Developing sustainability indicators for the Kogelberg and Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserves, South Africa

Tucker, Colin Michael (2013-03)

Thesis (MScConEcol)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Declines in natural capital, such as the degradation of ecosystems and loss of species, are the result of threats created by anthropogenic activities. The concept of sustainable development encompasses the economic and social growth of societies, with limited impacts on the natural environment. Sustainable development initiatives are being implemented in an attempt to mitigate the global decline in natural capital. Biosphere reserves, which are designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) Man and the Biosphere Programme, aim to be landscape-scale examples of sustainable development. UNESCO requires biosphere reserves to submit a periodic review every ten years to ensure they are meeting their goals. This requires that that they monitor and evaluate their progress towards their sustainable development goals. Sustainability indicators are tools used to assess progress towards ecological, social and economic goals, and can thus be useful tools for biosphere reserves to ensure they are achieving their goals. The Kogelberg and Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserves are both situated within the Cape Floristic Region (CFR). The CFR, located in the South-West of South Africa, has been identified as a biodiversity hotspot owing to its high plant diversity. About a fifth of the CFR is formally protected, while about three quarters has been transformed, mainly by cultivated lands, urban areas and alien vegetation. The socio-economic dimensions of the region are also diverse. A high percentage of its inhabitants have low incomes and live in informal settlements, while a smaller percentage have high incomes and live in middle to upper-class urban areas. Biosphere reserves aim to encourage their diverse stakeholders to collaboratively develop and work towards sustainable development goals. This research project applied an action research approach. The research objectives were achieved through collaboration with biosphere reserve stakeholders. The first objective was to develop sustainability indicator sets for the Kogelberg and Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserves. Following the introduction to the research provided in Chapter 1, Chapters 2, 3 and 4 of this thesis describe the stages of the research process undertaken to achieve this objective. With the aim of investigating monitoring and evaluation within biosphere reserves, Chapter 2 presents a systematic review of the peer-reviewed and grey literature and Chapter 3 presents the results of interviews with managers of South African biosphere reserves and a web-based survey of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Chapter 4 describes the collaborative process of conducting local stakeholder workshops and specialist focus groups to develop sets of sustainability indicators; one set each for the Kogelberg and Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserves. The second objective was to formulate a national protocol for the development of sustainability indicators for South African biosphere reserves. This was developed through a synthesis of the results and lessons learnt in Chapters 2 to 4. This national protocol was designed to be flexible enough to be adapted to the local circumstances and needs of individual South African biosphere reserves. The global review of the peer-reviewed and grey literature revealed that monitoring and evaluation studies in biosphere reserves are mostly conducted in the developing world by authors from the developed world and many of the studies and indicators that were developed focused on ecological dimensions. These results show that biosphere reserves need to enhance their local capacity for the development and implementation of improved monitoring and evaluation methods and frameworks. The outcomes of the interviews with representatives of the management of South African biosphere reserves and a survey of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves found that many biosphere reserves identified in this survey are reportedly implementing monitoring and evaluation, but few have developed sustainability indicators. It was found that there are many similar challenges with regards to monitoring and evaluation in biosphere reserves, most notably the lack of capacity and funding Lastly, the collaborative process used to develop sustainability indicators for the Kogelberg and Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserves proved to be useful and produced the desired outcomes. The local stakeholder workshops produced large sustainability indicator sets, with many indicators that were immeasurable, but most were relevant to the biosphere reserves. The specialist focus groups produced more focused and feasible indicator sets. The local stakeholder and specialist indicator sets were integrated to produce a final set for each biosphere reserve that was relevant to the social-ecological systems of the biosphere reserves, with indicators that could feasibly be implemented. The action research approach applied in this study delivered a pragmatic set of sustainability indicators that can be implemented by both biosphere reserves. The National Department of Environmental Affairs, and the Kogelberg and Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve co-ordinators have encouraged and supported the development of the sustainability indicator sets and the national protocol. Supporting these with a social learning institution within each biosphere reserve will be required for ensuring their on-going utility.