Forestry scopes: South African Case Study
Plantation forestry in southern Africa has changed the future of the country. It covers over 40 million ha of the country’s land surface area. An amount of R1,2 billion from the department’s budget has been allocated to forestry and natural resources management.
The forestry sector employs around 165 900 workers and provides about 62 700 direct jobs and 30 000 indirect jobs. Forestry provides livelihood support to 652 000 people of the country’s rural population. The pulp and paper industry provides about 13 200 direct and 11 000 indirect employment opportunities.
About 20 000 workers are employed in sawmilling, and 6 000 in the timber board and 2 200 in the mining timber industries, while a further 11 000 workers are employed in miscellaneous jobs in forestry.
The afforested area is about 1,27 million ha or about 1% of the total South African land area of 122,3 million ha.
The forestry sector (forestry and forest products) contributes about 1% to the GDP. In terms of regional GDP, forestry in KwaZulu-Natal contributes 4,4%; in Mpumalanga 3,7%; in the Eastern Cape 0,6%; and in Limpopo about 0,6%.
The government aimed at eradicating poverty through the Forestry Livelihoods Programme. Firewood, construction poles, medicinal plants and edible fruits are all critical to the livelihoods of the rural poor.
The department develops human resources through forestry-sector skills development initiatives and promotes employment through commercial forestry activities such as forestation and downstream activities. Afforestation is taking place in rural areas where there are few other viable opportunities for job creation and economic activity.
The forestry sector include the need to compete in a global market, a changing landowner base with new growers and processors, new end uses/products, development of innovative technology, and responding to environmental constraints including climate change.