Cultural ecosystem services of the Diep River corridor: community perceptions

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The purpose of the study was to examine the cultural ecosystem service and the community perceptions of the Diep River Corridor that connects the Table Mountain National Park, Little Princess Vlei, Zandvlei Estuary, and finally feeds to the sea of the Atlantic Ocean. Constructed interview questions were used to assess the cultural ecosystem activities occurring along the Diep River corridor. The intention of assessing the cultural ecosystem services was to examine the importance of the corridor for the local communities. The corridor was historically important for various activities such as water for human and livestock drinking purposes, agricultural activities, and irrigation of gardens and to a power water mill. The increased number of people relocating and using the Diep River corridor resulted in degradation and transformation of the river. The study thereof acknowledges people as the major cause of transformation of the Diep River corridor. Literature revealed a lot of studies that have been about water quality, vegetation cover and positions people as the cause of environmental crisis such as pollution. This study thereof saw the need to assess the perceptions of people towards their natural environment and see if this could be used to argue for the importance of this green amenity. Overall, the assessment of community members' perceptions regarding the importance of the river corridor as an available green space was a challenge as individuals had a number of different views. Cultural ecosystem services associated with the Diep River corridor are numerous and variably experienced and enjoyed by the different communities along the river corridor. The outcome of the study revealed different levels of importance and various uses of the corridor by individual and group participants. Important community activities included walking, relaxing, enjoying the peaceful environment, experiencing the beauty of nature, spending time alone or with loved ones, having picnics, sports and kayaking/ boating. The study recognizes that improved management of Diep River corridor for these recreational activities is important and efforts must be made to meet the diverse interest of local community members and residents. The findings will hopefully result in community needs being taken into increased consideration for future recreational management around the Diep River corridor.