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The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency emerged from the amalgamation of the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency and Eastern Cape Tourism Board on 1 July 2010. The new Agency is still be registered as a Schedule 3c Public Entity in footings of the Public Finance Management Act ( PFMA ) and will go on to have a grant from the Provincial Government for its operational activities based on a five twelvemonth Strategic Plan, a three twelvemonth Annual Performance Plan and an Annual Operational Plan that is submitted to the Provincial Legislator through the Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs ( DEDEA ) . It does hence non hold investors but it will be able to pull investors in the signifier of public private partnerships and eco touristry chances.

The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency is committed to sustainability in natural resource use by the broader communities as long such use does non impact negatively on the ecosystems and future coevalss. The Agency has captured this position in its vision where biodiversity direction and touristry development underpin sustainable development in the Province. A cardinal strategic aim of ECPTA is to include stakeholders as active spouses in preservation and to pull off protected countries in a manner that contributes to the well being of neighboring communities and is besides a legal demand.

A support proposal to sustainably reap honey shrub tea on the Formosa Nature Reserve has been prepared, annexure 1 ; in order to be implemented, Agency will necessitate to find whether honey shrub tea is sustainable in the long term given the challenges of clime alteration and support. In order for honey shrub tea to be sustainably harvested on a protected country, the guidelines outlined in the natural resource policy demand to be adhered to and a finding must be made as to whether the honey shrub can in fact be sustainably harvested over a sustained period, how it is harvested and the effects that fire and harvest home has its natural addition.

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HONEY BUSH TEA: DEVLOPING A SUSTAINABLE OPPORTUNITY FOR LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Introduction

The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency ( ECPB ) and the Eastern Cape Tourism Board ( ECTB ) merged on 1 July 2010 to go the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency ( ECPTA ) that is still to be registered as a Schedule 3c Public Entity in footings of the Public Finance Management Act ( PFMA ) . The new Agency operates under the Eastern Cape Parkss and Tourism Act, 2 of 2010 and is now mandated to transport out biodiversity preservation across all provincial protected countries within the Eastern Cape every bit good as all touristry activities within the state. The new authorization will guarantee doggedness of all species, biomes, ecosystems and touristry within the Province whilst guaranting the fiscal sustainability of the establishment through improved ecotourism finish selling of the protected countries and state. This authorization is informed by International ( International Union for the Conservation of Nature ) ; National ( Bioregional scheme, National Biodiversity Action Plan ) and Provincial Biodiversity Conservation scheme, and is in line with National and Provincial legislative models for biodiversity preservation and touristry. The importance of alliance with provincial precedences, such as the Provincial Growth & A ; Development Plan ( PGDP ) can non be overemphasized. The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency is endeavoring to be a celebrated biodiversity preservation bureau and prides itself in its alone rich biodiversity and malaria free web of Provincial Parks with beautiful landscapes and beaches. The relevancy of the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency rests in its witting recognition of the dynamic and ambitious environment it operates in.

The cardinal public presentation indexs have been drawn from the Agencyal ends ; these ends have been reduced from nine to five from 2008 – 2010 in order to suit the revised strategic aims. The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism bureau has biodiversity and touristry as its nucleus concerns but it has besides topographic point important accent on its Peoples and Parks Programme. This programme is aimed at affecting communities that surround the assorted militias in the operations of the militias and strives to make benefits for the communities that will elate the communities and contribute to the economic development of the parts around the militias and to the Province as a whole ( 2004 – 2009 Strategic program ) .

The vision, mission and Agencyal values have besides been revised to suit the growing of the new bureau and to better specify its manner frontward with respect to biodiversity, touristry and people and Parkss. The Agency is non required to do a net income, nevertheless is has acknowledged that the one-year grant received is deficient to fund the Agencys activities and it has now embarked on a programme through the commercialization section to pull investors to the protected countries to pull off commercial developments such as upmarket Lodges and other activities every bit good as to look into eco touristry potency and sustainable harvest home of merchandises such as honey shrub tea.

