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Dr. Lawrence Akanyang


Dr. Lawrence Akanyang


Faculty of Natural Resources
Department of Range and Forest Resources (RFR)

Private Bag 0027 Gaborone Block 108B, Office 17
+267 365 0155

PhD topic: Pastoralists, Free-Ranging Livestock and Wildlife Interactions: Adaptation to Land Use Change and Grazing Resources Variability in Kalahari North, Botswana


  • PhD in Range Ecology/GIS (2019), United Kingdom.
  • MSc in Environmental Science (2007), University of Botswana
  • BSc in Forestry management (1998), Colorado, USA.

Professional Societies

  • Tsholofelo/UB Boxing club

Short Courses on GIS

  • Advanced GIS (ARCGIS) for Environmental Planning, Monitoring and Management (16th June – 4th July 2008 at UB)
  • Geographic Information System (GIS), University of Botswana (UB). 1 month (June 2004).
  • Geographic Information System (GIS). University of Botswana (UB), one month (June 2003).


Teaching interests

  • Range Plant Taxonomy
  • Range Analysis
  • Range Survey and Monitoring
  • Game Farming and Ranching
  • Wildlife ecology and management
  • Range Animal Management


Primary Research Areas

Pastoralists, Livestock and Wildlife Interactions: Adaptation to Land Use Change and Grazing Resources Variability



  • Spatial distribution of Kalahari small to medium sized wild herbivores in relation to free-ranging livestock grazing gradient and land use, Botswana
  • Spatial distribution of Kalahari carnivores in relation to free-ranging livestock grazing gradient and land use, Botswana
  • Forage availability in relation to land use and free-ranging livestock grazing gradient in the Kalahari rangelands, Botswana
  • Pastoralists, free-ranging livestock, wildlife interactions and the possibility of co-existence in communal grazing areas in Kalahari rangelands, Botswana


  1. Socio-Economic Study for Nxaraga Farm (Feasibility Study for a Dairy Project), under BCA Consult, Client – Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) – 5 months.
  2. Feasibility Study for Dairy Project in Leupane Farm (Phalapye), under BCA Consult, Client – LEA – 4 months.
  3. Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Study for the Proposed Lodge in Nata (Owner – Mr. Mokoka) – 6 moths.
  4. Development of Environmental Management Plan for Kasane and Chobe forest Reserves (2019).


  • Tshireletso, K. and Akanyang, L., (2011). Use of global positioning system and geographic information systems technology in animal and range resources management. Uniswa Journal of Agriculture 15 (1) 99 – 103.
  • Omphile, U.J., Aganga, A. A., Akanyang, L. and Ramotlopi, P. (2010). An evaluation of the foraging strategies of goats in kweneng Districts, Botswana. Botswana Journal of Agriculture and Applied Sciences 6: 115 – 122.
  • Perkins, J., Reed, M., Akanyang, L., Atlhopheng, J., Chanda, R., Magole, L., ... & Kirkby, M. (2013). Making land management more sustainable: experience implementing a new methodological framework in Botswana. Land Degradation & Development, 24(5), 463-477.



It is increasingly recognised that tackling land degradation through more sustainable land management depends on incorporating multiple perspectives by using a variety of methods at multiple scales, including the perspectives of those who manage and/or use the land. This paper reports experience implementing a previously proposed methodological framework that is designed to facilitate knowledge sharing between researchers and stakeholders about land degradation severity and extent, and sustainable land management options. Empirical findings are presented from the Botswana site of the EU‐funded Desertification Mitigation and Remediation of Land project. The paper reflects upon the challenges and benefits of the proposed framework and identifies a number of benefits, notably related to insights arising from the integration of local and scientific knowledge, and the ownership of the sustainable land management strategies that emerged from the process. However, implementing the framework was not without challenges, and levels of poverty and formal education may limit the implementation of the framework in some developing world contexts. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.




