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South Africa

Acronyms Used in South Africa


Agricultural Geographic Information System


Agricultural Research Council


Computing Centre for Water Research


Formerly the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, now legally known simply by its acronym


Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism


Department of Water Affairs and Forestry


An environmental information database operated by DEAT, designed to assist in the spatial location of developments so that they do not impinge on important sites


Global Atmosphere Watch (a programme of the WMO)


Institute of Soil, Climate and Water (part of ARC)


Institute of Water Quality Studies (part of DWAF)


National Botanical Institute


National Energy Commission


Norwegian Institute for Air Research


National Herbarium Pretoria (PRE) Computerized Information Service


A groundwater information system under development by DWAF


Rand Water Board


Southern African Botanical Diversity Network


South African Plant Invader Atlas


South African Weather Bureau (currently part of DEAT)


Umgeni Water Board

Country Profile

Land Surface

Land Area: 121 907 789 ha

Formally conserved area: 6 700 000 ha or 6%

Area transformed by cultivation: 14 753 247 ha or 12.1%


Population: 42 000 000 (1998 est)

Urban percentage: 51%

Population growth rate: 2.2%


GDP in 1998: US$116 659 million (at current prices)

GDP Growth rate (1993-1998): 2.06 % at constant 1990 prices

Contribution to GDP by tourism: 3.6% (1996)

Contribution to GDP by agriculture: 4.7% (1996)

Contribution to GDP by forestry: 4.4% (1996)

Contribution to GDP by mining: 10% (1996)


Political system: Federal parliamentary democracy

Provinces: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern, Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape

Environmental governance: constitutionally a provincial issue, except for international treaties, national parks, and issues which cross provincial boundaries


South Africa has a predominantly dry (Mean Annual Rainfall = 550 mm) and warm (Mean Annual Temperature = 18ºC) climate with great regional deviations. Rainfall decreases from the east coast to the west, and from high to low altitudes. The highest mean rainfall is over 1500 mm, and the lowest is around 50 mm. Temperatures decreases with increasing latitude and altitude. In the northern regions daytime temperatures frequently exceed 30ºC in summer, while the southern mountains and plateaus frequently have night-time temperatures below 0ºC in winter.


Six biomes: Savanna, Grassland, Nama Karoo (semi-desert shrubland), Succulent Karoo, Fynbos (sclerophylous thicket) and Forest. The plant and animal biodiversity is exceptionally high.

Major Environmental Issues

Pollution and toxicity

South Africa is the major industrialized country in the SADC region. Emissions from power generation and petrochemical industries are concentrated especially in the ‘highveld’ area of Mpumalanga and Gauteng provinces, but health-endangering levels are seldom encountered at ground level. A combination of coal smoke, dust and vehicle emissions can lead to health-limits being exceeded in the major urban centres (especially indoors in low-income housing). Water pollution, especially that originating from mining operations, is a significant issue on many of the river systems. The management and disposal of toxic wastes is a matter of national concern.

Biodiversity preservation

South Africa has about 10% of the global plant biodiversity, and high levels in other taxa as well. The tourism industry is strongly correlated with natural landscapes and wildlife. There is increasing national focus on the exploitation of biodiversity for pharmaceutical and other products. The key threats are habitat loss and fragmentation, and climate change.

Land quality

Only 13% of South Africa is arable, and almost all of this is already used. Loss of productive capacity through erosion, salinization, acidification and compositional changes in rangelands are key concerns. Competition for land between agriculture, forestry, nature conservation, urban settlement and mining is an issue.

Freshwater resources

The availability of water of acceptable quality is predicted to be the single greatest and most urgent developmental constraint facing South Africa. Virtually all the surface waters are already committed for use, and water is imported from neighbouring countries. Groundwater resources are quite limited; maintaining their quality and using them sustainably is a key issue.

Climate change

South Africa is in general and arid, hot country. Future climate changes have the potential to have profound impacts, either positively or negatively. In particular, the impacts on crop agriculture, water resources, human health and biodiversity in the Cape Floral kingdom are key concerns.

Status of National Environmental Observing Systems

Institutional framework

Government Organizations




Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

South African

Weather Bureau

Collects, analyses and disseminates weather data

National Botanical Institute

Plant distribution and biodiversity

Directorate of Environmental Information

Air quality, national heritage sites, ENPAT, wetlands, biodiversity

Department of Water Affairs and Forestry

Dept. of Water Affairs: Hydrology

Surface water flows and volumes

Dept. of Water Affairs: Groundwater


Dept. of Forestry: Commercial forestry

Area of plantations, permits

Dept. of Forestry: Conservation forestry

Area of indigenous forests and woodlands, biodiversity

Institute of Water Quality Research

Water quality

Department of Agriculture

Directorate of Statistics

Planted area, yield

National Parks Board; Provincial Parks Boards

Mammal data, vegetation data

Eskom (Electricity supply commission)

Databases on air quality and precipitation chemistry

Agricultural Research Council

Land cover, soil databases, agrometeorology, NOAA-NDVI archive


Some air quality and water quality databases, land cover, research catchments, Landsat archive

Non-governmental Organizations


Principally a fundraiser and lobbyist for biodiversity conservation and natural resource management

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Rare and endangered species, not a major data holder

Forest Owners Association

Area and yield of plantation forests

Many other environmental NGOs

There are an estimated 700 environmental NGOs in South Africa, ranging from activist groups to natural history societies. Some have significant data holdings (especially regarding biodiversity), but most are primarily data users

Analysis of existing sites

Name of site Responsible agency




Tier 2: Long-term, permanently staffed sites conducting advanced observations on many variables, often with experimentation


23.02 S

31.50 E

Recently established flux measuring site; many other variables measured in the surrounding Kruger national Park

Marion Island

46.55 S

37.45 E

Weather, ornithology, marine and terrestrial ecology

Tier 3: Long-term, staffed sites routinely observing a core set of variables (research stations)

Ecological and agricultural research sites

57 recorded in a survey conducted by ILTER; nationally distributed

GAW station, Cape Point

CO2, N2O, CFC’s, O3, CH4, and a variety of other gases

Tier 4: Locations which are periodically visited

Hydrological wiers

800 plus 280 reservoirs, nationally but concentrated in the east

River health sites

Several hundred, presently in Mpumalanga, will expand nationally

Permanent sample plots

CSIR has 14 in forests, 50 in woodlands Forage Research Institute has several hundred in grassland and shrublands

National networking

The National Research Foundation (NRF) has the primary mandate for both national and international scientific networking. The Department of Environment Affairs has the mandate to coordinate environmental observation systems, but to date has not been very active in this field. There are many national professional associations (botanists, ecologists, foresters, meteorologists, range scientists, zoologists, to name a few) of varying levels of activity, which serve to maintain national and regional networks.

