Assessing the values and impacts of invasive alien plants on the livelihoods of rural land-users on the Agulhas Plain, South Africa

De la Fontaine, Samantha (2013-12)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Invasive alien plants (IAPs) are known for their detrimental impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem goods and services. A substantial body of research has contributed to our understanding of their impacts on ecology. In comparison the socio-economic aspects of IAPs, are not well understood. Additionally, valuation practises have usually excluded the positive and the non-monetary impacts (benefits and uses) that IAPs hold for local livelihoods. Holistic valuation has been regarded as imperative for decision-making and managerial frameworks. A study was conducted in Elim on the southern Cape coast of the Agulhas Plain, South Africa, which aimed to explore the various impacts of IAPs on the livelihoods of rural land-users. Individual qualitative interviews were conducted face to face with landholders (referred to as farmers) (N = 12) and individuals from the economically marginalized community (referred to as marginalized community) (N = 12). The grounded theory approach to data analysis was used and results of the coding method used were displayed by means of superscripts. Results indicate that farmers were aware of broader uses of IAPs although they themselves did not utilise them as extensively as members of the marginalized communities. Invasive alien and problem plants that held value for both land-users were not perceived as being „invasive‟. Invasive alien plants were believed to have detrimental impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems goods and services which support people‟s livelihoods. Alien clearing programmes such as Working for Water (WfW) and LandCare have done much to alleviate the socio-economic burden of unemployment in this marginalized community. Aside from the social development aims set out by WfW (i.e. employment of low-income communities, poverty alleviation and skills training), knock-on social development benefits (e.g. feelings of pride, responsibility and awareness as well as conflict management skills) were also realised by individuals from the marginalized community that were previously employed by the programme. Farmers regarded alien clearing and management as a process that demands excessive time, energy and financial resources. On single occasions it was found that farmers employed methods other than the conventional clearing and management strategies (e.g. livestock that feed on IAPs and giving refuse IAP biomass from clearing and felling to neighbouring poor communities). No clear consensus was reached about regarding alien clearing and management but more support is desired from government. Working for Water relies on private landholders for alien clearing as it is required by law. This study emphasizes that stronger relationships between government and private landholders as well as more substantial incentives to clear IAPs on private land are prerequisites if required outcomes are to be achieved. Educating society at large about the detrimental impacts of IAPs is fundamental. Additionally, informing landholders on effective alien clearing methods and policies and legislation pertaining to it are key activities for the South African government. Finally, clearing and management programmes need to consider the benefits that local land-users obtain from IAPs when prioritising areas for the management of alien vegetation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Uitheemse indringerplante (UIPe) is bekend vir die nadelige gevolge wat hulle vir biodiversiteit en ekosisteem goedere en dienste inhou. ʼn Aansienlike liggaam van navorsing het bygedra tot ons begrip van die impak daarvan op ekologie. In teendeel, die sosio-ekonomiese aspekte van UIPe word egter nie goed verstaan nie. Daarbenewens, evalueringspraktyke het gewoonlik die positiewe en nie-monetêre impakte (voordele en gebruike) wat UIPe vir plaaslike lewensbestaan hou, uitgesluit. Holistiese evaluering word as noodsaaklik beskou vir besluitneming en bestuursraamwerke. ʼn Studie was uitgevoer in Elim op die Suid-Kaapse kus van die Agulhas-vlakte, Suid-Afrika. Die doel was om die verskillende aspekte van UIP impakte op die lewensbestaan van landelike grondgebruikers aan te spreek. Individuele kwalitatiewe onderhoude is van aangesig tot aangesig gevoer met grondeienaars (na wie verwys word as boere) (N = 12) en individue van die ekonomies gemarginaliseerde gemeenskap (na wie verwys word as gemarginaliseerde gemeenskap) (N = 12). Die gegronde teorie metode tot data analise was gebruik en die resultate van die kodering metode is vertoon deur middel van boskrifte. Resultate dui daarop dat boere bewus was van ʼn wyer reeks van gebruike van UIPe alhoewel hulle dit nie so ekstensief benut het soos die lede van die gemarginaliseerde gemeenskappe nie. Uitheemse en probleem plante wat waarde gehou het vir beide landgebruikers,was nie soseer beskou as „indringers‟ nie. Daar was geglo dat UIPe nadelige impakte het op biodiversiteit en ekosisteme goedere en dienste wat mense se lewensbestaan ondersteun. Programme soos Werk vir Water (WvW) en LandCare wat fokus op die uitroeiing van UIPe, het baie gedoen om die sosio-ekonomiese laste as ʼn gevolg van werkloosheid in hierdie gemarginaliseerde gemeenskap te verlig. Benewens die sosiale ontwikkelings doelwitte uiteengesit deur WvW (o.a. indiensneming van lae-inkomste gemeenskappe, armoedeverligting en vaardigheidsopleiding), is daar ook domino-voordele (bv. gevoelens van trots, verantwoordelikheid en bewustheid sowel as konflik bestuursvaardighede) aangaande sosiale ontwikkeling ervaar deur individue van die gemarginaliseerde gemeenskap wat voorheen in diens van die program was. Boere beskou die uitroeiing en bestuur van UIPe as ʼn proses wat oormatige tyd, energie en finansiële hulpbronne vereis. Op enkele geleenthede was dit gevind dat boere gebruik maak van metodes anders as die konvensionele skoonmaak-en bestuurs strategieë (bv. vee wat voed op UIPe en biomassa wat na afloop van skoonmaak aan die naburige arm gemeenskappe gegee word). Geen duidelike konsensus is bereik met betrekking tot die uitroeiing en bestuur van UIP nie, maar meer ondersteuning van die regering word verlang. Werk vir Water maak staat op private grondeienaars vir die uitroeiing van UIPe. Hierdie studie beklemtoon dat sterker verhoudings tussen die regering en private grondeienaars sowel as meer aansienlike aansporings om UIPe op private grond skoon te maak ʼn voorvereiste is as verwagte uitkomste bereik wil word. Opvoeding van die breër gemeenskap oor die nadelige impakte van UIPe is fundamenteel. Om grondeienaars in te lig oor effektiewe UIP verwyderingsmetodes asook beleide en wetgewing met betrekking daartoe, is belangrikste aktiwiteite vir die Suid-Afrikaanse regering. Ten slotte, skoonmaak- en bestuursprogramme moet oorweging skenk aan die voordele wat plaaslike landgebruikers put uit UIPe wanneer daar geprioritiseer word vir gebiede vir die bestuur van indringerplante.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/95461
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