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Namibia-ETOA-1997.pdf - RESEARCH DISCUSSION PAPER Number 21...

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i RESEARCH DISCUSSION PAPER Number 21 August 1997 Environmental threats and opportunities in Namibia: A comprehensive assessment Bruce A Byers Directorate of Environmental Affairs Ministry of Environment and Tourism Private Bag 13306 Windhoek, Namibia This series of Research Discussion Papers is intended to present preliminary, new, or topical information and ideas for discussion and debate. The contents are not necessarily the final views or firm positions of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. Comments and feedback will be welcomed.
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ii Table of contents Acknowledgements .................................................................................................... vi Acronyms and abbreviations ..................................................................................... vii Executive summary .................................................................................................... ix 1. Introduction 1 1.1 Natural resource management objectives of Namibia's First National Development Plan ......................................................................................................................... 1 1.2 Purpose and objectives of this assessment .................................................................... 1 2. Methods ......................................................................................................................... 2 3. The state of the Namibian environment ............................................................................... 4 3.1 The natural environment ............................................................................................. 4 3.1.1 Geographic setting ............................................................................................ 4 3.1.2 Climate and water ............................................................................................. 4 3.1.3 Terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity .............................................................. 8 3.1.4 Inland aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity ....................................................... 9 3.1.5 Marine and coastal ecosystems ........................................................................ 10 3.2 The socio-economic environment ............................................................................... 10 3.2.1 Population and its distribution ......................................................................... 10 3.2.2 Economy ........................................................................................................ 12 3.2.3 Land use and tenure ........................................................................................ 13 3.2.4 Water use ....................................................................................................... 13 3.2.5 Agriculture and rangelands .............................................................................. 15 3.2.6 Biodiversity, forestry and wildlife conservation ................................................ 19 3.2.7 Fisheries and marine resources ........................................................................ 21 4. Threats to the Namibian environment ................................................................................. 24 4.1 Introduction and definitions ....................................................................................... 24 4.2 Depletion and degradation of water and aquatic resources .......................................... 24 4.3 Desertification and land degradation .......................................................................... 26 4.4 Loss of biodiversity and biotic resources .................................................................. 27
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iii 4.5 Decline of marine fisheries ........................................................................................ 28 5. Root causes of environmental threats .................................................................................. 31 5.1 Introduction .............................................................................................................. 31 5.2 Proximate causes of environmental threats ................................................................. 32 5.2.1 Overexploitation of water resources ................................................................. 32 5.2.2 Overgrazing and unsustainable range management ........................................... 32 5.2.3 Lack of protection for key ecosystems ............................................................. 33 5.2.4 Overexploitation of marine fish stocks ............................................................. 34 5.3 Ultimate root causes of environmental threats ............................................................ 34 5.3.1 Lack of secure and exclusive tenure ................................................................. 34 5.3.2 Lack of intersectoral co-ordination .................................................................. 35 5.3.3 Lack of capacity and human resources ............................................................. 36 5.3.4 Lack of knowledge for sustainable management for sustainable management .... 36 5.3.5 Limited international agreements ..................................................................... 37 5.3.6 Population growth ........................................................................................... 37 5.4 Links between root causes of environmental threats ...................................................... 38 6. Implications of environmental conditions and trends ........................................................... 40 6.1 Safeguarding the environmental underpinnings of broad-based economic growth ........ 40 6.1.1 Implications of depletion and degradation of water and aquatic resources ......... 40 6.1.2 Implications of desertification and land degradation ......................................... 41 6.1.3 Implications of loss of biodiversity and biotic resources .................................. 41 6.1.4 Implications of decline of marine fisheries ....................................................... 42 6.2 Protecting the integrity of critical ecosystems ............................................................. 42 6.2.1 Implications of depletion and degradation of water and aquatic resources ......... 43 6.2.2 Implications of desertification, loss of biodiversity and biotic resources ............ 43 6.2.3 Implications of decline of marine fisheries ....................................................... 43 6.3 Preventing or ameliorating environmental threats to public health ............................... 44 7. Needs in addressing the causes of environmental threats ............................................ 45 7.1 Introduction
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