The primary focus of the creation of a Bufferzone around protected areas within the Greater Kruger, is that it will help guide development to insure that harmonious land uses occur within certain distances of protected areas, dependant on the type of development, the biodiversity features present in that particular area of the Bufferzone and other elements. A new way of thinking around bufferzones will be developed, which will focus on:

Suggested land use guidelines will be developed for certain areas of the buffer as well to insure that developments occur that is compatible with the aims of the protected areas it is in close proximity to. The idea behind the Bufferzone is not to be an a tool to exclude anyone from certain areas, but rather to insure that harmonious development occurs that benefit both the protected area network; biodiversity and the people in the area.

[Bufferzone map]

Mainstreaming protected areas and biodiversity into development planning

A key part of insuring a landscape level approach is taken towards improved protected area management and planning is to insure that protected areas and biodiversity features gets incorporated into broader planning tools. The idea behind this landscape based planning approaches are to marry protected areas and biodiversity planning within development planning spheres. In theory, if such landscape based planning approaches are taken, sustainable development and community resilience to negative drivers are more likely to be achieved. With development planning being the responsibility of local municipalities, they become a key stakeholder in insuring that at a broader landscape, biodiversity is protected (with protected areas being a mechanism with which to secure this). It is relevant to municipalities as insuring biodiversity sensitive developments take place, helps secure critical ecosystem services for the people of the landscape. An example thereof is clean water from rivers, used for agriculture and as potable drinking water for people. Protected Areas provide ecosystem services through insuring limited pollution of resources such as water from rivers. They also provide a large portion of the jobs being generated by the landscape as well as providing other socio-economic benefits, all whilst utilising the land in a very environmentally and economically sustainable manner. Mainstreaming PAs, their bufferzones and key biodiversity features into development planning is thus very important for this project. The aim is to do this as a collaborative process with municipalities such as Ba-Phalaborwa; Maruleng; Bushbuckridge; Mopani; Ehlanzeni and broader. A focus will be placed on mainstreaming protected areas and key biodiversity features into municipal planning documents such as Integrated Development Plans; Spatial Development Frameworks; Land Use Management Schemes and Local Economic Development Strategies.

Greater Kruger Bufferzone