The opportunity cost of not utilising the woody invasive alien plant species in the Kouga, Krom and Baviaans catchments in South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 15
  • Abstract:

    This study estimates the opportunity costs of using woody invasive alien plants (IAPs) for value-added products by estimating the net economic return from the value-added industries in South Africa. By 2008, IAPs were estimated at the national level to cover an area of 1 813 million condensed hectares in South Africa. A market has formed around their use for value-added products (VAP) like charcoal, firewood and timber in the Kouga, Kromme and Baviaans River catchments in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The net economic return from these value-added industries was estimated for the purpose of several management scenarios, and was then used to estimate the opportunity costs if they were not used. A system dynamics model was used to value and analyse the Net Present Value of clearing in the study area and to estimate the opportunity cost of the non-use of VAP. The study showed that the inclusion of VAPs in the project would yield higher net present values for clearing. The findings from this study suggest that a cofinance option of the total economic returns from VAP for clearing costs is the best management scenario for reducing the costs of clearing and maximising the net economic returns from clearing. The net economic returns of VAPs by 2030 are estimated at R23 million without the co-finance option and R26 million with the option. The cumulative net income from VAPs with co-financing over the period of valuation is estimated to be R609 million.