The Gauteng Conservation Plan: Planning for biodiversity in a rapidly urbanising province

Authors

  • Michèle F. Pfab South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Petronella C. Compaan Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Craig A. Whittington-Jones Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Ian Engelbrecht Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Johannesburg, South Africa; Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • Lihle Dumalisile Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Lorraine Mills Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Sean D. West Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Piet J. Muller Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Gavin P.R. Masterson Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Johannesburg, South Africa; School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
  • Livhuwani S. Nevhutalu Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Johannesburg, South Africa; City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, Braamfontein, South Africa
  • Stephen D. Holness Centre for African Conservation Ecology, Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
  • David B. Hoare David Hoare Consulting cc, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa

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Abstract

Background: Gauteng, the smallest of South Africa’s nine provinces, is rich in biodiversity; yet it is also the most densely populated province and thus faces significant development pressures.

Objective: A project was therefore initiated in 2001 to identify areas of biodiversity importance in the province, using the systematic spatial biodiversity planning approach that has been adopted in South Africa. This article reports on the final version of the provincial conservation plan as completed in 2011.

Method: Vegetation types and quaternary catchments constituted the coarse filter biodiversity features, while rare and threatened taxa constituted the fine filter features. Ecological processes were captured by a range of landscape features, while planning for climate change primarily involved the design of a corridor network. Planning was undertaken within the ArcView linked C-plan decision support system, where a cost surface preferentially directed the selection of available sites towards low-cost areas.

Results: Forty-four per cent of the province is required to achieve targets. Only 8% of features are close to having their targets met or are adequately conserved in the current protected area network of 23 protected areas covering 2.4% of the province, while 73% of features are absent or poorly represented.

Conclusion: The existing protected area network is inadequate for the conservation of biodiversity in Gauteng. The Gauteng Conservation Plan identifies a set of areas that are required to achieve conservation targets. It is important that identified areas currently not in the protected area network are protected either formally or through legislated land use management processes.

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Published

2017-11-30

How to Cite

Pfab, M. F. ., Compaan, P. C. ., Whittington-Jones, C. A. ., Engelbrecht, I. ., Dumalisile, L. ., Mills, L. ., West, S. D., Muller, P. J., Masterson, G. P. ., Nevhutalu, L. S. ., Holness, S. D. ., & Hoare, D. B. . (2017). The Gauteng Conservation Plan: Planning for biodiversity in a rapidly urbanising province. Bothalia, African Biodiversity & Conservation, 47(1). Retrieved from http://abcjournal.org/index.php/BothaliaABC/article/view/98

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Section

Original research, Reviews, Strategies, Case studies