to meet the needs of society over the longer term, rather than simply to reap maximum short-term benefits. Sustainable land use is most likely to be achieved through profitable operations that enable individual land-users to capture the benefits and bear the costs of their decisions.

 How does LandCare address sustainable land management?

LandCare provides a framework for individuals, community organisations and Governments to work towards sustainable land use by:

  • Understanding the nature, extent and importance of land use problems;
  • Identifying what information, skills and resources are needed;
  • Acquiring the necessary information, skills and resources;
  • Using the information, skills and resources to develop and apply practical solutions; and
  • Developing a package of incentives to establish a dynamic approach to sustainable land management.

Individuals and local communities have been managing their natural resources and the success of the LandCare plan, depends on continuing this active people-land relationship. The community’s ability to take environmental action, participate in decision making about local problems and to put them in a regional, provincial or national context is a cornerstone for Governments changing social and economic systems. This approach will bring us closer to achieving sustainable land use.

 Will LandCare be relevant in the future?

LandCare provides an umbrella for co-ordinated and co-operative actions to improve land management across the broader community. Within this broad framework, more precise proposals for dealing with particular issues will be developed at local, regional, provincial and national levels. Each year a LandCare Working Group established the overall direction of the LandCare plan, by establishing national priorities and reviewing progress towards sustainable land use, after consultation with the wider community. In addition, the National LandCare Programme will be reviewed every five years, to publicly assess progress in addressing land degradation and the effectiveness of LandCare as a framework for action taking.

 

What are the national objectives of LandCare?

  • Awareness of the problems of land degradation and the benefits of sustainable land use within the broad community;
  • Continuing development and implementation of sustainable land use principles and practices;
  • All public and private land-users and managers understanding the principles of sustainable land use and applying them in management decisions;
  • All South Africans working together in partnership for sustainable land use; and
  • Implementing effective and appropriate economic, legislative and policy mechanisms for facilitating the achievement of sustainable land use.

 

How are LandCare efforts evaluated?

  • Surveying community awareness of land degradation problems as well as the associated benefits and costs;
  • Monitoring changes in the extent and severity of land degradation;
  • Surveying the adoption of more sustainable land use practices;
  • Monitoring the nature and levels of production from various land use systems; and
  • A regular review, involving community consultation, of the economic, legislative and policy mechanisms affecting the achievement of sustainable land use.

These goals are being pursued through National and Provincial programmes that together form broad national approaches to important issues, which are central to improving land management.

 

Which approaches are used in LandCare?

1. Planning and co-ordination approaches aim to:

  • Better align the administrative processes and implementation of funding for all LandCare related programmes through a collaborative approach by all levels of government;
  • Support community groups through co-ordinated and collaborative inter-agency programmes;
  • Encourage LandCare groups to define major problems/issues and determine regional priorities in a consultative way; and
  • Develop regional LandCare strategies and mechanism for co-ordinating LandCare activities.

2. Group development and action approaches aim to:

  • Develop and maintain LandCare groups as the focus for individual and community involvement in improving land resource management;
  • Encourage groups to set their own goals, objectives and develop strategic approaches to planning and implementing sustainable land use in their local areas;
  • Encourage and support groups by Government agencies and other funding bodies;
  • Providing technical and administrative information and training in technical, scientific, promotional, group management and community development skills through the establishment phase; and
  • Encourage regional networks of groups and the integrity and independence of groups.

3. On farm improvement and management programmes aim to:

  • Increase the adoption of sustainable land use practices; e.g. organic farming
  • Encourage all individual land-users to adequately incorporate all relevant economic and ecological factors into their individual land-use decisions;
  • Promote an integrated approach to land management planning; and
  • Encourage the development of advisory and extension services, which accelerate the transfer of information and technology from researchers to, and between land-users.

4. Review of legislation and land use policy aims to:

  • Encourage the development of organisational frameworks and, where practicable, markets to provide incentives for the adoption of sustainable land use practices; and
  • Provide policy directions and establish adequate legislation, regulations and land use planning procedures that encourage sustainable land use.

5. Community education and awareness activities aim to:

  • Change attitudes, knowledge and behaviour so that all South Africans can contribute towards achieving sustainable management of land resources;
  • Raise community awareness and understanding of the need for sustainable land use and of the consequences of alternative land management approaches;
  • Achieve long term changes so that attitudes and behaviour of individuals and the community favour sustainable land use;
  • Encourage provincial based LandCare education programmes that co-operate to share resources nationally; and
  • Integrate LandCare principles into Curriculum 2005 at all levels.

