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Can the restrictive harvest period policy conserve mopane worms in southern Africa? A bioeconomic modelling approach

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 October 2009

WISDOM AKPALU
Affiliation:
Department of History, Economics and Politics, State University of New York at Farmingdale, USA. Email: akpaluw@farmingdale.edu
EDWIN MUCHAPONDWA
Affiliation:
School of Economics, University of Cape Town, South Africa. Email: Edwin.Muchapondwa@uct.ac.za
PRECIOUS ZIKHALI
Affiliation:
Centre for World Food Studies (SOW-VU), Vrije Universiteit, The Netherlands. Email: pzikhali@sow.vu

Abstract

The mopane worm, which is the caterpillar form of the Saturnid moth Imbrasia belina Westwood, is – like other edible insects and caterpillars – a vital source of protein in southern African countries. The worms live and graze on mopane trees, which have alternative uses. With increasing commercialization of the worm, its management, which was hitherto organized as a common property resource, has been degraded to almost open access. This paper uses a bioeconomic modelling approach to show that for some optimal allocation of the mopane forest stock, the restrictive harvest period policy advocated by community leaders may not lead to sustainable harvesting of the worm.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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