Figure 12. The species richness map for endemic plant

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Figure 12. The species richness map for endemic plant Powered By Docstoc
					ESKOM TRANSMISSION
PROPOSED GAMMA-GRASSRIDGE POWER LINE




Figure 12. The species richness map for endemic plant species (Fig. 6 in Rouget et al., 2004). White
           blocks have low species richness and dark green blocks high species richness. Line indicates
           approximate corridor locality.




Figure 13. The species richness map for threatened plant species (Fig. 6 in Rouget et al., 2004). White
           blocks have no threatened plant species and dark blocks high numbers of threatened plant
           species. Line indicates approximate corridor locality.
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•   Data deficient (uncertain) species possibly fall in one of the above categories, but this is uncertain
    because of lack of information. Data Deficient is therefore not a category of threat but threatened
    status may well be justified.

The threatened species recorded or expected to occur in the Vegetation Types of the study site are listed
in Appendix 1 and the numbers summarised in Table 4. Sundays Thicket and Coega Bontveld have the
highest number of threatened species although this may be due to the higher level of confidence in the
completeness of the species list.

In order to use a more finely evaluated threatened plant score, the species richness for threatened plant
species for the corridor vegetation is taken from Rouget et al. (2004; Figure 13) and interpreted on a
scale of 0 to 3 where 0 is no threatened species recorded and 3 represents an area rich in threatened
species.


Table 4. The proportion (%) of South African and provincial endemics and protected species recorded
         during this study or expected to occur (Mucina and Rutherford, 2006) in the Vegetation Types
         of the Eskom Transmission Gamma-Grassridge power line corridor. The number of rare
         species is also given for each vegetation type.
Vegetation Type                                      Rouget et al.    Rouget et al.
                      South African    Provincial                                      Protected      Rare
                                                        (2004)            (2004)
                       Endemics        Endemics                                         Species      species
                                                      endemism         threatened
                          (%)             (%)                                             (%)          (n)
                                                         rank           plant rank
Albany Alluvial
                           26              6              4                1              25            2
Vegetation
Camdebo
Escarpment                 28              8              2                1              19            0
Thicket
Coega Bontveld             39              14             3                1              23            0
Eastern Lower
                           19              14             1                0              36            1
Karoo
Eastern Upper
                           26              2              1                0              16            2
Karoo
Gamka Karoo                21               4             1                0              22            1
Groot Thicket              26              18             3                2              23            5
Lower Karoo
                           24              14             1                1              33            2
Gwarrieveld
Southern Karoo
                           26              9              2                1              25            3
Riviere
Steytlerville Karoo        19              18             3                3              31            0
Sundays
                           27              11             3                1              20            2
Noorsveld
Sundays Thicket            33              20             3                2              28            3
Upper Karoo
                           20              13             1                1              18            5
Hardeveld
Willowmore
                           26              8              3                2              18            0
Gwarrieveld


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7.3 Rare species

Rare species have small world populations, but are not at present Threatened. They are, however, at risk
because some unexpected threat could easily cause a critical decline. They may be area restricted
(populations cover a small geographic area) or sparsely distributed (individuals widely spread over a large
geographic area). Groot Thicket and Upper Karoo Hardeveld had the highest number of rare species
(Appendix 1, Table 4). It is however, clear from these numbers that it is not possible to assess rarity
accurately over such a large study area and in the short period of time allowed for investigation. Rare
species were therefore taken from the SANBI database and applied as exclusion areas rather than as
part of conservation value assessment (see section 8). It will be important to screen site specific
development footprints for rare species once the exact location of the roads and infrastructure are known.

7.4 Protected species

Protected species are species recognised by law as worthy of conservation. While Red Data list species
are protected, additional protected species are also considered to be worthy of protection because of
economic, aesthetic or historical value. All Vegetation Types had similar proportions of protected species
(Appendix 1, Table 4) with values ranging from 16% for the Eastern Upper Karoo to 36% for Eastern
Lower Karoo. However, these values represent, for the most part, protection of plant families. More
specifically, the high proportions of protected species in the Karoo represent the Mesembryanthemaceae,
all of which are protected. Most Mesembryanthemaceae are common in the vegetation and using them to
determine conservation value of the Vegetation Type is not considered appropriate. It will be important to
screen site specific development footprints for protected species once the exact location of the roads and
infrastructure are known.

