Towards a policy on indigenous bush encroachment in South Africa

Towards a policy on indigenous bush encroachment in South Africa
GiZ on behalf of South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs
South Africa

This study reviewed the extent and causes of bush encroachment in South Africa, broadly evaluated its impacts, determined the policy stance that South Africa should take towards bush encroachment, and identified appropriate policy responses. A set of simple models and assumptions were devised to estimate the impacts of bush encroachment across different parts of the country.  The extent and impacts of bush encroachment and potential remedial interventions were summarised for a set of seven bioregional zones. Results from earlier studies were used to determine the average change in woody cover over the monitoring period for affected areas in each of the bioregional zones, and the total extent of bush encroachment in each zone was estimated from recent mapping exercises of bush encroachment. Following this, and a review of the potential methods of controlling the problem, we undertook a scenario analysis to evaluate the potential viability and implications of attempting various forms of control in different areas.  Four potential policy scenarios were evaluated using a high-level estimation of the potential costs and benefits for each of the affected bioregions, taking land tenure into account. Based on the results from the scenario analysis a set of policy responses and recommendations were developed.