Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Conservation, commercialisation and confusion: harvesting of Ischyrolepis in a coastal forest, South Africa

  • Published:
Environment, Development and Sustainability Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Harvesting of non-timber forest products is an integral component of rural livelihoods throughout the developing world. At times this is at odds with conservation objectives. Reconciliation of the two requires examination of local level contexts and needs. This paper reports on the harvesting needs for Ischyrolepis by a rural community in South Africa, against the setting that they had recently been prohibited from harvesting by the local conservation officials. Interviews were conducted with conservation officials to understand the reasoning for the prohibition. Local demand for Ischyrolepis was assessed by household surveys, as well as in-depth interviews with traders. The density and size class distribution of Ischyrolepis was determined using transects. The total annual demand for Ischyrolepis was determined to be approximately only 2.7% of the standing crop. The bulk of the annual demand was for small-scale trade, the income from which was a primary source of income for the few harvesters. Very little evidence could be found indicating that harvesting was damaging the resource or its habitat, and local knowledge suggested that the abundance of the species was stimulated by harvesting. Even if market demand were to increase, the size of the shoots required means that less than 20% of the standing crop could be harvested annually. Current regulations around harvesting are in a state of revision, and hence confusion prevails regarding if harvesting is permissible, and if so, under what conditions, which is detrimental to both conservation and livelihoods.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Arnold, J. E. M., & Ruiz Perez, M. (2001). Can non-timber forest products match tropical forest conservation and development objectives? Ecological Economics, 39, 437–447.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brown, K. (1997). Plain tales from the grasslands: extraction, value and utilization of biomass in Royal Bardia National Park, Nepal. Biodiversity and Conservation, 6, 59–74.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Campbell, B. M., Jeffrey, S., Kozanayi, W., Luckert, M., Mutamba, M., & Zindi, C. (2002). Household livelihoods in semi-arid regions: Options and constraints (p. 153). Bogor: CIFOR.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cocks, M. L., & Wiersum, K. F. (2003). The significance of biodiversity to rural households in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Forests, Trees & Livelihoods, 13, 39–58.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cocks, M. L., & Dold, A. P. (2004). A new broom sweeps clean: the economic and cultural value of grass brooms in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa. Forests, Trees & Livelihoods, 14, 33–42.

    Google Scholar 

  • Crook, C., & Clapp, R. A. (1998). Is market-orientated forest conservation a contradiction in terms? Environmental Conservation, 25, 131–145.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cunningham, A. B. (2001). Applied ethnobotany: People, wild plant use and conservation. London: Earthscan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dzerefos, C. M., & Witkowski, E. T. F. (2001). Density and potential utilization of medicinal grassland plants from Abe Bailey Nature Reserve, South Africa. Biodiversity and Conservation, 10, 1875–1896.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ellery, W. N., & Walker, B. H. (1986). The distribution and dynamics of Elephantorrhiza elephantina on the farm Maccauvlei. South African Journal of Botany, 52, 100–104.

    Google Scholar 

  • Emanuel, P. L., Shackleton, C. M., & Baxter, J. S. (2005). Modelling the sustainable harvest of Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra fruits in the South African lowveld. Forest Ecology and Management, 214, 91–103.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fabricius, C. (2004). The fundamentals of community-based natural resource management. In C. Fabricius, E. Koch, H. Magome, & S. Turner (Eds.), Rights, resources and rural development: community-based natural resource management in southern Africa (pp. 3–43). London: Earthscan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Glewwe, P., & Hall, G. (1998). Are some groups more vulnerable to macroeconomic shocks than others? Hypothesis testing based on panel testing in Peru. Journal of Development Economics, 56, 181–206.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Government of South Africa (1998). National Environmental Management Act, no. 107 of 1998. Government Gazette 401. Pretoria.

  • Government of South Africa (2004). National Biodiversity Act, no10 of 2004. Government Gazette 467. Pretoria.

  • Gram, S. (2001). Economic valuation of special forest products: an assessment of methodological shortcomings. Ecological Economics, 36, 109–117.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Guillarmod, J. A. (1980). Something from almost nothing. The Eastern Cape Naturalist, 24, 30–31.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gyan, C. A., & Shackleton, C. M. (2005). Abundance and commercialization of Phoenix reclinata in the King Williamstown area, South Africa. Journal of Tropical Forest Science, 17, 325–336.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kusters, K., & Belcher, B. (Eds.). (2004). Forest products, livelihoods and conservation: Case studies of non-timber forest product systems. Vol 1: Asia (p. 365). Bogor: CIFOR.

