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University of KwaZulu-Natal (1996)

The use of indigenous trees by local communities within and surrounding the Thukela Biosphere Reserve, with an emphasis on the woodcarving industry.

Tooley, Janice

Titre : The use of indigenous trees by local communities within and surrounding the Thukela Biosphere Reserve, with an emphasis on the woodcarving industry.

Auteur : Tooley, Janice.

Université de soutenance : University of KwaZulu-Natal

Grade : Master of science (MS) 1996

Résumé partiel
In the past, protected natural areas have excluded local communities from the land and denied them access to valuable natural resources. However, it is becoming accepted practice to ensure that neighbouring communities benefit from the conservation of these areas. In accordance with their neighbour relations programme, the Natal Parks Board initiated a study to establish the need for indigenous wood in the region of the Thukela Biosphere Reserve (TBR), particularly for the woodcarving industry, and to determine sustainable methods and levels of harvesting. Part of this study was to determine the socio-economic issues surrounding the woodcarving industry and other users of indigenous trees, and these are addressed in this thesis. A multidisciplinary approach was adopted to address as many aspects of natural resource use as possible. The principle of sustainable development was employed to explore the nature of the often complex relationships between local communities and protected areas, and local communities and natural resource use. This principle calls for the integration of social, economic and ecological issues, with special attention to the notions of futurity, equity and the environment. The biosphere reserve is considered to be an appropriate vehicle for achieving sustainable development and the sustainable utilisation of resources, both internationally and in the South African context. However, in practice there are many obstacles to overcome as was observed in the case of the TBR, where security of land tenure and the associated control of and access to natural resources are a source of major conflict in the area. In view of this conflict, a flexible and sensitive methodology that promoted rapport-building was selected, namely Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA). Mainly verbal RRA techniques were used to gather information on the use of and demand for indigenous trees by the local communities residing within and surrounding the TBR. This information included species names, species uses, estimations of quantities harvested, perceptions of the resource base, conservation practices and harvesting techniques, economic relations, constraints, and relationships between the resource manager and the resource user. Indigenous trees were found to be an important resource for fuel, construction, medicine, carving, and to a limited degree, food, to local people living within and surrounding the TBR.

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