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North-West University (2018)

Quality of Biodiversity Impact Assessments (BIAs) — experience from the Succulent Karoo Biodiversity Hotspot

Wentzel, T.

Titre : Quality of Biodiversity Impact Assessments (BIAs) — experience from the Succulent Karoo Biodiversity Hotspot

Auteur : Wentzel, T.

Université de soutenance : North-West University

Grade : Master of Environmental Management, 2018

Résumé
The Succulent Karoo Biodiversity Hotspot (SKBH) is known for its rich endemism in flora and fauna as well as increasing development pressures and biodiversity loss ; this area is therefore considered a biodiversity hotspot. A biodiversity-inclusive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an important environmental management tool to conserve biodiversity and limit negative impacts within these biodiversity-sensitive areas. This research is aimed at assessing the quality of biodiversity impact assessments (BIAs) within the SKBH using a BIA review package, which was used in similar studies undertaken in the Cape Floristic Region (CFR) and the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany (MPA) region. The evaluation sample was made up of 16 BIA reports. The results were compared with the CFR and MPA studies as well as international studies in order to identify any emerging trends, weaknesses and strengths within areas of biodiversity value. The results indicated that the reports within the SKBH were of slightly lower quality than the CFR and MPA, and similar trends, in terms of strengths and weaknesses, were noted between the three studies, which are also prevalent internationally. The inadequacies identified during the review were lack of public engagement, lack of inclusion of legal aspects, lack of site-specific and detailed monitoring programmes, and field surveys were often conducted during the incorrect season and over very short time periods. Strengths identified include : application of the ecological approach and precautionary principle, inclusive and clear biodiversity referencing and comprehensive descriptions of the baseline environment. In overcoming the challenges identified, best practice guidelines for the Northern Cape and SKBH should be drafted and implemented for biodiversity inclusive EIAs which has been done in the Western Cape.

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Page publiée le 25 décembre 2018