The Saldanha-Langebaan coastal zone forms an integral part of the South African coastal resource base. As elsewhere in the world, an acute need exists to balance development and economic growth and conservation in the coastal zone as an exploitable resource frontier area. Vegetated buffers and greenways are conservation concepts that have been used with great success in such conservation efforts. They are applied in the study area through the use of a Geographic Information System (GIS) as spatial decision-support system to legitimize the demarcation of a vegetated buffer zone. The method of multi-criteria evaluation, as applied here, incorporates public decision-making in constructing an objective model for buffer zone demarcation. Representatives from interested and affected parties participated in model construction and calibration, resulting in the spatial delimitation of a multi-functional vegetated buffer. It conforms to a range of functional criteria and can serve as an environmental element in coastal conservation planning frameworks.
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Vol. 30 • No. 2