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Re-valuing the communal lands of southern Africa: new understandings of rural livelihoods

Briefing/policy papers

Briefing/policy papers

This paper reviews recent valuation studies in the communal lands of several southern African countries. The significance of common pool resources and a range of agricultural goods and services for livelihood security and household income, particularly for the most vulnerable segments of rural society, is highlighted. The paper examines reasons for under-valuation of communal lands in the past and challenges the assumption that the creation of labour reserve economies in southern Africa decreased rural people’s dependence on the natural resource base and acted as a disincentive for land-based activities.

Sheona Shackleton, Charlie Shackleton and Ben Cousins