The communities of Tsehlanyane and Bokong depend on subsistence agriculture and harvesting natural resources for a variety of needs, mainly firewood, handcrafts, medicine, food, construction, and socio-cultural amenities. They have done so since time immemorial and are singularly responsible for the good conservation value that the area represents. The area has the longest history of conservation championed by a local traditional authority in Lesotho. From December 1999 to March 2000 we conducted a survey that was aimed at making an inventory of resources, on which people rely, that will be affected by the establishment of a biosphere reserve linking the Tsehlanyane National Park and the Bokong Nature Reserve. In the survey, 149 households were sampled representing a sampling intensity of 19% in both communities. One hundred forty-seven species of plants were mentioned, falling into 51 families with the most commonly used families being Asteraceae, Liliaceae sens. lat. and Poaceae. The study also revealed that tenurial rights on these resources are communal and usufructuary and are increasingly being undermined by commercialization that relegate resources to an open access system. The study identified six main use categories, namely, firewood, handcrafts, medicinals, wild fruits, wild vegetables, and miscellaneous uses. Finally, the study demonstrated that ethnobotanical knowledge is widely held in Lesotho with the traditional doctors being the major repositories.
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