Botanical Specialist Study Proposed extension of prospecting

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					Botanical Specialist Study
                      for the Basic Assessment
                             regarding the

    Proposed extension of
   prospecting operations
  in the Haenertsburg area
  (farms Paeroa, Colberg and Paardevlei portion 1)




Prepared by:
               P.J.D. Winter (Botanical Taxonomist)
               (012) 804-0676
               clareb@iafrica.com




for:   Ndowana Exploration Two (Pty) Ltd




Submitted 11 December 2008




                                           1
Background and Terms of Reference

Now that the initial sampling has proved promising, the client wishes to extend
the level of prospecting to that of shallow manual pitting, narrow diameter
drilling, large diameter drilling and mini bulk sampling.

I originally indicated in the Ndowana EMPR that several of the vegetation
types are sensitive. Based on my own data and experience, data from
PRECIS, TSP and a preliminary site visit, the sensitivity requires evaluation
before the impact of any activities can be assessed.

The possible need for, and scope of, further specialist investigation needs to
be indicated. My assumption is that this Basic Assessment report, along with
other specialist reports relevant to this application, should provide the relevant
information upon which an environmentally responsible decision can be
based. If not, the authorities may request a full EIA that would cover any
biodiversity, ecological, conservation, aesthetic, or sustainable development
issues not dealt with herein.

The objectives of this botanical study are:
   • to provide a description of the vegetation and flora of the sites.
   • to provide information on plant species of conservation importance that
      may be relevant for the sites.
   • to list plant species of conservation importance that have a high
      likelihood of occurring on the sites, and indicate which of those have
      been recorded there.
   • to list plant species of conservation importance that occur within the
      general Wolkberg area, but were assessed as not likely to occur on the
      specific sites.
   • to put the local botanical diversity into a broader context.
   • to comment on the conservation status of the broader habitats
      represented on the proposed sites.
   • to determine potential impacts of the activities associated with the
      proposed prospecting methods.
   • to provide management recommendations to mitigate negative or
      enhance positive impacts.


1 Method

For the purposes of this report, the study area can be divided into an upper
site and a lower site. These two units were locally refined following information
from my earlier work as taken up in the original Ndowana EMPlan for the
prospecting over the total area as initially defined (See Ndowana EMPlan
vegetation map).

I visited the study area on 3 & 4 April 2008, and surveyed the landscape and
vegetation. I paid particular attention to species that were thought to be
threatened.


                                        2
I gratefully acknowledge the South African National Biodiversity Institute for
the use of data from the National Herbarium, Pretoria (PRE), Computerised
Information System (PRECIS). I obtained from the PRECIS database a list of
threatened plant names and their associated conservation status, as
pertaining to the relevant quarter degree grids (2329DD, 2429BB and
2430AA). As this data had been cleaned, and modified, in the Threatened
Species Programme (TSP), I obtained the latest update of the same
information for Limpopo Province from TSP. I consulted relevant lists of
protected species and listed other species for comment that I thought to be
important.

I consulted these lists as a guideline to identification or occurrence of
particular important plant species, and as an indication of the national level of
knowledge of the flora of the area, keeping in mind the estimated 15% error
level in the PRECIS database. Plant names and associated taxonomic and
conservation status reflect the state of knowledge (some of which is as yet
unpublished) accumulated over several years or decades at the Herbarium of
the University of the North (UNIN), and the National Herbarium (PRE).
Standard Herbarium references and regional Flora Treatments for southern
Africa were consulted for identification of plants.

I generally omitted plants early on that according to my judgement are not
relevant to these particular sites. These had been listed in the Limpopo
legislation as protected, or by the Threatened Species Programme (TSP) on
the Limpopo Red List, or simply known to be endemic to the general area. In
some cases though, there may have been doubt, and I considered such
species in the final analysis (Appendix 1).


