Updated: Mar 21, 2021
The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) is proud to release the National Biodiversity Assessment (NBA) 2018. The NBA is the primary tool for monitoring and reporting on the state of biodi- versity in South Africa, and is prepared as part of the SANBI mandate under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (Act 10 of 2004). The NBA allows us to take stock of what biodiversity we have and what condition it is in, which then informs South Africa’s strategic objec- tives and activities for managing and conserving biodiversity, as well as policies and strategies in sectors that rely on our natural resources. It helps us prioritise the often limited resources allocated for managing and conserving our biodiversity, and feeds into land-use planning and decision making at various scales. In addition, the NBA assists us with both our national and international reporting commitments. The NBA is not prescriptive in its priority actions going forward, as it presents a body of knowledge and evidence that can be adopted by government and civil society to inform outputs such as sector-specific summaries and action plans, research strategies, natural capital accounting and scenario planning.
The NBA focusses primarily on assessing biodiversity at the ecosystem and species level, and the two headline indicators of threat status and protection level are applied to both ecosystems and species in the four realms (terrestrial, inland aquatic, estuarine and marine) and in two cross-realm areas (the coast and South Africa’s sub- Antarctic territory). These established headline indicators provide a way of comparing results meaningfully across the realms, and a standardised framework that links with policy and legislation in South Africa to facilitate an effective interface between science and policy. Underlying the headline indicators is a wealth of geographically detailed information that can be applied at the provincial and local level.
The NBA 2018 builds on the National Spatial Biodiversity Assessment 2004 and the NBA 2011. This provides us with a comprehensive picture of South Africa’s biodiversity threat status and protection level across time. Each NBA builds on decades of research and innovation by South African scientists, and makes that science available in a suitable form to users both inside and outside of the biodiversity sector.
Collaboration between multiple institutions and individuals is an essential part of the NBA process. Without the voluntary contributions from experts and institutions outside SANBI, the NBA would not be possible. Special mention is due to experts from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research who led the inland aquatic and estuarine components, and experts from the Nelson Mandela University who led the work on the coast. Over 90 institutions have been involved in the NBA 2018, and more than 470 individuals have contributed an estimated 135 000 person hours, or 75 person years, of work. The collaborative process ensures that the best available science underpins the NBA, promotes collective ownership of the NBA products by the biodiversity community in South Africa, and helps ensure a common vision for action following the assessment.
The products of the NBA include this technical synthesis report, seven technical reports, various supplementary technical documents, maps and datasets, and several popular outputs, all of which are freely accessible to the public through the NBA website. Please join me in congratulating the many contributors to the NBA on this monumental body of work.
Ms Beryl Ferguson Board Chair: South African National Biodiversity Institute