Camelthorn (Acacia erioloba) firewood industry in Western Cape, South Africa

Raliselo, 'Muso Andreas (2003-04)

Thesis (MFor)--University of Stellenbosch, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The reliance of firewood demand on indigenous trees such as Acacia erioloba is a continuing phenomena despite the concern that over-exploitation of these resources will degrade the environment. This study tested the hypothesis that the cutting of A. erioloba in the Northern Cape is driven by (a) market demand in the Western Cape, (b) ignorance of the long-term ecological consequences and/or (c) ignorance of legislation along the chain of custody of this product. The assumption is that whoever is involved in the A. erioloba firewood industry (resource owner, trader or user) is neither aware of the protected status of the resource nor the negative consequences associated with the over-exploitation of the resource or they are driven by short term monetary gains. Therefore, there is a need to understand the needs of every participant in the chain and to further find out if there may be substitutes for A. erioloba firewood. The results of this study show that there is a market for firewood in the study area and that this demand is driven mainly by the availability rather than the quality of firewood. It will also be shown that Acacia mearnsii which is available in the study area is a better product than A. erioloba and therefore it can be a suitable replacement but consumers were found to bum almost everything that would give them embers. The most preferred firewood in the study area is A. cyclops. The concept of indigenous trees is not clearly understood by retailers and consumers. The major role players in the supply chain were found to be the retailers and the transport owners who may be targeted when firewood trade is to be stopped in the short-term. The results further highlighted the fact that the majority of consumers were aware that indigenous trees were protected in South Africa but the majority of retailers were not aware. The study recommends that firewood trade should be stopped completely by strict enforcement of the law or by the involvement of every role-player and/or that the trade should be regulated.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die fenomeen dat die aanvraag vir vuurmaakhout staatmaak op inheemse bome soos Acacia erioloba duur steeds voort ten spyte van die kommer dat oorbenutting van hierdie hulpbronne, ter versadiging van die behoeftes van 'n steeds toenemende populasie, die omgewing sal degradeer. Hierdie studie het die hipotese getoets dat die afsny van A. erioloba in die Noord- Kaap aangedryf word deur (a) die mark aanvraag in die Wes-Kaap, (b) onkunde oor die langtermyn ekologiese gevolge en/of (c) onkunde oor die wetgewing van hierdie produk by die skakels in die verskaffersketting. Die aanname is dat wie ook al betrokke is by die A. erioloba vuurmaakhout-industrie (hulpbron eienaar, handelaar of gebruiker) is beide onbewus van die beskermde status van die hulpbron asook van die negatiewe gevolge geassosieer met die oorbenutting van die hulpbron of hulle is aangedryf deur korttermyn monetêre gewin. Daarom is dit nodig om die behoefte van elke deelnemer in die ketting te verstaan en om verder uit te vind of daar plaasvervangers vir A. erioloba vuurmaakhout is. Die resultate van hierdie studie toon dat daar 'n aanvraag is vir vuurmaakhout in die studie-area en dat hierdie aanvraag hoofsaaklik gedryf word deur die beskikbaarheid, eerder as die kwaliteit van die hout. Daar salook aangetoon word dat Acacia mearnsii, wat in die studie-area beskikbaar is, 'n beter produk is as A. erioloba en dus 'n geskikte plaasvervanger kan wees, maar dit wil voorkom of die verbruikers omtrent enigiets sal brand wat kole sal verskaf. A. cyclops is die vuurmaakhout van voorkeur in die studie-area. Handelaars en verbruikers verstaan nie die konsep van inheemse bome duidelik nie. Die vernaamste rolspelers in die verskaffersketting is die handelaars en die eienaars van die vervoer en hulle kan die teikengroep wees as die handel in vuurmaakhout in die korttermyn stopgesit word. Die resultate het verder na vore gebring dat die meerderheid verbruikers daarvan bewus is dat inheemse bome beskermd is in Suid-Afrika, maar die meerderheid handelaars is nie hiervan bewus me. Hierdie studie maak die aanbeveling dat handel in vuurmaakhout totaal gestaak moet word deur strenger wette of deur die betrokkenheid van elke rolspeler en/of dat handel gereguleer moet word.

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