Abstract:

Beyond binary approaches to multi-functional landscapes in conservation planning: a case study for the Enkangala grasslands, South Africa

Hlengiwe P Mbatha1,  Jeanne Nel1, Belinda Reyers1 and William Bond2

1Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, 20 Jan Celliers street, Stellenbosch, 7600
2Botany Department, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7701

Maximising benefits from livestock production, are associated with trade-offs to biodiversity, water and carbon storage. As such, there is a need for a (multi-sectoral/multi-functional planning tool) tool to make these trade-offs explicit. Accordingly, we assessed the efficiency of Marxan with Zones, a tool traditionally developed for conservation planning, to make these trade-offs explicit. We focused our analysis in the Enkangala grasslands, located between Mpumalanga, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Free-State provinces of South Africa. The Enkangala grasslands are acknowledged to have high levels of biodiversity and are an important area for water production. This area is currently threatened by increased pressure from a range of land-uses including livestock farming, croplands, mining, and urban sprawl, and as such making this region an interesting area to assess trade-offs of livestock production with biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Scenarios for meeting different biodiversity and ecosystem service targets were developed and implemented using Marxan with Zones to determine trade-offs within “Protected”, “Free-range”, “Feedlots” and “Cleared” areas. Different areas were defined based on their potential to support livestock production, and opportunity costs associated with foregone benefits from loss of livestock production if these areas are selected for conservation. The results of the effect of changing targets individually, simulateneously and of changing opportunity costs from livestock production will be discussed.
Scenario analysis indicated that setting high ecosystem services targets requires more land in the “Protected” and “Free-range” areas. Furthermore, this study demonstrated the abilities and limitations of Marxan with Zones, in making trade-offs of livestock production on biodiversity and ecosystem services explicit in the multi-functional landscapes. Accordingly, this tool recognises the multi-functionality of landscapes and enables the allocation of different land uses with different contributions to targets and different costs. However, challenges do emerge with recognising multiple costs of land uses highlighting the need for further research.

Presentation Topic

Beyond binary approaches to multi-functional landscapes in conservation planning: a case study for the Enkangala grasslands, South Africa

 

Contact Ms Mbatha:

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, 20 Jan Celliers street, Stellenbosch, 7600

 

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