The revised vision for the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency is: A Province where Biodiversity Conservation and Tourism Management underpin sustainable development whilst the Agency ‘s mission has changed to be the premier entity for pull offing biodiversity and touristry in the Eastern Cape ( ECPTA Draft strategic Plan 2011 – 2014 ) . The protected countries have the possible to function as rural economic engines, given appropriate investing. The potency of the Parks for both biodiversity preservation and touristry development is immense and there is a demand to unlock it. In position of this, Strategic Management Plans every bit good as an Ecotourism Plan were developed for each of the protected countries. Through the execution of these programs the potency of the Parkss will finally be realised ; in order to accomplish this there is a demand for engagement of the private sector, the natural resources users and other stakeholders ( ECPTA Draft strategic Plan 2011 – 2014 ) .

SUSTAINABILTY AND ECPTA

The ECPTA does non specify the construct of sustainability in its policy on natural resource usage within provincial protected country ; alternatively the policy defines sustainable usage as the continued derivation of benefit from a resource with minimum negative consequence on the ability of future coevalss to profit from the resource and the ecosystem in which it occurs ( Policy on Natural Resource Use in Provincial Protected Areas, 2008 ) . The policy besides defines “ Natural resources ” which refers to the goods derived by people from the environment and includes animate beings, workss, minerals and H2O. Natural resources can be renewable or non-renewable. One class of natural resources is autochthonal biological resources.

The most widely quoted definition on sustainable development as quoted in Weybrecht 2010 is “ development that meets the demands of the present without compromising the ability of future coevalss to run into their ain demands. It contains within it two cardinal constructs: the construct of demands, in peculiar the indispensable demands of the universe ‘s hapless, to which overifding precedence should be given ; and the thought of restrictions imposed by the province of engineering and societal Agency on the environment ‘s ability to run into present and future demands. ”

There is a clear correlativity between the recognized definition of sustainable development as quoted in Weybrecht 2010 and the ECPTA ‘s reading of sustainable usage as contained within its policy on natural resource use. The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency is committed to sustainability in natural resource use by the broader communities as long such use does non impact negatively on the ecosystems and future coevalss. The Agency has captured this position in its vision where biodiversity direction and touristry development underpin sustainable development in the Province.

In certain cases it may be possible to utilize resources within the protected countries without compromising the primary aim of preservation. Due to higher degrees of protection, these countries may incorporate resources that have been depleted elsewhere and which are in demand by local communities.

A cardinal strategic aim of ECPTA is to include stakeholders as active spouses in preservation and to pull off protected countries in a manner that contributes to the well being of neighboring communities and is besides a legal demand.

The National Environmental Management Protected Areas Act 107 of 1998 has stated that one of the aims of the act is “ to advance sustainable use of protected countries for the benefit of people, in a mode that would continue the ecological character of such countries ” .

The demands of local communities and other stakeholders are as many and varied as the local communities that surround the protected countries and clear policies and guidelines are hence needed in order to guarantee that any consumptive usage of natural resources from the militias is sustainable and just.

HONEY BUSH TEA

Honeybush tea grows in the Eastern Cape mountains and spreads down along the Langeberg and Swartberg mountains into the Western Cape along the seashore every bit far as Piketberg. It is estimated that there are about 30 000 hectares of cragged land, including the Tsitsikamma, Kouga, Baviaans, Langeberg and Swartberg mountain scopes, where wild honeybush grows periodically within the greater fynbos biome ( 8A 524A 000 hectares ) . The shrubs are usually found on the shady and ice chest southern inclines of the mountain ranges. Cyclopia is a really distinguishable genus of the folk Podalyrieae and is classified as a member of the Fabaceae household. More than 20 species have been identified. The workss have woody stems, a comparatively low ratio of foliages to stems and hard-shelled seeds that germinate ill if non scarified prior to sprouting. Leafs are trifoliolate and leaf-shape varies well, from pubescent, narrow-leafed to level. During the flowering period, the shrubs are easy recognised in the field as they are covered with typical, deep-yellow flowers which have a characteristic sweet honey aroma. Blooming normally occurs in spring, with the exclusion of one species that flowers during the winter. Cyclopia, endemic to the fynbos biome has, as the herbal tea, honeybush, strong cultural and historical roots in South Africa. It grows of course on farms, designated forestry countries and nature preservation land. The flowers, foliages and roots of Cyclopia had been used as a beginning of tea over a broad country of the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces during the old century ( Honey Bush Business Plan 2010 ) .

