Horizon scanning for South African biodiversity: a need for social engagement as well as science
da Silva, J.M.
Ehlers Smith, D.A.
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A horizon scan was conducted to identify emerging and intensifying issues for biodiversity conservation in South Africa over the next 5–10 years. South African biodiversity experts submitted 63 issues of which ten were identified as priorities using the Delphi method. These priority issues were then plotted along axes of social agreement and scientific certainty, to ascertain whether issues might be “simple” (amenable to solutions from science alone), “complicated” (socially agreed upon but technically complicated), “complex” (scientifically challenging and significant levels of social disagreement) or “chaotic” (high social disagreement and highly scientifically challenging). Only three of the issues were likely to be resolved by improved science alone, while the remainder require engagement with social, economic and political factors. Fortunately, none of the issues were considered chaotic. Nevertheless, strategic communication, education and engagement with the populace and policy makers were considered vital for addressing emerging issues.