Definitions of technical concepts:

Ecosystem services: Sustainable benefits that can be derived from
       ecosystems in their natural state.
Environmental Aspect: Element of an organisation’s activities, products or
       services that can interact with the environment (ISO 14001: 2004).
Cryptophyte: A plant species that dies back to below ground level in the
       dormant season (here used in the same sense as geophyte).
Endemism: The restriction of species to a defined area.
Environmental impact: Any change to the environment, whether adverse or
       beneficial, wholly or partially resulting from an organisation’s activities.
Geophytes: see Cryptophytes
Red Data species: Species recognised internationally as having a high
       conservation value or being threatened.
Resources: Components of the biophysical environment such as aquifers,
       flora and palaeontology.
Severity: (of an impact) the degree of change to the baseline environment.
Taxa: Any taxonomic group of organisms e.g. family, genus, species,
       subspecies, or variety).



                                         3
Transect: A linear survey method, often perpendicular to an environmental
      gradient.

A description of environmental aspects and resources is presented, and the
value or sensitivity of these resources assessed according to set criteria.
Habitats are assessed i.t.o. their uniqueness or irreplaceability, giving due
consideration to the extent of effective conservation of representatives of
these habitats in the Wolkberg region. The IUCN (World Conservation Union)
categories of conservation status (Hilton-Taylor 1997) represent the value and
sensitivity of species. Where possible, species that had not been assessed
formally elsewhere for their conservation status were evaluated according to
the information available about them at the time of the study.

The conservation requirement (where data was available) is indicated for the
vegetation units involved. The biodiversity status is reported for local, national
and international scales.


Assessment of impacts

Several potential impacts are identified and assessed according to the
following criteria:


Significance of an impact is approximated by the following formula:
       Significance = Severity x Probability,


where severity is expressed as the sum of the duration and extent of the
impact:
       Severity = Duration + Extent,


The criteria used in defining severity of each aspect thus include:
   • The spatial scope of the aspect (extent)
   • The duration of the impact, its permanency, and whether it increases or
       decreases with time, including also the reversibility of the effect or
       impact, and the irreplaceability of the resource. It therefore serves as a
       reflection of the sensitivity of the impacted environmental resource.

The following points are addressed separately:
   • Whether the aspect is controversial or would set a precedent – very
       difficult to quantify as this is open to judgement.
   • The threat to environmental or health objectives

Mitigation measures that could be used to manage particular aspects are
assumed to be 100% effective in the assessment. Where mitigation does not
achieve a mitigated impact below the significance index of 64, alternative
activities or sites are recommended.


                                        4
Constraints

It is inevitable that not all herbaceous species can be physically assessed
when visiting an area in less than four of the seasons (Fig. 1 & 2). The risk of
the occurrence of threatened species, cryptophytes in particular, other than
those seen till now has therefore to be assessed based on the incomplete
literature and databases available.

                   Figure 1: Gladiolus vernus, a poorly known
                   geophyte (= cryptophyte) missed during the first
                   survey, due to thin grass-like leaves and its flowering
                   time in spring before the rainy season.




                   Figure 2: Dianthus aff. transvaalensis, known from
                   the wolkberg only from two other collections. This
                   was also missed before the flower appeared in
                   spring.




                                           5
Time did not allow for a full analysis of all protected species that can be
expected, nor for poorly known species or those not assessed for their
conservation status. Since I focused on the threatened categories, I generally
omitted from the analysis those taxa assessed by TSP as of least concern
(LC), even if rare. Only if they had been considered for an independent reason
were some of these LC taxa included as ‘potentially threatened’.


Alternatives:

There are currently no other explicit alternative sites in the area for which
Ndowana has a prospecting license. It could however be argued that all other
diamondiferous areas across the whole of South Africa can be considered as
alternative sites against which this particular application can be compared. It
must further be borne in mind that future applications will be compared to this
one, so that in future, there may be more than one option for the
Haenertsburg area as defined in the original EMPR (May 2003). These should
be treated as anticipated hypothetical alternatives where at all possible.

Another way of looking at the situation is that within the study area, there are
two kimberlites identified, which may be assessed relative to one another.
They fall within respectively the upper and lower sites of the study area. This
is the course that I followed in this report.

