Case Study

Bridging the research–implementation gap: Mainstreaming biodiversity into the South African mining sector

Stephen Holness, Anthea Stephens, Aimee Ginsburg, Emily Botts, Amanda Driver, Jeffrey Manuel, Kristal Maze, Patti Wickens, Wilma Lutsch, Tsamaelo Malebu, Peter Mohasoa, Stephinah Mudau
Bothalia | Vol 48, No 1 | a2265 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v48i1.2265 | © 2018 Stephen Holness, Anthea Stephens, Aimee Ginsburg, Emily Botts, Amanda Driver, Jeffrey Manuel, Kristal Maze, Patti Wickens, Wilma Lutsch, Tsamaelo Malebu, Peter Mohasoa, Stephinah Mudau | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 May 2017 | Published: 30 May 2018

About the author(s)

Stephen Holness, Centre for African Conservation Ecology, Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
Anthea Stephens, Private, Johannesburg, South Africa
Aimee Ginsburg, Private, Johannesburg,, South Africa
Emily Botts, Private, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Amanda Driver, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, South Africa
Jeffrey Manuel, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, South Africa
Kristal Maze, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, South Africa
Patti Wickens, South African Mining and Biodiversity Forum, Johannesburg, South Africa; De Beers Group, Johannesburg, South Africa
Wilma Lutsch, Department of Environmental Affairs, Pretoria, South Africa
Tsamaelo Malebu, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, South Africa
Peter Mohasoa, Department of Mineral Resources, Pretoria, South Africa
Stephinah Mudau, Chamber of Mines, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: ‘Mainstreaming biodiversity’ aims to integrate biodiversity priorities directly into the policies and practices of production sectors, including the mining sector. In South Africa, the need emerged for a biodiversity guideline specifically relevant to the mining sector that would interpret a wide range of available spatial biodiversity information and frame it in a user-friendly format.
Objectives: The aim of this article was to document and review the development of the Mining and Biodiversity Guideline. This serves as a case study of a product developed to assist in bridging the gap between available biodiversity information and use of this information by a production sector.
Methods: We examined the development of the Mining and Biodiversity Guideline with reference to three factors known to be beneficial to creating policy-relevant science: a sound scientific foundation (credibility), relevance to decision-making (salience) and involvement of stakeholders (legitimacy).
Results: The Mining and Biodiversity Guideline was developed through collaboration between the mining and biodiversity sectors. It provides a tool that contributes to the sustainable development of South Africa’s mineral resources in a way that enables regulators, industry and practitioners to minimise the impact of mining on biodiversity and ecosystem services. It includes a single integrated map of biodiversity priority areas summarised into four sensitivity categories relevant for the mining industry, with detailed guidance on how these should inform the application of the mitigation hierarchy.
Conclusion: The Mining and Biodiversity Guideline has received political endorsement from the relevant regulatory government departments. A focussed training programme has promoted awareness and understanding of the Guideline. Preliminary reports indicate that the Guideline has been effective in influencing decision-making.

Keywords

Conservation plan; co-production; knowledge product; implementation; mainstreaming biodiversity; mining; spatial biodiversity information; sustainable development

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