South Africa


Competing claims, competing discourses: Case studies of land claims in the Soutpansberg area

The research comprises of two multi-level case studies into the negotiation of property rights and management of key natural resources. Accompanying the various land uses in the Soutpansberg we find a set of competing local discourses that tap into national and international policies geared at nature conservation, economic growth and land reform. This research aims to further develop the ethnographic approach to discourse analysis by not only studying the discursive spaces where development agencies encounter beneficiaries, but also looking at the way discourses are embedded in the day-to-day realities and materialities of people.

PhD researcher: Yves van Leynseele (MSc). Co-funded by CERES.

Balancing eco-tourism and livestock production:

Implications for livelihoods and the environment in Limpopo province

Conservation Areas, such as the recently established Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA), present an opportunity for emerging land uses to complement agriculture as means of livelihoods, particularly where agricultural potential has been limited and incomes and employment levels are low. Engagement in eco-tourism constitutes one such opportunity for rural communities in South Africa, but exacerbates competing claims on land. The limited availability and productive capacity of land as well as other socio-economic constraints necessitates balancing eco-tourism and existing livestock production as land use alternatives for improved rural livelihoods. To achieve this, information on possible economic impact of the GLTFCA and quantitative information on the potential of eco-tourism and livestock production as land use alternatives, is required.

This study aims, in consultation with local stakeholders, to contribute towards this gap in knowledge by identifying socio-economic consequences of the emergence of alternative land use practices and analyzing possible options and trade offs for improved household welfare in the conservation area. The study develops a framework at household level considering impacts at higher levels for evaluating eco-tourism and livestock as land use options. Furthermore, it applies a spatially explicit bio-economic model based on this framework to evaluate alternative scenarios developed in consultation with stakeholders considering socio-economic and bio-physical constraints. Economic benefits of livestock production to the household are studied through valuation of monetary and non-monetary livestock products, and the potential economic benefit of eco-tourism is investigated through choice modeling techniques, and then integrated to determine possibilities for improved livelihoods.

PhD researcher: Petronella Chaminuka (MSc). Co-funded by IFS and > WCS-AHEAD seed grants programme.

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