7.5 Exotic Species

Exotic species are Species of Special Concern that have a negative effect on the vegetation. While exotic
species, in general, do not reduce the conservation value of vegetation, the presence of weeds and
invasive places the vegetation under threat. These species out compete the indigenous species and
reduce indigenous biodiversity. Those exotics that pose such a threat are referred to as Problem
Species. They are defined as weeds, invaders and encroachers in the Conservation of Agricultural
Resources Act 43 of 1983 and Amendments in R280 of 2001.
•   Declared weeds (Act Table 3, Category I). These may not occur on any land or in any inland water.
    They may not be sold or exchanged and no dispersal of seed or other propagules is allowed.
•   Declared invaders (Act Table 3, Category II). These may only be grown for commercial purposes or
    for beneficial functions (woodlots, fire belts, building material, animal fodder and soil stabilization)
    under permit. The landowner must be able to demonstrate that the invader plants will remain confined
    to the cultivation area. No permits are issued adjacent to streams and rivers in terms of section 36 of
    the National Water Act 36 of 1998. Landowners are required to take steps to control the species in all
    areas other than those for which permits are issued.
•   Ornamental invaders (Act Table 3, Category III). Where existing, they may be retained, but no new
    plantings, no trade or propagation of these plants is permitted.
•   Bush Encroachers (Act Table 4). These may not be planted and efforts must be made to control
    densification.



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The vegetation of the study site had low levels of infestation of invasive exotic species for the Karoo
component. Only 18 exotic species were recorded in the survey (Appendix 1) with six of these listed as
Declared Weeds and another one Declared Invader. These seven species must be removed from the
land according to the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act 43 of 1983 and Amendments in R280 of
2001: Declared Weeds (Noxious Weeds) found were


•   Argemone ochroleuca Sweet; Nicotiana glauca Graham; and Xanthium spinosum L. in disturbed
    areas of both the Karoo and Thicket. Acacia cyclops A.Cunn. ex G.Don (rooikrans) was found in
    disturbed areas south of the escarpment. These species are likely to cause problems along
    constructed roads and where vegetation is cleared. Other species that invade areas of disturbance
    will also enter. Control of these disturbance species will have to be implemented and continue for the
    lifetime of the project.
•   Solanum elaeagnifolium Cav. is a weed of the Karoo. It was recorded in low abundance in natural
    vegetation. It becomes invasive and noxious under cultivation. It is unlikely to be advantaged by any
    actions associated with the construction of the Transmission Lines.
•   Opuntia aurantiaca Lindl. (jointed cactus) mostly in the Noorsveld, where it was recorded in high
    abundance. Control of this species is expensive, time consuming and has low success. The only
    control is by spot spraying of MSMA (monosodium methane arsonate), followed by repeated
    retreatment as the basal cladode is often below-ground and does not die if the aerial portions are
    sprayed. The cladodes are dispersed by small mammals and livestock as they easily dislodge from
    the plant and attach to animal fur.
•   Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill. (prickly-pear) is the most abundant exotic invader of the study area. It
    occurs in high abundance in Thicket Vegetation Types south of the escarpment. Biological control of
    prickly pear has not delivered the reduction in abundance hoped for, but has contributed in a limited
    way. Prickly-pear will increase in areas of disturbance and control of this species will have to be
    implemented and continue for the lifetime of the project.

8. Key ecological processes
National-scale key ecological processes have been identified by Rouget et al. (2004). These are
presented below with the rationale for their use in determining conservation value (section 10).

8.1 Water yield
Water is a key limiting resource in South Africa, in terms of economic growth and meeting basic human
needs (Rouget et al., 2004). The conservation of water catchments in a good ecological state (i.e. with
natural vegetation) is crucial to the future of the country. The key areas of high water yield are given by
Rouget et al. (2004; Fig. 14).

These are no key water yielding areas along the proposed Gamma-Grassridge Transmission corridors.