International networking

South Africa is a signatory to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Convention for Combating Desertification, as well as several other environmental treaties. It is a member of the WHYCOS network, and the weather data is fed into the WMO network. The plant biodiversity specialists are linked through SABONET, and the faunal biodiversity specialists are active in IUCN working groups. Climate change researchers are active in IGBP and the IPCC. The NRF has taken the lead in stimulating an ILTER activity in southern Africa, which is presently under discussion.

Legal framework for data handling

There is a range of data ownership and availability in South Africa, summarized below. The Freedom of Information Act, scheduled to be passed in February 2000, will probably place all Government-held (and a large part of privately-held) environmental data in the public domain. No legal distinction is drawn between users inside and outside South Africa. In practice, access to the databases often requires effort by the data custodians, and when resources are limited South African users are likely to get preference, especially if the data requests are large. Restricted access is frequently not a legal issue but an ethical one of giving due acknowledgement to the people and organizations which have collected and prepared the data.

The parastatal organizations are financially separate from the government, and operate on a cost-recovery basis. In some cases this extends to use of data they have collected.



Data collected, but effectively unavailable outside of those involved in its collection since it is regarded as proprietary or confidential

Air quality data

Data freely exchanged through personal networks within a subject field, through telephonic, e-mail or written requests

Invertebrate biodiversity data

Data available to authorized government users only

Permit/license data in relation to gaseous emissions and water effluents

Public domain. Direct electronic access to database by authorized users in government, and extracts available in electronic or paper format to other users on request free or at nominal cost

Meteorological data

Demographic data

Economic data

Hydrological data

Water quality data

Semi-public domain. Direct electronic access to database by authorized users in Government, and extracts available in electronic or paper format to other users on request at cost recovery rates

Soil data

National Land Cover Data (until 2001, then free)

Plant biodiversity data

Database directly available to registered users inside and outside Government at no cost

Meteorological and hydrological data through CCWR

Data directly and freely available through Internet access (without password protection)

State of Environment Report, Global Atmosphere Watch data (held in international Global Data Centres)

Data summaries in public domain. Publications available free, or at nominal cost, or at commercial rates

Bird atlas, climatological summaries, agricultural statistics

Use of environmental information

The major users are Government agencies involved in environmental management, at all three levels of Government (national, provincial and local). Consultants, working on contract to Government or to the private sector are next. Researchers, principally nationally-based in the research councils and universities, but also internationally-based, are the third major category. Private citizens make up a minor part of the use.

Sectoral Environmental Information Systems

Weather and climate

The South African Weather Bureau, the Institute of Soil, Climate and Water (part of the Agricultural Research Council) and the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry all operate large networks of weather stations and maintain national databases. The reasons given for this triplication are that the purposes for which the data are intended are different, and as a result the variables and station locations criteria differ (Table 4). The SAWB stations, found mainly in urban areas, originated in support of shipping and flying and collect data on variables related to upper air atmospheric conditions and weather forecasting. The ISCW stations are rural and focus on variables important to agriculture. The DWAF stations serve the needs of hydrological planners. The databases each contain the data from the other systems, with a delay of about one year. Several other organizations either collect weather information themselves or on behalf of the SAWB or the ISCW.

The oldest weather records date from the mid-nineteenth century, but a reasonably extensive network was only achieved in the 1920s. The number of stations peaked in the 1960s (several thousand stations are in the databases, but not all were active at once), and is now decreasing. An increasing proportion are now automatic, with data being collected every five or sixty minutes and databases being updated daily. The automated stations tend to collect a fuller set of variables than the average manual station, including radiation, wind, humidity, temperature and rainfall.

Weather and climate data are available in the following forms:

Printed reports principally contain climatological summaries or variables not in frequent demand. Examples are the WB series, from the Government Printer.

Printouts from the SAWB database may be requested for any station, period and time resolution. They are delivered by mail or by fax on demand.

Electronic access is by registered users only. For example, The Computer Centre for Water Research operates a combined weather and hydrological database for use by researchers, which can deliver daily data for any site in South Africa, from the beginning of the record to a time approximately three years before the present.

Both the ISCW and the SAWB intend making basic climatological summary data freely available through the Internet, with value added products (such as near real-time disease outbreak indices) available through themselves or third-party service providers for a fee.

The ISCW network costs approximately R5 million per year to operate (excluding capital expenditure). This level of funding is just enough to permit continued operation, with no room for necessary enhancements or development, and minimal spending on calibration and maintenance.

Table 4. The near surface weather data collection network in South Africa


No. of stations


Daily rainfall total (Manual)




SAWB Daily reporting

ISCW Monthly reporting


Daily maximum and minimum temperature (manual)



Hourly or 5-minute rainfall


ISCW automatic stations

Some SAWB automatic stations

Hourly or 5-minute air temperature

Soil temperature

Atmospheric humidity

Wind speed and direction

Net or total solar radiation

11 solarimeter

135 sunshine recorders

SAWB radiation network largely discontinued.

PAR recorded by ISCW

Pan evaporation

350 S-Pans

600 A-Pans



Water resources

Surface water resources

Quantity of flow

A system of hydrological weirs has been established by the Department of Water Affairs: Directorate Hydrology over a period of many decades, starting in 1916. The characteristics of river flow in southern Africa are such that flow monitoring using a calibrated river cross-section and a water level recorder is not feasible in most cases. As a result, virtually all of the recording stations require custom-built structures, which cost from R100 000 to R1 million each to build, and around R30 000 per station per year to maintain. These costs have risen steeply in recent years, making significant expansion of this system unaffordable. There are currently about 2 000 measuring points, of which about 800 'families' are actively gauged. A ‘family’ may be a single weir, or several weirs associated with the inputs and outputs from a single reservoir. These numbers have been relatively stable since 1980. The records are height-time charts, 60% recorded using mechanical chart recorders, and 40% electronically. Within 12 months about 75% will be electronic. The time resolution is around 12 minutes. The structures are re-calibrated on average once every five years.

In addition to the weirs, data on water volume (from height and capacity), inflow, outflow, evaporation and losses are collected for 280 reservoirs (good quality data is available for 250 of these). These data allow water balance calculations, which are used to create a separate database of 'virtual' flow records. These are useful because they are well integrated and continuous. The rainfall data comes from the DWAF rainfall stations, mostly co-located at dams. The data are available within about six months of collection. For water management purposes a 'short-circuit' weekly telephonic and fax system is used to gather current dam level data. Dam capacity is re-surveyed about once every five years, but this may even be done annually in high-sedimentation areas.

