n Southern African Forestry Journal - Woodlands or wastelands : examining the value of South Africa's woodlands : management paper

Volume 2001, Issue 192
  • ISSN : 0038-2167



The savanna woodlands are the largest biome in the country, constituting one-third of South Africa. They are also home to one-quarter of the population, with 70 % of the former homelands being in the savanna biome. Consequently, they have the potential to make a marked contribution to the national economy, both in the formal and informal sector. They are also valuable on a national scale in terms of the ecosystem services they provide, such as carbon storage, biodiversity and water yield. Until recently the real and potential values attached to South Africa's savannas have not been recognised in policy fora and government institutions. Recent policy changes, especially the National Forestry Action Programme and the National Forest Act, have attempted to remedy this situation. These policies have not filtered down to land owners and managers, nor have they resulted in a redirection of government resources. Thus, large areas remain subject to unsustainable use. It is necessary that the true value of woodlands be determined and acknowledged as a stimulus to government agencies, the private sector and local users to use this valuable resource sustainably.

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