Photo Credit: Roy Johannesson, Courtesy South African Tourism

The concept of “Thresholds of Potential Concern” (TPCs) was developed at Kruger National Park as part of their effort to integrate science and management. TPCs are a set of operational goals that together define the spatial and temporal variation in ecological conditions for which an ecosystem is managed. TPC’s thus represent the upper and lower limits along a continuum of change in selected environmental indicators. Taken together, TPC’s define the envelope of desired conditions within which ecosystem may vary. When the upper or lower thresholds are reached, or when it is predicted that they will soon be reached, an assessment of the cause is implemented. This assessment provides the basis for determining whether management action is warranted and/or whether the TPCs should be recalibrated in the light of new knowledge and/or understanding. TPC’s can be considered as hypotheses about the limits of acceptable change in ecosystem structure, function and composition.