The Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) engages in research, training, policy development and advocacy in relation to land and agrarian reform, rural governance and natural resource management. It is committed to social change that empowers the poor, builds democracy and enhances sustainable livelihoods.


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  • Participatory commodity networking: An integrated framework for Fairtrade research and support 

    Keahey, Jennifer; Raynolds, Laura T.; Kruger, Sandra; du Toit, Andries (SAGE Publications, 2018)
    This article discusses the potential for humanizing production and trade relations by extending action research to multilateral commodity networks. Participatory action research and Fairtrade certification both promote ...
  • Shallow waters: social science research in South Africa's marine environment 

    Sowman, M.; Scott, D.; Green, L.J.F.; Hara, Mafaniso; Hauck, M.; Kirsten, K.; Paterson, B.; Raemaekers, S.; Jones, K.; Sunde, J.; Turpie, J.K. (Taylor & Francis, 2013)
    This paper provides an overview of social science research in the marine environment of South Africa for the period 1994–2012. A bibliography based on a review of relevant literature and social science projects funded under ...
  • Land redistribution in South Africa: Towards decolonisation or recolonisation? 

    Kepe, Thembela; Hall, Ruth (Taylor & Francis, 2018)
    Contrary to populist political discourses, in South Africa the ruling party’s approach to land policy is reproducing paternalistic relations that echo apartheid practices and represent the ’colonial present’. This reality ...
  • Exporting contradictions: the expansion of South African agrarian capital within Africa 

    Hall, Ruth; Cousins, Ben (Taylor & Francis, 2017)
    Agrarian change in South Africa over the past two decades has seen consolidation of the hegemony of large-scale commercial farming and corporate agribusiness within agro-food systems. Constrained domestic demand and growth ...
  • Perspectives of wild medicine harvesters from Cape Town, South Africa 

    Petersen, Leif; Reid, Andrew M.; Moll, Eugene J.; Hockings, Marc T. (Academy of Science of South Africa and AOSIS, 2017)
    Cape Town is a fast-growing cityscape in the Cape Floristic Region in South Africa with 24 formally protected conservation areas including the World Heritage Table Mountain National Park. These sites have been protected ...
  • Governing global land deals: The role of the state in the rush for land 

    Wolford, Wendy; Borras Jr., Saturnino M.; Hall, Ruth; Scoones, Ian; White, Ben (Wiley, 2013)
    Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic increase in large-scale land deals, often from public lands to the hands of foreign or domestic investors. Popularly referred to as a ‘global land grab’, new land acquisitions ...
  • Efficacy of rights-based management of small pelagic fish within an ecosystems approach to fisheries in South Africa 

    Hara, Mafaniso (Taylor & Francis, 2013)
    South Africa’s small pelagics fishery is moving towards a management strategy using an ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF), with rights-based management (RBM) as the key rights allocation system. While EAF strives to ...
  • Land beneficiaries as game farmers: conservation, land reform and the invention of the 'community game farm' in KwaZulu-Natal 

    Brooks, Shirley; Ngubane, Mnqobi (Taylor & Francis, 2013)
    Scholarship on post-apartheid land reform includes research on land claims made to formal protected areas, such as national parks and state game reserves. Little attention has however, been paid to the question of land ...
  • Rural livelihoods in South Africa: complexity, vulnerability and differentiation 

    Neves, David; du Toit, Andries (Blackwell Publishing, 2013)
    The livelihoods of South Africa’s rural African poor have long been characterized by diverse activities, and intertwined with urban opportunities. This paper examines the interlinked nature of land, employment and rural ...
  • Livelihoods after land reform in South Africa 

    Aliber, Michael; Cousins, Ben (Wiley, 2013)
    Over the past few decades, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa have pursued redistributive land reform as a means to address rural poverty. The Livelihoods after Land Reform (LaLR) study was carried out between 2007 and ...
  • Introduction: Agrarian change, rural poverty and land reform in South Africa since 1994 

    Bernstein, Henry; Cousins, Ben; Peters, Pauline E.; O'Laughlin, Bridget (Blackwell Publishing, 2013)
    This introduction sketches the context and dynamics of agrarian change, rural poverty and land reform since the end of apartheid in 1994, drawing attention to structural continuities and new elements in the countrysides ...
  • The humble sardine (small pelagics): fish as food or fodder 

