Economic Botany

, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 130–146 | Cite as

Use patterns and value of Savanna resources in three Rural villages in South Africa

  • S. E. Shackleton
  • C. M. Shackleton
  • T. R. Netshiluvhi
  • B. S. Geach
  • A. Ballance
  • D. H. K. Fairbanks


Rural communities in South Africa harvest a diversity of wild resources from communal woodlands for home consumption and sale. The contribution these resources make to the rural economy has been little recognized, and few studies have attempted to place a monetary value on this use. This paper describes three case studies which aimed to determine the value of savanna resources for the livelihoods of rural households.

Use patterns and values of resources in three villages of differing socioeconomic status were determined using household interviews, PRA techniques and key informant interviews. Questions were designed to establish the types of products used, frequency of use, quantities used, seasonality of use, longevity of durable resources, local prices, and the extent of trade.

All households were procuring at least some woodland resources, with the most frequently used being fuel wood, wood for implements, edible herbs and fruits, grass for brushes, and insects. Patterns of resource use varied across villages. The most “rural” village used the greatest diversity of resources and had the highest number of users for most resources. Gross value of resources consumed per household per year ranged from R28I9 to R7238. Total value was highest in the less obviously resource dependent village, primarily the result of higher local prices due to greater extraction costs and a larger market for traded goods. Values are comparable to those contributed by other land-based livelihood activities such as subsistence cultivation and livestock production.

Key Words

savanna resources NTFPs resource valuation South Africa rural livelihoods trade in NTFPs subsistence use of NTFPs 

Les Modéles D’ usages et la valeur des Ressources de la Savane pour tois villages Ruraux dans l’afrique du sud


Les communautés rurales en Afrique du Sud récoltent une variété de ressources naturelles provenant de régions boisées qui appartiennent á la communauté pour la consommation personnelle et pour la vente. La contribution que ces resources apportent á l’ économie rurale a été peu reconnue, et peu d’études ont tenté d’assigner une valeur monétaire à ces usages. Cet article décrit trois cas d’étude qui ont pour but de déterminer la valeur des ressources de la savane dans la vie des families rurales.

Les motifs d’utilisation et les valeurs des ressources furent estimées dans trois villages de statuts socio-économiques différents, en combinant entretiens avec les families, techniques de PRA et entretiens de sources dés. Les questions furent concues afin d’établir les types de produits utilisés dans chaque maisonnée, la fréquence d’utilisation, les quantités utilisées, le degré d’utilisation par saison, la longévité de ressources durables, les prix locaux et l’étendue du marché.

Chaque famille se procure au moins quelques unes des ressources provenant de régions boisées; les plus utilisées sont le bois de chauffage, le bois pour les outils, les herbes et fruits comestibles, l’herbe pour les brosses et les insectes. Les motifs d’utilisation ont varié selon les villages. Les villages les plus “ruraux” utilisaient la plus grande variété de ressources et possédaient une nombres d’usagers plus important dans le cas de la plupart des ressources. La valeur totale brute des ressources consommées par maisonnée par année variait entre R28I9 et R7238. La valeur totale s’est avérée être plus élevée dans les villages qui semblaient dé-pendre le moins sur les ressources: ceci étant le résultat de prix locaux plus élevés basés sur des coûts d’extraction plus importants et un marché pour les biens échangés (non-vendus). Les valeurs obtenues sont comparables à celles contribuées par d’autres activités qui servent de moyens d’existence et qui proviennent de la terre; par exemple, la culture comme moyen de subsistence et l’élevage de bétail.


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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden Press 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. E. Shackleton
    • 1
  • C. M. Shackleton
    • 1
  • T. R. Netshiluvhi
    • 1
  • B. S. Geach
    • 1
  • A. Ballance
    • 1
  • D. H. K. Fairbanks
    • 1
  1. 1.EnvironmentekPretoriaSouth Africa

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