8.2 Biogeographical nodes
Areas where several ecosystems occur in close proximity are usually associated with speciation (Rouget
et al., 2004). Loosely applied, these are surrogates for centres of endemism.

The proposed Gamma-Grassridge Transmission corridor passes through three biogeographical nodes of
moderate importance (Fig. 14). The applicable Vegetation Types are given a score of 1 for this feature in
the composite conservation value.


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Figure 14. Spatial components of national-scale ecological processes; (a) high water yield areas, (b)
           biogeographical nodes, (c) carbon sequestration areas, (d) areas of Biome resilience to
           climate change (Rouget et al., 2004). White areas indicate low value and dark colours
           indicate high value. Line indicates approximate corridor locality.

8.3 Carbon sequestration areas
Carbon sequestration is a vital ecological process. It ensures proper nutrient cycling in the atmosphere
and soils and enriches organic matter. It is also one of the few ways of mitigating the impacts of global
change. South Africa appears to be a country that will experience major climate change and it is
important to conserve major carbon sinks. Rouget et al. (2004) classified vegetation types into three
categories according to their ability to sequester carbon: low to none (scores 1); medium (scores 2); and
high (scores 3). These are presented in Figure 14 and converted to scores in the conservation value
assessment (section 10).

8.4 Resilience to climate change
Climate change scenarios predict major changes in Biome distribution in South Africa (Midgley et al.,
2001). Rouget et al. (2004) have identified areas where predicted future climatic conditions will remain
similar to overall current climatic conditions within each Biome. In these areas, it is assumed that
conservation would preserve existing biodiversity despite climate change. These key areas have been
identified for each Biome (Fig. 14).


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The proposed Gamma-Grassridge Transmission corridor, for the most part, occurs in a gap between
these conservation-value resilience areas (Fig. 14).

9. Transformation
Transformation of most of the Vegetation types (not Fynbos) in the Gamma-Grassridge Transmission
corridor is caused by overstocking livestock. The impacts of over-herbivory are different for the Karroid
flora compared that of Thicket flora.

9.1 Karoo
Both domestic browsers and grazers have been introduced to Karoo vegetation. Because grasses are
infrequent and their biomass is low, the impacts on grass cover are generally most severe. Because of
this, the proportion of grass cover is generally an indicator of Karoo condition. However, the extent to
which grasses should occur in pristine Nama-Karoo vegetation is a topic of debate (summarized in Milton
and Hoffman, 1994). There are no completely pristine areas remaining in the Karoo and the natural state
is unknown.

The Nama-Karoo has not attracted the same level of ecological or taxonomic interest as the other South
African Biomes (Palmer and Hoffman, 1997). Despite substantial agricultural research (little published in
the primary literature) and the efforts of the Foundation for Research and Development Biome-scale
Nama-Karoo project, the functioning of Nama-Karoo remains poorly understood.

Because the grass cover cannot be used as an estimate of vegetation condition, four criteria were used in
this study to assess extent of transformation: firstly grass cover was used and in addition, the degree of
trampling, extent of visible browse/graze scars on the plants and lastly, the extent of faecal deposition.
Milton and Hoffman (1994) propose six states and list nine causes of transition between them.

The states are:
   1. Co-dominance of shrubs, perennial and short-lived grasses.
   2. Perennial grasses in a matrix of shrubs.
   3. Shrubs dominate, perennial grasses in protected sites.
   4. Unpalatable shrubs dominate, perennial grasses rare.
   5. Little perennial cover, soil eroded.
   6. Planted pastures of saltbush (Atriplex spp.) or prickly pear (Opuntia spp.).

Changes in the states occur due to:
   1. Above-average summer rainfall, light grazing.
   2. Summer drought, rotational grazing at recommended stocking rates.
   3. Above-average winter rainfall, summer drought, summer grazing at recommended stocking rates.
   4. Winter drought, rotational grazing at recommended stocking rates.
   5. Rotational grazing at recommended stocking rates, rests at seed set and after key rainfall events.
   6. Continuous selective grazing at recommended stocking rates.
   7. Soil reclamation and reseeding.
   8. Continuous selective overgrazing, drought.
   9. Cultivation and irrigation

Most of the Karoo portion of the Gamma-Grassridge Transmission corridor is in a moderate state of
degradation (Fig. 15) according to these states (State 3) and using the criteria listed above. Cover
abundance of grasses is, for the most part, below 1% while it should range from 3 to 11% (Palmer and
Hoffman, 1997). For the vegetation to improve (move from State 3 to State 1) would require continuous

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selective grazing at recommended stocking rates and no more severe than winter drought (transition 4).
By contrast, transitions 6 (continuous selective grazing) and 8 (continuous selective overgrazing)
exacerbated by drought would cause the vegetation to degrade to State 4 or 5.



