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South Africa


Public disclosure for carbon abatement: African decision-makers in a PROPER public good experiment

A linear public good experiment adopted from Holt and Laury [1997. Classroom games: Voluntary provision of a public good. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 11(4), 209–215.] has been employed to investigate strategic behaviour in pollution abatement among African climate decision-makers. The experiment consisted of three groups, of which groups 2 and 3 received one and two treatments, respectively.


‘Ground-Truthing’ Chinese Development Finance in Africa: Field Evidence from South Africa and Uganda

A new methodology, Tracking Underreported Financial Flows (TUFF), leverages open-source information on development finance by non-transparent, non-Western donors. If such open-source methods prove to be valid and reliable, they can enhance our understanding of the causes and consequences of development finance from non-transparent donors including, but not limited to, China. But open-source methods face charges of inaccuracy. In this study we create and field-test a replicable ‘ground-truthing’ methodology to


Small-holder Farming, Food Security and Climate Change in South Africa: Male-Female and Urban-Rural Differences

With ongoing climate change, food insecurity is likely to become more widespread in most small-holder and subsistence farm households in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the existence and extent of gendered food (in)security remains unclear. This study extends existing knowledge by assessing gender inequality in food (in)security amongst small-holder farm households in urban and rural areas of South Africa. To do so, we use the gender of the head of household in a treatment effects framework.


Whereto with institutions and governance challenges in African wildlife conservation?

African wildlife conservation has been transformed, shifting from a traditional, state-managed government approach to a broader governance approach with a wide range of actors designing and implementing wildlife policy. The most widely popularized approach has been that of community managed nature conservancies. The knowledge of how institutions function in relation to humans and their use of the environment is critical to the design and implementation of effective conservation.


Climate change and South Africa’s commercial farms: an assessment of impacts on specialised horticulture, crop, livestock and mixed farming systems

South Africa, a main food exporter in SADC, is characterised by a dual agricultural economy consisting of a well-developed commercial sector and smallholder, often subsistence, farming. Using the Ricardian cross-sectional framework, we examine the impact of climate change on a nationwide sample of crop, horticulture, livestock and mixed commercial farming systems.


Decentralization, market integration and efficiency-equity trade-offs: Evidence from Joint Forest Management in Ethiopian villages

Extant literature on Joint Forest Management (JFM) impact evaluation has concluded that it generally does not provide sufficient incentives to justify the costs that forest use restrictions impose on local people. However, there is a dearth of evidence concerning whether alternative JFM intervention with improved market linkages for non-timber forest products has similar implications.


Factors Determining the Spatial Distribution of Shore Anglers in South Africa

Inshore line fish stocks are severely depleted in South Africa. Although management efforts have addressed pressures from the commercial and subsistence sectors, management of the recreational sector still needs to be addressed. Evidence suggests that spatial management measures would be more successful than traditional size and bag limits. In order to inform a spatial approach, this study investigated the determinants of temporal and spatial variability in angler distribution around the coast.


Why Anglers Fish Where They Do Knowing South Africa’s Preferred Fishing Spots Can Help Manage Fish Stocks

Recreational angling in South Africa is not well monitored, even though recreational fishing contributes to over-exploitation of line fish stocks. This is because authorities don’t have the resources or political will to patrol the entire coastline. This study shows that anglers tend to seek out fishing spots where they are likely to catch the most fish. If enforcement officials target these ‘hotspots’, they can monitor whether anglers are adhering to their permit conditions, which limit the number and size of fish that they are allowed to catch. 


Economic Value of the Cape’s Beautiful Coast: A Study of the ‘Amenity’ Value of the Kogelberg, in South Africa

The Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve is a 100 km long coastal stretch of towering mountains and craggy beaches about an hour’s drive east of Cape Town. The dramatic landscape, rare botanical diversity and ocean ‘playground’ are big drawcards for tourists, and contribute to property values. A recent study of the ‘amenity’ value of this stretch of coastline shows that many local visitors regard it as more desirable to visit than other stretches of South African coastline, and many are return visitors. Homeowners are willing to pay a premium for properties with sea views or access.