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Dalings in natuurlike kapitaal, soos die degradasie van ekosisteme en die verlies van spesies, is die gevolg van die bedreigings wat geskep word deur menslike aktiwiteite. Die konsep van volhoubare ontwikkeling behels die ekonomiese en sosiale ontwikkeling van samelewings, met beperkte impak op die natuurlike omgewing. Volhoubare ontwikkelings inisiatiewe word geïmplementeer in 'n poging om die afname in natuurlike kapitaal te verminder. Die doel van biosfeerreservate, wat aangewys is deur die Verenigde Nasies se Opvoedkundige, Wetenskaplike en Kulturele Organisasie (UNESCO) se Man en die Biosfeer-program, is om landskap-skaal voorbeelde van volhoubare ontwikkeling te wees. UNESCO vereis dat biosfeerreservate 'n periodieke hersiening elke tien jaar voor te lê om te verseker dat hulle op pad is om hul doelwitte te bereik. Dit vereis dat hulle moet hul vordering monitor en evalueer teenoor hul volhoubare ontwikkelingsdoelwitte. Volhoubaarheid aanwysers word gebruik om vordering ten opsigte van ekologiese, sosiale en ekonomiese doelwitte te bepaal, en kan dus nuttig wees vir biosfeerreservate om te verseker dat hulle hul doelwitte bereik. Die Kogelberg en Kaapse Weskus Biosfeerreservate is beide in die Kaapse Floristiese Omgewing (KFO) geleë. Die KFO, wat in die Suid-Wes van Suid-Afrika geleë is, is geïdentifiseer as 'n biodiversiteit-brandpunt as gevolg van sy hoë plant diversiteit. Oor 1/5 van die KFO is formeel beskerm terwyl ongeveer 3/4 omskep is, hoofsaaklik deur bewerkte landerye, stedelike gebiede en uitheemse plantegroei. Die sosio-ekonomiese aspekte van die omgewing is ook uiteenlopend. 'n Hoë persentasie van die bevolking het 'n lae inkomste en woon in informele nedersettings, terwyl 'n kleiner persentasie het 'n hoë inkomste en woon in middel tot bo-klas stedelike gebiede. Biosfeerreservate streef daarna om hul diverse rolspelers aan te moedig om saam volhoubare ontwikkelingsdoelwitte te ontwikkel. Hierdie navorsingsprojek het 'n aksie-navorsing nadering toegepas. Die navorsing doelwitte is bereik deur middel van samewerking met biosfeerreservaat rolspelers. Die eerste doelwit was om volhoubaarheid aanwyser stelle vir die Kogelberg en Kaapse Weskus Biosfeerreservate te ontwikkel. Na aanleiding van die Inleiding tot die navorsing wat in Hoofstuk 1, Hoofstuk 2, 3 en 4 van hierdie tesis beskryf die fases van die navorsing wat onderneem is om hierdie doelwit te bereik. Met die doel van die ondersoek van monitering en evaluering binne biosfeerreservate, Hoofstuk 2 bied 'n sistematiese hersiening van die eweknie-geëvalueerde en grys literatuur aan en Hoofstuk 3 bied die resultate van onderhoude met bestuurders van Suid-Afrikaanse biosfeerreservate en 'n web-gebaseerde ondersoek van die wêreld Netwerk van Biosfeerreservate aan. Hoofstuk 4 beskryf die saamwerkende proses van die uitvoer van plaaslike rolspeler werkswinkels en spesialis fokusgroepe stelle van volhoubaarheid aanwysers te ontwikkel; een stel elk vir die Kogelberg en Kaapse Weskus Biosfeerreservate. Die tweede doelwit is om 'n nasionale protokol vir die ontwikkeling van volhoubaarheid aanwysers vir Suid-Afrikaanse biosfeerreservate te formuleer. Dit is ontwikkel deur middel van 'n sintese van die resultate en lesse wat geleer is in Hoofstukke 2 tot 4. Hierdie nasionale protokol is ontwerp om buigsaam genoeg te wees om aangepas te word by die plaaslike omstandighede en behoeftes van individuele Suid-Afrikaanse biosfeerreservate. Die globale oorsig van die eweknie-geëvalueerde en grys literatuur het gewys dat monitering en evaluering studies in biosfeerreservate word meestal in die ontwikkelende wêreld uitgevoer deur die skrywers van die ontwikkelde wêreld en baie van die studies en aanwysers wat ontwikkel word is gefokus op ekologiese dimensies. Hierdie resultate dui aan dat biosfeerreservate hul plaaslike kapasiteit vir die ontwikkeling en implementering van monitering en evaluering metodes en raamwerke moet verbeter. Die uitkomste van die onderhoude met verteenwoordigers van die bestuur van die Suid-Afrikaanse biosfeerreservate en 'n ondersoek van die Wêreld Netwerk van Biosfeerreservate dui aan dat baie van die biosfeerreservate wat in hierdie ondersoek na berig word implementeer monitering en evaluering, maar min het volhoubaarheid aanwysers ontwikkel. Daar is gevind dat daar baie soortgelyke uitdagings met betrekking tot monitering en evaluering in biosfeerreservate, veral die gebrek aan kapasiteit en befondsing Ten slotte, die gesamentlike proses wat gebruik is om die volhoubaarheid aanwysers vir die Kogelberg en Kaapse Weskus Biosfeerreservate te ontwikkel het bewys om nuttig te wees en het die verlangde uitkomste gelewer. Die plaaslike rolspeler werkswinkels het groot volhoubaarheid aanwyser stelle geproduseer, met baie onmeetbare aanwysers, maar meeste van die aanysers was relevant tot die biosfeer-reservate. Die spesialis fokusgroepe het meer gefokusde en uitvoerbaar aanwyser stelle geproduseer. Die plaaslike rolspeler en spesialis aanwyser stelle is geïntegreer in 'n finale stel vir elke biosfeerreservaat wat relevant is tot die sosiaal-ekologiese stelsels van die biosfeer-reservate, met aanwysers wat uitvoerbaar is. Die aksie-navorsing benadering wat in hierdie studie toegepas is het 'n pragmatiese stel van volhoubaarheid aanwysers afgelewer wat sal deur beide biosfeerreservate geïmplementeer word. Die Nasionale Departement van Omgewingsake, en die Kogelberg en Kaapse Weskus Biosfeer Reservaat koördineerders het die ontwikkeling van die volhoubaarheid aanwyser stelle en die Nasionale Protokol aangemoedig en ondersteun. Ondersteuning van hierdie uitsette met 'n sosiale leer instelling binne elke biosfeerreservaat sal vereis wees om hul deurlopende nut te verseker.

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