                                                    [
                                                    !




            !
            [    Gamma Sub-station

                 Corridor (6 km wide)
                 Study area
           Transformation levels
                 Severely Transformed

                 Moderately Transformed
                 Pristine
           Vegetation Types
                 EASTERN UPPER KAROO
                 UPPER KAROO HARDEVELD
                 EASTERN LOWER KAROO

                 GAMKA KAROO
                 LOWER KAROO GWARRIEVELD
                 Albany Broken Veld
                 STEYTLERVILLE KAROO
                 WILLOWMORE GWARRIEVELD
                 Algoa Sandstone Fynbos
                 KOUGA GRASSY SANDSTONE FYNBOS
                 GROOTRIVIER QUARTZITE FYNBOS
                 SUURBERG QUARTZITE FYNBOS
                 SUURBERG SHALE FYNBOS
                 Humansdorp Shale Renosterveld

                 Kouga Sandstone Fynbos




                                                        ±
                 Loerie Conglomerate Fynbos
                 Bedford Dry Grassland
                 Karoo Escarpment Grassland
                 CAMDEBO ESCARPMENT THICKET
                 GROOT THICKET
                 SUNDAYS THICKET
                 SUNDAYS NOORSVELD
                                                    0   10   20   40 km
                 COEGA BONTVELD
                 Albany Coastal Belt
                 Eastern Cape Escarpment Thicket

                 Gamtoos Thicket
                 Great Fish Thicket
                 Kowie Thicket
                 Southern Afrotemperate Forest
                 Southern Coastal Forest
                 Southern Mistbelt Forest
                 ALBANY ALLUVIAL VEGETATION
                 SOUTHERN KAROO RIVIERE
                 Cape Estuarine Salt Marshes
                 Cape Lowland Freshwater Wetlands
                 Cape Seashore Vegetation
                 Algoa Dune Strandveld




Figure 15. The transformation levels of the Nama-Karoo Vegetation Types (Mucina et al., 2005)
           intercepted by the alternative corridors for the Eskom Transmission Gamma-Grassridge
           power line. Vegetation Types that fall in the corridors are listed in UPPER CASE.
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9.2 Thicket

Thicket does not have sufficient grass cover to support grazers and so transformation of Thicket is mostly
due to browsing by goats in particular. An indicator of Thicket condition is the physiognomy (canopy
structure). Thicket must have an intact upper canopy and, arguably more importantly, a significant lower
canopy.

The STEP thicket transformation layer was used (Vlok and Euston-Brown, 2002). This mapping was done
at extremely fine scale, making the information useful in detail. Most of the Thicket in the northern
portions of the corridor is severely degraded (Fig. 16). Most of the pristine thicket occurs in the south
while the moderately degraded thicket occurs in the central-western portion of the corridor.

Studies have shown that Subtropical Transitional Thicket regenerates very poorly if at all. Areas where
the canopy is thinned become karroid grassveld inland or grassy Fynbos at the coast. Until recently it was
thought that there was little or no regeneration occurs through seedlings. Early work showed that almost
all species produce ramets and few produce genets (Midgley, 1991). It was thought that species such as
Portulacaria afra, Sideroxylon inerme L., Euclea undulata produced no seedlings. Because most species
can sprout, the incidence of death of an individual is also very rare. This means gaps in the canopy are
rapidly taken by sprouts. Regeneration by seedlings appears to only take place in under the canopy of
"nurse-plants". Under goat browsing, such “nurse-plants” are destroyed. Seedlings, ramets and the lower
canopy are removed altogether. It is possible that Thicket will regenerate but, if so, it will take an
exorbitantly long time. In the absence of any conclusive evidence of Thicket regeneration from a
degraded state, the precautionary principle leads us to assume that regeneration is not an acceptable
management option for Thicket Vegetation Types.

