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Socio-Economic Research

Kruger National Park's past research into sociology and economics has been much more limited than their biotic and abiotic investigations. However studies have been completed into various animals as a food source for people, and there are various archaelogical papers pertaining to findings in the park. In addition, assorted tourism studies have been undertaken. One particular title: "The Lowveld: Its Wildlife and its People" indicates there were efforts to document the lives of local people as far back as 1949.

The Park's current socio-economic research focuses on sustainable development, the role of marketing, and the tourist carrying capacity of the Park. There is also a feasibility study into community involvement in sustainable utilisation of second-hatched chicks of large bird species. Other projects also include analysing sustainable tourism usage in the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area. They are also gathering extracts from the diaries of selected Park game rangers to create a social history.

The Mpumalanga Parks Board has completed assorted studies on the traditional knowledge of local communities. It is currently compiling a register of skills (e.g., plumbing, building, teaching etc) existing in the rural communities alongside the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. A register is also being developed to document literacy levels, population dynamics, and the activities of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) currently working in the same communities.

NPDALE undertook two studies into medicinal plants of the Transvaal. In 1996 two studies were undertaken within the Biosphere Reserve: one was an ecological study of rural land use practices, and the other a study on the historical, idealogical, commercial and communal use of natural resources from a social perspective.

The Wits Rural Facility has published eight documents relating to refugee economics, health and relations within their 'host' communities. They also have a library of taped interviews with refugees; a database and networking system in place. They are gathering quantitative and qualitative data on issues relating to advocacy and rights for the refugee sector of the rural poor population. In doing this they aim to give this vulnerable group a voice, and assist in disseminating information to relevant channels and stimulate appropriate policy development.

Since 1991, SUNRAE has produced one report, two proceedings and two student theses relating to social issues. The topics are Traditional Healers' associations and rural settlements.

CORRE has undertaken eight research reports and twenty other assorted presentations (articles, student theses, case studies, and reports). These all revolve around health issues: further education, disabilities, the causes of deaths, mental health and rehabilitation). They are currently studying mechanisms to encourage participation in community based rehabilitation. There will be a particular focus on home-based care for people with HIV/AIDS.

Since 1997 HSDU has contributed fourteen journal articles, three chapters in books, six technical reports, and six monographs. These all relate to health centres and local health issues (from tropical diseases to mental health).

The HSDU is planning research into violence as a major public health problem in Bushbuckridge; the prevalence of kwashiokor in Bushbuchridge; the sexual behaviour of migrant labourers; the appropriate models for district level HIV and TB care in Bushbuckridge.

ARC/ RFI have completed extensive studies relating to tourism, game farm and communities.