Malukhanye S. Mbopha

Background

I hold a BSc (Environmental Studies) and BSc Honours (Geography) from Walter Sisulu University. My Honours mini-thesis was The role of Public Participation in implementation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Process as a Resource Management Tool. The study sought to assess the effectiveness of public consultation in environmental decision-making processes. The objectives of the research were achieved through exploration of barriers that hinder locals in playing a role in EIA processes. The research project recommended measures to be executed in order to vitalise community involvement and engagement in environmental decision-making processes and natural resources management.

Current research

Ecological Infrastructure (EI) is a semi-natural or naturally functioning ecosystem that delivers valuable Ecosystem Services (ES) to human welfare (for example healthy mountain catchments, rivers, wetlands, etc.). These ES are equivalent to socio-economic services provided by built-infrastructure. Continuous public financial support for EI conservation and restoration in the midst of competing for social investment programmes remains a key challenge; whereas the estimated demand for EI maintenance and restoration in South Africa is six times higher than available resources. The overall aim of this study is to contribute to the unlocking and securing Ecological Infrastructure investments understanding and knowledge through a systematic review of the developmental needs, desires and policy framework that led to public and private co-operation and collaboration towards EI investment using Agri-Environmental Schemes and Payments for Ecosystems Services models as case studies. This global review will gather lessons learnt from these investment models and frameworks to contribute to the development of South African EI investment efforts by informing natural resources management practitioners, policy and decision-makers about how to adopt and apply those lessons into policy development, decision-making and implementation.