10. Conservation Value

Conservation value is based primarily on how much intact vegetation of the specific Vegetation Type is
still available for achieving conservation targets (Mucina and Rutherford, 2006). Components of the
Conservation Value, with their rationale for inclusion are briefly listed below.
•   Total area of the vegetation type: Large areas of vegetation present many alternatives for
    conservation while small areas provide limited options for conservation.
•   Target Protection Level: Species-area curves for different Vegetation Types give the minimum area
    required for all the species of the Vegetation Type to be conserved.
•   Protection Level: The area of each Vegetation Type that is formally conserved gives an indication of
    how far we are from the target levels. Ideally these values should equal or exceed the target values.
    The values exclude private reserves and these may contribute significantly to conservation targets,
    however, there are no benchmarks for determining the level of conservation in private reserves.
    Protection level represents the area formally protected and excludes privately owned protected areas
    as their protection levels are unknown and their protection status not protected by law.




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                 Corridor (6 km wide)
                 Study area
           Transformation Levels
                 Severely degraded

                 Moderately degraded
                 Pristine
           Vegetation Types
                 EASTERN UPPER KAROO
                 UPPER KAROO HARDEVELD
                 EASTERN LOWER KAROO

                 GAMKA KAROO
                 LOWER KAROO GWARRIEVELD
                 Albany Broken Veld
                 STEYTLERVILLE KAROO
                 WILLOWMORE GWARRIEVELD
                 Algoa Sandstone Fynbos
                 KOUGA GRASSY SANDSTONE FYNBOS
                 GROOTRIVIER QUARTZITE FYNBOS
                 SUURBERG QUARTZITE FYNBOS
                 SUURBERG SHALE FYNBOS
                 Humansdorp Shale Renosterveld

                 Kouga Sandstone Fynbos




                                                                              ±
                 Loerie Conglomerate Fynbos
                 Bedford Dry Grassland
                 Karoo Escarpment Grassland
                 CAMDEBO ESCARPMENT THICKET
                 GROOT THICKET
                 SUNDAYS THICKET
                 SUNDAYS NOORSVELD
                                                               0    10   20         40 km
                 COEGA BONTVELD
                 Albany Coastal Belt
                 Eastern Cape Escarpment Thicket

                 Gamtoos Thicket
                 Great Fish Thicket
                 Kowie Thicket
                 Southern Afrotemperate Forest
                 Southern Coastal Forest
                 Southern Mistbelt Forest
                 ALBANY ALLUVIAL VEGETATION
                 SOUTHERN KAROO RIVIERE
                 Cape Estuarine Salt Marshes
                 Cape Lowland Freshwater Wetlands
                 Cape Seashore Vegetation
                 Algoa Dune Strandveld




Figure 16. The transformation levels of the Thicket Vegetation Types (Mucina et al., 2005) intercepted
           by the alternative corridors for the Eskom Transmission Gamma-Grassridge power line.
           Vegetation Types that fall in the corridors are listed in UPPER CASE.




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•   Natural Areas Remaining: The area of each vegetation type that remains in an untransformed state
    presents a possibility of contributing to the conservation targets. The smaller this area, the more
    important each patch of untransformed vegetation is to meet the conservation targets required for
    maintenance of biodiversity (Cowling and Heijnis 2001). Natural area remaining includes all non-
    transformed land, irrespective of land ownership.

The Conservation Value of each Vegetation Type found in the Eskom Transmission power line corridors
is presented in Table 5 together with the values of each component.

The Nama Karoo Vegetation Types ranked low for Conservation Value (scores of less than 3 - green
blocks in Table 5).

The Fynbos Types ranked low, moderate or high (low had scores of less than 3 - green blocks in Table 5;
moderate had scores of between 3 and 6 - orange blocks in Table 5; high was taken to be scores 6 or
more - red blocks in Table 5) although those with high Conservation Value are protected at levels higher
than that required by the National Spatial Biodiversity Assessment (Table 5).

