Past Projects

Asset Research Collaboration

  • Year: 2012

Asset Research ( is an economy/ecology think-tank that seeks to internalise the importance of natural assets – such as water, energy, biodiversity and fertile land – in the search for alternative development paths. It is a non-governmental organisation and public benefit organisation based at the University of Pretoria. The South African Water Research Commission ( provided financial support for a research project on the impact of re-establishing indigenous plants and restoring the natural landscape on sustainable rural employment and land productivity through payment for environmental services. TIPS provided additional support in 2012 for the development of five policy briefs based on the findings of the research on the following topics:in 2012 

This policy uses the Agulhas Plain as an example to compare two different pos-clearing land-use options that can be used to support livelihoods in the area: restoring natural capital to allow wildflower harvesting, or using the land for bioenergy production.
Authors: Helanya Fourie, Western Cape Department of Agriculture and ASSET Research, and David le Maitre, CSIR.
Bush thickening and indigenous woody plants as a source of renewable energy
An increase in tree density, or bush thickening, beyond a certain threshold may be detrimental for the ecosystem and reduce the productivity of such rangeland for agriculture and conservation. However, the woody plants in areas where there is bush thickening present at opportunity to harvest the wood as bio-fuel.
Authors: Jacques Cloete, University of the Free State and Asset Research, and Nico Smit, University of the Free State.

Market challenges for the restoration of the natural environment
The marketability of the natural environment is influenced by different forms of restoration activities, which in turn has cost implications depending on the different types of
ecosystems and the extent of the damage. This brief adopts an economic approach to explore some of the key market challenges.
Authors: Douglas J Crookes, University of Stellenbosch and ASSET Research, and James N Blignaut, University of Pretoria, Beatus and ASSET Research.

Urban water use
There has been a global shift in the way that water provision for urban water use is viewed. Governments are increasingly choosing to invest in environmental health. By protecting river systems, governments can reduce management costs. In this brief, examples of international case studies related to such government interventions are presented, followed by a South African case study of the Kromme River.
Authors: Alanna Rebelo, University of Stellenbosch and ASSET Research, and Katie Gull, University of Cape Town and ASSET Research.
Research Implications of the regulatory landscape for the restoration of natural capital
The principle that the person or the organisation responsible for pollution or environmental degradation should be responsible for the restoration of the affected ecosystem has been established in South African law. However, what constitute successful restoration remains a contentious issue. This policy brief considers two examples and make recommendations for improving the regulatory environment.
Author: Marco Pauw, Stellenbosch University and ASSET Research.
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