The aim of this paper is to discuss the role of existing policies, programmes and legislation in promoting sustainable land management and livelihoods in mid-central Botswana. The paper is based on data from the survey of relevant literature, analysis of policy and legal documents, field observations and a series of stakeholder workshops held in the villages of Mopipi, Mokobaxane and Rakops in Boteti Sub-District between 2008 and 2009. The study's findings indicate that formal land use and rangeland management institutions have influenced the process of environmental change in the study area, mostly in a negative way. Institutional failure and support to the expansion of the livestock sector have promoted overstocking; arable production support has encouraged land clearance in a drought-prone and windy area; whereas protectionist wildlife management has been in conflict with, rather than complementary to, traditional uses of the communal rangelands. The environmental outcomes of all this have been the shrinkage of the Boteti commons, overgrazing, deforestation and wind erosion. The study recommends adoption of a community-based natural resource management strategy, which could simultaneously secure livelihoods and conserve the commons.
- Environmental change
- Sustainable land management