Sunday, July 12, 2009

Invader bush and the Namibian savanna

The title link above is to my diary at European Tribune where das monde brought up some issues about Namibia, that I thought would be worth exploring in depth.
Before taking a close look at the "Invader Bush" problem, I wanted to delve into the background and some general information to help us study this part of the world. I know this is a cliché but I see a lot of contrasts in Namibian to study.

First I would like to see what Freedom House/Namibia states:
Namibia's civil liberties rating improved from 3 to 2 due to improvements in the rule of law, including the continued stabilization of the Caprivi region and the creation of a Ministry of Safety and Security.

Also Political rights are rated at 2 which gives Namibia a solid free rating. While the general population has many freedoms, women and homosexuals continue to face oppression and abortions are illegal.

At 318,696 mi² (825,418 km²[2]), Namibia is the world's thirty-fourth largest country (after Venezuela). It is comparable in size to Pakistan, and is about half the size of the US state of Alaska. After Mongolia, Namibia is the least densely populated country in the world (2.5 persons per km²).
Namibia’s economy consists primarily of mining and manufacturing which represent 74% and 11% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) respectively. Namibia has a 30-40% unemployment rate...
Although per capita GDP is five times the per capita GDP of Africa's poorest countries, the majority of Namibia's people live in pronounced poverty because of large-scale unemployment. Namibia has one of the highest rates of income inequality in the world.
Namibia is the only country in the world to specifically address conservation and protection of natural resources in their constitution [15]. Article 95 states, “The State shall actively promote and maintain the welfare of the people by adopting, international policies aimed at the following: maintenance of ecosystems, essential ecological processes, and biological diversity of Namibia, and utilization of living natural resources on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all Namibians, both present and future.”
HIV/AIDS in Namibia

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a very large problem in Namibia. Namibia’s infection rate is one of the highest on the continent and it shares its eastern border with Botswana which has the highest rate of almost 39%. In 2001, there were an estimated 210,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, and the estimated death toll in 2003 was 16,000 [21]. In urban Namibia, Malaria is also a pressing problem. The malaria problem seems to be compounded by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Research has shown in Namibia, that the risk of contracting malaria is 14.5% greater if a person is also infected with HIV. The risk of death from malaria is also raised by approximately 50% with a concurrent HIV infection [22]. Given infection rates this large as well as a looming malaria problem, it may be very difficult for the government to deal with both the medical and economic needs resulting from this epidemic.

South Africa occupied the German colony of South-West Africa during World War I and administered it as a mandate until after World War II, when it annexed the territory. In 1966 the Marxist South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) guerrilla group launched a war of independence for the area that was soon named Namibia, but it was not until 1988 that South Africa agreed to end its administration in accordance with a UN peace plan for the entire region. Namibia won its independence in 1990 and has been governed by SWAPO since. Hifikepunye POHAMBA was elected president in November 2004 in a landslide victory replacing Sam NUJOMA who led the country during its first 14 years of self rule.
The positive aspects of this is that there was a peaceful transition of power in government.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 15:58 PDT Invader bush and the Namibian savanna

Namibia to use invasive shrubs for bioenergy, to meet all power needs
Individual, small farmers whose land is invaded say it is cheaper to buy a new farm than to try to eradicate the hardy bushes.
Although there are other methods to limit bush encroachment such as herbicides, use of browsers, fire, stumping or felling and bulldozing among others, many of these methods have been found to be so costly that farmers say it is cheaper to buy another farm than to debush.
This exposes our dilemma in how humans will deal with this economic problem. You can't just continually move to new land when the old land is not going to recover on its own.

Namibia to start bush-to-electricity project from invader-bush

Bush Encroachment Report on Phase 1 of the Bush Encroachment Research, Monitoring and Management Project

Namibian National Farmers Union

Namibia Agricultural Union

Energy Payback

Sahara's Abrupt Desertification Started By Changes In Earth's Orbit, Accelerated By Atmospheric And Vegetation Feedbacks

A conservation success story in Zambia's hinterland

Basic Income Studies

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