A support proposal to sustainably reap honey shrub tea on the Formosa Nature Reserve has been prepared, annexure 1 ; in order to be implemented, Agency will necessitate to find whether honey shrub tea is sustainable in the long term given the challenges of clime alteration and support. In order for honey shrub tea to be sustainably harvested on a protected country, the guidelines outlined in the natural resource policy demand to be adhered to and a finding must be made as to whether the honey shrub can in fact be sustainably harvested over a sustained period, how it is harvested and the effects that fire and harvest home has its natural addition.

It is of import that a long term undertaking be developed where the local communities benefit from the undertaking and take ownership of the undertaking. Long term harvest home will more than probably be damaging to the natural stocks of honey shrub and it hence of import that honey shrub tea be cultivated along the same lines as Rooibos tea is cultivated in the Northern and Western Cape where community ownership is of import in long term sustainability and local economic growing.

Harmonizing to the honey shrub concern program 2010, there are 230 hour angle of honey shrub under cultivation with most of the tea harvested from its natural home ground in mountains. During 2009, 150 dozenss of honey shrub were produced with an approximative value of R 8.3 Million for local markets and R 3.8 Million in exports.

SUSTAINABILITY RISK AND OPPORTUNITIES

Risk direction is a cyclical attack that must be repeated on a regular basis during the class of a undertaking or appraisal. Risk direction begins with an analysis of the hazards and with the assistance of hazard analysis, penetrations into the hazards within a undertaking or appraisal can be gained consistently and the steps used to near these hazards can be evaluated. The hazard procedure is non one off and hence hazards have to be monitored on a regular footing and controlled ( Van Well – Stam et Al, 2004 ) . This cyclical nature is shown in figure 1.

Fig 1: The cyclical nature of hazard direction

Hazard Analysis

Determine the aim

Identify the hazards

Determine the most of import hazards

Identify the control steps

Beginning: Van Well – Stam et Al, 2004

RISK MANAGEMENT

Perform hazard analysis ( RISMAN method )

Update hazard analysis

Evaluate control steps

Choose control method

Implement control steps

Beginning: Van Well – Stam et Al, 2004

Hazard is really a step of the sum of uncertainness that exists and it is straight tied to information. Hazard relates chiefly to the extent of the ability to foretell a peculiar result with certainty and is shown in figure 2.

Fig 2: Hazard relationship between information and uncertainness

No information Some information Complete information

Sum of Hazard

Entire uncertainness Relative uncertainness Total certainty

It is of import to recognize from the beginning that designation and word picture of hazards is an inherently subjective procedure that may be influenced by the personal beliefs, preparation and experience of the person who makes opinions about the hazards ( Bowden et al, 2001 ) . Risk direction is the systematic application of direction policies, procedures and processs to the undertakings of identifying, analyzing, measuring, handling and monitoring hazard. The purpose of the hazard direction procedure is to cut down exposure to the effects of hazard events to degrees that are considered acceptable to the concern ( Bowden et al, 2001 ) . Bowden et Al goes on to province that the hazard procedure allows hazard intervention actions to be selected on the footing of the nature of the hazard and its constituents, viz. likeliness and effect.

The most of import hazards that have been identified to the sustainable harvest home of honey shrub are the undermentioned:

Climate Change: will take to longer and hotter summers with reduced mean rainfall and increased incidents of storm events and the migration of species between biomes ;

Fire: thirster and hotter summers will take to an increased incidents of fires ( both natural and adult male made ) that will finally hold a negative consequence on biodiversity and ecosystems ;

Vegetation alterations: migration of species due to localized and regional climatic alterations ; alterations in biome boundaries and a possible addition in desertification due to hapless agrarian patterns.

