An assessment of Best Practices in ecosystem management outside protected areas: a case study of the Giba Gorge Special Rating Area

Chuma Chinzila

Ecosystems are important as they provide services, which include provisioning, regulating, cultural, and supporting services that are critical to the well-being of humanity. It is important to maintain ecosystem health if sustainability of ecosystems services is desired in the long run. For this purpose, various ecosystem management practices have been developed throughout the world, recommended by the Convention on Biological Diversity are those that involve communities in management. South Africa has adopted some of the community based management systems and is still seeking sustainable management systems that suit the local condition. In 2009, the eThekwini Municipality started a pilot project in the Giba Gorge, which uses the Special Rating Area (SRA) Instrument to manage ecosystems. An SRA is a geographical area where property owners pay an additional rate to their property rates for the supply of additional services as proposed in the business plan and in this case, management of the Giba Gorge ecosystems. The purpose of this study was to assess best practice in using the SRA Instrument to manage the Giba Gorge ecosystems guided by the political ecology approach and operationalized through the stakeholder theory. A political ecology approach facilitates understanding of politics surrounding natural resource management and the relationship between social inequality and environmental degradation. Stakeholder theory on the other hand advocates for inclusion parties affected by the management of a resource. Mixed method research design, was adopted for this study, which combines qualitative and quantitative research techniques in data collection and analysis. Thus, data collection instruments used included questionnaire survey, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, document analysis, and observations. Descriptive statistics with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and Thematic analysis were used to analyse quantitative and qualitative data respectively. Being the first project in South Africa to use the SRA Instrument in ecosystem management the research findings will provide knowledge on the processes of ecosystem management using an SRA. In addition, the results will provide knowledge relevant for improving the management of the Giba Gorge and informing the replication of the project in other Municipalities.

Presentation Topic

An assessment of Best Practices in ecosystem management outside protected areas: a case study of the Giba Gorge Special Rating Area


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University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Agriculture, Earth and Environmental Science


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