Using a Social-ecological Regime Shift Approach to Understand the Transition from Livestock to Game Farming in the Eastern Cape, South Africa
This study explored the shift in land use from livestock farming to game farming in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, from a social-ecological regime shift perspective. A regime shift can be defined as a large, persistent change in the structure and function of the intertwined social and ecological components of a landscape. This research focused on the Amakhala game reserve as a case study to understand how the shift affected the provision of ecosystem services and human wellbeing.
We used remote sensing techniques to quantify changes in vegetation and found evidence of vegetation recovery following the shift. We then conducted interviews with both landowners and farmworkers and used participatory mapping to understand their perceptions of the main drivers and social-ecological impacts of the shift in land use. Social narratives revealed stark differences in different stakeholders’ perceptions, highlighting that the change in land use had varied implications for, and were perceived differently by, different stakeholders. Farmworkers emphasized changes in social structures that weakened community bonds and erased valued connections to the land. At the same time, they increased employment of women, skills development, and increased wages as benefits of the new game farming regime. Landowners, on the other hand, indicated financial gains from the land use change.
The transition therefore resulted in trade-offs that surfaced as social, economic, and cultural losses and gains. These changes, especially in social relationships and community structures, have implications for resilience and possible future pathways of development in the region.
Research news | 2021-10-16
Centre receives substantial research funding on sustainable food production
IKEA Foundation grants 30 million SEK for continued research on more sustainable and just food systems. Gullspång Invest and its subsidiary Gullspång Re:food contribute additional 5 million SEK
Research news | 2021-10-16
Beatrice Crona appointed professor in sustainability science
Deputy science director selected for newly established professorship in sustainability science with focus on sustainable food systems
Research news | 2021-10-11
Low exposure to green areas may lead to higher rates of COVID-19 cases
New analysis links COVID-19 to nature inequity, showing communities of color face starkest burden
Research news | 2021-10-04
How cities play a crucial role in the transition to a carbon-free world
In connection with World Habitat Day, centre experts explain why cities are at the centre of planetary efforts to reduce our carbon footprint
Educational news | 2021-09-30
New MOOC on how to deal with the climate crisis
Learn how to drive the social change that is fundamentally required for an effective response to climate change
Research news | 2021-09-29
Ready for anything
Centre theme leader Cibele Queiroz explains why diversity is important in turbulent times