Evaluation of the soil degradation state along fence-line contrasts
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Five pairs of Observatories with contrasting landuse types and/ or landuse intensities, located in the Woodland Savanna, Thornbush Savanna, Nama Karoo, and Succulent Karoo biomes were investigated to examine the infl uence of landuse on soil properties. To eliminate local characteristics, the comparison was conducted using the predominant soil types in each pair of Observatories. For the Woodland Savanna in the Kavango Woodlands, topsoil properties were statistically different in relation to varying fi re frequency (increased water soluble ions, C/N-ratio, exchangeable potassium with higher fi re frequency). For all other pairs of Observatories, contrasting grazing intensities resulted in some signifi cant differences in topsoil properties. In general, increased grazing led to higher pH-values and water soluble sodium concentrations in all regions. It is concluded that these differences are related to shifts in topsoil hydrology as a consequence of lower vegetation coverage. The use of soil pH and water soluble cation concentration is predicted to be important indicators for future rangeland monitoring.