Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Koedoe]]> vol. 61 num. 1 lang. <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Monitoring consumptive resource use in South African national parks</b>]]> Monitoring is an essential component of measuring the performance of protected areas. This requirement led to the development of a biodiversity monitoring system for South African National Parks (SANParks). The system comprises of ten major programmes, each focusing on a core area of conservation biodiversity monitoring, with resource use being one of the focal areas. With the growing appreciation of the importance of natural resources for the socio-economic well-being of communities and other stakeholders, sustainable resource use is an important component of the management of natural areas and national parks. To gauge sustainability, a sound monitoring and research programme that fits within the context of the SANParks' adaptive management approach towards social-ecological system management is required. The purpose of this article was to define the context and scope in which consumptive resource use takes place within SANParks and to outline the criteria necessary for developing a sound monitoring programme to assess the sustainability of such use. The monitoring programme is structured in view of the fact that sustainable resource use is achievable only where all dimensions of sustainability (social, economic and ecological) are considered simultaneously. In terms of the social and economic dimensions of sustainability, the programme provides for assessing stakeholder needs, trends in resource use and the social and economic impacts of resource use. Monitoring that relates to the ecological dimension of sustainability of biological resource use deals with the rate of turnover and population dynamics of target species, as well as harvest impact. In terms of abiotic (non-renewable) resources, monitoring deals with sound management practices to minimise impact on the environment, and to optimise benefits through responsible use. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: The resource use monitoring programme is intended to ensure that monitoring relating to the harvesting of natural resources from national parks is scientifically sound and conducted in a structured way, towards meeting the objective of sustainable use and compliance with national legislation. The article illustrates how SANParks meets its obligation to monitor biodiversity conservation while at the same time meeting the needs for the consumptive use of resources. <![CDATA[<b>Use of a rapid roadside survey to detect potentially invasive plant species along the Garden Route, South Africa</b>]]> Early detection of emerging or sleeper weeds and monitoring of alien plant invasions forms the foundation of effective invasive alien plant management. Using a rapid roadside survey technique, we aimed to (1) establish a baseline of alien plant distribution and abundance along roads in the Garden Route, South Africa, and (2) identify priority species (particularly sleeper weeds) and priority areas to inform appropriate management action. We surveyed along 530 km of roads and recorded 109 alien and/or extralimital species across 1942 point locations. Of these, 35 species were considered to be sleeper weeds on account of displaying estimated dispersal distances distinctive of invasive plants and not being listed by the South African Plant Invaders Atlas (SAPIA) or regulated by South African legislation. Roads along natural forest and fynbos vegetation (often within the Garden Route National Park) displayed lower incidences of alien plants than those associated with degraded or transformed land, with roads along farmland associated with the highest incidences of alien plants. Roads in the Southern Cape region had more species and higher densities of alien plants than roads in the Tsitsikamma region, and a few species were exclusive to either. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Our inventory contributed significant new records and range extensions to SAPIA, while the identified sleeper weeds offered suggestions for species that may be considered for regulation under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act of South Africa. We furthermore provided information to facilitate (1) timely management of emerging invasive alien plants, (2) prioritisation of species and areas for management action, and (3) future monitoring of alien plants in the Garden Route National Park and surrounds <![CDATA[<b>The feasibility of national parks in South Africa endorsing a community development agenda: The case of Mokala National Park and two neighbouring rural communities</b>]]> This article explores the feasibility of South African National Parks (SANParks) endorsing a community development agenda, using Mokala National Park (MNP) and two neighbouring rural communities as case study. A three-phase sequential exploratory, mixed-methods approach was followed: an initial exploratory qualitative phase aimed at identifying the development needs of the two communities; a quantitative phase aimed at verifying and quantifying the identified needs; and a final qualitative phase (with a minor quantitative component) to determine what parks can reasonably achieve in terms of community development based on their available resources, capacity and expertise. Qualitative data were collected via semi-structured interviews (Phase 1: n = 22; Phase 3: n = 6), which were thematically analysed. Quantitative data were collected via a structured questionnaire (Phase 2: n = 484; Phase 3: n = 6) and analysed using SPSS 23. Findings revealed that the communities' most significant needs centred on employment opportunities; improved healthcare, service delivery and waste management; and education. Community members also expressed the need for improved community policing, safety and security; social services; agricultural support and training; general skills development and training; local leadership; recreational facilities; local economic development and conservation initiatives. Results from the third phase of the study suggest that parks such as MNP can realistically only address some of the identified community needs significantly; primarily job creation (via temporary employment), skills development, local economic development, support of local conservation (especially via environmental education) and, to a lesser extent, agricultural support and training and permanent job creation. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: The findings could be of practical use to SANParks to steer its community development initiatives towards attaining a more optimal balance between actual community needs and what the organisation can realistically offer, thus rendering SANParks' efforts more efficient and effective in supporting the establishment of equitable and sustainable rural communities