6. Resource assessment programmes aim to:

  • Stimulate and support the collection of consistent and comparable data that is accessible to land-users to help them address priority issues;
  • Co-ordinate resource assessment programmes to promote inter-agency standardisation and public access to information; and
  • Encourage local organisations to undertake local resource assessment, monitoring and form links with other groups undertaking similar work.

7. Research and development activities aim to:

  • Direct, integrate and focus research and development efforts to improve the long-term productive capacity and sustainable use of land resources;
  • Ensure that adequate research and development activity occurs in areas where there are clear benefits for society as a whole within the national interest; and
  • Improve the transfer of research and development information to land management.

 

Who implements LandCare?

Everybody has a role to play in achieving the LandCare vision. LandCare continues to be an individual and community based initiative.

Individual land-users can participate by:

  • Improving their awareness of land degradation;
  • Understanding land use systems and the cause-effect relationships;
  • Improving their knowledge and skills so they can make better decisions and improve their own land management practices;
  • Managing their land to integrate economic and environmental values;
  • Becoming actively involved with local LandCare and other interest groups;
  • Co-operating with, and where relevant, planning activities jointly with neighbours; and
  • Supporting and promoting sustainable production practices.

Communities can act through:

  • Local group development and action;
  • Participating in regional and local initiatives;
  • Raising awareness and improving education; and
  • Representation on advisory committees.

Non-government organisations have a role through:

  • Representing their members’ interests;
  • Providing their members with information about the National LandCare Programme (activities and actions);
  • Developing codes and policies that will help attain the LandCare vision; and
  • Participating in the further development of LandCare South Africa.

Local Governments have a role through:

  • Assisting information exchange and with the co-ordination of community activities;
  • Acting as a community advocate;
  • Providing resources to help local groups;
  • Developing and applying local conservation strategies’ and
  • Exercising statutory planning responsibilities.

Provincial Governments contribute to sustainable land use through:

  • Providing a suitable institutional framework;
  • Developing and implementing effective policies and programs;
  • Providing positive support through financial incentives and assistance schemes as well as appropriate standards and regulations;
  • Research and resource assessment;
  • Catchment planning and management;
  • Education and public awareness;
  • Support for land management advisory and extension services; and
  • Managing State land responsibly.

The National Government can provide national support through:

  • Providing an economic, social and cultural framework which encourages sustainable land use;
  • Developing and co-ordinating national land resource management policies and programmes;
  • Research and resource assessment;
  • Public awareness and education;
  • Funding of community LandCare programmes;
  • Developing with other stakeholders, a balanced programme of incentives, standards and penalties.

 What is the purpose of the National LandCare Secretariat?

The National LandCare Secretariat is responsible for:

  • Co-ordinating National LandCare effort in consultation with other relevant National Departments/Provincial Departments and the wider community;
  • Ensuring the aims and objectives of the National and Provincial components of the National LandCare Programme are consistent; and remain relevant to achieving sustainable land use.

 How do I find LandCare activities?

The National LandCare Secretariat has appointed Provincial LandCare Coordinators, who can provide you with specific information on provincial, local and regional activities.

Name

Tel

Cell

E-mail address

Province

LandCare Helpdesk 012 319 7553 National
P V de Bruyn 049 842 1113 083 456 6154 pdeb@ndagadi.agric.za Northern Cape
E. Netshikhovhela 015 291 1551 082 834 4826 netshikovhelaE@agricho.norprov.gov.za Limpopo.
S.V Hadebe 013 766 6081 083 486 6560 hadebev@nelagri1.agric.za Mpumalanga
Kerwin Ruiters 033 355 9348 072 319 2039 ruitersk@dae.kzntl.gov.za KwaZulu-Natal
Johan Koch 083 286 0373 johan@hazeldean.co.za Eastern Cape
Hendrik Scholtz 053 927 1809 082 572 9608 hscholtz@nwpg.org.za North West
Graeme Sahling 051 448 0382 sahling@agric.fs.gov.za Free State
Francis Steyn 021 808 5090 082 907 2813 franciss@elsenburg.com Western Cape
Lucas Dzhukudzha 011 355 1405 072 394 3068 lucasdu@gpg.gov.za Gauteng