The weirs are maintained by the provincial offices of DWAF, and the water-level data are captured and quality-controlled there. Within about three months of data collection, the data are forwarded to the head office of DWAF. The data, partly integrated with rainfall and water quality data, are stored in a centralized database (about 6 GB currently) maintained by DWAF in Pretoria. About 15% of the flow records are unusable at any given moment. About two thirds of these represent temporary unavailability or delayed processing, while one third are permanently lost or damaged. Online access to this database is by DWAF officials only, but in principle it is viewed as a public domain dataset. Data requests, predominantly by water planners and consultants, are satisfied through e-mail, magnetic media or fax, at no cost to the user. There are a few hundred users of the system, of which about 70% are external to DWAF. A printed summary of hydrological data 1960-1990 is available as a book.

Regional water managers all have their own information systems in addition to the national system, which they help to maintain. The national system is mainly used for planning purposes, while the local systems are used for management. For instance, a local irrigation board (now, in terms of the Water Act, a Water Users Association) may have several tens or hundreds of weirs, gauges and meters of its own. These data are not standardized and generally not archived.

A WHYCOS pilot scheme is operating on the Vaal River catchment, integrating about 50 recording rainfall stations, weather radar and recording weirs, all linked with a near real-time communication system. There is a flood disaster control room for the Orange and Vaal river systems, which also provides disaster support in other catchments where needed. It draws on data from the same basic system, but uses telephonic links to shortcut it in emergency situations. In other words, during a actual or potential flood, the regional offices send personnel out to weirs and dams as frequently as necessary, and they report their observations by telephone to the control room.

The research catchments at Jonkershoek, Cathedral Peak and Mokubulaan, formerly operated by the South African Forestry Research Institute (which became the Division of Forest Science, CSIR, which in turn became Environmentek, CSIR), are now, along with their historical data, part of the DWAF national system, but are not currently operated as research catchments.

This system costs about R80 million to maintain at a central level, and an additional R40 million regionally, excluding the water quality components. At this level it is seriously under-funded.

Water quality

The National Groundwater Database is maintained by DWAF; Directorate Groundwater. It contains records of boreholes, with information about their precise location, the geology of the aquifer they tap, the depth to water where intercepted and the pumping test (recharge rate). This dataset consists of over 180 000 records (many of which are for 'dry holes' which did not intercept the water table). They almost all originate from Government drilling programmes, which are estimated to represent only 15-20% of all the boreholes drilled. They are neither systematically nor randomly distributed, but focus on areas where there was a need for groundwater investigations - typically small towns in arid areas.

Prior to 1985, the information system consisted of a series of technical reports. Since then, systematic groundwater mapping at a national and provincial scale has been undertaken and an electronic database has been established. This is currently being converted into a new, more user-focused database, modelled on the REGIS database developed by TNO (the Dutch research organization)[2]. 'REGIS Africa' is much closer to a full environmental information system than a borehole database, since it includes recharge models as part of the integrated system. Within a year it will be operating as stand-alone regional databases, linked to each other and users in an Internet environment. It will also be linked to compatible local scale municipal and agricultural databases currently operating as prototypes.

Where repeated measurements of depth to the water table or recharge rate have been made, they are included in the groundwater database, providing a limited capacity for trend analysis. There are about 200 autographic depth gauges and a further 800 which are measured manually. Of the latter 200 are measured monthly and 600 every six months. They are mostly confined to groundwater dependent towns in the former 'white' areas of the country. The hydrochemical database maintained by IWQS (see next section), contains samples taken from boreholes as well as samples from rivers and dams, but the databases are not integrated so it is hard to link a particular borehole with its water chemistry data. This problem is recognized, and will be solved with the implementation of the REGIS system.

The data in the system can be requested by anyone and is generally provided as an electronic file, on request. It is typically used by groundwater consultants and researchers. In future it will be web-based.

Groundwater resources

Size of resource

There are 1 800 'water quality control points' in the national river and reservoir network, of which 865 are routinely sampled by the National Water Quality Network, typically on a bi-weekly to monthly basis. This network is currently the subject of an optimization study, which may result in decreases in sampling intensity in some areas, and increases in others. A further 846 control points are involved in 48 regional or purpose-specific monitoring programmes. The sampling is largely undertaken by the staff who service the water flow network, with some volunteers used in areas not routinely monitored by hydrology staff. The samples are collected in re-usable plastic bottles, which are mailed to Pretoria. The increasing automation of the flow network is causing a problem, since the weirs no longer require bi-weekly visits. Of the water quality variables, only electroconductivity and water temperature lend themselves to automated data collection under South African river conditions. There are currently 46 loggers in operation for this purpose.

The chemical analyses are undertaken by the Institute for Water Quality Studies, which is part of DWAF. The laboratories are highly quality-controlled, and internationally and nationally certified. Approximately 3 000 samples are processed monthly. Turn-around time is approximately three months, between sample collection and entry of the verified data in the database.

The water quality database is partially integrated with the river flow and groundwater databases. The data are currently co-located with the flow and groundwater data on the Government mainframe computer, but will move to a server at IWQS in the near future. They are considered public domain, but are not directly available to the public due to security considerations on the Government server. Historical water quality data are available on a CD-ROM. Main users of the water quality data are DWAF (for regulatory and planning purposes), engineering consultants and researchers.

Table 5. Summary of the water quality variables collected. Samples for the different clusters are collected using different protocols and sampling equipment. Within a cluster, various groups of variables can be analysed, depending on the intent.




Macro determinants

Ca, Cl, DOC, EC, F, K, Kjeldahl-N, Mg, Na, NH4, NO2, NO3, pH, PO4,SO4, Si, Total Alkalinity, Total P, TDS

1.Drinking water, corrosion, TDS

2. Nitrogen and Phosphorus

3. Plant nutrients

4. Hardness

5. Sodium Absorption Ratio

6. Acid mine effluent

Trace metals

Al, Ar, B, Ba, Be, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb, Se, Sr, Ti, V, Zn, Zr

1a: Screening

1b: Scanning

2. Common metals


Escherichia coli, faecal coliform, faecal streptococci, faecal Clostridia, Total coliform, Standard Plate Count

1. Drinking water

2. Faecal contamination


algal identification, suspended solids, chlorophyll a, phaeophytin a

1. Eutrophication


Crustacea(Daphnia pulex), fish (Poecilia reticulata/Tilapia), bacteria Pseudomonas putida, algae (Selenastrum capricornutum).

1. Toxicity

Groundwater samples are chemically analysed for about 400 sites nationally, on a monthly basis. The current locations are somewhat ad hoc, but since 1994 this has been progressively rationalized on the basis of groundwater provinces. The analyses include the major cations and anions, as well as trace metals. Organic contamination is not included.