    Google Scholar 

  • Leistner, O. A. (Ed.). (2000). Seed plants of Southern Africa: Families and genera. Strelitzia 10. Pretoria: National Botanical Institute.

    Google Scholar 

  • Low, A. B., & Rebelo, A. G. (Eds.). (1996). Vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland (p. 85). Pretoria: Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.

    Google Scholar 

  • Magome, H., & Fabricius, C. (2004). Reconciling biodiversity conservation with rural development: The Holy Grail of CBNRM? In C. Fabricius, E. Koch, H. Magome, & S. Turner (Eds.), Rights, resources and rural development: community-based natural resource management in southern Africa (pp. 93–114). London: Earthscan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pereira, T., Shackleton, C. M., & Shackleton, S. E. (2006). Opportunities and constraints to trade in reed-based craft products in rural villages in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Development southern Africa, 23, 477–496.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rogerson, C. M. (2000). Rural handicraft production in the developing world: policy issues for South Africa. Agrekon, 39, 193–217.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shackleton, C. M. (2000). Comparison of plant diversity in protected and communal lands in the Bushbuckridge lowveld savanna, South Africa. Biological Conservation, 94, 273–285.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shackleton, C. M. (2001). Re-examining local and market-oriented use of wild species for the conservation of biodiversity. Environmental Conservation, 28, 270–278.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shackleton, C. M., & Shackleton, S. E. (2004). The importance of non-timber forest products in rural livelihood security and as safety-nets: evidence from South Africa. South African Journal of Science, 100, 658–664.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shackleton, C. M., Shackleton, S. E., Ntshudu, M., & Ntzebeza, J. (2002). The role and value of savanna non-timber forest products to rural households in the Kat River valley, South Africa. Journal of Tropical Forest Products 8, 45–65.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shackleton, S. E. (2005). The significance of local level trade in natural resource products for livelihoods and poverty alleviation in South Africa. PhD thesis, Rhodes, University, Grahamstown (pp. 286).

  • Shackleton, S. E., & Shackleton, C. M. (2005). The contribution of marula fruits and fruit products to rural livelihoods in the Bushbuckridge district, South Africa: balancing domestic needs and commercialisation. Forests, Trees & Livelihoods, 15, 3–24.

    Google Scholar 

  • South African Department of Labour. (2005). Minister of Labour says the minimum wage for agricultural and seasonal workers is effective. Accessed on 29 August 2005 at http://www.labour.gov.za/media/statement.jsp?statementdisplay_id=9834.

  • South African Department of Statistics. (2005). Eastern Cape Province. Accessed on 10 October 2005 at http://www.statssa.co.za.

  • Sunderland, T., & Ndoye, O. (Eds.). (2004). Forest products, livelihoods and conservation: Case studies of non-timber forest product systems. Vol 2: Africa (p. 333). Bogor: CIFOR.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ticktin, T. (2004). The ecological implications of harvesting non-timber forest products. Journal of Applied Ecology, 41, 11–21.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Van den Wyngaert, I. J., Wienk, L. D., Sollie, D., Bobbink, R., & Verhoeven, J. T. (2003). Long-term effects of yearly grazing by moulting Greylag geese (Anser anser) on reed (Phragmites australis) growth and nutrient dynamics. Aquatic Botany, 75, 229–248.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to all respondents interviewed during this work (villagers, traders and conservation authorities) for their time and willingness to share their knowledge. The work was funded by Rhodes University. We are appreciative for useful comments received from Tony Dold and Fiona Paumgarten on earlier drafts of this paper.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Charlie M. Shackleton.

Additional information

Readers should send their comments on this paper to: BhaskarNath@aol.com within 3 months of publication of this issue.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Shackleton, C.M., Parkin, F., Chauke, M.I. et al. Conservation, commercialisation and confusion: harvesting of Ischyrolepis in a coastal forest, South Africa. Environ Dev Sustain 11, 229–240 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-007-9106-3

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-007-9106-3

Keywords

Navigation