Wayne Twine, Prof.

South Africa
University of the Witwatersrand
BII expert in: Plants

My research focuses on natural resource use, rural livelihoods, resource ecology, community based natural resource management, and sustainability in savanna socio-ecological systems. Most of my work is centred on understanding the key socio-economic drivers of resource use, the contribution of biodiversity to rural livelihoods and human well-being, and the ecological impacts of resource use in these systems.

In the communal lands of the South African lowveld, important edible fruit species such s Sclerocarya birrea (marula) are protected by cultural taboos that prevent them from being cut. This, and the fruit that they provide, are strong incentives for people to protect them, especially in their yards and cultivated fields, resulting in higher densities of adults of these species in the settlements and fields than in the rangelands. Humans benefit nutritionally and economically from this abundant resource. However, with increasing pressure on available fuelwood stocks, we are witnessing rising incidence of cutting of these protected species. This has potentially negative implications in the long term for human well-being, especially for poorer and more vulnerable households who tend to be more dependent on edible wild fruit for their daily needs.

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