Long-standing arguments as to whether parks alleviate poverty or create poverty traps remain unresolved, as do the questions of whether development interventions to reduce human pressures on parks are effective in terms of human wellbeing or conservation outcomes. Our main research questions are:
Cape Town has been facing the worst three-year drought in over a century. The situation has become dire as dam levels have dropped to unprecedented lows and households have been restricted to 50 litres of municipal water per person per day. Reducing unsustainable water consumption habits is difficult due to the time lag between water consumption and information reception about volumes consumed. Smart water metering can address this challenge and create awareness around water usage.
Female microenterprise creation and business models for private sector distribution of low-cost renewable off-grid LED lighting
The overall goal of this project it to evaluate whether different business models effectively scale up the distribution of affordable renewable lighting to the poorest of the poor in developing country contexts. It also aims to evaluate the impact of empowering females in poor rural villages via participation in renewable energy enterprises and spillover effects on households’ welfare.
Household’s energy transition in South Africa: Evidences from regression discontinuity design and multiple discrete-continuous model
The primary goal of this research project is to better understand the consumption patterns of different fuels in South Africa, and to identify the causal role of income in spurring household energy transitions among the poor.
An examination of factors affecting the likelihood of cooperation in Zimbabwe’s CAMPFIRE projects using framed field experiments
This research project has the objective to compare the effect of three different approaches on communities’ cooperation behaviour in order to reduce illegal harvesting of wildlife resources.
The Role of the Greater Addo Elephant National Park in the Regional Economy of the Eastern Cape, Relating Specifically to the Surrounding Communities
The objective of the project is to assess the economic ramifications of conservation activities in the Greater Addo region.
Developing a system for sustainable resource use by the Khomani San in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and environs: Valuing sustainable resource use
Research is required to determine the value of sustainable resource use, and its associated cultural and spiritual values to the Khomani San, linked to a reconnection with the land, and relative to the Khomani San’s broader socio-economic livelihood strategies.
Economic value of the Okawango Delta, Botswana, and implications for management of water and wildlife
The valuation study has been completed but is in a technical form which is not easily accessible to policy makers and academics. The budget of the project did not extend to the further refinement required to publish the work. It is proposed to further refine the study and prepare it for publication in an international journal.
Access to basic services and more generally service delivery are hot topics in the current South African political climate with the lack of services being a common cause of spontaneous public protest and rioting. The table below gives an indication of the extent of the lack of services, by race, in Cape Town – one of the study areas of the project.
Assessment of dry-lands ecosystem services on Khomani San communal land and the possible implications
Identify and value ecosystem services found on the land belonging to the Khomani San – inside and outside the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Our study aims to estimate the economic value (benefits) of protecting a dryland ecosystem in the park.
The goal of this project is to develop an understanding of the drivers of spatial distribution of fishing pressure around the coast, so as to inform strategies for the recovery and sustainable management of threatened fishery resources.
This project will measure the risk and time attitudes of Western Cape fruit farmers using experimental and econometric techniques. It will assess how these attitudes interact with the adoption of new cultivars, wealth levels and access to capital, and a variety of other socio-economic variables. The results will be used to construct policy advice for a priority area of South African industrial policy.
Understanding the determinants of adaptive behaviour and developing Disaster Risk Insurance for the Informal Sector
Many of Cape Town’s informal settlements are found in the low-lying flood-prone Cape Flats. These informal settlements are flooded annually during the wet, rainy season – resulting in damage to dwellings and property and causing a myriad of health problems as residents are forced to live in wet damp conditions, surrounded by pools of stagnant water.
This project aims to use low-cost and scalable behavioral-economic interventions to facilitate pro-environmental behavioural change. Specifically, the objective is to induce a reduction in electricity consumption of Provincial government employees.
The research programme explores the overall theme of Gender Dimensions of Natural Resource Use, Farming and Food Adequacy: Climate Change Risk, Vulnerability and Adaptation. The broad aim of this research programme is to study how the well-being (in terms of food adequacy) of male and female headed households is influenced by reliance on farming and natural resources. The research will also investigate how climate uncertainty affects male and female headed households’ decisions regarding farming versus natural resources (living from ecosystem services) use. Lastly, the research we propose to do will also focus on vulnerability, adaptation and constraints to adaptation due to climate variability.
This project aims to use low-cost and scalable behavioral-economic interventions to facilitate pro-environmental behavioural change in the Western Cape of South Africa. Specifically, the objective is to induce a reduction in electricity and water consumption across a large sample of residential homes.
The purpose of this study is to estimate the optimal entrance fees that should be charged during peak and off peak periods and derive welfare outcomes of selected policy changes in selected clusters of national parks in South Africa.
The project addresses the impact of climate change on the value of wildlife and welfare of ranchers. We use a panel Ricardian model to address specification challenges of single year cross sectional survey and unstable results due to repeated cross sectional surveys.