SUSTAINABILITY AND TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE

Stuart Hart stated in Beyond Greening: Schemes for a Sustainable Word ( Harvard Business Review, Jan – Feb 1997, pp67 – 76 ) that “ the environmental revolution has been about three old ages in the devising and it has changed everlastingly how companies do concern. In the 1960 ‘s and 1970 ‘s, corporations were in a province of denial sing their impact on the environment ” . He farther stated that “ beyond greening lies an tremendous challenge and an tremendous chance. The challenge is to develop a sustainable planetary economic system ; an economic system that the planet is capable of back uping indefinitely. ”

The impression of the ternary underside line has taken the two bing constituents of bottom line coverage, economic and environmental and has added a societal constituent every bit good to acquire the ternary bottom line coverage. Social coverage has introduced a new value to the traditional coverage and in South Africa ; the JSE has recognised the importance of this by presenting the Social Responsibility Index ( SRI ) where companies are evaluated harmonizing to their societal duties. The King Report on Corporate Governance of South Africa 2001 ( “ King II ” ) recommended that a company should describe on certain non – fiscal issues. This is the so called “ ternary underside line ” of a company, viz. the sustainability of a company that has adopted a balanced and incorporate economic, societal and environmental public presentation. ( A Company ‘s Duty to Report on “ Non – Fiscal Matters ” ; JCE/HUT 3419.DOC/COM-GEN/113997, 20010829a ) .

There are three theoretical accounts of sustainability: the three legged stool theoretical accounts, weak sustainability and strong sustainability. The three legged stool theoretical account is where all three elements of the ternary bottom line combine and convergence, where this happens is sustainability ; this does non happen in world. The weak sustainability theoretical account is where the economic system is strong with society and the environment being smaller standards ; strong sustainability on the other manus is where the environment is strong with society playing a bigger function and economic system being the last standard. A new theoretical account of sustainable development has been developed and is every bit follows and is based on existent activities that are required in order to make sustainable development.

Maximise economic public assistance

Non worsening degrees of public assistance or of public-service corporation in each consecutive period

Maintain critical thresholds of ecological capital by each major constituent

Sustainable Development

Maintain resiliency of the ecological, societal and economic systems

Beginning: Rao ( 2000 ) in talk notes, twenty-four hours 1

METHODOLGY TO ASSESS “ TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE ”

In finding the methodological analysis to asses the “ ternary underside line ” , the JSE SRI Index, 2004, has been utilised. The four standards that the JSI SRI index utilizations have been used for this appraisal, viz. :

Environmental sustainability patterns,

Economic sustainability patterns,

Social sustainability patterns,

Corporate administration patterns.

The undermentioned premises are made: the hiting method will be figure based, with nothing ( 0 ) being the lowest with nil in topographic point to mensurate acceptance or execution and three ( 3 ) transcending the aims of acceptance or execution. The standard for appraisal will be set out in table format and tonss will be attributed to each of the four standards as stated. The appraisal will be carried out on the operations section of the Eastern Cape Parks Board ; this will include all operations of the Protected Areas every bit good as policies and processs. The choice standards and drivers as determined by the JSE SRI index for each of the four standards will be used in the appraisal.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESMENT

Policy CRITERIA

Evaluation

Demonstrated committedness to put aims & A ; marks for the direction of the company ‘s direct environmental impacts

2

Demonstrated committedness to cut down or understate negative impacts of merchandises & A ; services

1

Demonstrated committedness to the usage of direction systems & A ; marks which include resource efficiency marks, enterprises or programmes which are appropriate to the company ‘s size, concern and geographic spread of operations

2

Demonstrated committedness to identifying, measuring & A ; cut downing the environmental impact of:

Direct engagement in undertakings

Activities performed by contractors

Use of merchandises & A ; services

1

Demonstrated committedness to supervise natural resource use & A ; development of indexs to asses advancement against recognised criterions

0

Committedness to advance advanced research, developing & A ; engineering cooperation in hunt for environmentally friendly solutions for company ‘s environmental impact

1

MANAGEMENT & A ; PERFORMANCE CRITERIA

Evaluation

Demonstrated elevation of internal consciousness of company ‘s important direct & A ; indirect impacts

1

Documented direction systems which include marks, enterprises or programmes appropriate to the companies size, concern & A ; geographic spread of operations to turn to & amp ; proctor direct impacts

1

Internal coverage processes & A ; structures & A ; direction reappraisal in topographic point to supervise public presentation in relation to direct impacts

1

Evidence of hazard appraisal in relation to important indirect environmental impacts ensuing from:

