iLembe District Municipality Wetland Report
Related ICLEI Pathway(s)
iLembe District Municipality (IDM) is one of 10 district and 1 metropolitan municipalities located within the KwaZulu Natal (KZN) Province of South Africa and covers an area of 3 260 km2. The municipality falls within the biodiversity-rich Grassland Biome, the second largest of the eight biomes falling within South Africa. Numerous wetlands, of high ecological value and exceptional beauty, occur throughout the municipality and provide crucial habitat for not only a number of species specially adapted to the Grassland Biome but also for a variety of nationally critically endangered flora and fauna species.
The wetlands throughout iLembe District Municipality are also considered to be high-value ‘ecological infrastructure’ as they provide critical ecosystem services to the local communities living within the municipality. These include flood attenuation, water filtration, erosion control and water storage (regulatory services) as well as food provision, supply of raw materials and clean drinking water (provisioning services). The wetlands within the municipality also play a pivotal role in disaster risk management as well as reducing the impacts of climate change within the district.
Despite the wetlands within iLembe District Municipality being of high value to the municipality in terms of ecosystem service provision, a large number of the wetlands within the district are under threat or have already been lost. This is largely due to historical degradation, deliberate draining of wetlands to make way for urban and rural development and expansion, conversion and use of land for agriculture (mainly sugar cane) and the encroachment of invasive alien plants (IAPs). Degraded wetlands are unable to function to the same degree as healthy wetlands and as such ecosystem service provision is severely hindered or even lost altogether. As such, careful management as well as the investment in the maintenance of healthy wetlands and the rehabilitation and restoration of damaged or degraded wetlands is required. This will ensure the continued provision of these vital ecosystem services to the municipality.
Read more by downloading the report.