Military integrated environmental management at the Donkergat military-training area

Marx, Jan Taljaard (2014-12)

Thesis (DSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Donkergat Military-training Area (DMTA) at Langebaan, South Africa, hosts diverse, primarily seaborne, training and war fighting endeavours of South African Special Forces (SF) soldiers. The facility borders the Atlantic Ocean, Langebaan Lagoon (a Ramsar site) and Meeuw Island. The question arises how to compatibly accommodate military activity in this sensitive environment? The research aimed to build an inventory of environment-operation interaction impacts on the DMTA, document and analyse the efficacy of management procedures in a MIEM (military integrated environmental management) framework and design and test an electronic spatial decision support system (SDSS) to enable replication elsewhere. Hence, five objectives were pursued, namely to inventorise the physical resource base and concomitant environmental sensitivities of DMTA; to inventorise the military activity impacts on the resource base; to overview management measures to reduce further unrestrained progress of environmentally harmful impacts through MIEM solutions; to develop an SDSS to practically manage the sensitive environmental resources and military activities; and to finally project these measures against a theoretical backdrop of integrated military and marine environmental management. A mixed-mode methodology was followed. The surveys culminated in a comprehensive, reference manual-like inventory of terrestrial and marine floral and faunal life forms – reported to species level in the appendices. Similar data on physical and human-made landscape features were compiled and the conservation status and vulnerabilities of life forms, especially birds, were established. The surveys recorded evidence of notable military impact on the environment concerning infrastructure, ecology and cultural-historic heritage. A comprehensive electronic spatial database of all these features was compiled on a GIS platform. As point of departure for effective operational and environmental management, the requirements for a MIEM framework were determined. Operational measures for combating a wide range of impacts, as well as the success of their application were compiled to guide continued and future management. An SDSS running off a GIS platform, was designed, described in detail and tested for a range of operational and environmental management applications. This application required the sensitivity rating of a range of geographical phenomena captured in the DMTA GIS database and the execution of a multicriteria evaluation (MCE) procedure that resulted in an integrative environmental sensitivity map. DMTA is unique and hence it is recommended that it be retained as a specialised military-training facility. It is recommended that the SDSS be refined, exported and adapted for application at other SF and South African National Defence Force (SANDF) military-training areas. Refinement should harness the Internet and related data-capture and communications technologies. By implementing this system as part of the legally prescribed MIEM in the SANDF, the impact of military activities on the environment can be minimised and ‘sacred’ or ‘sacrificed’ areas identified. It is recommended that ecosystem indicator monitoring of features like birds, water quality, sediment quality, benthic macrofauna, surf-zone fish and rocky intertidal macrofauna at DMTA should be intensified to support planning of new developments. DMTA should become the benchmark ecosystem for status comparison in the Saldanha Bay area. It is also recommended that parts of the training area be incorporated in the Ramsar definition for the Langebaan Wetland system.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Donkergat Militêre Opleidingsgebied (DMOG) by Langebaan, Suid-Afrika, huisves diverse, hoofsaaklik seegebonde opleiding en oorlogspogings van die Suid-Afrikaanse Spesiale Magte (SM). Die fasiliteit grens aan die Atlantiese Oseaan, Langebaanstrandmeer ('n Ramsar-vleiland) en Meeuweiland. Die vraag ontstaan hoe om militêre aktiwiteit by hierdie sensitiewe omgewing aan te pas? Die navorsing was daarop gemik om 'n inventaris van die omgewing-operasionele wisselwerking en impak op DMOG te bou, die doeltreffendheid van deurlopende bestuursprosedures in 'n Militêre Geïntegreerde Omgewingsbestuursraamwerk (MGOB) te dokumenteer en ontleed en 'n elektroniese ruimtelike besluitnemingstelsel (RBSS) te ontwerp en te toets wat ook elders toegepas kan word. Dus is vyf doelwitte nagestreef, naamlik die inventarisering van fisiese hulpbronne en hulle omgewingsensitiwiteit op DMOG; die dokumentasie van militêre aktiwiteitsimpak op die hulpbronbasis, omgewingsbestuursmaatreëls vir die hantering en oplossing van skadelike impakte binne MGOB-verband te ontwikkel; 'n RBSS vir die hantering van die sensitiewe natuurlike hulpbronne onder militêre aktiwiteit te skep en te toets; en uiteindelik hierdie maatreëls teen die teoretiese agtergrond van geïntegreerde militêre en mariene bestuur te projekteer. 'n Gemengde-modus-metodologie is gevolg. Die opnames het uitgeloop op die skep van 'n omvattende verwysingshandleiding of inventaris van land- en mariene plantaardige en dierlike lewensvorms  tot op die vlak van spesieslyste soos in die bylae saamgestel. Soortgelyke data vir die fisiese en mensgemaakte landskapskenmerke is opgestel en die bewaringstatus en kwesbaarheid van lewensvorme, veral voëls, is bevestig. Die opnames lewer bewyse van noemenswaardige militêre impak op die omgewing in terme van infrastruktuur, ekologie en kultuur-historiese erfenis. 'n Omvattende elektroniese ruimtelike databasis van al hierdie eienskappe is in GIS-formaat opgestel. As vertrekpunt vir effektiewe operasionele en omgewingsbestuur, is die vereistes vir 'n MGOB-raamwerk bepaal. Operasionele maatreëls vir die bestryding van 'n wye verskeidenheid van impakte, sowel as die sukses van hul aanwending, is saamgestel om voortgesette en toekomstige bestuur te lei. 'n Werkende RBSS op 'n GIS-platform, is ontwerp, in detail beskryf en getoets vir 'n verskeidenheid van operasionele en omgewingsbestuursprogramme. Hierdie toepassing het vereis dat sensitiwiteitsgradering van 'n reeks geografiese verskynsels in die DMOG GIS-databasis bepaal moes word. Daarna is 'n multi-kriteria evalueringsproses (MKE) uitgevoer, wat gelei het tot 'n geïntegreerde omgewingsensitiwiteitskaart as afvoerproduk vir besluitsteun deur bestuurders en bevelvoerders. DMOG is uniek en daarom word aanbeveel dat dit behou word as 'n gespesialiseerde militêre opleidingsfasiliteit. Verder word aanbeveel dat die RBSS verfyn, uitgebrei en aangepas word vir toepassing op ander SM en Suid-Afrikaanse Nasionale Weermag (SANW) militêre opleidingsbasisse. Verfyning moet die Internet en verwante datavasleggings- en kommunikasie-tegnologie benut. Deur die implementering van hierdie stelsel as deel van die wetlikvoorgeskrewe MGOB in die SANW, kan die impak van militêre bedrywighede op die omgewing tot die minimum beperk word en ‘gewyde’ of ‘geofferde’ gebiede rasioneel geïdentifiseer word. Daar word aanbeveel dat monitering van ekosisteem aanwysersfunksies soos voëllewe, die gehalte van water, sedimentgehalte, bentiese makrofauna, brandersonevis en rotsagtige intergety makrofauna op DMOG verskerp word om ingeligte beplanning van nuwe ontwikkeling te ondersteun. DMOG moet die maatstaf vir ekosisteemstatusvergelyking in die Saldanhabaai-gebied word. Dit word aanbeveel dat dele van die opleidingsgebied se kuslyn in die Ramsar-definisie vir die Langebaan Vleilandstelsel opgeneem word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97692