Effects of climatic variability and non-climatic factors on mopane worms’ (Gonimbrasia Belina) distribution and livelihood options in North Central Namibia

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Canadian Center of Science and Education
With these factors in mind, this study sought to identify the extent to which the availability and distribution of mopane worms are influenced in the Tsandi and Okahao constituencies. The study used structured questionnaires to collect information from households in the study area, to interview key informants, and to carry out group discussions. A total of 70 households and 6 key informants were interviewed, along with 4 focus group discussions that were carried out to elicit perceptions, and to obtain views on the availability of mopane worms, and possible causes of the decline in the study area. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, while GIS was used to determine trends in vegetation cover, temperature and rainfall in the area. The rainfall trend indicates variability, with a generally declining trend. A slight increase in temperature has been observed too. Vegetation showed a browning trend in the study area, indicating declining habitats of mopane worms. The results have indicated that more women depend on mopane worms for survival, mainly as a source of income. Thus the decline in their availability greatly affects their food sources and their income diversification opportunities. Trading was found to be an important form of employment for the unemployed rural people, but with the potential to generate higher income levels that can improve their livelihoods. Moreover, despite the climatic factors, human activities seemed to indicate a greater influence on the availability of mopane worms, due to activities such as overharvesting, land clearing for agriculture and household use/fencing. Thus, there is a greater need to control the harvesting of mopane worms and to control tree-cutting activities in order to reduce the impacts of climatic and non-climatic factors on their availability.
Climate Change, Non-Timber Forest Products, Overharvesting, Livelihoods