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Conservation Planning

The primary aim of conservation planning is to provide scientific information and advice required by KZN Wildlife to achieve its overall vision, mission and policies. The branch coordinates scientific research and development planning within KZN Wildlife.

Emphasis is placed on gaining a good understanding of biodiversity and the factors influencing its distribution and status, including those of a social, economic or developmental nature. Strategies are developed and advice given so that appropriate measures may be applied to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Extensive collaborative networks have been created with other institutions to augment our research capacity, and wherever possible external funds are solicited.


Integrated Environmental Planning

Protected Area Management Planning

Planning and Development

The KZN Wildlife Planning section consists of a multidisciplinary team of dedicated, specialist staff, dealing with a wide range of planning and development issues. Our objective is the conservation of biodiversity within KwaZulu-Natal and the achievement of the provincial biodiversity conservation targets, both within and outside protected areas.

Specific focus areas include the following:

  • Transfrontier park initiatives and planning,
  • World Heritage Site identification and establishment,
  • Protected area identification and establishment,
  • Ramsar sites and sites of conservation significance,
  • Protected area planning,
  • Ensuring integrated environmental management of activities and developments within protected areas,
  • Environmental management systems, related policies and procedures for KZN Wildlife,
  • Provision of input to environmental legislation reviews and development,
  • Provision of environmental legal advice,
  • Professional review of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA's) for proposed developments outside protected areas, in terms of their potential impacts on biodiversity,
  • Provision of biodiversity expertise and advice to provincial and national authorities, specifically in terms of development applications.

As part of the public participation of interested and affected parties in the planning and implementation of development initiatives in our protected areas, individuals and groups may register their comments by using this link to review the projects and use the e-mail link.

The revised cultural permit application proforma and a set of standard conditions an applicant may expect to receive if a permit is issued are available in PDF format. Please note that Acrobat Reader is required to view and download these documents. Get Acrobat Reader.

Ezemvelo's IEM team has also recently produced a final guideline for undertaking Biodiversity Specialist Impact Assessments in KZN, as part of the larger EIA process. This document can be downloaded from this link, and is useful for deriving more standardised Terms of Reference.

This guideline will provide developers, applicants, environmental consultants, specialists and authorities charged with reviewing/making decisions on applications with guidance to ensure that:

  1. project investigation timeframes can be more accurately determined;
  2. feasibility studies could accurately determine biodiversity related fatal flaws; and
  3. the terms of references for specialist studies and the summary reports would allow for informed and sustainable biodiversity decisions.

Integrated Environmental Planning

An Integrated Approach to Conserve Biodiversity Outside Protected Areas

Role of IEM Team

Ezemvelo undertakes detailed reviews of all land-use change applications, provides advice and engages with relevant government departments, NGOs and the private sector (e.g. consultants and developers) on biodiversity issues and attends various inter-departmental forums that promote integrated decision making to safeguard biodiversity. This is one of the ways in which Ezemvelo contributes towards South Africa’s international obligation to meet biodiversity targets: provincially a minimum of 10%, which is an IUCN recommendation that has global applicability.

  • Land-use change (transformation and fragmentation), both lawful and unlawful, is one of the most serious threats to biodiversity and conservation is a competing land use.
  • Poor Planning / Decision making
  • Poor Land Management
  • Alien plant invasion
  • Poaching
  • Insecticides / Herbicides and Pesticides
  • Water, Land and Air Pollution (incl. fertilisers)
  • Climate Change


Ezemvelo receives ± 800 applications per year:

  • ± 42.5% of applications have significant biodiversity concerns.
  • ± 14.5% of applications are located within areas of high biodiversity value.
  • ± 75% of projects processed by Ezemvelo addresses biodiversity concerns either in full/part.

Towards Improved Service Delivery

Ezemvelo: IEM periodically undertakes critical assessments of the internal review process to improve efficiency and service delivery. As such we:

  1. Produced internal documents to assist with the efficient review of applications, e.g.: Minimum Requirements Doc.
  2. Currently developing various external documents for stakeholders to assist in the appropriate consideration and protection of biodiversity.

Draft Concise Offset Documents - CLICK HERE

Biodiversity Specialist Studies for EIA Guideline - CLICK HERE

Training: Development Planners and Interns

One of the challenges facing the conservation of our natural heritage and furthering the mandate of Ezemvelo is predicting potential impacts of land-use change on biodiversity. This is a specialist field and there is little in the way of expertise in and outside of Ezemvelo.

Staff that have gained experience in biodiversity planning and environmental impact assessments are highly sort after. Experience in this field is therefore desirable and as a means to serve Ezemvelo’s interests and to augment Ezemvelo’s social responsibility programme, “Development Planner” and “Internship” programmes were instituted. The early success of these programmes has indicated that the programmes and the candidates therein, will grow in the near future bringing greater opportunities to future candidates and Ezemvelo.

Ezemvelo IEM Team

Ezemvelo IEM Team

The IEM Team is comprised of:

  1. Principal Conservation Planners (PCP) – focusing on high biodiversity impact projects within KwaZulu-Natal, as well as engaging with government and non-government stakeholders at various levels.
  2. Process Planner - administrates and facilitates the technical processing of applications, IEM products and supervises/trains Development Planners and Interns.
  3. Development Planners - assist PCPS.
  4. Interns - assist IEM Team and gain exposure to various facets of conservation within the organisation.

Protected Area Management Planning

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and specifically the Protected Area Management Planning Unit, is responsible for the compilation of Protected Area Management Plans in accordance with the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, No. 57 of 2003 and other relevant legislation. These plans include:

  • Protected Area Management Plans
  • Wilderness Management Plans
  • Concept Development Plans
  • World Heritage Site Integrated Management Plans
  • RAMSAR Plans

In preparing Protected Area Management Plans, Ezemvelo incorporates the principles of collaboration and transparency. The Protected Area Management Planning Process includes an extensive public participation process that adds value to the development of the plans.

Protected Area Management Plans are high-level, strategic documents that provide the direction for the development and operation of protected areas. They inform management at all levels, from the staff on-site through to the CEO, the Board and the MEC. The purpose of the management plan is to:

  • Facilitate compliance with the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act (No. 57 of 2003).
  • Provide the primary strategic tool for management of protected areas, informing the need for specific programmes and operational procedures.
  • Provide motivations for budgets and provide indicators that the budget is spent correctly.
  • Build accountability into the management of protected areas.
  • Provide for capacity building, future thinking and continuity of management.
  • Enable Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife to develop and manage protected areas in such a way that its values and the purpose for which it was established are protected.

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