Sustainable Use and Management of Indigenous Plant Resources: A Case of Mantheding Community in Limpopo Province, South Africa
Indigenous plant resources provide rural communities with non-timber forest products that provide energy, food, shelter and medicine. Indigenous plant users in the rural communities have developed selective management methods to sustain plant resources. The most common management methods are restrictions on the cutting of green plants, harvesting of some species during certain seasons, exclusive harvesting of the leaves of certain species and collection of lateral roots from medicinal plant species. The present study examined the use and management strategies developed by members of Mantheding community to sustain indigenous plant resources. The study results are derived from 100 structured interviews and transect walks with key-informants. Multiple uses of indigenous plants are observed. The plants are sources of medicine, food, fodder and fuel. Sustainable management of indigenous plants is accomplished through harvesting practices, seed propagation and control of plant use by the local chief. These management strategies may be referred to as in situ management methods in which the fruits, leaves, roots, bulbs, stem, bark and wood are harvested in their habitats and direct conservation methods are applied to sustain the resources.