Sheona Shackleton

Professor and Deputy Director, African Climate and Development Initiative, UCT



Sheona's research and academic interests are broad with most of her work in the past 30 years being at the interface between rural livelihoods and natural resource management. She has have undertaken research in such wide ranging areas as community conservation, natural resource governance, rural livelihoods and vulnerability, ecosystem services and human-well-being, non-timber forest product use and commercialisation, and climate change adaptation. She enjoys working in interdisciplinary teams, and has participated in several large international and inter-institutional research programmes, most of these culminating in several books as well as multiple journal papers. Her work is focussed at the nexus between environment/ecosystem services, people, change and sustainability, and she believes that the global environmental challenges we are encountering today can only be addressed through integrated, inter- and transdisciplinarity research approaches.

In addition to research in the areas of vulnerability, adaptation and resilience, she has also worked with colleagues on Higher Education approaches to learning and research in sustainability and complexity issues, and has supervised students working in such diverse areas as ecoliteracy, conservation and development, natural resource governance, carbon markets, urban forestry, and non-timber forest product. Other areas of interest include social learning and gendered aspects of natural resources use and adaptation to climate change. She has some 100 peer reviewed journal, books and book contributions to her name, a similar number of research reports and she is a B3-rated scientist with the South African National Research Foundation. She has had a long collaborative association with the Centre for International Forestry Research in Bogor, Indonesia.

Recent Publications

Book contributions

Shackleton, S. & Shackleton, R. 2017. Local knowledge regarding ecosystem services and disservices from invasive alien plants in the arid Kalahari, South Africa. Journal of Arid Environments,

Shackleton, S. & Cobban, L. 2016. Gender and vulnerability to multiple stressors, including climate change, in rural South Africa. In: Pierce Colfer, C., Basnett, S.B. & Elias, M. (Eds.). Gender and forestes: Climate change, tenure, value chains and emerging issues. CIFOR. Routledge, New York

Shackleton, S. & Shackleton, C. 2015. Not just farming: Natural resources and livelihoods in land and agrarian reform. In: Cousins, B. & Walker, C. (eds). Land divided, land restored: Land reform in South Africa for the 21st Century. Jacana, Auckland Park. pp. 191-205.

Cundill, G., Shackleton, S., Sisitka, L., Ntshudu, M., Lotz-Sisitka, H., Kulundu, I., Hamer, N. 2014. Social learning for adaptation: a descriptive handbook for practitioners and action researchers. IDRC/Rhodes University/Ruliv. ISBN 9780868104805.

Luckert, M.K., Nemarundwe, N., Hauer, G., Shackleton, S., & Grundy, I. 2014. Contribution of baobab production activities to household livelihoods. In: Cunningham, A.B., Campbell, B. M. and Luckert, M.K. (eds). Bark use, management and commerce in Africa. Advances in Economic Botany. New York Botanical Garden Press. 304 pp.

Shackleton, S.E. 2014. Forest collection activities and climate change: Impacts of climate change on non-timber forest products. Chapter 117. In: Freedman, B. (ed.). Handbook on global environmental change. Springer Science and Business Media, Heidelberg. DOI 10,1007/978-94-007-5784-4_117.


Santhia, D., Shackleton, S. & Pereira, T. 2018. Mainstreaming sustainable adaptation to climate change into municipal planning: An analysis from the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Development Southern Africa, DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2018.1488583

Shackleton, S. & Hebinck, P. 2018. Through the ‘Thick and Thin’ of farming on the Wild Coast, South Africa. Journal of Rural Studies, 61: 277-289.

Masunungure, C. & Shackleton, S.E. 2018. Exploring long-term livelihood and landscape change in two semi-arid sites in southern Africa: drivers and consequences for social-ecological vulnerability. Land, 7(50).

Cockburn, J., Cundill, G., Shackleton, S. & Rouget, M. 2018. Towards place-based research to support social-ecological stewardship. Sustainability, 10(1434): 1-21. 

Kota, Z. & Shackleton, S.E. 2015. Harnessing local ecological knowledge to identify priority plant species for restoration of the Albany Thicket, South Africa. Forests, Trees & Livelihoods, DOI 10.1080/14728028.2014.943305

Shackleton, S., Ziervogel, G., Sallu, S. Gill, T. & Tschakerts P. 2015 Why is socially-just climate change adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa so challenging? A review of barriers identified from empirical cases. WIREs Clim Change 2015. doi: 10.1002/wcc.335.

Shackleton, S., Chinyimba, A., Hebinck, P., Shackleton, C. & Kaoma, H. 2015. Multiple benefits and values of trees in urban landscapes in two towns in northern South Africa. Landscape and Urban Planning, 136: 76-86

Thondhlana, G., Shackleton, S. & Blignaut, J. 2015. Local institutions, actors and natural resources governance in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and surrounds, South Africa. Land Use Policy, 47: 121-129.

Thondhlana, G. & Shackleton, S. 2015. Cultural values of natural resources among the San people neighbouring Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa. Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, 20(1): 18-33.

Full Curriculum Vitae

Last Modified: Mon, 09 Jul 2018 11:28:20 SAST