Land use planning as a tool for balancing the scientific and the social in biodiversity and ecosystem services mainstreaming? The case of Durban, South Africa.
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SHIH, W.-Y. and MABON, L. . Land use planning as a tool for balancing the scientific and the social in biodiversity and ecosystem services mainstreaming? The case of Durban, South Africa. Journal of environmental planning and management, (accepted).
This paper evaluates the role of land use planning, especially open space systems, in mainstreaming biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES) at the urban level. Whilst there is increasing interest in BES mainstreaming to balance environmental protection with socio-economic development, there is also concern that BES thinking deflects attention from underlying social justice questions. Through the case study of Durban, South Africa - often held as an exemplar in BES mainstreaming - we argue open space systems can offer a pathway to BES mainstreaming that is both scientifically effective and socially just. Yet what makes this possible in Durban, we argue, is (a) a robust scientific evidence base deployed reflexively and sensitively; (b) a move towards explicit emphasis on providing benefits of BES to the most vulnerable people; and (c) supportive policy frameworks plus the presence of biodiversity managers able to navigate the political as well as scientific landscape.