M.Sc. Naret Guerrero Moreno

Chair of Restoration Ecology

TUM School of Life Sciences
Technische Universität München
Emil-Ramann-Str. 6
85354 Freising

Phone: +49 8161 71 4141
Fax:      +49 8161 71 4143
E-mail:  naret.guerrero[at]tum.de

Studies on the socio-economic profile of the local community in NE South Africa as pre-requisite for the sustainable wetland conservation and restoration

Supervision: Prof. Dr. J. Kollmann, Prof. Dr. D. Scott (Univ. KwaZulu Natal), Dr. J. Sliva

Peatlands, and especially swamp forests, are rare ecosystems in the southern hemisphere. They support a rich biodiversity, contribute to carbon storage and provide many ecosystem services to local communities. In the ‘Maputaland Coastal Plain’ in the north-east of South Africa several swamp forests and coastal wetlands occur, which provide the local people with drinking water and the only productive land for farming. This factor makes them vulnerable for overexploitation. The wetlands are facing a progressing degradation mainly due to drainage, tree cutting and burning for subsequent farming.

The main aim of this thesis is to explore and analyze socio-economic aspects of the feasibility and acceptability of sustainable use of these wetlands, as well as of practical nature conservation in the coastal region Kosibay. For this, questionnaires and surveys of household and livelihood structures and other factors controlling the use, cultivation and degradation of the wetlands will be carried out. Furthermore, the analysis of the local markets, alternative employment possibilities to swamp farming, and the possibilities and limitations of restoration measures of the degraded wetlands will be conducted. In the second part of the thesis recommendations for sustainable land use, restoration and conservation of the wetlands will be developed.

The project is planned for 3 years (2012–2015), and is based on a close cooperation with the University of KwaZulu Natal and the Maputaland communities. There is also cooperation with the Humboldt University of Berlin, the University of Free State, South Africa, as well as the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa.

The project is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).