The Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University | Land Portal | Securing Land Rights Through Open Data
Phone number: 


Rhodes University 6140 Grahamstown , Eastern Cape
South Africa
Eastern Cape ZA
Postal address: 
P.O. Box 94 Grahamstown 6140
Working languages: 

We are a small department dedicated to advancing inter- and trans-disciplinary science and learning aimed at understanding and managing complex human-environmental/social-ecological systems, with a focus on Africa. 

We are interested in human-environment interactions and in the governance and sustainable management of complex social-ecological systems. We recognise that we are living in a globalising and rapidly changing world characterised by numerous interconnected environmental and social challenges. We undertake research on the ecological and socio-economic dimensions of these challenges, with the goal of contributing towards more resilient, equitable and sustainable pathways into the future. The nexus between human well-being, livelihoods, vulnerability, ecosystem services and change is central in all our work.  Key areas of research include:

  • Livelihoods, vulnerability and biodiversity
  • Ecosystem services and societal benefits
  • Non-timber forest products use, trade and management
  • Landscape change and land degradation
  • Co-management and governance of protected areas
  • Community based natural resource management
  • Social learning for change
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Urbanisation, urban greening and forestry
  • Ecosystem restoration and carbon sequestration
  • Invasive plants – uses, impacts and management
  • Food security, especially in relation to ecosystem services provision and wild food

The Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University Resources

Displaying 1 - 10 of 16
Policy Papers & Briefs
June 2017
South Africa

Local level, collective small-scale farming projects in the Kat River Valley, like elsewhere, have proven difficult to sustain.  Various factors from macro-level policies to local level social and political dynamics were found to hinder or block the success of such projects.  Some of the most challenging factors relate to history and path dependency, prevailing neoliberal agricultural policies

Reports & Research
March 2017
South Africa

Rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa are faced with multiple interconnected challenges such as population growth, environmental change, economic recession and climatic changes, amongst others. Such challenges can play a key role in determining vulnerability and food security, particularly for natural resource productdependent societies that have limited livelihood sources.

Reports & Research
March 2017
South Africa

Climate change poses a very real threat to millions of Africans, especially those who rely on the natural world for their livelihoods. The increasing variability of climate and rainfall patterns are said to have dire consequences on agricultural production which is the main livelihood activity of rural dwellers across the continent.

Policy Papers & Briefs
December 2016
South Africa

Whilst most interpret food insecurity to mean an insufficient quantity of food (as measured by the number of calories consumed), the widely accepted FAO definition considers four dimensions of food security, namely quantity, quality or diversity, access and use.

Policy Papers & Briefs
November 2015
South Africa

This policy brief draws on three sources of data from a study undertaken in Lesseyton in Lukanji Local Municipality and Willowvale in Mbashe Local Municipality, in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.The aim was to understand the vulnerability context of households in the two sites and how they coped with multiple shocks and stresses, with an emphasis on various types of safety nets.

Peer-reviewed publication
October 2015
South Africa

This paper seeks to understand the drivers and pathways of local livelihood change and the prospects for transformation towards a more sustainable future. Data are used from several studies, and a participatory social learning process, which formed part of a larger project in two sites in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Policy Papers & Briefs
October 2014
South Africa

How do social, environmental and economic stressors interact to constrain people's ability to improve their livelihoods and respond to change and what does this mean for policies?

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