Protected areas, and the ecosystems and biodiversity within, provide many benefits for people. This includes protecting biodiversity’s intrinsic values, but also safeguarding the benefits people gain from them, such as the provision and regulation of water sources, and the climate benefits of stored carbon. Consequently, protected areas are now acknowledged as an important component of sustainable development. It is imperative to track and monitor networks of protected areas and their surroundings to ensure sustainable management of landscapes and seascapes.
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Protected areas in South Africa present one of the best opportunities for economic development, especially for local communities living around them. It is understood that protected area wildlife based tourism initiatives contribute more than R2 billion to South Africa’s GDP. The solution is to create a guaranteed business opportunity for the locals through linkages of SMMEs with procurement revenue of a PA. The strategy is to assist PAs to identify goods and services and ring-fence procurement revenue for qualifying local SMMEs.