Fuelwood harvesting and selection in Valley Thicket, South Africa

Pote, J and Shackleton, C.M. and Cocks, M.L. and Lubke, R. (2006) Fuelwood harvesting and selection in Valley Thicket, South Africa. Journal of Arid Environments, 67 (2). pp. 270-287. ISSN 0140-1963



Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2006.02.0...


The Thicket Biome is the second smallest biome in South Africa, and is renowned for its high biodiversity. Yet, less than 5% of the biome is in formal conservation areas. Much of the currently intact thicket outside protected areas is threatened by land transformation to commercial agriculture or heavy use by rural communities. There is limited understanding of the ecological structure and function of thicket communities and their response to these human pressures. This paper reports on a study to characterize the woody communities in Valley Thicket and Thornveld surrounding a rural village. We also examined the demand and selection for specific woody species. There was a marked selection for key species for different uses, including fuelwood, construction timber, and cultural stacks. There was also strong selection for specific size classes of stem, especially those between 16–45 cm circumference. The density, biomass and species richness of woody species was reduced close to the village, and increased with distance away from human settlement. A similar trend was found for the basal area of preferred species, but not for the basal area of all species. The strong selectivity for both species and size class means that the anthropogenic impacts are not uniform within the woody strata, leading to marked changes in community structure and floristics at a local scale.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Size-class preferences; Species preferences; Structure; Thicket; Wood; Thicket Biome; South Africa; fuelwood; human settlement
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Botany
Research Institutes and Units > Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER)
Faculty > Faculty of Science > Environmental Science
ID Code:430
Deposited By: Mrs Eileen Shepherd
Deposited On:26 Oct 2006
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:18
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