The Thicket Types ranked moderate or high as did the Succulent Karoo(Table 5).


11. Exclusion Areas

Exclusion areas were determined by using the following procedure:


•   The first step was to protect Species of Special Concern. This was done by combining all localities
    of Species of Special Concern (Critically Endangered; Endangered; Vulnerable; Near-Threatened;
    Data Deficient; Rare; Protected; and Harvested species) taken from PRECIS, PEU and collections
    made during fieldwork for this project and buffering these known localities by 2 km. This was done
    because a single or duplicate collection of specimens was done from populations, while the entire
    population should be protected. It is important to note that the South African National Biodiversity
    Institute (SANBI) did not provide localities for highly threatened species or species that are sought-
    after for medicinal and horticultural value and where they are declining. The species for which SANBI
    would not release localities are Aloe boweia Schult. & J.H.Schult.; Cyrtanthus obliquus (L.f.) Aiton;
    Dioscorea elephantipes (L'Hér.) Engl.; Disa lugens (Bolus); Elaeodendron croceum (Thunb.) DC.;
    Encephalartos horridus (Jacq.) Lehm.; Encephalartos lehmannii Lehm.; Encephalartos longifolius
    (Jacq.) Lehm.; Euphorbia albipollinifera L.C.Leach; Euphorbia tubiglans Marloth ex R.A.Dyer; Hoodia
    pilifera (L.f.) Plowes; Lotononis acuminata Eckl. & Zeyh.; Pelargonium reniforme Curtis; Pelargonium
    sidoides DC.; Strelitzia juncea Link; and Syncarpha recurvata (L.f.) B.Nord. All locality data for
    populations of these species that were found during the survey were recorded by GPS and these
    were used in the map. The GPS coordinates are not published in this document to protect detailed
    localities of these species. A separate map of the distribution of species of special concern is also not
    provided.




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Table 5. Conservation value of each Vegetation Type found in the Eskom Transmission power line
         corridors. Terminology after Mucina and Rutherford (2006). Information from the National
         Spatial Biodiversity Assessment (Rouget et al., 2004) and Mucina and Rutherford (2006).
         Scoring values are presented in section 3.

Vegetation Type




                                    Target Protection



                                                        Protection Level




                                                                                                                                  Biogeographic



                                                                                                                                                  Sequestration
                                                                           remaining (%)

                                                                                           Conservation




                                                                                                                                                                  Conservation
                                                                           Natural areas




                                                                                                                                                                  Site-specific
                                                                                                                     Threatened
                                                                                                          Endemism
                                    Level (%)
                        Area (ha)




                                                                                                                     Species




                                                                                                                                                  Carbon
                                                                                           Status




                                                                                                                                                  Value



                                                                                                                                                                  Value
                                                                                                                                  Node
                                                        (%)
Coega Bontveld          24 622        19                  10                 93               1           3            1             3                3              11
Albany Alluvial         58 399        31                  6                  51               2           4            1             0                3              10
Vegetation
Suurberg                88 543        23                  31                 99               1           2            1             3                0               7
Quartzite Fynbos
Suurberg Shale          51 501        23                  46                 99               1           2            1             3                0               7
Fynbos
Steytlerville           79 341        16                    0                98               1           3            2             0                0               6
Karoo
Sundays Thicket       523 565         19                  9                  94               1           3            1             3                3              5.5
Sundays               127 114         19                  15                 96               1           3            1             0                3              5.5
Noorsveld
Willowmore            231 075         16                  <1                 99               1           3            2             0                3              4.5
Gwarrieveld
Grootrivier             56 478        23                    0              >99                1           2            1             0                0               4
Quartzite Fynbos
Groot Thicket         248 438         19                  11                 98               1           3            1             0                3               4
Camdebo               197 622         19                   5                 99               1           2            1             0                3              3.5
Escarpment
Thicket
Southern Karoo        529 865         24                    1                89               1           2            1             0                3              3.5
Riviere
Gamka Karoo         2 032 491         16                    2                99               1           1            0             3                0              1.7
Lower Karoo           156 959         16                    0                99               1           1            1             0                0              1.5
Gwarrieveld
Kouga Grassy          413 666         23                  20                 91               1           2            1             0                0              1.5
Sandstone Fynbos
Eastern Lower         832 106         16                  <1                 98               1           1            0             0                0               1
Karoo
Eastern Upper       4 982 132         21                    1                98               1           1            0             0                0              0.7
Karoo
Upper Karoo         1 173 428         21                    3                99               1           1            0             0                0              0.7
Hardeveld