A Bioeconomic Analysis of Community Wildlife Conservation in Zimbabwe

This paper uses a bioeconomic model to analyse wildlife conservation in two habitats adjacent to a national park by two types of communities in the context of Southern Africa. One community is made up of peasant farmers operating under a benefit-sharing scheme (CAMPFIRE) while the other is made up of commercial farmers practising game farming in a conservancy (the Save Valley Conservancy). Both communities exploit wildlife by selling hunting licenses to foreign hunters but with different levels of success.


Decentralization, Market Integration, and Efficiency-Equity Trade-Offs: Evidence from Joint Forest Management in Ethiopian Villages

Extant literature on Joint Forest Management (JFM) impact evaluation has concluded that it generally does not provide sufficient incentives to justify the costs that forest use restrictions impose on local people. However, there is a dearth of evidence concerning whether alternative JFM intervention with improved market linkages for non-timber forest products has similar implications. In this study, we evaluated the income and distributive effects of a JFM program in Ethiopia in which additional support was provided for improved market linkages for non-timber forest products (NTFPs).


Wildlife: An Income Stream for Rural Zimbabweans

When poor rural families in Zimbabwe are able to collect bushmeat, it may allow them to increase their household income through selling the meat within their communities. This means that, if policies help support communities’ access to wildlife, they can address poverty and decrease income inequality in these areas.


Multiple and Concurrent Sex Partnerships and Social Norms: Young Adults’ Sexual Relationships in the Metropolitan Communities of Cape Town, South Africa

Even though antiretroviral treatment is becoming more efficient and available, new HIV infections still occur, and this is particularly evident in the sub-Saharan Africa region. Heterosexual intercourse is still the main mode of HIV transmission in the region, and multiple and concurrent sex partners are arguably crucial for the spread of the epidemic.


Effects of Wildlife Resources on Community Welfare: Income, Poverty and Inequality

This paper demonstrates the importance of wildlife in the portfolio of environmental income in the livelihoods of poor rural communities living adjacent to a national park. The results show that wealthier households consume more wildlife products in total than do relatively poor households. However, poorer households derive greater proportional benefit than wealthier households from the consumption of wildlife resources. Excluding wildlife understates the relative contribution of environmental resources while at the same time overstating the relative contribution of farm and wage income.


Gender Differences in Climate Change Risk, Food Security, and Adaptation: A Study of Rural Households’ Reliance on Agriculture and Natural Resources to Sustain Livelihoods

Climate and weather variability in sub-Saharan Africa disproportionately leave female-headed households food insecure. However, the extent and reasons for these gender differences are, thus far, not well understood. This study examines gender-food-climate connections using longitudinal data from rural households in north-eastern South Africa. Results confirm gender distinctions in that male-headed households are more food secure. Importantly, however, female-headed households are not a homogenous group.


The Effect of Land Restitution on Poverty Reduction among the Khomani San “Bushmen” in South Africa

This paper looks at the impact of land restitution involving the Khomani San “bushmen” in the Kgalagadi area of South Africa. It seeks to investigate the effect of land restitution on poverty reduction among the beneficiaries. We run two-stage least squares models of access to nature, per capita income and poverty status on the use of restituted land, among other variables. Our results suggest that the Khomani San beneficiaries have gotten more access to natural resources but that


Benefits of forest ecosystems in Zambia and the role of REDD+ in a green economy transformation

The main objective of the study was to assess the economic value of Zambia’s forest ecosystem services. The study estimates that, when ecosystem services provided by forests are accounted for, forests make a direct contribution to the national economy equivalent to about 4.7% of gross domestic product (GDP), which rises to 6.3% with the application of multiplier effects. Link to full report in pdf


Contingent valuation of community forestry programs in Ethiopia: Controlling for preference anomalies in double-bounded CVM

This study examines the welfare effects of community plantations in Ethiopia via contingent valuation. Both single-bounded and double-bounded survey methods were considered, and, with respect to double-bounded methods, the potential for anomalous response behaviour was also taken into account. The results generally confirm that there are statistically significant welfare benefits to be derived from community forestry; however, the range of the estimated benefits is large.


Implications of water policy reforms for agricultural productivity in South Africa: Scenario analysis based on the Olifants river basin

This paper uses the water-reallocation scheme created within the National Water Act (1998) to analyze the impacts of water policy on farm livelihoods in South Africa. Based on one of the most water stressed catchments in the country, the Olifants river basin, we provide an integrated modeling approach combining water and agricultural modules to investigate the impacts of compulsory licensing and water market on crop production and investment made to improve water use efficiency.