Dual‐scale analyses assessing farm‐scale patterns of ecological change and landscape‐scale patterns of change in vegetation cover and animal distribution are presented from ecological transect studies away from water points, regional remotely sensed analysis of vegetation cover and animal numbers across the southern Kalahari, Botswana. Bush encroachment is prevalent in semi‐arid sites where Acacia mellifera Benth. is widespread in communal areas and private ranches, showing that land tenure changes over the last 40 years have not avoided rangeland degradation. Herbaceous cover is dominated in intensively grazed areas by the annual grass Schmidtia kalahariensis Stent and in moderately grazed areas by the perennial grass Eragrostis lehmanniana Nees. Nutritious perennial grass species including Eragrostis pallens Hack. Ex Schinz remain prevalent in Wildlife Management Areas. Other ecological changes include the invasion of the exotic Prosopis glandulosa Torr. and dense stands of Rhigozum trichotomum Kuntze. in the arid southwest. Regional patterns of wildlife species show that the expansion of cattleposts and fenced ranches has led to large areas of low wildlife conservation value even in areas where cattle production is not practiced. Findings show the need for integrated landscape‐scale planning of land use if the ecological value and biodiversity of the southern Kalahari is to be retained.


  • Akanyang L., Carver, and Benton T. G. Spatial distribution of Kalahari Common Eland, Gemsbok and Blue Wildebeest in relation to free-ranging livestock grazing gradient and land use, Botswana.



Large herbivores distributions within pastoralism areas and surrounding protected areas are restricted by changing land use. We studied the spatial distribution of three large herbivores in relation to livestock grazing gradient during the wet and dry seasons, using spoor information, roads side counts, and vegetation surveys. Most livestock grazing distribution were mainly closer to settlements, cattle posts in Communal Grazing Areas, with very few observations in Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). Large herbivores were sensitive to livestock grazing intensity and human-induced risk hence concentrated in WMAs. Suggesting that human-induced risk, such illegal hunting, human disturbance are most significant factors influencing large herbivores distribution.


KEYWORDS: large herbivores, spatial distribution pattern, Pastoralism, Kalahari, human-induced risk


  • Mugabe, W., Akanyang, L., Nsinamwa, M., Moatswi, B., Matthews, N., Dipheko, K., ... & Shah, A. A. (2017). Fodder Tree Species Composition and Density in Grazing Gradients of Fenced and Unfenced Grazing Areas of the Gaborone North, Botswana. Sarhad Journal of Agriculture, 33(2).


The extent to which degradation or changes in fodder tree species composition caused by grazing pressure is critical since fodder trees form the base diet for browser such as goat as well as maintenance purposes for cattle in the dry season. Thus understanding the dynamics on rangeland response to grazing could prove worthy in finding an equilibrium point for optimizing animal productivity, with limited range degradation. Therefore, the current study was aimed at determining and comparing fodder tree species composition along grazing gradient in fenced and unfenced grazing area in the Gaborone North Region. For each study area, two parallel transects measuring 1000 m radiating from the water points (borehole) were established. Sampling plots of sizes 10m x 10m were systematically placed along each transect at intervals of 50m for the first 500m and the last 500m the spacing interval was increased by 100m. The botanical composition (P<0.05) of fodder trees along grazing gradients was composed of 20 and 12 species for fenced and unfenced areas, respectively. The grazing gradient in fenced area recorded the highest mean density (P<0.05) of tree species (1928 units ha−1) as compared to the unfenced area (968.3 units/ha−1). Individual tree species exhibited random patterns of distribution along grazing gradients in both grazing gradients. The composition for fodder trees was composed mainly of low value species of which most were encroaching species which have spread and established throughout the gradients.


  • Mugabe, W., Moatswi, B., Nsinamwa, M., Akanyang, L., & Dipheko, H. (2017). Dry Matter Biomass Productivity and Composition of Grasses along Grazing Gradient in Fenced and Unfenced Grazing Areas of the Gaborone North. Botswana. J Anim Res Nutr Vol, (2).


