Use and Population Dynamics of Sclerocarya birrea hochst. subsp. caffra (Sond) Kokwaro in Murale, Limpopo Province, South AFrica
Understanding the uses of indigenous plants that are of economic importance to local communities is very much important in rural development strategies. The Marula (Sclerocarya birrea) Anacardiaceae family is widely used. More information on this tree species would enhance its value in agricultural landscapes, by helping farmers improve their livelihoods and ensuring environmental sustainability. Understanding how a community uses a resource and what influences the level of its use is crucial for developing a framework for its sustainable use based on local demands. Sclerocarya birrea is a species with multiple uses, which is recognized as commercially, medicinally and culturally important in Africa. Almost all parts of this species are useful. The study presented the findings of a survey of the indigenous knowledge, uses and management of S. birrea in Matshena village, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Different people of various ages were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. Thirty percent of respondents indicated that they utilize the marula for beer and juice-making, the highest use category. In the sampled area the population of S. birrea is dominated by larger trees with no seedlings and juveniles. This is a sign of a population that will not be viable, since there are no younger individuals to replace the older trees when they die.