Table 2. Local experts’ views (n = 11) on causal factors of forest change
Exotic tree species that people do not use:
Forest is large now because there are trees that didn’t
grow here before.
Different types of trees now grow in the forest, which makes
Most of the trees that grow here were not here before and
they destroy and out-compete the trees that are used by people.
New trees that are of no use to people are left and not cut
down and so the forest became denser. These trees grew quickly
and so the forest changed rapidly. These trees are out-competing
the trees the community uses.
New trees that people do not use, and so do not cut, increase
the size of the forest. These trees destroy the important
Forests grow because fire clears land, then forests take
After a fire more plants and trees grow back, which adds to
the size and density of forest.
Fire can open up areas and small trees can grow in summer
rain and then become part of the forest.
Fire does not enter the forest, so does not affect it, but
burns the edge and new trees grow normally, e.g., Umnga.
Plants on the edge of the forest are destroyed by fire but
this fire does not stop the forest from growing.
In winter, there is fire that burns the forest. In summer,
the trees grow back and grow bigger and denser. But don’t
think that fire affects the shape or size of the forest.
Forests grow because people abandon homesteads:
The village was on the edge of the forest in 1974, now in
2005 the whole area is covered by forest.
Forest followed the stream in the past. There were homes near
the stream and cows used to graze. The homes have gone and
so have the cows.
Between 1971 and 1973, people moved to be on top of the hill
and near the road, the area where they lived has now become
part of the forest.
From 1987–1988 people moved to Fubesi to be near the
road and services and when they left the forest started to
People were moved because of apartheid and their land was
overrun by forest.
Forests grow because people stop cultivation:
Fields that were cultivated in 1974 have now been overrun
by the forest.
Places where people used to cultivate are now forests and
people have moved to another village to cultivate.
It is natural that the trees take over abandoned land.
The people stopped cultivating the land and the forest took
This place was used for farming and cultivation, but these
people stopped and forest took over the land.
Change is natural; the forest became bigger and took over the
|People no longer cut so many trees for building materials:
People nowadays use more blocks and bricks for building rather than trees.