The data collected by the IWQS represents probably only 20% of the water quality data collected nationally. The rest are collected by the two large water supply corporations (Rand Water Board and Umgeni Water Board); local authorities, in connection with water treatment and sewerage treatment; industries, in connection with their effluent release license requirements; mines, etc. The analyses are performed by commercial laboratories, and although some data (excluding RWB and UWB data) are provided to DWAF, they do not find their way into any formal database.

Faunal indicators of water quality are collected by the National River Health System. It was initiated in 1993, and currently has about 100 sample locations, all in the province of Mpumalanga. The target is about 600 nationally, of which about a third will be 'reference' sites, selected because of their relatively natural state, and monitored intensively but infrequently. The sites are unmarked (but geolocated) and are frequently on private land. The target is about 20 sites per major river system, with a good distribution across the 18 riverine ecoregions and approximately 100 subregions.

Indicators are collected in five groups:

The system will be implemented by province, usually (but not always) by the provincial-level nature conservation/environment officials. The data system is designed and provided by a private sector company, Soft Craft Systems, in conjunction with private sector consultants, Southern Waters. It is a Microsoft Access database, distributed to the provincial users on CD-ROM, where it is stand-alone. Approximately annually, the provincial centres will send a diskette or e-mail update back to a central database. The National Water Information System (DWAF) will be updated from this central source annually. The principal intended use of the River Health System is the determination and monitoring of the 'ecological reserve', a minimum flow quantity required to be left in all rivers by the Water Act of 1998. The users are water resource managers and policy-makers.

Groundwater quality

See above, under surface water quality.

Land cover, Land use, Land quality


The land cover of South Africa, in 27 classes, has been mapped at 1:250 000 scale using 1996 Satellite imagery. The data are held by a consortium consisting of the CSIR (Environmentek), ARC (Institute of Soil, Climate and Water) and the SA National Defence Force. For the next year the data can be purchased from the consortium, after which they will become public domain. A 1:1M scale product is already in the public domain. It is intended to repeat this exercise approximately once every five years, although the responsibility and funding arrangements have not been established.

The Department of Land Affairs (Directorate of Survey) commissions aerial photograph coverage of all of South Africa on a rolling ten-year basis. Several private aerial survey companies maintain large archives of air photos. The CSIR (Satellite Applications Centre, Hartebeeshoek) has the ability to download data from all the major current environmental satellites (the Meteosat, Landsat, NOAA and SPOT series), for all of southern Africa, and has extensive archives of NOAA and Landsat data since the 1970s. The Institute of Soil, Climate and Water has daily NOAA AVHRR coverage of South Africa for the past decade and these data are used to develop ten-daily vegetation greenness (NDVI) maps, which form part of the drought management system.

Georeferenced land use at a national scale must be inferred from the land cover map, read in conjunction with information from Statistics South Africa and the Department of Agriculture (Directorate Statistical Information). Both of the latter data sources are available, at best, at magisterial district level.


The Department of Agriculture (Directorate Agricultural Land and Resource Management) has a system of approximately 50 inspectors distributed at district level, whose task it is to implement the Resource Conservation Act (43 of 1983). This involves conducting inspections of land suspected to be in the process of degradation, and filing reports on these inspections. This information is not captured electronically.


There is currently no observation system in South Africa to monitor soil fertility, physical state, carbon content, toxicity or biodiversity. The approximately 50 000 Land Type Survey pedon samples are electronically databased and the soil samples are physically archived at the ISCW, and could form the basis of such a system, although there are currently no plans to do so.

Agricultural productivity

Area planted to crops and forests

The Department of Agriculture (Directorate Statistical Information) collects data on the area planted to crops, and produces monthly forecasts of crop yield during the growing season. They also collect data on farm enterprise economics, such as market prices and the prices of various farming inputs. The data are collected by questionnaires, sent on a monthly to quarterly basis to several thousand farmers within each production sector (e.g. maize, wheat, livestock). The response rate is approximately 50%, and the yield forecast data generally prove to be within 10% of the yields recorded by independent methods. The sample of farmers represents a large fraction (about half) of the total farming population, weighted on a yield basis, but is probably no longer an unbiased sample since it is based on the Agricultural Census of 1981. The demise of the single-channel agricultural marketing boards has made it significantly more difficult to collect accurate yield statistics. For certain commodities, only the trends are captured by the surveys, and the absolute quantities are calculated by multiplying the relative change by the baseline determined by the 1981 or subsequent surveys. Inputs from small-scale farmers, principally in the former homeland regions, are performed on an expert-opinion basis by extension workers in those areas. For cereal crops, questionnaires are sent out on a monthly basis throughout the growing season, and the projected yields are available within weeks of the survey date, in the form of a faxed report. The data are stored on a large centralized database. Annual data are released in the form of a publication, Agricultural Statistics, of which a few hundred copies are sold (R25 each) per year, largely to financial institutions. It is also available as an electronic document or spreadsheet. A web site is planned.

The agricultural statistics are collected at a direct cost of approximately R4.5 million per year, by about 20 agricultural economists and eight administrative staff.

Crop and plantation forest yields

The Forest Owners Association produce an annual summary of areas planted, species planted and timber, pulp and pole production by the South African plantation forestry industry, based largely on data collected by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and by the members of the Association. Wood harvest from indigenous forests is small, and does not form part of this summary.

Agricultural inputs: fertilizers and pesticides

Within the Department of Agriculture, the Registrar, as defined by Act 36 of 1947, maintains a list of all agricultural chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, etc.), which have been approved for given uses in South Africa. Approval requires testing of the efficacy of the product for its claimed purpose, and determination of its toxicity. After registration, no record is kept of the quantity or location of use. Information of this nature is maintained by the agricultural chemicals supply and manufacturing industry, but is not in the public domain.

Livestock numbers

Livestock data are collected by the Department of Agriculture through the same basic mechanism outlined above. Around 5 000 pastoralists are surveyed quarterly regarding the current size of the cattle, sheep, goat, pig, horse and donkey herds and poultry flocks, as well as sales and/or slaughterings per annum. Data on slaughterings are also obtained from the major abattoirs, but with deregulation in this sector these no longer represent an overwhelming majority of the processors. Data on livestock are also collected by the Directorate Animal Health, and the Bureau for Market Research, University of South Africa.

