Original Research

Ecological vulnerability indicators to drought: Case of communal farmers in Eastern Cape, South Africa

Andries Jordaan, Yonas T. Bahta, Boitumelo Phatudi-Mphahlele
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 11, No 1 | a591 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v11i1.591 | © 2019 Andries Jordaan, Yonas T. Bahta, Boitumelo Phatudi-Mphahlele | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 December 2017 | Published: 15 January 2019

About the author(s)

Andries Jordaan, Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa, University of the Free State, South Africa
Yonas T. Bahta, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of the Free State, South Africa
Boitumelo Phatudi-Mphahlele, Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa, University of the Free State, South Africa


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Abstract

Estimation of ecological drought vulnerability indicators is the important step for drought mitigation management. This article identified and estimated ecological drought vulnerability indicators among communal farmers in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, using an ecological vulnerability index based on a household survey of 121 communal farmers. The results identified overgrazing, soil erosion, land degradation, surface and groundwater supply, and land use management as the main ecological vulnerability variables. The results showed that climate is not necessarily linked to ecological vulnerability. High rainfall districts in this study showed higher ecological vulnerability to drought because of poor planning and management of water supply, poor grazing practices and land management that leads to serious land degradation. The identification and analysis of ecological vulnerability indicators to drought would aid in reconsidering priorities for the government to implement appropriate policy measures in response to drought and suggest strategies to reduce drought vulnerability. Such policies and strategies will strengthen climate change adaptation and ensure ecological and climate sustainability that comply with the Millennium Development Goals set out by the United Nations in 2000 and the subsequent 2030 development agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Keywords

ecological vulnerability; drought; communal farmers; sustainable development

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