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University of the Witwatersrand (2007)

A vulnerability analysis of Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park for the period 1980 to 2000

Wadge, Michael John Harry

Titre : A vulnerability analysis of Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park for the period 1980 to 2000

Auteur : Wadge, Michael John Harry

Université de soutenance : University of the Witwatersrand

Grade : Master of Science 2007

While much research into vulnerability to global and local environmental change has been undertaken at a regional and biome level, few detailed local case studies of areas vulnerable to national multiple stressors (e.g. environmental and other change) have been undertaken. Little research effort to date, moreover, has been done that attempts to link biophysical impacts and causes of change with socio-economic causes and impacts of change in protected areas and national parks in South Africa. Governmental departments, non-governmental organisations and global environmental panels such as the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change are formulating strategies to counteract the ongoing and increasing environmental stressors, occasioned largely by climate change facing communities, in southern Africa and elsewhere. Vulnerability to global and local environmental change is also compounding food insecurity and is being heightened in part by reduced governmental capacity. The time scale under investigation chosen is 1980 to 2000 ; a period that captures varied climate stressors such as floods and droughts, as well as marked socio-political change in South Africa. The data available were, in some cases, restricted and the data range does not always cover the entire period anticipated. The last KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife Service Yearbook was produced in 2000 and this has effectively restricted this end period. Social and biophysical diversification within one system, namely the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park, was evaluated in an attempt to evaluate the shorter-term coping capacity and longerterm adaptive capacity of the park over the past twenty-two years. As far as social vulnerability is concerned, the differences between internal and external factors, either enhancing or reducing the response capacity to change, were also noted for the period. The coping strategies being utilised by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in order to deal with changing circumstances and inputs including climate variability, political change and social aspects are described. The very complex interplay between socio-economic and biophysical factors of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park, a formally proclaimed protected area managed by KwaZulu- Natal Wildlife Services, is examined in this research. An important aspect of the research is an assessment of vulnerability “drivers”, including climate variability, as well as vulnerability to other stressors such as, for example, social, biophysical and institutional causes and consequences of change. A preliminary evaluation was carried out to establish what factors are driving change and have the potential to further shape the park. Finally some preliminary suggestions from the study on what constitutes flexibility and resilience, in such cases, are provided. Clearly more detailed assessments will be required in the future in order to support and expand this research.


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