Improving the understanding of the linkage between human well-being and a functional natural environment, secured within protected areas

This submission has open access
Submission Summary

The pursuit of human wellbeing is one of the primary goals for society and is a key focus of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015. Many publications and studies have further highlighted the absolute reliance of the human population on a functional natural environment providing the ecosystem services required for our daily needs and general wellbeing. A key environmental feature, and ecosystem service, that is critical for the wellbeing of the human population in South Africa, and the world, is the provision of suitable quality and quantity of water. Much of the ecological infrastructure providing these water services has been severely impacted, as shown in SANBI's Biodiversity Assessment, with wetlands being the most threatened ecosystem. An excellent understanding of our strategic water source areas (SWSA's) exists in South Africa, which is the 10% of our land surface area that provides more than 50% of South Africa's water. The link of SWSA's to our survival (with the securing and better management of them) is a priority in the face of diminishing viable resources and climate change realities. In order to facilitate initiatives such as the development of a new grassland national protected area that is being proposed for the north-Eastern Cape, we need to improve the understanding of the values of securing new protected areas, not only for their biodiversity value, but their critical role in human wellbeing, driving economic growth with clear benefits to society.

Submission ID :
Submission Type
Oral Presentation
Submission Topic
Closed Special Session: Effective management of protected areas - what is required to ensure their viability?

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