Municipalities play a significant role in biodiversity conservation in South Africa. Not only are they tasked to provide a safe and healthy environment for their residents, they also have to manage land for development and look after threatened ecosystems and wildlife within their boundaries.
To inform these high-stake decisions, municipal authorities, as well as the interested parties they serve, need to have access to good information about biodiversity and sensitive areas in their municipal area.
Recognising how important availability to this information is, scientists from South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), have put together municipal biodiversity summaries for every municipality in South Africa. The biodiversity summaries contain statistics for biodiversity features and terrestrial biodiversity summary maps, all downloadable as shapefiles, as well as a series of fact sheets about the projects.
These information pages have been available on BGIS (SANBI’s distribution catalogue for spatial biodiversity data) since 2010, and now, as of this week, this entire dataset can also be accessed on MAPA’s registry of African conservation.
Simply search for [your municipality BGIS] (e.g. [Ngqushwa BGIS]) to find the link to biodiversity information for your municipality, and click on “read more” to access the project page for that municipality.
Remember that, by clicking on the share button, you can also access a URL link to the results of any search, embed it in a webpage, or download it for viewing in Google Earth or as a PDF.
We are very excited about our developing relationship with SANBI, and hope that this will be the first of many collaborations in which MAPA can help to make relevant conservation information more visible and accessible.