Climate change impacts and adaptation in South Africa

In this paper we review current approaches and recent advances in research on climate impacts and adaptation in South Africa. South Africa has a well-developed earth system science research program that underpins the climate change scenarios developed for the southern African region. Established research on the biophysical impacts of climate change on key sectors (water, agriculture, and biodiversity) integrates the climate change scenarios but further research is needed in a number of areas, such as the climate impacts on cities and the built environment.


Partnerships between private sector ecotourism operators and local communities in the Okavango Delta, Botswana: A case study of the Okavango Community Trust and Wilderness Safaris partnership

The majority of Africa is characterised by high levels of poverty, high population densities and limited economic development. Botswana is, however, different in having the highest gross domestic product per capita in Africa, relatively low population densities and high levels of socio-economic development. Inequality, however, remains high. A community-based natural resource management programme was introduced in 1989 to ensure that local communities benefit from the country's abundant natural resources, with the hope that they will then protect them.


Investigating the Sensitivity of Household Food Security to Agriculture-related Shocks and the Implication of Informal Social Capital and Natural Resource Capital

Resource-poor rural South Africa is characterized by high human densities due to the historic settlement patterns imposed by apartheid, high levels of poverty, under-developed markets and substantially high food insecurity. This chronic food insecurity, combined with climate and weather variability, has led to the adoption of less-conventional adaptation methods in resource-poor rural settings.


Poor rainfall, crop failure and food shortages: How rural farm households use nature, family, neighbors and friends to cope

As climate variability becomes more frequent, weather-related events such as poor rainfall, floods or storms are likely to be more common. Because the majority of small-scale sub-Saharan African farmers depend on rain-fed agriculture for food, any weather-related irregularities are likely to translate into food insecurity. This is more evident in resource-poor rural areas. This study examines the impact of weather-related crop failure and the coping mechanisms used by rural farm households.  


Estimating present and future profits within the Namibian hake industry: a bio-economic analysis

Namibia's fishing industry is managed using a system of fishing rights and individual fishing quotas. This property rights system was intended to encourage the local fishing industry to exploit the resource responsibly. Unfortunately, unintended perverse incentives have promoted induced overcapacity and inefficient use of vessels. In combination with inconsistent quota allocations, the result has been persistent pressure on the already depleted biological resource. This paper uses a bio-economic model to estimate actual and potential profits in Namibia's hake fishery.


Dependence on environmental resources and implications for household welfare: Evidence from the Kalahari drylands, South Africa

This paper examines dependence on environmental resources and impacts on household welfare among the indigenous San and Mier rural communities neighbouring Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa. Data on the various household income types, including environmental income, were collected through a structured survey of 200 households. Environmental income constituted 20% of the total income. The poorest income quintile showed the highest relative dependence on environmental income (31%), though absolute environmental income increased with total income.


Investigating the Sensitivity of Household Food Security to Agriculture-related Shocks and the Implication of Informal Social Capital and Natural Resource Capital: The Case of Rural Households in Mpumalanga, South Africa

Resource-poor rural South Africa is characterised by high human densities due to the historic settlement patterns imposed by apartheid, high levels of poverty, under-developed markets and substantially high food insecurity. This chronic food insecurity combined with climate and weather variability has led to the adoption of less conventional adaptation methods in resource-poor rural settings. This paper examines the impact of agriculture-related shocks on the consumption patterns of rural households.


Forest Tenure Reform in Asia and Africa: Local Control for Improved Livelihoods, Forest Management, and Carbon Sequestration

Forest tenure reforms are occurring in many developing countries around the world. These reforms typically include devolution of forest lands to local people and communities, which has attracted a great deal of attention and interest. While the nature and level of devolution vary by country, all have potentially important implications for resource allocation, local ecosystem services, livelihoods and climate change. 


The Environment for Development Initiative: lessons learned in research, academic capacity building and policy intervention to manage resources for sustainable growth

This article reviews the history of the Environment for Development (EfD) initiative, its activities in capacity building and policy-oriented research, and case studies at its centres in Chile, China, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania.


