, Volume 61, Issue 2, pp 173–181 | Cite as

Forestry as a streamflow reduction activity in South Africa: Discussion and evaluation of the proposed procedure for the assessment of afforestation permit applications in terms of water sustainability

  • I. J. Van der Walt
  • A. Struwig
  • J. R. J van Rensburg


Commercial afforestation in South Africa dates back to the 1870s and started as an alternative to the fast disappearing indigenous timber resource. It involves the planting of exotic timber species and has impacts on water resources, soil biodiversity, landscapes, etc. Commercial afforestation of land has been subjected to regulation through the Afforestation Permit System (APS) since 1972, primarily to protect the national water resource. Since the APS no longer adequately dealt with afforestation regulation, it was replaced in 1999 with a procedure that was supposed to integrate the requirements of relevant legislation and general environmental management principles. This paper is a theoretical review of the background and development of the new South African Streamflow Reduction Activities licensing procedure, as well as whether it complies with the requirements of an environmental management system such as ISO 14001. The main conclusion is that the new procedure, although an improvement on the previous procedure, still has shortcomings especially with regard to the operational and decommissioning phases of forestry in South Africa. It is recommended that these aspects be addressed in order to mitigate the impact of forestry on water sustainability in South Africa.

ISO 14001 stream-flow reduction activities water use licenses water management forestry 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. J. Van der Walt
    • 1
  • A. Struwig
    • 1
  • J. R. J van Rensburg
    • 1
  1. 1.Geography and Environmental ManagementNorth West UniversitySouth Africa (

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