Screening a site for biodiversity ‘red flags’

Once you have identified the local municipality in which a proposed project or plan is to be undertaken, the site must be placed within a biodiversity context. You will need to identify broader, potentially off-site or strategic biodiversity opportunities and constraints that could influence development planning. This process is also known as biodiversity screening.

What is biodiversity screening?

This section:

    • Highlights factors that contribute to the contextual significance of biodiversity and could influence development planning.
    • Offers guidance on pre-application biodiversity screening.
    • Refers you to terms of reference for considering biodiversity during screening and Basic Assessment.
    • Explains how contextual biodiversity information can be obtained from the SANBI BGIS website.

When should a biodiversity specialist be appointed?

It is always desirable to try to adapt a project proposal or plan so that it avoids loss of biodiversity and disturbance of ecological functioning.

If irreversible residual loss of biodiversity cannot be prevented through pre-emptive, positive planning and redesigning a proposal (steps 2-3 in the Fynbos Forum Ecosystem Guidelines), it becomes necessary to commission a full biodiversity impact assessment. For this, you will certainly need to appoint a biodiversity specialist, using more comprehensive terms of reference.