There is a significant wildlife population in South Africa (amounting, in one estimate, to about 6% of the national livestock herd), much of which is under some degree of active management. Wildlife within national or provincial parks is censused to varying degrees of accuracy and completeness, approximately annually. Wildlife on private property, which probably exceeds that on public land, is also generally counted every few years for management purposes. There is no coordinated data source or methodology. Some of the data are available on request for research purposes. Hunting and culling licenses are issued by provincial authorities, who maintain a register of applications, which is a good index of demand, but not of harvest.

Indigenous biological resources

Plant resources

The National Botanical Institute is the main custodian of this information. It is well networked with all the herbaria in South Africa, and increasingly with herbaria throughout southern Africa, through the SABONET project. The South African data on plant distribution is stored in a series of linked databases, loosely referred to as PRECIS. This began in the 1970s, as a single centralized database, from which a range of semi-stand alone databases were subsequently generated, and which are now in the process of re-integration. The architecture is thus a combination of centralized and distributed databases.

The core of the PRECIS system is the taxon database, which records the currently recognized scientific names, synonyms and common names for all African plants. It is complete for South Africa, nearly complete for southern Africa, and partly complete for the rest of Africa, and currently contains 56 000 records. It also records, or is linked to databases, which record the conservation status of the taxon at provincial, national and global scale.

The taxon database is linked to the specimen database, which records the species and collector's location (to the nearest 1/4 degree grid square, but more accurately for more recent records) of all herbarium accessions, along with a variety of information about the habitat, growth form, etc., gleaned from collectors notes. There are currently 750 000 records in the database, of which the majority are from South Africa, but an increasing fraction are from the SABONET participant countries (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe). This data resource is used about 50% internally by the NBI, and otherwise by university based systematic and ecological researchers, conservation authorities, and planners, implementers and policy-makers in the Departments of Agriculture and DEAT. A small fraction (<5%) of the use is from outside of South Africa.

The Garden Records Database is similar to specimen-PRECIS, but records the origin of live material grown in the National Botanical Garden system. It contains about 75 000 records.

The Medicinal Plants Database contains extensive data on the uses, pharmacology, cultivation and conservation of about 250 species known to have medicinal uses.

The Flora Database contains plant descriptions of the type that appear in published Floras.

There are at least two family-specific databases (the Protea Atlas and the Erica Database), which contain distributional data and information on specimen characteristics. There are also databases of cultivated plants and aquatic plants.

Potential users contact the NBI by letter or e-mail with their request, and are quoted a price. The price covers a part of the cost of servicing the request. NBI regards the PRECIS database as their intellectual property and thus not in the public domain, but are mindful of their custodial responsibility to other organizations and society in setting access costs at an affordable level. The main products are distribution maps for a given species, or species lists for given regions. Products can be provided in raw data form or as publication-ready maps, and are sent by e-mail or surface mail. A number of publications (books and lists), based on the database, have been produced and are sold for little more than the cost of printing. There are plans for future products on CD-ROM, and eventual direct Internet public access to at least the upper levels of the data hierarchy (highly aggregated and summarized data), and possible direct but pre-authorized access to the middle levels (slightly processed data).

Plot-scale botanical survey data is maintained by the Grasslands Research Institute, a part of the ARC. This database originated with the notes taken during the seminal botanical ('veld type') survey conducted by Acocks fifty years ago, and has been subsequently expanded. It currently contains about 10 000 records, consisting of geographical location (only reasonably precise for about 1/3 of the records), the species present and their approximate degree of cover. The dataset grows at a rate of approximately 200 sites per year, on an ad hoc basis, depending on where research is being undertaken. Access to this data for research purposes is encouraged, but a handling fee may be charged to cover the expense of retrieval. A partly overlapping dataset is maintained by the NBI at Kirstenbosch.

The level of indigenous plant resource use is not systematically surveyed or recorded by any organization on the national scale, although there are provincial scale studies and research projects covering some aspects. The Department of Agriculture (Directorate Agricultural Land and Resource Management) has responsibility for the grazing resource (which occupies about 80% of the surface area of South Africa), and is developing a framework information system, called AGIS. The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry has responsibility for woodland and forest resources, but as yet has no information system. Indigenous forests are small in area and are generally strictly conserved. Fuelwood from woodlands represents about 80% of the domestic energy needs of nearly half the households in South Africa, but is only monitored on an ad hoc basis through occasional research projects. Medicinal plant harvesting is a widespread activity, which is becoming increasingly commercialized and threatens the persistence of some populations of the target plants. Data on traditional uses of plants and their pharmacological properties are maintained by several organizations, including the NBI and CSIR. Such data are increasingly sensitive and valuable given their potential for drug development.

Animal resources

The centres of information on animal resources are widely distributed among universities, museums, conservation bodies and research institutions. Almost all of them are to some degree based on digital databases, although there is no common standard and only a limited degree of inter-operability. In practice, the community is relatively close-knit, and know among themselves who has what kind of information. Table 6 contains an overview of the major taxa and institutions.

Table 6. Institutions taking the lead role with respect to information about animal taxa in South Africa. Even in these relatively large and stable institutions, the subject information is typically vested in one or a few individuals. Knowing who those individuals are is the key to information access. The institutional knowledge base is frequently highly susceptible to the loss of these specialists.





University of Pretoria (Mammal Research Institute)

Transvaal Museum

South African Museum

Amatola Museum

SA Parks Board

Kwazulu-Natal Conservation Service


University of Cape Town (Percy FitzPatrick

Institute of African Ornithology: Avian

Demography Unit)

Transvaal Museum

Bird Atlas


Avian Demography Unit (see above)

Frog Atlas


Transvaal Museum

Freshwater fish

Rhodes University (JLB Smith Institute of Ichthyology)

Rand Afrikaans University


SA Museum

Agricultural Research Council (Plant Protection Research Institute)

National Collection of Insects

Termites and economically important insects

Freshwater molluscs

Natal Museum


Plant Protection Research Institute

Spiders, mites, ticks


Plant Protection Research Institute

The coverage and detail varies greatly between taxa, from extremely complete in the case of large mammals and birds, to sparse in the case of invertebrates. This is despite the existence of very large collections in the latter case, and is simply a reflection of the huge diversity in this taxon.

Freshwater fisheries

South Africa does not have major commercial freshwater fisheries. Recreational (and to a small degree, subsistence) fishing is widespread on South African rivers and dams, but no harvest records are kept.


Conserved areas

The DEAT maintains a GIS-based database on the boundaries of all formal, state controlled conservation lands (national parks, water catchments, national forests, marine reserves, and areas set aside for conservation by local authorities). The completeness of the data varies from high, at the national scale, to variable at the provincial scale, to low at the local authority scale.

The location of declared and proposed RAMSAR wetlands is also on this database. A separate database of all known wetlands in South Africa (in seven ecological categories, e.g. riverine, lacustrine, estuarine, palustrine, etc.) is currently in preparation as a research project. At present it contains 1 300 records.

