Access and Use of Forest Resources: Evidence from Common Property Forest Management in Swaziland

"A major challenge facing Swaziland is how to maximise the use of forest resources while still maintaining their sustainability. Forest resources are being depleted and degraded due to poor access controls, inequities in land-tenure and user rights. The research was conducted using the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework as the underlying scheme. The main objective of this study was to investigate access to and utilisation of forest resources in the selected chiefdoms in Mahlangatsha Inkundla. The survey methodology whose target population was from the two chiefdoms were household heads was adopted in this study (N = 185). Data were collected using questionnaires. Stratified random sampling technique which combined both stratification and randomization were used. Findings revealed that, access levels of households to forest resources were different. Whilst access to community forest resources was restricted, the natural forest resources were open to extraction by anyone. Institutional and community rules that are used to regulate access to forest resources lack effectiveness. Consequently, there are problems of deforestation, degradation, illegal harvesting, and lack of involvement by community members to manage forest resources. The study recommends that, local people should be educated about rules that regulate access to forest resources and common rules be set at the local level."
forests, resource management, sustainability