Livelihood trade-offs in the commercialisation of multiple-use NTFP: lessons from marula (Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra) in southern Africa
Shackleton, SE, Shackleton, CM, Wynberg, R, Sullivan, CA, Leakey, RRB, Mander, M, McHardy, T, Den Adel, S, Botelle, A, Du Plesis, P, Lombard, C, Laird, S, Cunningham, T & O'Regan, DO 2009, 'Livelihood trade-offs in the commercialisation of multiple-use NTFP: lessons from marula (Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra) in southern Africa', in R Uma Shaanker, AJ Hiremath, G Joseph & ND Rai (eds), Non-timber forest products: conservation, management and policy in the tropics, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore, India, pp. 139-173.
Commercialisation of non-timber forest products (NTFP), apart from the multitude of benefits, is often associated with trade-offs in terms of traditional and cultural livelihoods. This paper presents a holistic assessment of livelihood trade-offs involved in commercialisation of marula (Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra), a multiple-use NTFP species in southern Africa. The study was conducted at two sites in South Africa (Bushbuckridge district and Ubombo district) and one in Namibia (former Ovamboland). Some of the key features of the study include the household use and trade in marula products, the biological aspects of the marula resources, marketing and trade of the species and policies associated with its utilisation. The paper also highlights the important and diverse role that marula has in local livelihoods and in contributing to the forms of livelihood capital like human, social, financial, natural and physical capital. Likely trade-offs in terms of livelihoods with increasing commercialisation of marula are discussed, along with potential threats and opportunities from commercialisation.