Southern African Sub Global Assessment (SAfMA)
SAfMA is a formal assessment at the sub-global scale, with its own stakeholders
and authorizing environment. The assessment was approached as an experiment
with studies conducted through assessments at three spatial scales: the
entire SADC region, two major river basins (the Gariep and Zambezi), and
local communities (Gorongosa-Marromeu in Mozambique, Lesotho, Great Fish
River basin, Richtersveld and Gauteng in South Africa). These areas include
industrial production systems, urban, agricultural, livestock and forestry
production areas, as well as natural vegetation and conservation systems.
Assessments were conducted for the period 1960-2000 and scenarios projected
to 2030. The assessment was completed in June 2004. Results showed the cultural
value of ecosystems rated highly by all communities, and that unequal access
to ecosystem resources is a hindrance to sustainable use in the region.
At least four of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG) will not be
met in the region unless ecosystem services are stabilized. Integrated management
is essential to meet the growing needs of the region.
All SAfMA component studies assessed three core ecosystem services: food,
water and services linked to biodiversity. Additionally, each assessment
addressed issues that were of particular interest to the stakeholders of
the individual studies. Basin and regional scale studies relied on existing
published material, national and international databases, and modeling approaches,
while local-scale assessments were based on participatory methods for collection
of primary data. SAfMA also carried out a pilot assessment to determine
how best to integrate the results from different scales and approaches.
In this regard, SAfMA played a lead role in the MA.
SafMA’s Technical Advisory Group was responsible for the design and implementation
of the assessment, while the regional stakeholders were represented on the
SAfMA Advisory Committee.
Funding for SAfMA was provided by the MA, including a grant from Norway,
administered by UNEP.
- Dr Constancia Musvoto
Natural Resources and the Environment
P O Box 395
Tel: +27 12 841 4856
Fax: + 27 12 841 3659
SAfMA assessed the services provided by ecosystems in southern Africa
and their impacts on the lives of the region’s people. The assessment explored
how local, informal management systems and conventional, formal management
systems can be combined to manage ecosystems in ways that ensure the continued
provision of ecosystem services in the region. A priority for SAfMA is to
develop and test methods to integrate across these scales. SAfMA also focused
on ways to collate multi-scale assessment results for use by decision-makers.
Ecosystem services assessed
Freshwater, wood fuel energy, production of stable cereal crops, air
and water quality, fisheries, grazing, biodiversity, medicinal plants and
wetlands were assessed on multi-spatial scales.
Project Outputs & Results
Because SAfMA was carried out at three different spatial scales, it was
able to investigate processes at the scales at which they take place, and
to take account of links between scales. Using a multi-scale approach was
also useful in ensuring that the perspectives of stakeholders at different
scales (e.g. local communities and SADC) are reflected in the conclusions
at all spatial scales. SAfMA was a leader within the MA in developing ways
to integrate results from different scales.
Results from regional-scale and basin/local-scale assessments varied
in some cases. This was primarily due to the effect of averaging aggregated
results on the regional level. For example, regional assessments indicated
that, on average, the population had sufficient water to meet their needs.
Assessment on the local level, however, revealed disparities in access to
water resources. Additionally, water shortages apparent at the local scale
were not evident in larger scale models. These findings illustrate the importance
of integrating results from multiple scales for accurate assessment.
SAfMA identified the effectiveness of national and regional governance
as the key uncertainty facing the development of southern Africa over the
next three decades. The SAfMA pilot assessment explored the implications
for regional ecosystem services under a NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s
Development) scenario and a scenario in which current regional trends persist
(Patchwork Africa). Responses under both scenarios highlighted the need
for transparent and responsive governance.
Further information on the assessment approach and project outputs can
be found in the following SAfMA publications.
Links to articles related to SAfMA
- Bohensky, Erin. 2004. Why Ecosystems Services Matter. The Environment
- Bohensky, Erin, Lynam, Timothy. 2005 . Evaluating Responses in Complex
Adaptive Systems: Insights on Water Management from the Southern African
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (SAfMA) E&S Home > Vol. 10, No. 1Open
- Direct Crosslinks to the Global Assessment Reports of the Millenium
Ecosystem Assessment: Multiscale Assessments: Findings of the Sub-global
Assessments Working Group
- van Jaarsveld AS, Biggs R, Scholes RJ, Bohensky E, Reyers B, Lynam
T, Musvoto C, Fabricius C 2005 . Measuring conditions and trends in
ecosystem services at multiple scales: the Southern African Millennium
Ecosystem Assessment (SAfMA) experience. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol
Sci. 2005 Feb 28;360(1454):425-41.