Direct engagement in undertakings

Activities of contractors

Uses of merchandises & A ; services

1

Evidence of accomplishment of marks or continual betterment or steps to travel towards this procedure

1

Processes & A ; constructions in topographic point for internal auditing of environmental patterns, including remedial action to reexamine & amp ; implement consequences / findings

0

Remedial action in topographic point to reexamine & amp ; implement findings of hazard appraisal in relation to indirect impacts

1

Evidence of monitoring & A ; public presentation in relation to indirect impacts

1

Coverage & A ; CONSULTATION CRITERIA

Evaluation

Regular, clear & A ; comprehensive revelation of major environmental aims relevant to the company including of public presentation against environmental marks

1

Public revelation of quantitative, comparable informations on major environmental issues relevant to the company

1

Independent confirmation by appropriately qualified individuals

0

Stakeholder battle

2

ECONOMIC ASSESSMENT

Policy CRITERIA

Evaluation

Demonstrated committedness to the usage of sensible concern marks, cardinal public presentation indexs or scorecards, appropriate to the company ‘s size, concern and geographic spread of operations

2

Evidence of an apprehension of strategic hazards & A ; chances associating to the medium & A ; long term

1

Evidence of attempts to look into the economic impact the company ‘s activities may hold on entities or individuals within the company ‘s domain of influence or where it operates

1

Evidence of aims set in relation to research & A ; merchandise development appropriate to the company ‘s size, concern & A ; geographic spread of operations

0

Demonstrated committedness to the protection and rating of company assets & A ; rational belongings

2

MANAGEMENT & A ; PERFORMANCE CRITERIA

Evaluation

Documented marks, enterprises, programmes or direction systems to turn to strategic hazards & A ; chances in the medium & A ; long term

1

Internal coverage processes & A ; structures & A ; direction reappraisal in topographic point to supervise public presentation against marks

2

Documented marks, enterprises, programmes or direction systems in relation to research & A ; merchandise development

1

Evidence of enterprises, programmes or direction systems associating to the rating & A ; protection of assets ( including IT ) & A ; rational belongings

2

Evidence of the apprehension of the economic benefits of company activities on individuals or entities where the company operates

1

Risk & A ; crisis direction in topographic point

1

Measurement of part to fiscal public presentation by new countries of concern identified as agencies of turn toing cardinal hazards

1

Coverage & A ; CONSULTATION CRITERIA

Evaluation

Regular, clear & A ; comprehensive revelation of major economic sustainability issues relevant to the company including of public presentation against economic marks

2

Public revelation of quantitative, comparable informations on major economic sustainability issues relevant to the company

1

Stakeholder battle

2

SOCIAL ASSESSMENT

Policy CRITERIA

Evaluation

Demonstrated committedness to put aims associating to employee upliftment & A ; accomplishments development

2

Demonstrated committedness to put aims associating to equal chances, non favoritism & A ; authorization such as BEE & A ; affirmatory procurance

2

Demonstrated nucleus set of company principals to turn to basic labor criterions, human rights, disciplinary policies, corporate societal duty

2

Demonstrated committedness to stakeholder engagement on societal sustainability issues

2

Demonstrated aims associating to employee occupational wellness & A ; safety, including HIV / AIDS

2

Demonstrated committedness to the patterns recognizing the importance of partnerships of corporate societal duty schemes

1

Demonstrated committedness to the execution of corporate societal duty schemes which are aligned to the company ‘s overall concern scheme & A ; which reflects an on-going committedness from the company

2

MANAGEMENT & A ; PERFORMANCE CRITERIA

Evaluation

Documented enterprises to turn to employee OHS including the impact of HIV / AIDS on the company ‘s activities

1

Documented marks, enterprises or programmes to turn to equal chances, non favoritism & A ; authorization such as BEE & A ; affirmatory procurance & A ; accomplishments development appropriate to the company ‘s size, concern & A ; geographic spread of operations

2

Documented marks, enterprises or programmes associating to corporate societal investing, capacity edifice, local procurance programmes & A ; occupation creative activity chances appropriate to the company ‘s size, concern & A ; geographic spread of operations

1

Evidence of hazard appraisal in relation to societal impact of:

