Evaluating the sustainability, development impact and natural capital impact of invasive alien plant based value-adding enterprises

Mander, Nicola (2017-03)

Thesis (MScFor)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Invasive alien plants (IAPs) are a significant threat to South Africa’s biological diversity, water security and agricultural resources, and are associated with increasing human and ecological vulnerability to climate change. In response to this threat, the South African government established the Working for Water Programme (now part of the Department of Environmental Affairs [DEA] Natural Resources Management [NRM] Programme), which has cleared nearly three million hectares of IAPs since its inception in 1995. The Programme has also provided jobs and training to more than 20,000 people each year from amongst the most marginalised sectors of society. However, despite significant government investment in the DEA NRM Programme, IAPs continue to spread. In addition, most of the felled IAP biomass is left in situ, which can result in a significant fire hazard. In response, government began promoting the use of IAP biomass as an input material for value-adding activities. This was also expected to increase the economic sustainability and social benefits from IAP eradication, as well as encourage private sector investment into IAP clearing. The DEA NRM Programmes’ support of IAP biomass value-adding enterprises has yielded variable outcomes, with many of the enterprises initially assisted proving unsustainable. This raised the question: “what makes IAP biomass value-adding enterprises survive or fail?” This research study has evaluated a selection of existing, failed and emerging IAP biomass based value-adding enterprises with the aim of determining the key internal structural factors that make these enterprises sustainable. In addition, criteria that affect the performance of these enterprises in creating jobs, developing human capital and restoring natural capital, in line with the key aims of the DEA NRM Programme, were identified. A Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis tool was developed and used to evaluate and compare the enterprises studied. A further aim of the study was to identify the kinds of support that the DEA NRM Programme should provide to IAP biomass value-adding industries to leverage the best possible outcomes. The study findings suggest that government and private enterprise need to work together in establishing IAP biomass value-adding industries. However, appropriate structuring of such relationships is important to ensure there is sufficient value and fair sharing of risk between the partners. Government will not only need to carefully select the enterprises that it partners with to ensure its investment has maximum impact, it will also need to invest in the development of the IAP biomass industry sector through developing markets for IAP products and filling key research and development gaps that are unaffordable for the private sector.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Indringerplante is 'n groot bedreiging vir Suid-Afrika se biologiese diversiteit, water sekuriteit en landbou hulpbronne, en word geassosieer met 'n toenemende menslike en ekologiese kwesbaarheid tot klimaatsverandering. In reaksie op hierdie bedreiging het die Suid-Afrikaanse regering die Werk vir Water Program (nou deel van die Departement van Omgewingsake [DEA] se Natuurlike Hulpbronbestuur [NRM] Program) tot stand gebring wat sedert sy ontstaan op 1995 byna drie miljoen hektaar indringerplante skoongemaak het. Die program het ook voorsiening gemaak vir werksgeleenthede en opleiding aan meer as 20,000 mense elke jaar uit die geledere van die mees gemarginaliseerde sektore van die samelewing. Ten spyte van aansienlike regeringsbelegging in die DEA NRM Program, het die indringerplante probleem steeds uitgebrei. Daarbenewens, word die meeste van die afgekap indringerplante biomassa in die veld gelaat wat kan lei tot 'n aansienlike brandgevaar. In reaksie hierop het die regering begin om die gebruik van indringerplante biomassa, as 'n inset materiaal vir waardetoevoegende aktiwiteite, te bevorder. Dit was verwag dat dit die ekonomiese volhoubaarheid en maatskaplike voordele van indringerplante uitwissing sal verhoog, en ook privaatsektor belegging in indringerplante uitwissing aanmoedig. Die DEA NRM Programme se ondersteuning van indringerplante biomassa-waardetoevoeging ondernemings het veranderlike uitkomste opgelewer. Baie van die aanvankik ondersteunde ondernemings was onvolhoubaar. Dit lei tot die vraag: "Wat laat indringerplante biomassa-waardetoevoeging ondernemings oorleef of misluk?”. Hierdie navorsingstudie het 'n seleksie van die bestaande, mislukte en opkomende indringerplant biomassa gebaseer waardetoevoeging ondernemings geëvalueer met die oog op die bepaling van die belangrikste interne strukturele faktore wat hierdie ondernemings volhoubaar maak. Daarbenewens is kriteria wat die prestasie van hierdie ondernemings beinvloed in die skep van werkgeleenthede, die ontwikkeling van menslike kapitaal en die herstel van natuurlike kapitaal, in ooreenstemming met die sleutel doelwitte van die DEA NRM Program, geïdentifiseer. 'n Multi-kriteria besluit analise-instrument is ontwikkel en gebruik om die ondernemings wat bestudeer is, te evalueer en te vergelyk. 'n Verdere doel van die studie was om die aard van die ondersteuning wat die DEA NRM Program moet verskaf aan indringerplante biomassa-waardetoevoeging bedrywe, om die beste moontlike uitkomste te verkry, te identifiseer. Die studie bevindinge dui daarop dat die regering en private ondernemings moet saamwerk in die vestiging van indringerplante biomassa-waardetoevoeging nywerhede. Toepaslike strukturering van verhoudings is egter belangrik om te verseker dat daar voldoende waarde en billike risiko deling tussen die vennote is. Die regering moet nie net ondernemings versigtig kies met wie dit vennootkappe vorm om maksimum beleggings impak te verseker nie, dit moet ook belê in die ontwikkeling van die biomassa bedryfsektor deur die ontwikkeling van markte vir indringerplant produkte en vulling van sleutel gapings in navorsing en ontwikkeling wat onbekostigbaar vir die private sektor is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100832
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