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•   Based on the comparative conservation scores calculated in section 10, the Vegetation Types with
    high conservation value are Coega Bontveld (a comparative conservation score of 11); Albany
    Alluvial Vegetation (a score of 10); Suurberg Quartzite Fynbos and Suurberg Shale Fynbos (both
    with a score of 7) and Steytlerville Karoo (with a score of 6) (Table 5).

    1. Coega Bontveld is the Vegetation Type with the smallest area in the Eastern Cape. Considering
       the threats of mining and the destruction expected from development of the Ngqura Industrial
       Development Zone, this Vegetation Type is considered highly threatened. All Coega Bontveld is
       excluded with no buffer applied.
    2. The National Water Act 26 of 1998 with the General Authorisations published on 26 March 2004
       legislates that all water courses and wetlands are protected areas and no damage to them or
       within 500 m of them may be allowed. All riparian and alluvial vegetation was considered an
       exclusion zone with a 500 m buffer.
    3. The Fynbos comprises minimal portions of the corridor and the Fynbos Vegetation Types are
       well conserved elsewhere – both types have more formally protected area than the conservation
       targets set for them (Table 4). Fynbos is therefore excluded from Vegetation Type with high
       conservation value.
    4. The Succulent Karoo has an unusually high biodiversity. Because Willowmore Gwarrieveld is a
       modified form of Steytlerville Karoo, both these Vegetation Types were considered exclusion
       areas. No buffers were applied to these vegetation units.

Using the information presented above, the following areas (in order of importance) were considered to
be No-Go areas:

    1. Red Data Book, Rare and Harvested plant populations with a 2 km buffer where the area covered
       by the population is not known.
    2. Coega Bontveld, with no buffer zone.
    3. Albany Alluvial Vegetation, with a 500 m buffer zone according to the National Water Act.
    4. Southern Karoo Riviere, with a 500 m buffer zone according to the National Water Act.
    5. Steytlerville Karoo, with no buffer zone.
    6. Willowmore Gwarrieveld, with no buffer zone.

Using the assessment of Conservation Value (Table 4), the other Thicket Vegetation Types grouped in
the upper half of the table. Albany Thicket is the least understood Biome in terms of ecosystem
functioning, requirements for maintenance and rehabilitation. Applying the precautionary principle it is
recommend that all pristine thicket be avoided. The Thicket to be excluded is taken as pristine because
it would be possible to place the steel towers in thicket gaps in moderately disturbed thicket. Access and
service roads could be constructed in existing thicket gaps rather than to clear intact thicket. It is not
possible to place steel towers or construct roads in pristine thicket without destruction of the vegetation.
All pristine forms of Thicket are therefore given as areas where minimal activity should be allowed.

The No-Go areas in the corridor are shown in red in Figures 17 to 20 (north to south). The Go-But (areas
for minimal activity) are shown in orange in Figure 20 (southern quarter of the line).




ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EIA:12/12/20/801)                                                       50
VEGETATION ASSESSMENT
ESKOM TRANSMISSION
PROPOSED GAMMA-GRASSRIDGE POWER LINE




                                                    [
                                                    !




