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Wetlands in South Africa: Their Contribution to Well-being
Expanded Title:Historically, wetlands have played and continue to play a critically important role in the evolution and development of societies. Large sectors of society remain directly and indirectly dependent on the flow of benefits from wetlands. Despite this, our recent history is characterised by the ongoing large scale destruction of wetlands. Although there is a notable trend towards understanding wetlands as providers of multiple benefits,, governance systems that promote wise use of these benefits are still evolving. Benefits accruing from wetlands include, amongst others, water, food, craft material, livestock grazing, and spiritual fulfilment. The estimated loss of wetland area in SA ranges from 20 to 50%. There is a continuing attrition of traditional rights to wetland resources, caused primarily by a lack of appropriate property rights-based governance systems. The overall aim of the study was therefore to rather apply and test the Anderies et al and other supporting frameworks to better understand how to manage the social-ecological system for resilience. The approach is integrative and participatory, allowing resource users to establish common grounds around benefit sharing and trade-offs in a complex system, such as wetlands. Four case studies were earmarked for testing the Anderies Framework and adaptive management framework in order to understand resilience in socio-ecological management of systems. The testing was done successfully, though mainly at desktop, with practical application in one wetland, involving the local wetland beneficiaries, at Papenkuils. The interaction improved the local resource management, roles and responsibilities. A decision support system was also produced to ease and advise on appropriate decision-making. Case-studies confirmed to a large extent what the historical perspective and the research into a systematic approach were suggesting, that wetlands should be engaged as social ecological systems; that unambiguous property rights established with equity and empathy are key to the trade-offs required in benefit-sharing, and that an adaptive management approach recognises the user as the key manager and decision maker. Each wetland is a unique social-ecological system, so a recipe-based approach with one tool is inappropriate. Depending on circumstances and issues, a range of tools and approaches are required. It was also recognised that complexity has the potential to paralyse efforts and that a certain level of ‘requisite simplicity’ is required when dealing with issues.
Date Published:01/07/2014
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Ecosystem - Biodiversity protection
Document Keywords:Society
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Standard
WRC Report No:1986/1/14
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0571-4
Authors:Hay D; Kotze D; Breen C; Adey S; Du Toit D; Pollard S; Cousins T; Magubane T; Biyela F; Mhlongo SH; Dubazane N
Project No:K5/1986
Organizations:University of KwaZuIu-Natal; Independent consultant; AWARD; Inina Craft Agency
Document Size:1 364 KB
Attachments:TT 591-14 Wetlands Wellbeing DSS.pdf
Wetlands livelihoods DSS Mbongolwane example.xlsx
Wetlands livelihoods DSS Papenkuils example.xlsx
Wetlands livelihoods DSS.xlsx
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