Some alternatives considered in the prospecting programme were :
  • Alternate method of prospecting: e.g. using manual pitting in place of
     small diameter drilling wherever possible, or
  • Alternate technology: using a drill that is small enough to be carried to
     site as opposed to using one that needs of be vehicle mounted and in
     this way obviating the need for a track through a grassland area.
  • Alternate timing of the activities: If there has been heavy rain, drilling
     could be postponed until the roads have dried out adequately.
  • Alternate timing of activities: With regard to the impact on tourism, it
     was agreed that drilling would not take place at night.
  • Alternate route: The nuisance, noise, dust and impact on road
     maintenance and on traffic will be avoided by finding a road through the
     plantations for use by heavy prospecting vehicles accessing the sites.



                                        6
Some alternatives in terms of land use include existing or potential
ecotourism or conservation-based uses, forestry, medicinal plant harvesting
for primary healthcare, recreation, and cultural ecosystem services (Aesthetic
value; Sense of pristine landscape; Spiritual value - spiritual retreat area;
Sense of place).
Local stakeholders place a high value on natural landscapes, particularly as
the last generation was responsible for so little remaining of the Woodbush
Granite grasslands. The area is an important repository of biodiversity,
including ecosystem processes e.g. water catchment and carbon
sequestration.


2 Description of Activities and Aspects

The main activities are outlined below and compared in Table 1:
   • Shallow manual pitting (3m x 3m area, up to 2m deep). 36%
     disturbance on average over each site (average of 4 x 9 sq. m pits per
     100 sq. m). Note that such work would be considered low impact in
     non-sensitive areas and will thus be covered by the approved EMPlan.
     The combined area of disturbance is estimated at 405 sq. m per site
     (there are two at present).
   • Creation of temporary access tracks for drill and pitting work, see
     comments below.
   • Narrow diameter drilling
     A smaller drill which can actually be carried in by employees has been
     obtained for the programme. However, the footprint when once this is
     in place is somewhat bigger than if it were a vehicle mounted drill,
     although it does obviate the necessity for an access track. Usually no
     sump is required, but for core drilling a small temporary sump might be
     needed for recirculation of water.
     Note that such work would be considered low impact in non-sensitive
     areas and will thus be covered by the approved EMPlan in these
     cases.
   • Large diameter drilling (mini bulk sampling option)
     This will by its nature require the creation of temporary access tracks
     for heavy trucks. The drilling process will require temporary sumps for
     the recirculation of water and collection of drill tailings whilst drilling.
   • Mechanised pitting (mini bulk sampling option): pits up to 25 x 25m x
     3m deep = 625 sq. m per pit.
     This will require temporary access tracks but can be accomplished
     using minor earthmoving equipment.




                                        7
Table 1. A summary comparison of the larger impact activities.
                                         Size of each
                                         excavation
                   No. of excavations                                               Direct physical
Aspect                                   (excluding any
                   per site                                                         footprint (area)
                                         interconnecting
                                         tracks)
                                                                                             810 m2
                                                                  9 m2
                                     45                          2                    (or 405 m2 per site
  a) Manual pitting                                   (up to 1 m and 2 m deep;
                                                                                     assuming a 1 m wide
                                                      at least 1 m wide footprint
                          (i.e. one every 5 to 7 m)                                  footprint around each
                                                       around each excavation)
                                                                                               pit)
 b) Narrow diameter
     (up to 165mm)
                                     10                         64 m2                      1 280 m2
 percussion and / or
       core drilling
   c) Large diameter
  (>165mm) reverse
   circulation drilling              6                         750 m2                      9 000 m2
 (mini bulk sampling
         option)
d) Mechanised pitting
 (mini bulk sampling                 2                 25m x 25m x 3m deep                 2 500 m2
         option)



3 Vegetation & Botanical Diversity

The vegetation is summarised in Map 1 and Table 2. It can be broadly classed
as part of the grassland biome (Mucina et al. 2006) or, floristically, as part of
the Afromontane archipelago (White 1993), typically comprising moist
grassland and forest vegetation (Fig. 3).

          Figure 3: Left — Looking east from the lower site toward the farm Colberg.
          A patch of Afromontane forest indicates that the site is part of the
          Afromontane system of forest and grassland. Right — A small clump of
          cedar trees, Widdringtonia noduliflora, exceedingly rare in the Wolkberg
          area, in a forest patch directly to the southwest of the study area.