The DEAT database also contains the locations of National Heritage Sites (privately-owned land deemed of environmental, scenic or cultural value, volunteered by the owner and afforded a degree of legal protection). There are currently about 120 of these sites. Other forms of private sector conservation (private nature reserves, game farms, conservancies, etc.) are not recorded. Some estimates are that privately conserved land represents twice the area covered by formally protected lands.

The database contains little information other than the boundary vector and date of proclamation. Some biological information is available by overlaying with other georeferenced datasets, such as the national vegetation map.

Further information on these databases can be found on the DEAT website

Rare and endangered species

The responsibility for the maintenance of lists of rare and endangered species (Red Data books) lies with the DEAT (Biodiversity). Red Data books covering the major taxa were compiled during the 1980s by the then Foundation for Research Development (now the National Research Foundation), drawing on experts in the academic, conservation and private sectors. These will be updated for the DEAT soon, on a contractual basis - the contractor has not yet been identified. The Red Data books contain information on the species, its status, and known localities, as well as brief notes regarding its biology and the nature of the threats against it.

Red Data book information is captured in ENPAT, a GIS system owned by the DEAT and designed to facilitate planning work by identifying the location of environmentally sensitive areas. The data base is incomplete, given that the data are at least a decade old, and may be spatially imprecise. The custodians of information on endangered species are usually reluctant to reveal their exact location.

In practice, when information is needed regarding the likelihood that a given development will threaten endangered species, enquiries are made through a loose network of local specialists, who may be located in museums, conservation authorities, provincial government, academia, research institutes or non-governmental organizations.

Traffic, an NGO specializing in the CITES agreement, has offices in Johannesburg and Malawi. It is a leading source of information on trade in endangered species. Along with its own information gathering systems, it relies on the register of permits granted for the export and import of live organisms and plant and animal products.

Pest and problem organisms

The Plant Protection Research Institute maintains the South African Plant Invader Atlas (SAPIA). This project uses a combination of systematic surveys and information from a network of volunteers to track the distribution and abundance of approximately 1 300 declared weed species. The information is in a digital database and is made available on request as distribution maps (1/4 degree resolution). It is also distributed to the public in the form of books and pamphlets.

The Department of Agriculture (Directorate Agricultural Land and Resource Management) is responsible for two major indigenous pest species that have the capacity to have a large impact on agriculture at the local scale. Brown locusts periodically form large swarms in the arid parts of the country. There are 50 district locust control officers (who have other duties as well) who receive telephonic information from a network of farmers. They note the date, location and size of outbreaks, along with the measures taken to control them. This information becomes part of a database in the Directorate. There is no direct way of assessing the damage caused by locusts.

The redbilled quelia is a finch-like bird, which can occur in flocks of millions. In principle the quelia information system is similar to that for locusts, except that it lacks the district officers, and is thus much more dependent on volunteers.

A system for monitoring blackfly along the Orange River is currently being established.

Animal disease information is maintained by both the Department of Agriculture (Directorate Animal Health) and the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute. An electronic database is maintained containing the reports of district veterinary officers, who are supported by a network of veterinary technicians.

Plants, mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates

Electronic databases exist, or are under preparation, on most of these taxa. The lead is being taken by a wide variety of organizations (see table above). The sophistication of the databases, level of completeness and degree of access available outside the organization varies greatly.

Air quality

There is no systematic, national air quality monitoring programme in South Africa, nor is there a centralized, accessible database from which trends and spatial patterns can be derived. There are a variety of networks operated sporadically by research initiatives, local authorities or major emission producers. Some of these data are in electronic form, and in principle available on request.

In terms of the Air Pollution Prevention Act (1966), operators of 'listed processes' must seek licenses for the emissions which they produce. The licenses, and more recently the Environmental Impact Assessments required by the National Environmental Management Act, specify the projected emissions. These are periodically updated in reports to the Chief Air Pollution Control Officer of the DEAT, and are in principle in a database. Most major emitters are audited with in-flue gas monitors. These data are not publicly available.

The national electricity utility, Eskom, has operated monitoring stations for ambient concentrations of SO2, NOx, O3 and particulate matter in areas around and downwind of its major generating plants (principally in Mpumalanga province) for about a decade. These data are sometimes made available for research purposes, and summaries are published annually. Other major corporations have monitoring networks around their plants. These data are seldom available. Eskom, in collaboration with a number of other organizations and the DEAT has operated a wet deposition monitoring network covering most of the northern part of the country. These data are available on request.

The SAWB, in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute, operates a Global Atmosphere Watch station at Cape Point. It records, on a continuous basis, a variety of globally important trace gases (Table 7). As one of the few stations in the southern hemisphere, it is of critical importance in global measurement and modelling of the atmosphere. The main users of the data are the international research community, since it is mainly relevant to global issues such as ozone depletion and greenhouse gases. Data series are published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, particularly the Journal of Geophysical Research. In future the data will be lodged with the Global Data Centre for Greenhouse Gases (Tokyo) and for ozone depleting substances, with the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), where they will be in the public domain. This has not yet occurred, due to the problems of getting the data into the format and standards required by the GDCs. The methane data has been lodged with NOAA and CDIAC-ONRL. At present the data are on desktop computers, in Microsoft Access format, with CD-ROM archiving, at the GAW office in Stellenbosch. They are made available on request, if considered of acceptable quality and as long as prior use does not prevent publication by the GAW station staff.

Various local authorities (particularly in the larger metropolitan areas and industrial centres) operate air quality sensors, including for SO2, NOx, O3 and particles. These data are in principle available from the local authorities, but exist in many different formats and systems. The monitoring systems are constrained by severe financial and operating skill limitations.

Various research initiatives have collected air quality data for limited periods, at particular locations. The results are available in summary form as publications and reports. In some cases the base data have been preserved in electronic form. The main ones are;

Table 7. Summary of the variables recorded at the Cape Point Global Atmosphere Watch station




Greenhouse gases

Carbon dioxide (CO2)

1991 - present

Methane (CH4)

1983 - present

Nitrous oxide (N2O)

1991 - present

Tropospheric ozone (O3)

1991 - present

Ozone depleters

Carbon monoxide (CO)

Since 1978, data not available due to international calibration issues

Freon 11 (CFCl3)

1979 - present

Freon 12 (CCl2F2)

1992 - present

Freon 113 (CCl2FCClF2)

Methyl chloroform (CH3CCl3)

1986 - present

Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)

1980 - present

Non methane hydrocarbon

Flask sampled every 6 weeks, analysed by Fraunhofer Institute

Radioactive tracers

85Krypton 85

With Univ. of Freiburg, now suspended


With Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization and SA-German Bilateral Agreement

g-emitters (Be, 210Pb)

With US Dept. of Energy, now discontinued

Meteorological variables

wind speed and direction



global and diffuse radiation

UV-B and UV-A radiation

Ancillary data: economic activity and population statistics

A national census is carried out approximately once every five years by Statistics South Africa. The information, which includes demographic variables (total population, gender, age structure, fertility) as well as other indicators (education, income) is available within about three years of the date of census, at the magisterial district, provincial or national scales. Data summaries are released as press releases, publications (nominally priced), fax-on-demand, telephonic enquiries, e-mail or via the Internet ( Larger volumes of more detailed data can be purchased at nominal cost from Statistics South Africa, and are supplied on tape or other magnetic media.

