Original Research - Special Collection: Changing Global Context

Assessment of impact of land use change on the wetland in Makhitha village, Limpopo province, South Africa

Mpho D. Phethi, Jabulani R. Gumbo
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 11, No 2 | a693 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v11i2.693 | © 2019 Mpho D. Phethi & Jabulani R. Gumbo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 June 2018 | Published: 05 July 2019

About the author(s)

Mpho D. Phethi, Department of Ecology and Resource Management, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa
Jabulani R. Gumbo, Department of Hydrology and Water Resource Management, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa


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Abstract

Wetlands are essential for the natural function of an ecosystem, by regulating floods and remaining as a source of water supply. However, land use changes are the main forces behind wetland deterioration worldwide, including South Africa. In this article, we report on the impact of land use changes at the Makhitha wetland, Limpopo province, South Africa. The data was collected using techniques such as ecological survey, socio-economic survey and interpretation of satellite images obtained between 1978 and 2004. The study findings revealed that factors such as poverty and population growth were the driving forces behind wetland mismanagement. The cultivation of crops, grazing of livestock and road construction were the main land use activities that were practised in the wetland, which contributed to wetland deterioration, a disaster that can be mitigated. The study then recommended strategies such as environmental education, fencing and land use planning to resolve the problem of land use changes, in order to contribute to sustainable wetland management.

Keywords

Wetland Degradation; Subsistence Farming; Environmental Awareness; Poverty; Land Use

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