Screening a site for biodiversity ‘red flags’
Once you have identified the local municipality in which a proposed project or plan is to be undertaken, the site must be placed within a biodiversity context. You will need to identify broader, potentially off-site or strategic biodiversity opportunities and constraints that could influence development planning. This process is also known as biodiversity screening.
What is biodiversity screening?
- Highlights factors that contribute to the contextual significance of biodiversity and could influence development planning.
- Offers guidance on pre-application biodiversity screening.
- Refers you to terms of reference for considering biodiversity during screening and Basic Assessment.
- Explains how contextual biodiversity information can be obtained from the SANBI BGIS website.
When should a biodiversity specialist be appointed?
It is always desirable to try to adapt a project proposal or plan so that it avoids loss of biodiversity and disturbance of ecological functioning.
If irreversible residual loss of biodiversity cannot be prevented through pre-emptive, positive planning and redesigning a proposal (steps 2-3 in the Fynbos Forum Ecosystem Guidelines), it becomes necessary to commission a full biodiversity impact assessment. For this, you will certainly need to appoint a biodiversity specialist, using more comprehensive terms of reference.