The Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University | Page 2 | Land Portal
Phone number: 


Rhodes University 6140 Grahamstown , Eastern Cape
South Africa
Eastern Cape ZA
Postal address: 
P.O. Box 94 Grahamstown 6140
Working languages: 

We are a small department dedicated to advancing inter- and trans-disciplinary science and learning aimed at understanding and managing complex human-environmental/social-ecological systems, with a focus on Africa. 

We are interested in human-environment interactions and in the governance and sustainable management of complex social-ecological systems. We recognise that we are living in a globalising and rapidly changing world characterised by numerous interconnected environmental and social challenges. We undertake research on the ecological and socio-economic dimensions of these challenges, with the goal of contributing towards more resilient, equitable and sustainable pathways into the future. The nexus between human well-being, livelihoods, vulnerability, ecosystem services and change is central in all our work.  Key areas of research include:

  • Livelihoods, vulnerability and biodiversity
  • Ecosystem services and societal benefits
  • Non-timber forest products use, trade and management
  • Landscape change and land degradation
  • Co-management and governance of protected areas
  • Community based natural resource management
  • Social learning for change
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Urbanisation, urban greening and forestry
  • Ecosystem restoration and carbon sequestration
  • Invasive plants – uses, impacts and management
  • Food security, especially in relation to ecosystem services provision and wild food

The Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University Resources

Displaying 6 - 10 of 17
Library Resource

Master of Science thesis

Reports & Research
March, 2016
Southern Africa

The ongoing and rapid change (from global to local level) in climate, populations, governments, cultures, environment, land use and economies are critical issues, especially for poor rural communities found in the dryland parts of southern Africa.

Library Resource

Vulnerability, coping and adaptation within the context of climate change and HIV/AIDS in South Africa: Investigating strategies to strengthen livelihoods and food security and build resilience

Policy Papers & Briefs
November, 2015
South Africa

This policy brief draws on three sources of data from a study undertaken in Lesseyton in Lukanji Local Municipality and Willowvale in Mbashe Local Municipality, in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.The aim was to understand the vulnerability context of households in the two sites and how they coped with multiple shocks and stresses, with an emphasis on various types of safety nets. Methods included a survey that specifically targeted vulnerable households, data from several community workshops and in-depth life history interviews.

Library Resource
Peer-reviewed publication
October, 2015
South Africa

This paper seeks to understand the drivers and pathways of local livelihood change and the prospects for transformation towards a more sustainable future. Data are used from several studies, and a participatory social learning process, which formed part of a larger project in two sites in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Secondary information from a wealth of related work is used to place our results within the historic context and more general trends in the country. Findings indicate that livelihoods in the rural Eastern Cape are on new trajectories.

Library Resource

Investigating strategies to strengthen livelihoods and food security and build resilience

Reports & Research
November, 2014
South Africa

How can social grants be made to work better for households in rural Eastern Cape? Social grants have a positive impact on food security. Monthly food consumption expenditures increase when households receive grants. This study provides new insights by highlighting two key household characteristics, gender and education, in catalyzing or diminishing the effects of grants on household livelihood outcomes. Our analysis mainly focuses on impacts of pensions on household food security and labor supply of household members.

Library Resource
Policy Papers & Briefs
October, 2014
South Africa

How do social, environmental and economic stressors interact to constrain people's ability to improve their livelihoods and respond to change and what does this mean for policies?

Share this page