Ecological inputs to Environmental Management Frameworks

Environmental Management Framework means a study of the biophysical and socio-cultural systems of a geographically defined area to reveal where specific land uses may best be practiced and to offer performance standards for maintaining appropriate use of such land (Government Notice R.543 in Government Gazette 33306 of 18 June 2010).

Ecological information is of considerable importance to assess the biophysical component of Environmental Management Frameworks. This biophysical information is significant not only for identifying biodiversity conservation priorities in an area, but in combination with socio-cultural systems, informing land use planning and maintaining appropriate use of land in a geographical area. Biophysical characteristics are inter- connected to socio-cultural systems on many levels, are affected by these socio-cultural systems and also affect these socio-cultural systems.

Much of the ecological information which is essential for land use planning efforts at any site is important for Environmental Management Frameworks as well, but on a geographical scale appropriate to prioritize for land use planning. Some of the most important biophysical characteristics to take into account in the identified geographical area, for which an Environmental Management Framework is constructed, are:

  • • The main relatively homogenous units on an appropriate geographical scale, such as vegetation types;
  • • Any other vegetation assemblages on appropriate scale;
  • • Possible presence of threatened species and suitable habitats for these threatened species;
  • • Possible presence of unique or threatened ecosystems
  • • Presence of wetlands
  • • Aspects of state of biodiversity;
  • • Ecological conditions and connectivity;
  • • Identification of gaps in the present knowledge of biodiversity in an area and;
  • • Identify ecological research priorities for refining environmental management of an area in future.

Environmental management frameworks aim to enhance governance and planning and to provide indicators for monitoring the maintenance of identified environmental management objectives, often on a scale that involves one or w few prioritized environmental management actions identified by the EMF.