Objective: The present study was aimed at assessing and comparing grass species composition and biomass productivity along fenced and unfenced grazing gradient.

Methods: For each study area 2 × 1000 m transects radiating from the water points (borehole) were used and sampling plots of size a total of 15 quadrants of size 1 m2 were systematically placed along each transect at intervals of 50 m for the first 500 m and the last 500 m the spacing interval was increased by 100 m. The total biomass of the selected plots was clipped, weighed; oven dried at 65ËšC for 48 h and weight again in order to express the weight by dry matter.

Results: The grazing gradient in fenced area exhibited the highest dry matter biomass (P<0.05) for the grass species at 644.7 g/m2) as compared to the unfenced area at 155.9 g/m2. High-value species (341 g/m2) significantly dominated the dry matter biomass composition in the fenced gradients while in the unfenced it was dominated by medium value species (66.8 g/m2). Despite the fluctuation of biomass from one interval to another, logarithmic trend line estimations suggested an increasing plant biomass relative to the distance from the water point in both grazing gradients. Areas of high biomass were demonstrated at 900 m in both fenced (915 g/m2) and unfenced (433 g/m2) gradients. Dry matter biomass declined in areas close to and furthest from the watering points. The high biomass of the intermediate grass species dominated by E. rigidior suggests that it was highly unutilized.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that dry matter biomass productivity of fenced gradients was higher as compared to that of unfenced grazing area. Dry matter biomass in fenced was mainly composed of high value species especially U. trichopus Meanwhile E. rigidior mid value species contributed the largest share to the biomass in the unfenced gradient.


  • Akanyang, L., Waugh, E., Batisani, N., & Mothubane, O. (2013). The geographical prevalence and potential epidemiology of heartwater in.


Heartwater caused by Ehrlichia ruminantium is a widespread animal health problem in Botswana. Although long known to be endemic, its current distribution and possible future occurrence in new areas within the country requires updating to help guide planned control in the midst of climate change. Thus an understanding of the spatial occurrence of the disease and its environmental risk factors is essential for control and management planning. The goal of this paper was to explore the current and potential spatial occurrence of heartwater across Botswana and its associated environmental factors. To reach this goal, geographical information systems were used to map the distribution of heartwater infection and also overlay infection data with interpolated environmental surfaces. The derived maps indicate both a widespread occurrence of infection and a marked variability in infection prevalence, with the south east and north eastern parts of the country having the highest incidence rates while the western part has the highest potential for disease occurrence. The results revealed the occurrence of heartwater in the east but absence in the west and also potential areas for disease outbreak, in which climate change alteration of environmental factors could trigger its establishment.


  • Mphinyane, W. N., Akanyang, L. K., Mulale, K., Van Deventer, F., Magole, L., Perkins, J. S., ... & Chanda, R. (2018). Firewood Utilisation and Its Implication on Trees around Mopipi Village in Boteti Sub-District of Botswana. Asian Journal of Environment & Ecology, 1-10.


A household survey was done to assess the number of people using firewood in order to determine the amount of available firewood, its rate of utilisation and the distance travelled per selected household. There are a total of 383 households in Mopipi village with an average household size of eight (8) people. A sample size of seventy-nine (79) households were interviewed for the study on their use of fuelwood. Four transects of 14 km radiating from the Mopipi village were used to measure the biomass of both live and dead trees. Five sampling points at different distances along the transect were located. At each sampling point, three 50m x 10m quadrats were demarcated. Firewood biomass was determined by measuring the basal area at ankle height and adjusted by using regression curves formulae. Biomass of live trees was dominated by Colophospermum mopane woodlands, but its standing dead wood was only available at further distances. Most households gathered firewood by head-loads within a range of 4-6 km from the village. Trade-offs were clearly involved when people collected less preferred species at near distances. Consumption rate per household was estimated at 10 kg per day per household. Reasonable biomass of live trees occurred near the village, concurring with household claims that they do not chop live trees.