Namibia is strongly affected by bush encroachment on up to 45 million hectares of farmland in nine of the country’s fourteen regions. By superseding grass vegetation, bush encroachment lowers the carrying capacity of rangeland on average by two thirds. It also has a dramatic impact on groundwater recharge and reduces the probability of recharge by two thirds as compared to open savannah vegetation.
However, on the upside, the bush encroachment has augmented the biomass resource of Namibia, amounting to an estimated 400 million tons of standing excess biomass with an annual regrowth of more than 10 million tons.
Measures to rectify the bush encroachment, known as “bush control and biomass utilisation” (BCBU), are creating new opportunities for the Namibian economy. It offers a significant potential to increase agricultural productivity, economic growth, sustainable energy supply and, above all, employment – without compromising the rate of food production. This is complemented by environmental benefits incl. landscape restoration, increased recharge of groundwater and improved biodiversity and other ecosystem services.
TYPE AND SCOPE OF SERVICES
Arepo was responsible for the evaluation of the BCBU project.