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Lexicon of Biodiversity Planning in South Africa


South Africa has an established history and strong community of practice for systematic biodiversity planning. Over many years of progress in developing biodiversity plans and related products, a vocabulary of terms has developed. The purpose of the  Lexicon of Biodiversity Planning in South Africa is to provide standard definitions of key concepts and frequently used terms, to ensure clear understanding, consistency and credibility.[1]

In the last decade especially, there has been tremendous progress in developing biodiversity planning products that are widely used to inform planning and decision-making in a range of sectors, including protected area expansion, land-use planning, environmental impact assessment, classification of water resources, and mining authorisations. Science-based spatial tools such as provincial biodiversity plans, biodiversity sector plans and bioregional plans are referred to in a range of policy and regulations. A community of practice of biodiversity planners has met annually since 2004 at the Biodiversity Planning Forum hosted by SANBI.

Along with the uptake of systematic biodiversity plans in policy and legislation, there has been gradual refinement and agreement on definitions and conventions for using certain terms. As the use of biodiversity planning products grows, standardised and consistent definitions of commonly used terms and concepts become increasingly important. The Lexicon is aimed mainly at the biodiversity sector, including biodiversity planning practitioners. It may also be useful for users of biodiversity planning products.

[1] SANBI website (accessible at https://biodiversityadvisor.sanbi.org/contentmanagement/index?guid=0ddd97b7-2cdc-4644-9a54-ccc908257f2f ).