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Livelihood roles of cattle and prospects for alternative land uses at the wildlife/livestock interface in South Africa

The emergence of wildlife ranching as an alternative land use option to agriculture, in Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs), has cast renewed interest on the role of cattle farming in rural livelihoods in areas close to wildlife parks. This study analysed the contribution of cattle to livelihoods and relationships between cattle and potential wildlife land uses in rural areas near Kruger National Park. Data were collected through household surveys, key informant interviews and community workshops. About 11% of households studied owned cattle, and cattle income constituted 29% of total household income. Benefits from cattle were also derived by households without cattle. About 71% of households had at least three sources of income, reflecting diversity of livelihoods. Wildlife related land uses were perceived by some households as threatening cattle production, whilst others viewed them as opportunities for alternative livelihoods. We conclude that cattle production has important livelihood roles, but is not sufficient as a driver of economic development in these areas. Incentives to encourage diversification of livelihoods at the wildlife/livestock interface, with possibilities for rural communities to explore wildlife based land uses should be put in place. In addition, land use policy and planning in such areas should focus on creating institutional mechanisms through which programmes integrating conservation and rural development goals can benefit rural communities.

Source Land Use Policy (Volume 38, May 2013, Pages 80–90), Petronella Chaminuka, Henk M.J. Udo, Karen C.H.A.M. Eilers, Akke van der Zijpp

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