Unlocking resources: The impact of land reform on sustainability of forest and woodland resources and rural livelihoods- The case of Mufurudzi resettlement scheme(Zimbabwe )

Mukwada, Geofrey
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This thesis is about the relationship between planned resettlement, livelihoods and environmental resources in Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwean resettlement areas, assets such as human and physical capital, social networks and financial resources are often clearly insufficient to adequately provide inputs for the sustainable productive and extractive systems that are required to drive the rural economy. Due to uncertainties related to agricultural production doubts have been expressed about the benefits of state sponsored resettlement. Currently, debate is raging on whether land resettlement in Zimbabwe has yielded the intended benefits among land reform beneficiaries, with some scholars even questioning whether state sponsored resettlement is not merely an expensive way of reproducing the livelihoods of communal lands. This thesis contributes to the ongoing debate about the link between rural livelihoods and land resettlement, using the case of Mufurudzi resettlement scheme in Zimbabwe. Based on a livelihood framework, the thesis argues that in order to fully understand the relationship between land reform and livelihoods, livelihood trajectories have to be examined. In line with this thinking the thesis presents a number of arguments. First, the thesis argues that there are many theoretical frameworks for analyzing the relationship between people, resettlement and environmental resources such as forests and woodlands and the sustainable livelihood framework is just one of them. Second, resettlement does not necessarily always lead to environmental destruction. Instead resettlement provides the mechanism for unlocking the natural capital that local communities require for survival. Forest and woodland resources are one such form of natural capital. Under these circumstances access to natural capital, particularly in the form of forest and woodland resources, becomes the cornerstone of survival, notwithstanding the role that these resources play in supplying daily livelihood requirements such as food, shelter, fuel, medicines and other needs, in a harsh macro-economic environment. Apart from providing important products, forest and woodland resources also provide a mechanism through which land reform beneficiary communities can diversify their livelihoods. The key finding of this research is that despite their continual use during the past 25 years no wholesale degradation has occurred to the forest and woodland resources in Mufurudzi. Informal CBNRM is responsible for this situation.
Student Number : 0318769R - PhD thesis - School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies - Faculty of Science
land reform, resettlement, forest and woodland resources, sustainabilty, CBNRM, sustainable livelihoods, integrated approach