Jessica Lavelle

Jessica Lavelle

PhD Student

jessicajanelavelle@gmail.com

The interplay between local governance and access to and benefits from non-timber forest products: a case study on Harpagophytum spp. (devil’s claw) in Namibia
Supervisor: Assoc Prof Rachel Wynberg

I am a PhD student at the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, UCT. My doctoral research focuses on sustainability, access and benefit sharing (ABS) of devil’s claw, a medicinal plant harvested by rural communities in southern Africa. In particular, the implementation of national regulations and ABS legislation and its impact on trade and local harvesters in Namibia, Zambia and Angola. Prior to starting my PhD, I worked for four years as a consultant in Namibia. My work there included natural resource management, development and management of natural product social enterprises, capacity building in biotrade and community-based conservation, and lecturing. I also conducted research on alternative measures to GDP for evaluating country success and citizen satisfaction. In 2009, I completed my MSc at the University of the Witwatersrand. My research there explored the use of remote sensing data to predict the onset and intensity of human-elephant conflict in a forest habitat in Ghana. Other research interests include international environmental law, especially environmental conventions and their impact at national and local levels. When I am not busy with research, I love to travel the world and am fascinated by language and culture. Along with travelling, I enjoy photography, diving, trekking, snowboarding and reading.