Introduction to the project
Municipalities have a significant role to play in biodiversity conservation as part of their mandate to provide a safe and healthy environment for residents. In support of this role, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) identified the need to provide municipalities with good quality biodiversity information that is easily accessible. The Municipal Biodiversity Summary Project aims to make biodiversity information, including spatial data, available to municipalities to support them in their reporting responsibilities such as the drafting of State of Environment Reports. In addition, the project also provides municipalities with generic land-use planning and decision-making implications in terms of listed threatened ecosystems and other biodiversity features.
What products have been developed?
A municipal biodiversity summary has been developed for each municipality in South Africa. The summary provides a standard, national set of biodiversity information for each municipality which includes the following:
- Statistics for a selection of biodiversity features
- A terrestrial biodiversity summary map
- Shapefiles of biodiversity features for downloading
- Access to an interactive map to produce your own map of biodiversity features within a municipality
- A series of fact sheets related to the project
The main focus of the Municipal Biodiversity Summary Project is not as a land-use planning and decision-making tool as there are other tools, namely biodiversity sector plans and bioregional plans, which provide this role. Municipal biodiversity summaries are primarily a reporting tool providing biodiversity statistics, based on the best available national data, for municipalities. However, in those municipalities where there is no biodiversity sector plan or bioregional plan the municipal biodiversity summary for the municipality can provide some guidance in terms of land-use planning and decision-making as it provides information on the location of threatened ecosystems and other biodiversity features within the municipality.
The Municipal Biodiversity Summary Project used national data generated as of December 2009, unless otherwise indicated. Additional finer-scale biodiversity information is available on BGIS for some municipalities in the country. It is important to note that when this is the case, the finer-scale information should be used for land-use planning and decision-making purposes.