            [
            !    Gamma Sub-station

                 Preferred Route
                 No-Go areas

                 Corridor (6 km wide)
                                                                A = 1.25 km
                 Study area
           Vegetation Types
                 EASTERN UPPER KAROO
                 UPPER KAROO HARDEVELD
                 EASTERN LOWER KAROO

                 GAMKA KAROO
                 LOWER KAROO GWARRIEVELD
                 Albany Broken Veld
                 STEYTLERVILLE KAROO
                 WILLOWMORE GWARRIEVELD
                 Algoa Sandstone Fynbos
                 KOUGA GRASSY SANDSTONE FYNBOS
                 GROOTRIVIER QUARTZITE FYNBOS                           B = 1.23 km
                 SUURBERG QUARTZITE FYNBOS
                 SUURBERG SHALE FYNBOS
                 Humansdorp Shale Renosterveld

                 Kouga Sandstone Fynbos                                          C = 8.59 km
                 Loerie Conglomerate Fynbos
                 Bedford Dry Grassland
                 Karoo Escarpment Grassland                                              D = 4.00 km
                 CAMDEBO ESCARPMENT THICKET
                 GROOT THICKET
                 SUNDAYS THICKET
                 SUNDAYS NOORSVELD
                 COEGA BONTVELD
                 Albany Coastal Belt
                 Eastern Cape Escarpment Thicket
                 Gamtoos Thicket
                 Great Fish Thicket
                 Kowie Thicket
                 Southern Afrotemperate Forest




                                                        ±
                 Southern Coastal Forest
                 Southern Mistbelt Forest
                 ALBANY ALLUVIAL VEGETATION
                 SOUTHERN KAROO RIVIERE
                 Cape Estuarine Salt Marshes
                 Cape Lowland Freshwater Wetlands
                 Cape Seashore Vegetation
                 Algoa Dune Strandveld              0   4   8   16 km



Figure 17. The areas that are to be avoided altogether (No-Go) in the substation and northern Nama-
           Karoo portion of the corridor proposed for the Eskom Transmission Gamma-Grassridge
           power line. The Line Alignment proposed to minimise damage to No-Go areas is also given.
           Vegetation Types names are given for comparison, and those that fall in the corridors are
           listed in UPPER CASE.


ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EIA:12/12/20/801)                                                     51
VEGETATION ASSESSMENT
ESKOM TRANSMISSION
PROPOSED GAMMA-GRASSRIDGE POWER LINE




                                                                E = 1.97 km
                                                                    F = 1.52 km




                 Preferred Route
                 No-Go areas
                 Pristine Thicket (Go-But)

                 Corridor (6 km wide)
                 Study area
           Vegetation Types
                 EASTERN UPPER KAROO
                 UPPER KAROO HARDEVELD
                 EASTERN LOWER KAROO

                 GAMKA KAROO
                 LOWER KAROO GWARRIEVELD
                 Albany Broken Veld
                 STEYTLERVILLE KAROO
                 WILLOWMORE GWARRIEVELD
                 Algoa Sandstone Fynbos
                 KOUGA GRASSY SANDSTONE FYNBOS
                 GROOTRIVIER QUARTZITE FYNBOS
                 SUURBERG QUARTZITE FYNBOS
                 SUURBERG SHALE FYNBOS
                 Humansdorp Shale Renosterveld

                 Kouga Sandstone Fynbos
                 Loerie Conglomerate Fynbos
                 Bedford Dry Grassland
                 Karoo Escarpment Grassland
                 CAMDEBO ESCARPMENT THICKET
                 GROOT THICKET
                 SUNDAYS THICKET
                 SUNDAYS NOORSVELD
                 COEGA BONTVELD
                 Albany Coastal Belt
                 Eastern Cape Escarpment Thicket
                 Gamtoos Thicket
                 Great Fish Thicket
                 Kowie Thicket
                 Southern Afrotemperate Forest




                                                        ±
                 Southern Coastal Forest
                 Southern Mistbelt Forest
                 ALBANY ALLUVIAL VEGETATION
                 SOUTHERN KAROO RIVIERE
                 Cape Estuarine Salt Marshes
                 Cape Lowland Freshwater Wetlands
                 Cape Seashore Vegetation
                 Algoa Dune Strandveld              0   4   8        16 km



Figure 18. The areas that are to be avoided altogether (No-Go) in the southern Nama-Karoo portion of
           the corridor proposed for the Eskom Transmission Gamma-Grassridge power line. The Line
           Alignment proposed to minimise damage to No-Go areas is also given. Vegetation Types
           names are given for comparison, and those that fall in the corridors are listed in UPPER
           CASE.


ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EIA:12/12/20/801)                                                 52
VEGETATION ASSESSMENT