Agriculture And Savannah Biodiversity Loss
Hughes, G. R.
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This paper investigates the question of what influence human beings have had on biodiversity in the region of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. A historical analysis has been made of human impact on local ecosystems and species accompanied by statistics on the reduction of habitats and systems caused by urbanisation, cultivation, silviculture and state dams. The major causes of biodiversity loss are identified as being habitat destruction or modification and extractive utilisation. The most important problem is that the government of South Africa does not have an effective environmental management system to ensure wise decision-making. The result has been sectoral ministries empowered with the dual role of both exploiting and preserving natural resources. In 1989 guidelines for Integrated Environmental Management were produced by the Department of Environmental Affairs with an environmental impact assessment procedure. However, the procedure is weak because cumulative and synergistic impacts of development are poorly considered, because the land-use planning framework at the regional and even subregional scale is incomplete, and because there is generally poor understanding of how various land-uses impact on biodiversity. What is more, the procedure hasn't been given force of law due to the worry that the country cannot afford expensive assessment procedures when economic growth is the priority.
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