Standard economic indicators (GDP, producer price indices) are collected and published on a quarterly basis by Statistics South Africa. They are reported by magisterial district and by economic subsector, and are based on a 10% sample (on an economic activity basis). Every three to six years a complete census of registered companies takes place. The data are in principle available free of charge, although a nominal charge is made for some publications or for data, which is not readily accessible.

User Needs Assessment

Data and information needs

The preference of almost all data users interviewed is for direct Internet access to summarized information, backed up by access if necessary to the primary data on which it is based. Almost all of the data suppliers expressed an intent to move in the direction of supply through the Internet, but few have actually achieved it.

State of the Environment Reporting

The Department of Environment and Tourism is committed to bringing out State of Environment Reports for South Africa on a regular basis. The first one was produced in 1999. A DIPSR (driver-impact-pressure-state-response) format was followed, with the intention of using internationally developed Sustainable Development indicators as far as possible. It is divided into seven sectors: climate and atmosphere; freshwater; marine and coastal; land and biodiversity; social; economic, and political. The sector chapters were written by consultants in the private sector, research institutes and academia, and coordinated by the CSIR. They all reported substantial difficulty in obtaining time series data of suitable indicators. In most cases isolated and fragmented datasets were known to exist, which were sometimes in the public domain. The data, which in principle is in the public domain, is not always actually accessible, and is seldom worked into summary form. Integration of the datasets from the various sectors was extremely difficult. The State of Environment Report will primarily be available on the web, with paper copies for those without Internet access.

State of the Forests

The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry is currently producing the first State of the Forests report for South Africa. Recent changes in the Forest Act bring open-canopy woodlands under the ambit of DWAF for the first time. These woodlands occupy about 20-30% of the land surface of South Africa and are an important source of fuelwood, browse, medicinal plants, craft timber and fruits, as well as wildlife habitat. Previously only closed canopy indigenous forests (0.3% of the land surface) and plantations of exotic species (1.4%) were considered the responsibility of the Department. This change is in line with the definition of forests used by the FAO in its periodic forest cover surveys, in which South Africa did not participate prior to 1994. As a result of these changes, there is now a need for forest cover and use information, which is inadequately served by information systems. The National Land Cover map, completed in 1999, is an indispensable resource for this purpose.

Climate Change

As a signatory to the UNFCCC, South Africa is obliged to supply certain information relating to emissions of greenhouse gases to the UNFCCC Secretariat, within three years of ratification, and on a regular basis thereafter. Since South Africa ratified the convention in August 1997, the national submission is due by October 2000. A country study was undertaken under the supervision of the National Climate Change Committee (constituted by the DEAT). The various parts of the inventory were performed by consultants in the private sector, academia and research institutes. The IPCC guidelines define the inventory procedure, and thus the data requirements. It was possible to do a reasonably comprehensive and accurate inventory for the reference year (1990), largely because the South African emissions are so strongly dominated by CO2 from the energy and industry sectors and in particular, coal consumption. Accurate, centralized data were available on coal and oil consumption from the annual reports of the National Energy Commission. The NEC was abolished in 1992, and the information gathering role reverted to the Department of Minerals and Energy. For recent years, the data are much less easy to access and use. The land use and forestry related CO2 sources and sinks were harder to estimate, but are quantitatively small. Repetition of the National Land Cover Map would greatly assist, as would the development of a national soil carbon map.

For methane emissions, the principle sources are ruminant animals, for which the Department of Agriculture livestock statistics were essential; coal mining, for which data were relatively easily available; and municipal wastes for which data were poorly available. Data on fertilizer use, made available by the Fertilizer Society of South Africa (an industrial body) were essential for estimating nitrous oxide emissions. Estimates of sulphur dioxide, nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, particulates and non-methane volatile organic carbon, are included in the IPCC guidelines and were attempted in the country study, but may not be obligatory in national communications from non-Annex 2 countries. The lack of a centralized, public domain data source for emissions of SO2, NOx and particulates meant that the inventory had to rely on default emission factors, which are highly uncertain, and in some cases, unknown. Given that national communications to the UNFCCC are a recurring requirement, the establishment of a data system to support the process and make it more cost efficient should be a high priority.

The next phase of the climate change country studies was to conduct impact and vulnerability studies. Key areas were hydrology (water supply), forestry, agriculture, rangelands and health. The data needed to undertake these studies were relatively available to the specialists who conducted them, especially given that the impact and vulnerability studies will not be repeated on a frequent basis.

The final phase of the Country Study was adaptation and mitigation studies. They were also partly data-limited. Development of the economic scenarios, and their integration with biophysical drivers have emerged as an issue.


The South African Secretariat for the Convention on Combating Desertification (CCD) is located in DEAT. Countries, which are signatories to the Convention, are required to report to the Convention Conference of Parties periodically on subjects defined by the CoP. The structure and methodology of these reports is not defined, as it is in the UNFCCC, so the data needs are much less clear. The South African Secretariat is in contact with the Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel (OSS) with a view to adapting their experience and information systems in developing a desertification information system for South Africa. Since the core of the Convention relates to the loss of production potential of the land, it is clear that the biophysical side of the observation system would need data which address this issue, such as reliable meteorological records, hydrological records, satellite-derived vegetation indices over a long period of time, vegetation monitoring data, livestock numbers and productivity, crop productivity and inputs, and sediment yields of catchments. Most of these datasets are currently available, but not integrated or available through a central point of access.

A national survey has been carried out by Dr Timm Hoffman of NBI regarding the perceptions of landowners with respect to desertification and degradation.


The South African Secretariat for the Convention on Biodiversity is located in DEAT. Occasional reports to the Convention CoP are required, but do not as yet have a recurrent content, and therefore the future data needs are not clear. South Africa is relatively well served with biodiversity data for plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibia. Data on invertebrates is much less complete, but still very substantial in comparison with other countries. The Secretariat maintains a web-site related to biodiversity issues.

