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Community Forest Resource Utilization and Associated Land Degradation in Eswatini – The Case of Ezikhotheni and Ngcayini Chiefdoms

This study assessed community forest resource utilization and associated land degradation in Eswatini using Ezikhotheni and Ngcayini chiefdoms as case studies. Noteworthy is that, Eswatini is faced with a host of environmental challenges which include deforestation and forest degradation; excessive hunting, overgrazing, soil degradation, as well as limited potable water resources. In turn, these challenges collectively hinder the economic growth of the country. Given that 63% of the population in the Kingdom of Eswatini lives below the poverty line, most people rely on the vegetation for a livelihood, and the vegetation itself relies on geology and soil for its survival, hence land degradation is inevitable. Therefore, due to heavy reliance on forest resources, forest lands continue to be degraded while grasslands are overgrazed and most wild animal species are being eradicated with only some being protected in the country’s conservation areas. In response to land degradation, in some rural areas such as Ngcayini and Ezikhotheni, afforestation programs have been initiated to rehabilitate degraded land and supplement timber products’ requirements. Worth noting is that, these chiefdoms are severely threatened by land degradation; hence plantation-style community forests were established between 2001 and 2003. However, nothing has been documented regarding the effectiveness of the interventions. Therefore, the present study aims to determine the change in land cover and the extent of land degradation over time at Ngcayini and Ezikhotheni in order to establish the effectiveness of the interventions in controlling land degradation. Notably, in this study effectiveness is measured by an increase in the size of the plantation-style community forest and a decrease in size of a rehabilitated gully. On the other hand, a decrease in size of the plantation-style community forest and a non-rehabilitating (or increasing) gully indicates a failure of the interventions in controlling land degradation in the study sites. The study also focuses on the utilization of the forest resources derived from the plantation-style community forests. Data collection involved household interviews and calculation of the area of plantation-style community forests and gullies on Google Earth images for 2008, 2013 and 2017 as well as Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) from Landsat satellite images. The findings indicate that the forests and the NDVI were generally increasing from 2008 to 2017 in both chiefdoms, which indicate effectiveness of the afforestation intervention.

Afforestation Intervention, Community Forests, Land Degradation, Landsat Satellite Images, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index

APA Style

Saico Sibusiso Singwane, Heinrich Reinhard Beckedahl, Absalom Mganu Manyatsi. (2023). Community Forest Resource Utilization and Associated Land Degradation in Eswatini – The Case of Ezikhotheni and Ngcayini Chiefdoms. Science Development, 4(3), 49-62. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.scidev.20230403.13

ACS Style

Saico Sibusiso Singwane; Heinrich Reinhard Beckedahl; Absalom Mganu Manyatsi. Community Forest Resource Utilization and Associated Land Degradation in Eswatini – The Case of Ezikhotheni and Ngcayini Chiefdoms. Sci. Dev. 2023, 4(3), 49-62. doi: 10.11648/j.scidev.20230403.13

AMA Style

Saico Sibusiso Singwane, Heinrich Reinhard Beckedahl, Absalom Mganu Manyatsi. Community Forest Resource Utilization and Associated Land Degradation in Eswatini – The Case of Ezikhotheni and Ngcayini Chiefdoms. Sci Dev. 2023;4(3):49-62. doi: 10.11648/j.scidev.20230403.13

Copyright © 2023 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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