Hardwood Utilization in Rural Households of the Mankakulane Community, Maputaland, South Africa

J. Y. Gaugris, M. W. van Rooyen, J. du P. Bothma, M. J. Van der Linde


An analysis of the structure and composition of household buildings in the rural community of Manqakulane, Maputaland, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is presented. This biodiversity- rich area forms part of the Maputaland Centre of Plant Endemism, currently under threat from land transformation and human utilisation outside conservation areas. The demand for natural resources as building material by people of the community is evaluated through a survey of the structure of 42 randomly selected households. A sample of 226 buildings used for habitation or other purposes was conducted. The results revealed a change in structure types from round reed hut observed in the 1980s towards durable structures made with brick or wooden walls and corrugated iron roofs. Round structures are replaced by square ones, and thatched roofs are no longer the majority. Materials used for construction are identified and quantified, and an attempt is made to plan utilisation for the next eight years.

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