Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Botswana Notes and Records
Title An Evaluation of the Sustainability of Baobab Harvesting in the Gweta Area
Author(s)
Volume 44
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
Page numbers 130-143
Abstract
In light of southern Africa's growing population and economy, as well as the increasing international market for baobab (Adansonia digitata', or mowana in Setswana) products, it seems important to ascertain whether or not baobab harvesting is having an impact on the health of the trees and whether it could be improved or expanded to increase benefits to communities. This study focused on 72 baobab trees in and around the village of Gweta examining local usage and harvesting practices and exploring their correlations with the health of the trees. Results suggest that baobab harvesting in its current form is detrimental to the health of the trees and may not be sustainable in the long term, given Botswana's rapid population growth. Human usage was linked to increased branch loss and to the severity of infection by rot fungi. However, recovery from these effects seems possible with time, meaning that altering harvesting practices and techniques could result in a marked improvement in both the health of the trees and their yield. This would protect the baobabs -and their important ecological niche along with them - while increasing long term benefits to the community. Further research is necessary, but a preliminary recommendation from this study is to refine methods of fruit, bark, and root removal and to promote the protection of the area where the trees occur in order to facilitate recovery.

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