The people and their forest : an environmental history of the relationship between the Cube people and the iNkandla Forest, KwaZulu-Natal (1820-2000)
Ngcobo, Thembisile Theresa (Doh)
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In southern Zululand in the province of KwaZulu-Natal within the iNkandla Magisterial District, a rural area, lies the indigenous iNkandla forest. This is the last remaining rare relict type of indigenous high wet rain forest in Southern Africa. This forest is of great importance not only for its unique biodiversity, its perennial source of water, but also as a resource base for the Cube people. This remote community lives mostly a traditional Zulu lifestyle in an area devoid of basic infrastructure, municipal services or economic activity. The Cube people are reliant on the forest resources for some of their daily basic material needs. This dissertation is an examination of the relationship between the Cube people and the iNkandla forest over time. The study investigates the ecology and biodiversity of the iNkandla forest. It also describes the Cube people's lifestyle, history and the continuous utilisation of the forest resources. The core focus of the study is that the iNkandla forest is not only an integral part of the Cube people's lives, but also has a rich cultural history. The research findings show that the daily activities of the Cube are impacting heavily on the forest resources. In order to minimise negative environmental impacts, sustainable utilisation of these resources needs to be established. This can enhance the relationship between the Cube people and the forest. The people's view of the forest and its change with time is investigated. The goods and services this forest provides to meet people's basic material needs portrays the relationship between the people and the forest. To sustain this relationship a model that illustrates a process that can be established and implemented effectively is recommended. This process will empower the Cube people to make constructive and effective choices and decisions. It will also inform the people of the sustainable ways of utilising the forest resources and enhance their relationship with the natural resources. The aim is to promote future developments that the Cube people are likely to see in future. This will inform their understanding of sustainable utilisation of the forest resources for future generations. Empowered people will recognise social principles for appropriate interactions with nature. The final part in this study revisits the theory of environmental history. It outlines briefly the manner in which the environmental history theory has been applied. It also explains the reason why the principles of environmental history have been adopted for this study.
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