Assessment of ecosystem goods and Services and the value of biodiversity in KwaZulu-Natal

Lehlohonolo Phadima¹, Steve McKean¹, Debbie Jewitt¹, Myles Mander², Jean Harris¹

¹Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Scientific Services Division, PO Box 13053, Cascades 3202

Natural areas, including protected areas, provide much of the ecological goods and services which are essential services for human well being. Formal protected areas in particular have previously been set aside, developed and managed to protect and conserve biodiversity without creating awareness of their roles and full values to society. This has contributed significantly to these areas not receiving the adequate political and economic support they deserve. In addition, natural areas are often transformed and over-exploited for financial reasons without considering the full economic value of these areas to society. Therefore the role that natural, untransformed areas play in meeting the needs of modern society must be identified properly valued and explained in relevant terms e.g. role in mitigating climate change impacts such as increased flooding, drought etc.
Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife (Ezemvelo) has the responsibility of leading KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province in dealing with the challenges of natural resource degradation and the ability of ecosystems to continue providing goods and services to people. In providing an initial information base to support this responsibility, this report uses an internationally established methods to provide a rapid assessment of habitat types and condition in KZN, identifies and assesses some ecosystem services supplied by the habitat types in KZN, assesses the demand for ecosystem services, estimates their value and describes the role and value of Ezemvelo in providing these services. This assessment is the first attempt in South Africa to address such needs at a provincial scale.
Twenty six different ecosystem services were identified as important services supplied by the twelve dominant habitat types (biomes) in KZN.  Data show that ecosystems and their services in KZN are being lost and degraded at a rapid rate (some 1.4% per annum), imposing risks and future increased costs to the people of the province and of the country. This has consequence to the services they provide to society and indirectly, potential increase in the input costs for replacing these services. The value to society of these services is estimated at R150 billion annually, while provincial GDP is R204 billion per year. Some 9.5 million rural people in KZN are particularly dependant on ecosystem services for livelihood support as few alternatives are available to them in many instances.

Presentation Topic

Assessment of ecosystem goods and Services and the value of biodiversity in KwaZulu-Natal


Contact Mr Phadima:

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Scientific Services Division, PO Box 13053, Cascades 3202, South Africa


Email Mr Phadima