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Bush harvesting: What then?

Bush harvesting: What then?

Gert Jacobie
The question about what will happen if encroacher bush on 40 million hectares of Namibia’s savannah farmland is harvested intensively and the influence of such industrial scale activity on the ecology, remains unanswered.
The issue is also not new, and has been the subject of numerous ongoing studies.
Hydro-geologist, Frank Bockmühl is adamant that more intensive studies about the effect on the soil and underground water sources should be done, without negating the value of bush harvesting and utilization industry. “Both matters remain relevant. We lost many millions of hectares of grazing, while bush were pumping our underground moist into the air, while we still need the vegetation to prevent soil erosion and the carbon dioxide that it absorbs,” he said recently.
n Old hand at looking for answers in this regard, Mr. Nico de Klerk (Snr) an agricultural scientist and erstwhile director in the then Department of Agriculture, said he is farming himself these days and still study the matter.
“We will have to regain our grazing, but we will also have to manage re-growth of invader bush. Years ago we did many studies on a number of government experimental farms, and gained lots of information. In my mind, when people used to burn their veldt in the winter, the best results were achieved. We have proof of that in the north and elsewhere, but times have changed,” he said, adding that research done by the De-bushing Advisory Service (DAS) should be taken into consideration by land owners going big. “If we slip up here, we will have to deal with serious degrading of the quality of farm lands later,” he warned.

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