Marine Protected Areas and Small-Scale Fishing Behavior: a Comparative Analysis between South Africa, Tanzania and Costa Rica
This thematic program examines marine resource conservation. This multi-center collaborative project, the first within this thematic program, focuses on improving policy to promote coastal conservation through marine protected areas (MPAs) and related management tools. Because signatories of the Convention on Biological Diversity have committed to establishing MPAs on 10 percent of their coastal waters, a widespread expansion of these areas is underway worldwide.
Despite the centrality of African parks and other protected areas to nature-based tourism, they capture only a fraction of its value. For this reason, national parks and other protected areas have mostly relied on fiscal transfers from the state to fund their conservation activities.
The demand for recreational angling in South Africa: implications of alternative management options for a depleted fishery
Recreational angling is a popular past time in South Africa and has been shown to make a substantial contribution to the economy. However, recreational fishing pressure has led to the severe decline and collapse of many of the species targeted in the fishery. Recent studies suggest that both the numbers many of the fish species targeted have vulnerable life history strategies, with
The role of institutions in wildlife conservation in South Africa and Zimbabwe: a social-ecological systems approach
Community-based wildlife conservation has become popular with both policymakers and development practitioners alike as a vehicle for rural development in Southern Africa. A significant proportion of wildlife in the region is a common pool resource (CPR) and is managed under community-based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) arrangements.
Ecosystems provide a range of essential services which underpin human well-being (e.g.
Evaluation of Dry-lands Ecosystem Services in the area surrounding the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa
This project is concerned with identifying, assessing and valuing ecosystem services found on the section of land belonging to the Khomani San contractual park and their farms.
This project explores whether the adoption of new farming practices is decreasing in ambiguity aversion, while conversely, the uptake of insurance is increasing in ambiguity aversion. Such a result will strengthen the argument in favour of mechanisms of risk diffusion, such as insurance products for small-scale farmers.
Estimating Optimal Conservation Fees in the Presence of Land Restitution in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park between Botswana and South Africa
This project thrives to determine how the Kgalagadi Transfrontier park can serve as a drive in tourism that generates economic and social benefits to land claimants and as a result maximize the positive spill over effects on the Khomani San people.
The objectives of this study are to provide a spatial analysis of the total economic value of the SA coast, focusing on the values generated by different types of protected areas versus other stretches of coast.
An applied economics survey among South African subsistence farmers
A tool to shape public policies?
In this research project EfD aims to draw lessons from land reforms in several Asian and African countries. The findings will be presented in a book edited by Professors Stein Holden and Keijiro Otsuka and titled "Land Reforms in Asia and Africa - Impacts on Poverty and Natural Resource Management".
Wetlands are considered to perform a number of ecosystem services, including the improvement of water quality. However, few empirical studies have been carried out on the capacity of wetlands to perform a water treatment function, or on the demand for this function, with the result that most estimates of the value of this service are based on a weak foundation. Furthermore, the measurement of this function is confounded by the complications in trying to assess water quality entering and leaving wetlands because of surface to groundwater interactions.
Scepticism with respect to the consequences of climate change is declining worldwide as this issue takes a prominent place on global political agenda. However, the overall extent and magnitude of climate change consequences are still extremely uncertain. As such, any economic analysis of climate change must take cognisance of the economics of risk and uncertainty.
The optimal pricing of national parks with nationality-based price discrimination and park substitution
Nature based tourism is a popular and rapidly growing industry in South Africa. Developing nations are finding it useful to use their natural resources in order to create competitive advantage over the developed world.
Climate change in an experimental setting: The effect of stochastic future disasters and country vulnerability on cooperation.
In this project we are investigate the trade off between countries’ investments in adaptation and mitigation. We study how the investment behaviour in these two types of investments differs between types of countries (where countries differ in terms of vulnerability).
Abalone poaching, methamphetamine use, criminal activity in South Africa and the associated implications for resource management
This study seeks to explore the relationship between abalone poaching, use of methamphetamine and crime activity in the coastal communities of South Africa; and the associated implications for the management of the resource.
Using what amounts to a field experiment we analyse whether the electricity consumption patterns of consumers are altered by the experience of blackouts and the exposure to Eskom’s communication. Secondly; we analyse bargaining experiments focussed on disputes concerning conservation-land owned by the South African National Defence Force and the conservation agencies.
Implementing environmentally responsible investment strategies (ERI)in the South African investment and financial sector
The research project led by Dr Stephanie Giamporcaro focuses on Environmental Finance and Environmental Investment. The research program aims thus to explore how environmentally responsible investment approaches are implemented currently in South Africa and how the implementation of these strategies in the country’s financial and investment sector can be facilitated in order to promote a sustainable growth in South Africa and a sustainable use of natural resources .