2009). More detailed investigation showed that in some cases San and Mier households with older heads were small, consisting of mainly husband, wife and sometimes a grandchild, and hence had low wild resource needs. Such households relied more on government old-age grants than on natural resources. Further, natural resource har- vesting is an arduous activity in the arid Kalahari area and people have to walk long distances to collect natu- ral resources such as fuelwood. Thirty-four percent and Downloaded by [University of Rhodes] at 10:04 17 February 2014
International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology 469 54% of sampled San and Mier respondents, respectively, reported that they travelled further and spent more time on harvesting fuelwood than they did a few years ago. This could only be done by the physically fit. Concerning gen- der, male-headed households had relatively higher income from natural resources perhaps because men were the predominant harvesters of fuelwood for the majority of both San and Mier households. Notably, men harvested fuelwood for sale. Further, there is more hard work in this arid area as trees are more dispersed, and the fact that people use donkey carts (often operated by men) to carry the fuelwood means that men are likely to be the main harvesters. Regarding household size, detailed analysis showed that households with many members often used more nat- ural resources than households with fewer members. This is obvious because the more members a household has, the higher the demand for natural resources and the harvesting capacity. With regard to livestock value, the findings seem to contradict the general hypothesis that high agricultural (livestock) income reduces the need for natural resource income. In this study area, however, households with more livestock acquired more assets (such as financial resources, donkey carts and cars) from livestock sales and in turn utilised these possessions as a vehicle to extract high-value resources such as fuelwood and bushmeat or to engage in high-value, land-based activities such as game farming. Contextual factors and natural resource income The statistically weak regression results show that natu- ral resource use is also shaped by other contextual factors (e.g. cultural and socio-economic ones) beyond house- holds’ immediate sphere of influence (see Kamanga et al. 2009). For instance, the San reported a higher income share from natural resources than the Mier. During infor- mal interviews, most households maintained that being San and using natural resources is a cultural practice that characterise their daily lives. On the other hand, the Mier are traditionally livestock farmers and had larger livestock herds. Cultural factors may also influence the variations in resource use and dependence among different house- holds within the San and Mier. For instance, the more ‘traditional’ San people used natural resources mainly for subsistence purposes, while the more ‘modern’ San (see Thondhlana et al. 2011) extracted resources for both sub- sistence and commercialisation purposes. Similarly, key informant interviews revealed that older Mier generations
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