The safety net function of NTFPs in different agro-ecological zones of South Africa

Original Paper


Various South African studies have shown that rural households use NTFPs as safety nets in times of misfortune. However being focussed on one or two sites, they do not show the prevalence of NTFP use as safety nets across multiple sites. In addition, they do not show the use of NTFPs as safety nets by rural households in different agro-ecological zones. The results of the study showed that about 79% of the total households interviewed experienced at least one shock of some magnitude in the previous 12 months. The most experienced shocks were illness, death, crop failure, and hunger. The households employed various coping strategies in response to different types of shocks, with the three widely used strategies being assistance from friends and relatives, using cash savings, and using NTFPs. Households in low agro-ecological zones used NTFPs as safety nets more than households in high agro-ecological zones.


Agro-ecological potential Rural livelihoods Shocks Coping strategies 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental ScienceRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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