Human Ecology

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 199–215 | Cite as

Three Interwoven Dimensions of Natural Resource Use: Quantity, Quality and Access in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area

  • Jessica Milgroom
  • Ken E. Giller
  • Cees Leeuwis


Quality and quantity of natural resources are often studied in isolation from access. We question the usefulness of this separation for resolving conflicts over natural resources and present an approach that facilitates a deeper understanding of natural resource use through a joint analysis of quantity of, quality of and access to resources. The approach was developed as part of an in-depth case study of resettlement in southern Mozambique in which newly resettled residents struggled to reestablish their livelihoods. We estimated the quality and quantity of, and investigated rules and norms of access to four key natural resources: water, agricultural fields, grazing, and forest resources in both pre- and post-resettlement. We then contrast this with the actual access that resettled residents gained to these resources in practice, what we call ‘accessing.’ Our analysis suggests that locally-specific, dynamic relationships among quality, quantity and access are critically important for understanding human-environment interactions and natural resource-based livelihoods.


Natural resources Interdisciplinary Access Resettlement Livelihoods Mozambique 



J Milgroom acknowledges the United States National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Program, the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area working group of the Animal and Human Health for the Environment And Development (AHEAD-GLTFCA) and the Interdisciplinary Research and Education Fund (INREF) research programme “Competing Claims on Natural Resources: Overcoming mismatches in resource use through a multi-scale perspective”, Wageningen University, the Netherlands for funding. We thank Elisa Francisco Mate and Reginaldo Soto for assistance with data collection and translation and Rebecca Witter and two anonymous reviewers for comments on the text.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Milgroom
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ken E. Giller
    • 2
  • Cees Leeuwis
    • 1
  1. 1.Knowledge, Technology and InnovationWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Plant Production SystemsWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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