An analysis of the structural changes in the offshore demersal hake (Merluccius capensis and M. paradoxus) trawl fishery in South Africa

The hake (Merluccius capensis and M. paradoxus) directed offshore demersal trawl is the most economically important fishing sector in South Africa, generating 30,000 jobs and comprising more than 50% of fisheries value. The industry changed to long term rights (LTRA), allocated in 2006 for a 15 year period. This study investigates the structure of the industry half-way between allocations.


The Impact of Common Property Right Forestry: Evidence from Ethiopian Villages

We use inverse probability weighting to examine the effects of a unique two-pronged common-property forestry program in the Gimbo district of Ethiopia, which includes Joint Forestry Management and improved non-timber forest product marketing efforts. The program was found to have affected household access to agricultural land, and, thus, reduced livestock holdings, due to program strictures. Furthermore, despite those reductions, there is evidence that the program had economically significant effects on other activities.


Resistance to the Regulation of Groundwater in Rural Tunisia

Cooperation regarding the use of common pool resources can be difficult to achieve. Different management regimes may channel a resource’s benefits differently among users. This can be a problem when regulatory regimes are uniform in nature – in other words, when the same rules apply to everyone regardless of their different circumstances. To examine the role of this heterogeneity among resource users, we surveyed farmers in Tunisia about policies for managing groundwater pumping.


Resistance to the Regulation of Common Resources in Rural Tunisia

We examine the effect of the introduction of uniform water-charging for aquifer management and provide evidence using a survey-based choice experiment of agricultural water users in rural Tunisia. Theoretically, we show that the implementation of the proposed second-best regulation would result both in efficiency gains and in distributional effects in favour of small landholders. Empirically, we find that resistance to the introduction of an effective water-charging regime is greatest amongst the largest landholders.


Assessment of the main factors impacting community member’s attitudes towards tourism and protected areas in six southern African countries

In southern Africa, many early conservation efforts from the late 1800s and early 1900s either displaced local communities or restricted their access to natural resources. This naturally affected community attitudes towards protected areas and efforts were later made to rectify growing tensions. In the last few decades of the 20th century, these efforts led to conservation and ecotourism models that increasingly included communities in the decision-making and benefit-sharing process in order to garner their support.


The economic valuation of nature-based tourism in the South African Kgalagadi area and implications for the Khomani San ‘bushmen’ community

The economic importance of the various attributes of dryland nature-based tourism in the Kgalagadi area is generally unknown, as is the distribution of benefits from such tourism. This study seeks to value selected attributes of nature-based tourism in the Kgalagadi area by applying the choice experiment technique and then assessing the potential for nature-based tourism to contribute to the Khomani San ‘bushmen’ livelihoods through a payment for ecosystem services scheme.


Community-based wildlife management failing to link conservation and financial viability

Given the considerable popularity of community-based wildlife management as a conservation tool, it is of interest to assess the long-run sustainability of this policy not only in conservation terms, but also in financial terms. In this paper, we use cost–benefit analysis to study the social and financial sustainability of a large set of community conservancies in Namibia, one of the few countries where community-based wildlife management policies have been in place long enough to assess their long-term viability.


Conserving critically endangered central African Mountain Gorillas from poaching threats

Presently, the mountain gorilla in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo is endangered, mainly by poaching and habitat loss. Revenue from gorilla tourism is shared with local communities, but the current scheme yields less-than-optimal conservation outcomes and therefore cannot be entrusted with long-term conservation. However, a performance-linked benefit sharing scheme, in which the park agency makes payments to the local community based on the increase in the gorilla population, can achieve socially optimal conservation.


The economic valuation of dryland ecosystem services in the South African Kgalagadi by the local communities

Our results show that a preservation initiative that is aimed at increasing grazing and hunting opportunities would be supported by dryland communities. Although the Khomani San indigenous people are traditionally hunters and gatherers, over time a significant number have switched to livestock farming. Given that livestock farming is one of the main livelihood sources in the Kgalagadi dryland area, the Khomani San place a value on the ecosystem services that support their livelihood.


The Economic Value of Natural Features in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Visitors to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, located between Botswana and South Africa, are concerned about the kind of activities that take place within the park. This is not surprising, given the highly fragile Kgalagadi ecosystem. In our study, visitors assigned a monetary amount to the value they derive from pristine tourism opportunities. If this monetary value is greater than the amount that local communities assign to their livelihood activities in the park, then one group can compensate the other.