It is inevitable that trade-offs need to be made between the protection of freshwater ecosystems (to achieve biodiversity conservation targets) and the achievement of economic development. Given the high degree to which society relies on ecosystem goods and services, it is simply not socially or economically possible to maintain all ecosystems in natural or high integrity states. Therefore, a key question that needs to be answered is: How many freshwater ecosystems should be protected to reflect a high level of ecological integrity in order to claim that South Africa is effectively conserving the biodiversity that is associated with these systems? A second question that can be posed is: Which ecosystems are most suited for, and will give the best returns, when they are included in a national design for freshwater conservation?

To address the above questions, and to enable a proactive and systematic focus on freshwater biodiversity, the relatively new discipline of "freshwater conservation planning" has emerged. This discipline draws from concepts and skills from across the fields of systematic conservation planning, conservation biology, aquatic ecology (including hydrology, biology, geomorphology), water resources planning and management, and spatial information technology.

The purpose of this website is to share some of the research findings, project reports, and related initiatives in the fields of freshwater biodiversity assessment, freshwater conservation planning, and policy for conserving freshwater ecosystems. This site is primarily related to work conducted by the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). However, most of our projects are done in close association with partner organisations from government and the academia.


The Final Version of the Skukuza Statement (May 2007). on the Skukuza statement page, or the main menu (left).

Final Media Release of the Skukuza Statement (21st May 2007) on the Skukuza statement page, or the main menu (left).

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