Requirements raised by potential users of GTOS


Key Stakeholdersn


Person contacted

Areas of interest

South African Weather
(Department of
Environmental Affairs)
Private Bag X97
Pretoria 0001, South Africa
tel: +27-12-309 3001
fax: +27-12-309 3121

Mr Gerhard Schulze, Mr Mike Laing
e-mail: [email protected]
[email protected]

Weather data

Mr Ernst Brunke
Environmentek, CSIR
PO Box 320
Stellenbosch 7999, South Africa
tel: +27-21-888 2400
fax: +27-21-888 2693
e-mail: [email protected]


Institute for Soil, Climate and
Private Bag X79
Pretoria 0001, South Africa
tel: +27-12-310 2500
fax: +27-12-323 1157

Dr Koos Eloff
Tel: +27-12-310 2502
e-mail: [email protected]


Mr Karl Monnik
tel: +27-12-310 2542
e-mail: [email protected]

Agricultural climate

Terry Newby
Tel: +27-12-310 2587
e-mail: [email protected]

Remote sensing

National Botanical Institute
Private Bag X101
Pretoria 0001, South Africa
tel: +27-12-804 3200
fax: +27-12-804 3211

Mr Trevor Arnold
e-mail: [email protected]

National gardens,
Desertification monitoring,
Rare and
endangered species

Institute for Water Quality
Private Bag X313
Pretoria 0001, South Africa
tel: +27-12-808 0374
fax: +27-12-808 2702

Mr Uli Looser, Dr Philip Kempster
e-mail: [email protected]
[email protected]

Water analysis

PO Box 395,
Pretoria 0001, South Africa
tel: +27-12-841 2911
fax: +27-12-841 3789

Dr Charles Shackleton
tel: +27-12-841 3639
fax: +27-12-841 2689
e-mail: [email protected]

Woodland and forest production plots

Mr Dirk Roux
tel: +27-12-841 2695
fax: +27-12-841 2689
e-mail: [email protected]

CSIR continued

Dr Colin Everson
CSIR, c/o Agrometeorology,
School of Applied and
Environmental Sciences,
University of Natal, Private Bag
X01, Scottsville 3209
tel: +27-331-260 5446
fax: +27-331-260 5266
e-mail: [email protected]

Research catchments

Mr Trevor Harrison, Mr Colin Archibald
PO Box 17001, Congella 4013
tel: +27-31-261 8161
fax: +27-31-261 2509
e-mail: [email protected]
[email protected]

Estuarine biota

Rhodes University, JLB Smith
Institute of Ichthyology
PO Box 94
Grahamstown, South Africa
tel: +27-46-636 1002
fax: +27-46-622 2403

Tom Hecht

Aquaculture, inland fisheries

Rand Water
PO Box 1127
Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
tel: +27-11-682 0911
fax: +27-11-682 0444

Ralph Heath
tel: +27-11-682 0749

Water quality

Umgeni Water
PO Box 9
Pietermaritzburg 3200, South Africa
tel: +27-331-341 1111
fax: +27-331-341 1167

Dr Chris Dickens/Wayne Schaffer
tel: +27-331-341 1275

Department of Water Affairs and
Private Bag X313
Pretoria 0001, South Africa
tel: +27-12-336 7500
fax: +27-12-326 2715

Mr Herman Keuris, Ms Estelle
van Niekerk (Directorate Hydrology)
e-mail: [email protected]
[email protected]

River flow, dam storage

Mr Eberhard Braune (Directorate Groundwater)
e-mail: [email protected]


Mpumalanga Department of
Environmental Affairs
Private Bag X11233
Nelspruit, South Africa
tel: +27-13-759 400
fax: +27-13-759 4048

Johan Engelbrecht (Lydenburg)

Water quality

Northern Province Environmental
tel: +27-15-295 3025
fax: +27-15-291 2654

Mick Angliss (Giyani)

River health

Department of Environment Affairs
Private Bag X447
Pretoria 0001, South Africa
tel: +27-12-310 3911
fax: +27-12-322 2682

Mr Paul McLons (Directorate Environmental Quality and Protection)

Air quality

Mrs Wilma Lutsch (CCD Secretariat)


Dr Gert Willemse (Biodiversity Secretariat)


Mr Lungi Mbanga, Mr Festus Luboyera (FCCC Secretariat)

Climate change

Eskom TRI
PO Box 1091
Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
tel: +27-11- 800 8111
fax: +27-11-800 4299

Gerhard Held

Rainwater chemistry
Air quality

Free State Department of Nature Conservation
tel: +27-51-448 1224

Pierre de Villiers

Freshwater biota

South African National Parks:
Kruger National Park:
Scientific Services
Private Bag X402
Skukuza 1350, South Africa
tel: +27-13-735 5611

Andrew Deacon

Freshwater biota

Harry Biggs


Holger Ekhart


Endangered Wildlife Trust
Private Bag X11
Parkview, South Africa
tel: +27-11-86 1102
fax: +27-11-486 1506

Dr John Ledger


World Wide Fund for Nature,
PO Box 456
Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa
tel: +27-21-887 2801
fax: +27-21-887 9517

Dr Ian MacDonald

Rare and endangered species

Gauteng Department of Nature
PO Box 8769
Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
tel: +27-11-333 2106
fax: +27-11-337 2292

Air quality Water quality

Department Agriculture:
Directorate Agricultural Statistics
Private Bag X246
Pretoria 0001, South Africa
tel: +27-12-319 6524

Food and fibre production

Department of Agriculture:
Directorate Animal Production
and Health
Private Bag X138
Pretoria 0001, South Africa
tel: +27-12-319 7411

Dr Ungerer

Veterinary control disease

Statistics South Africa
Private Bag X44
Pretoria 0001, South Africa
tel: +27-12-310 8911
fax: +27-12-310 8500

Rene Stasser
tel: +27-12-310 8351

Population, economic data

Agricultural Research Council:
Plant Protection Research
Private Bag X134
Pretoria 0001, South Africa
tel: +27-12-808 0952
fax: +27-12-808 1489

Dr Helmut Zimmerman
tel: +27-12-329 3269

Insect pests and weeds

Water Research Commission
PO Box 824
Pretoria 0001, South Africa
tel: +27-12-330 0340
fax: +27-12-331 2565

Dr George Green, Hugo Maaren

GIS Business Solutions
Private Bag X48
Halfway House, South Africa
tel: +27-12-348 3292
fax: +27-12-348 3276/6814

Willem van der Riet


[2] Not to be confused with the Regis geographical information system used in some institution in South Africa, now largely replaced by ArcInfo.

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