    Isaacs, Moenieba (BioMed Central Ltd., 2016)
    Background: The group of small pelagic fish is the largest species group landed globally. A significant proportion of this nutrient-rich food is processed and lost to livestock feed, fish feed, fish oil, pet food and ...
  • The politics of evidence: A response to Rulli and D'Odorico 

    Scoones, Ian; Hall, Ruth; Borras Jr., Saturnino M.; White, Ben; Wolford, Wendy (Routledge Taylor Francis Group, 2013)
    We welcome Rulli and D’Odorico’s response to our introduction to the Journal for Peasant Studies (JPS) Forum on Global Land Grabbing(Scoones etal.2013) in which we discussed the ‘literature rush’ that has accompanied the ...
  • Forum on Global Land Grabbing Part 2: The politis of evidence: methodologies for understanding the global land rush 

    Scoones, Ian; Hall, Ruth; Borras Jr., Saturnino M.; White, Ben; Wolford, Wendy (Routledge Taylor Francis Group, 2013)
    The most recent ‘land rush’ precipitated by the convergent ‘crises’ of fuel, feed and food in 2007–2008 has heightened the debate on the consequences of land investments, with widespread media coverage, policy commentary ...
  • A decision support tool for response to global change in marine systems: the IMBER-ADApT Framework 

    Bundy, Alida; Chuenpagdee, Ratana; Cooley, Sarah R; Defeo, Omar; Glaeser, Bernhard; Guillotreau, Patrice; Isaacs, Moenieba; Mitsutaku, Makino; Perry, Ian R (John Wiley & Sons, 2016)
    Global change is occurring now, often with consequences far beyond those anticipated. Although there is a wide range of assessment approaches available to address-specific aspects of global change, there is currently no ...
  • Fragmented participation in management of the fishery for small pelagic fish in South Africa – inclusion of small-rights holders is a complex matter 

    Hara, Mafaniso; Rogerson, J.; de Goede, J.; Raakjaer, Jesper (NISC (Pty) Ltd (National Inquiry Services Centre), 2014)
    The reasons why most small-rights holders do not participate in management of the fishery for small pelagic fish (‘small pelagics’) in South Africa, despite legislation and policy encouraging their participation, were ...
  • A typology of fisheries management tools: using experience to catalyse greater success 

    Selig, Elizabeth R; Kleisner, Kristen M; Ahoobim, Oren; Arocha, Freddy; Cruz-Trinidad, Annabelle; Fujita, Rod; Hara, Mafaniso; Katz, Laure; McConney, Patrick; Ratner, Blake D; Saavedra-Dıaz, Lina M; Schwarz, Anna-Maree; Thiao, Djiga; Torell, Elin; Villasante, Sebastian; Troëng, Sebastian (John Wiley & Sons, 2016)
    Fisheries provide nutrition and livelihoods for coastal populations, but many fisheries are fully or over-exploited and we lack an approach for analysing which factors affect management tool performance. We conducted a ...
  • Africa's land rush: rural livelihoods and agrarian change 

    Hall, Ruth; Scoones, Ian; Tsikata, Dzodzi (James Currey, 2015)
    This book is 'the most historically grounded, lucid and nuanced understanding to date of the complex political economy of the contemporary rush for land in Africa' according to Professor Adebayo Olukoshi, Director of of ...
  • Large-scale land deals in Southern Africa: voices of the people 

    Hall, Ruth; Gausi, Joseph; Matondi, Prosper; Muduva, Theodor; Nhancale, Camilo; Phiri, Dimuna; Zamchiya, Phillan (Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, University of the Western Cape, 2015)
    This book presents case studies of large-scale land deals in Southern Africa. It aims to provide an accessible and vivid window into the lived realities and responses of rural people who are affected by such deals. For ...
  • Community opportunities in aquaculture: what are the possibilities and limits? 

    Hara, Mafaniso; Njokweni, Gugu; Njokweni, Belemane (Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, University of the Western Cape, 2016)
    Aquaculture now contributes 47% of fish available for human consumption – up from 9% in 1980. This shift to aquaculture offsets the stagnation in the production from capture fisheries (FAO 2012). By 2030, demand for ...

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