SAAF Eco Pages
SAAF Environmental Services



The mission of the Department of Defence (DOD) is to ensure the sovereignty of the Republic of South Africa. A variety of resources are needed to perform this task such as personnel, funds, equipment, land and buildings. Land is required to accommodate its infrastructure, to test weaponry and to train personnel.

The DOD accepts that this land is a national asset that has been entrusted for military use. To ensure that the long-term potential of military land is maintained, it must be utilized in an environmentally responsible way.

Therefore the Environmental Services mission is to ensure the environmentally sustainable management of military activities and facilities and follows an approach of Military Integrated Environmental Management.

As a result of its integrated mission, Environmental Services has interfaces with numerous other military functions. Environmental Services itself comprises a number of interrelated functions.

Environmental Research
Environmental Planning
Ecological Management
Base Environmental Management
Cultural Resource Management
Environmental Education and Training



Environmental Research investigates the environmental impact of various military activities, as well as methods to minimize and manage these effects. From this information, scientific guidelines for environmental planning are developed.


Environmental Planning ensures that the planning and execution of military activities are carried out with due consideration of environmental factors and that any negative impact is minimized and is managed actively. Management Plans, which integrate military utilization and ecological management, are formulated for all properties.


Ecological Management involves all aspects of the management of the natural environment on DOD properties. This includes soil and water conservation and wildlife management.

Examples of the management techniques used are prevention and combating of soil erosion and invasive plants, control of problem animals (eg for Aviation Safety), veld burning programmes as well as the relocation or disposal of excess game. There are a number of rare habitats including plant and animal species on defence properties and these enjoy special protection.


Base Environmental Management is practiced in all base domestic areas. This includes the prevention and combat of environmental pollution, integrated waste management as well as beautification programmes.


Cultural Resource Management provides for the conservation of cultural resources, including archaeological finds, on DOD properties.


Environmental Education and Training aims at making all members of the Defence Force aware of their environmental responsibility. Environmental days, talks, film shows, outings and posters are some of the educational means used. Thousands of trees, mostly indigenous, are planted annually in National Arbor Week.

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