Direct and indirect socio-economic benefits from ecological infrastructure interventions in the Western Cape, South Africa

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Investments in the restoration of ecological infrastructure are often promoted as a strategy to achieve win-win outcomes for people and the environment, and often involve the creation of temporary employment. Nevertheless, few studies have attempted to quantify the socio-economic benefits among workers employed across multiple ecological infrastructure programmes. This paper examines how workers involved in ecological infrastructure activities perceive the benefits from their employment, and whether their perceptions of benefits correspond with the objectives of the programmes. The analysis is based on a case study from the Western Cape, South Africa. We carried out a survey with 175 workers employed by 10 different local programmes. The survey was designed to target a broad array of potential benefits including natural, physical, social, financial and human assets, in order to extend beyond simple measures of income and employment. We find that workers primarily see the programme benefits in terms of improved income and short-term employment, while their natural and physical assets are perceived to be affected less. This is in line with the initial objectives of the ecological infrastructure programmes in the Western Cape, since these are not targeting community-based restoration due to the absence of shared community land. Instead, they are designed to pursue poverty alleviation and social development through short-term income opportunities drawing on a public works model.
Original languageDanish
JournalRestoration Ecology
ISSN1061-2971
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 May 2021

ID: 269666531