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      An Impact Assessment Tool to Identify, Quantify and Select Optimal Social-Economic, Ecological and Health Outcomes of Civic Environmental Management Interventions, in Durban South Africa

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          Abstract

          Using an environmental impact assessment (EIA) methodology, we provide a novel approach to identify and assess social-ecological outcomes from civic ecology interventions. We quantified the impact significance of six civic (community led) interventions implemented by the Wise Wayz Water Care (WWWC) local community programme (solid waste management, water quality monitoring, invasive alien plant control, crop production, recycling and community engagement), in two communities, situated in urban to peri-urban/rural environments in Durban, South Africa. Interventions resulted in 38 outcomes, of which 37 were positive and one negative. The resulting significance scores from the impact assessment allowed for interventions and their outcomes to be compared. The socio-economic outcomes were the greatest (21), followed by ecological (11) and health outcomes (6). Outcomes included access to education and training; improved quality of life; improved terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems; increase in recreation and cultural uses of natural areas; reduced health risks and increased nutrition. The most significant ecological outcomes resulted from invasive alien plant control, followed by solid waste removal and water quality monitoring. The greatest health outcomes resulted from solid waste removal and vegetable gardens, whereas the greatest social-economic outcomes resulted from the general operation of WWWC, solid waste removal, and invasive alien plant control. We demonstrate that investments in natural areas can deliver not only on enhancements in ecosystems and their services, but also for local community social-economic and health benefits. This study provides an intervention quantifying tool for practitioners to select optimal local management interventions, that can be aligned with desired outcomes related to specific community challenges and policy requirements. In so doing, this work shows the critical role that civic interventions play to ensure sustainability, and emphasises how social-ecological systems and ecosystem services perspectives can be used in practice towards achieving sustainable outcomes.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                0401664
                J Environ Manage
                J Environ Manage
                Journal of environmental management
                0301-4797
                1095-8630
                15 January 2022
                08 November 2021
                30 August 2023
                05 September 2023
                : 302
                : Pt A
                : 113966
                Article
                EMS186813
                10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.113966
                7615018
                34749084
                5ec2f15a-c7f2-4ef3-9848-e64f9a4c55b4

                This work is licensed under a BY 4.0 International license.

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                Categories
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                Environmental management, Policy & Planning
                ecosystem services,environmental management,civic ecology,social-ecological system,sustainable development,environmental impact assessment

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