Human Appropriation of Net Primary Productivity and Rural Livelihoods: Findings From Six Villages in Zimbabwe

Rosemary Pritchard, Casey Ryan, Isla Grundy, Dan van der Horst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The African land system is undergoing rapid change, and novel approaches are needed to understand the drivers and consequences of land use intensification. Human Appropriation of Net Primary Productivity (HANPP) is a powerful indicator of land use intensity, but has rarely been calculated at high spatial resolutions. Based on data from six villages in Zimbabwe, we present a novel method of calculating HANPP at community and household scales, and explore to what extent household wealth is related to NPP appropriation. HANPP at the village scale was higher than expected from previous studies, ranging from 48% to 113% of potential NPP. Loss of NPP through land use change accounted for the greater proportion of HANPP in four of the six villages, but NPP embodied in livestock feed, firewood and construction materials also contributed significantly to total appropriation. Increasing household wealth was associated with increasing appropriation of NPP in harvested resources, but not with loss of potential NPP through land use change. Our results indicate that land use intensity is currently underestimated in smallholder farming areas of southern Africa. High-resolution HANPP calculations based on field data offer an effective new approach to improving understanding of land use intensification in complex socioecological systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-124
JournalEcological Economics
Early online date17 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Human Appropriation of Net Primary Productivity and Rural Livelihoods: Findings From Six Villages in Zimbabwe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this