Direct engagement in undertakings

Activities of contractors

Uses of merchandises & A ; services

1

Procedures in topographic point fro stakeholder battle & A ; feedback

2

Procedures in topographic point to accomplish declaration of disciplinary or grudge issues attesting a clear ability to cover with dishonesty, corruptness or unethical behavior by employees or people with whom the company does concern

2

Accomplishment of marks associating to BEE, employment equity, procurance & A ; accomplishments development

2

Active community dealingss

2

Coverage & A ; CONSULTATION CRITERIA

Evaluation

Public revelation of quantitative, comparable informations on major societal sustainability relevant to the company

2

Stakeholder battle

2

Performance against marks reported on

1

Analysis OF ASSESSMENT

The appraisal of the three pillars of the “ ternary underside line ” has shown the followers:

Environmental appraisal: the Eastern Cape Parks Board has as its authorization biodiversity direction, yet the environmental appraisal shows that the evaluation as used has produced a sum of 18 out of a possible 54 giving the administration a evaluation of 33,33 % . For an administration that has the environment as its nucleus concern, this mark is hapless and would bespeak that the administration needs to look at the countries where the evaluation was zero or one and better its monitoring and accomplishment of marks.

Economic appraisal: the Eastern Cape Parks Board has a demand to gain income from its activities, its grant from the Provincial Government is unequal to run into its operational demands and it hence needs to bring forth extra income from activities in order to run into its demands. The appraisal of the economic underside line has realised a mark of 20 out of a possible 45 giving the administration a evaluation of 44, 44 % .

Social appraisal: the Eastern Cape Parks Board has a demonstrated policy and process in topographic point to turn to the societal issues through its Peoples and Parks Programme. This programme is aimed at affecting local communities in the operations of the protected countries and for communities to deduce an economic benefit from the protected countries. On this appraisal, the administration has scored 31 out of a possible 54 giving it a 57, 4 % evaluation which is the best evaluation of the three pillars.

The overall evaluation for the Eastern Cape Parks Board is hence 45 % which indicated that there is still work to be done in accomplishing the principals and authorization that the administration has to describe on.

Decision

The Agency has a figure of challenges to get the better of in order to run into the demands of a sustainable administration. The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency is reliant on a grant that is provided by the Provincial Government through the Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs and is based on a five twelvemonth strategic program and operational program. The support that is received has proven to be unequal for the Agency to run into its stated aims and authorization. The protected countries are underfunded and a bequest of hapless substructure has been inherited from the old sections. This has placed major strains on the Eastern Cape Parks to supply the needed fiscal committednesss to run into the biodiversity and people and Parkss mandate.

One major challenge that must be met is the C emanations and C footmark that the Agency has. This is get downing to be addressed through a rehabilitation undertaking that is presently being carried out in one of the protected countries where there has been a debasement of the brush biome. There is great involvement in come ining the C market and to this terminal ; a contract is in bill of exchange signifier to supply C credits to an abroad Agency through the planting of Portulacaria Afra which has proven C segregation abilities. Further options are being explored to come in the formal C market through the Clean Development Mechanism ( CDM ) .

The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency needs to research the issues of the C market farther ; this will beef up the environmental pillar of the “ ternary underside line ” and will supply the Agency with much needed gross in the medium to long term through countervailing C to developed states. A 2nd issue to be explored is the inquiry of eco system services payments – the terminal user wages for the attempts of conserving the natural systems that provide clean H2O to individuals downstream. Payment for ecosystem services will besides beef up the Agencies resource base and must be developed over the short to medium term as this has long term benefits to the Agency. These two enterprises will non merely better the environmental pillar but besides the societal and economic pillars of the Agency and will therefore better the overall resiliency of the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency and Tourism Agency.

Hazard appraisals have been conducted in the protected countries and the 20 top hazards to the administration have been identified. A revised concern scheme has been developed and implemented by the administration and its mission, vision and values have besides been revised to run into the challenges of the administration. Sustainable development is paramount to the administration and must be achieved without compromising the administrations authorization of biodiversity. The precautional principal should be applied to all procedures that the administration undertakes to guarantee that as an administration the right determination are made to forestall a loss of biodiversity and ecological systems.