AN EVALUATION OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENTS ON KWAZULU-NATAL’S BIODIVERSITY TARGETS
Dinesree Thambu

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

 

Abstract
Despite the array of regulatory mechanisms for biodiversity protection, there are several threats to biodiversity and the services it provides. These include habitat transformation and fragmentation and poor land-use decision-making. Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) are considered a support tool for sustainable development; however, they are undertaken on a case-by-case basis resulting in the ad hoc approval of developments that have the potential to conflict with landscape planning processes. Therefore, EIAs can either impact positively or negatively on future conservation planning initiatives. The aim of this research was to determine whether EIAs contribute towards or hinder the potential for KZN to achieve its conservation targets, given the lack of feedback mechanisms to integrate EIA decisions into strategic spatial frameworks. Analysis revealed that while EIAs contribute towards KwaZulu-Natal achieving its conservation targets, inadequate assessments, poor decision-making or lack of monitoring can potentially negatively affect KZN’s ability to meet its conservation targets. Strategic data collection methods would allow for data contained within EIAs to be utilised in spatial conservation planning during periodic plan updates, thereby improving data quality and accuracy of plans. Hence, EIAs can bridge the information-implementation gap at strategic planning levels. Recommendations include: the need for guidelines for Terms of References for biodiversity specialist studies; that compliance monitoring be undertaken in conjunction with the appropriate specialist authority; and that feedback loops are created allowing for EIAs to inform strategic plans.

 
Presentation Topic
AN EVALUATION OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENTS ON KWAZULU-NATAL’S BIODIVERSITY TARGETS
Contact Ms Thambu:
Email Dinesree Thambu