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Bringing Rain to the Land: Rainfall Simulation as a Participatory Teaching Aid to Understanding Erosion

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Document pages: 12 pages

Abstract: There is a need for science and community knowledge and resources to be combined in the mitigation and rehabilitation of land degradation, as a large portion of degraded land in South Africa is communal land. Rainfall simulation was used at Okhombe valley, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa as a tool to collect scientific data regarding the erosion rates on cattle access paths and to demonstrate erosion driving forces to the community members. The community members were able to experience erosion taking place through rainfall simulation and observe the impact of slope and basal cover change on erosion rates. Cattle access paths and rehabilitated access paths showed similar runoff rates (Figure 1), however the sediment concentration varied between the severely degraded cattle access paths and the rehabilitated land. Through the rainfall demonstration a better understanding of the driving factors in the erosion process, an understanding of why particular mitigation techniques work and where such mitigation measures would be effective were identified. With the combination of scientific techniques and community knowledge and resources a step can be taken towards sustainable land degradation mitigation and rehabilitation in the communal areas of South Africa.

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