Floristically, it can be further included at progressively lower levels in the
Drakensberg Afromontane regional system (Davis et al. 1994), which was
recognised as an important Centre of Plant Diversity in Africa (site Af67) and


                                               8
in the Wolkberg Centre of Plant Endemism (Van Wyk & Smith 2001). Situated
at the western end of the Wolkberg on the Limpopo escarpment, it forms part
of a relatively narrow band of escarpment vegetation spanning a steep
altitudinal gradient.

   Map 1: Vegetation units identified for the Ndowana Two prospecting Basic Assessment.
   Numbers correspond to those in Table 1.




The study area straddles the contact between two major geological areas,
namely the granite-gneiss and older rocks of the northern, lower part (lower
site), and the quartzite and shale dominated rocks of the southern and higher
lying portion (upper site). The resultant vegetation roughly follows these two
geological areas (Fig. 4), as recognised by Mucina et al. (2006) in their units



                                           9
Gm 23 Northern escarpment quartzite sourveld & Gm 25 Woodbush granite
grassland.

Figure 4: Looking southwest from the farm Colberg toward the study area lower site. The prominent
quartzite scarp forms the first unit of the upper site, the rest of which is just over the horizon.




Because of the larger scale appropriate for the present study, a further area of
transitional vegetation is recognised between the two main units. For the
same reason, the two main units are further subdivided into smaller units
(Table 2) to reflect habitat diversity and habitats not typical of units Gm 23 and
Gm 25. The strong environmental gradients result in a high turnover of
habitats and associated plant communities.

The forest element (unit FOZ 4 of Mucina & Geldenhuys 2006) is small (Map
1 & Fig. 5) in the case of this study area, probably due to the situation at the
drier end of a rainfall gradient that extends in a westward direction from the
edge of the Woodbush Plateau.




                                             10
         Figure 5: Looking west from the farm Colberg toward the lower site. A
         small patch of Afromontane gallery forest along a steep watercourse forms
         a core that gradually gives way to deciduous woodland and grassland (now
         planted to alien trees). This woodland is expanding away from the
         watercourse due to the exclusion of fire.




The dominant or indicator species for each mapped unit are given in Table 2.
As these units do not necessarily represent plant communities, there is
considerable variation within each unit. Wetlands form the basis of a separate
specialist report, and are only assessed here i.t.o. important plant species.
The riparian corridors (not mapped separately) can vary between a grass and
sedge-dominated vegetation to forest, though mostly shrubland. Likewise, the
grassland units can be so dominated by woody species as to become a
shrub- or bushland in places, e.g. unit 3 (Table 2).
   Figure 6: Looking north from the western end of the quartzite scarp (vegetation unit 7)
   to the northern part of the lower site. The main north-directed watercourse is visible as
   a gap between two plantations. This watercourse feeds into a significant wetland
   directly outside of the northern boundary of the study area, in the strip in front of the
   next line of trees.




                                             11
Table 2. Vegetation units and attributes in the Ndowana project area (Paeroa,
Colberg and Paardevlei portion 1). The part of the descriptor in boldface is
similar to the short name used on the vegetation map.
Unit   Vegetation Unit         Structure               Dominant /                   Invasive aliens
No     Name                    (modified from          indicator species
       (Descriptor, with       Edwards 1983)
       reference to national
       classification &
       conservation status)
1      Alien timber            Tall forest             • Pinus spp.                      Seed source of:
       plantation                                      • Eucalyptus spp.            • Solanum mauritianum
                                                       • Acacia dealbata/mearnsii   • Pinus spp.
       (lower site)                                                                 • Eucalyptus spp.
                                                                                    • Acacia
                                                                                        dealbata/mearnsii
2      Montane Grassland       Sparsely shrubby tall   • Trachypogon spicatus       • Acacia
       on weathered granite    closed grassland        • Cymbopogon validus             dealbata/mearnsii
                                                       • Cymbopogon excavatus       • Agrimonia procera (if
       (part of Gm 25          (incl. riparian or      • Loudetia spicata               alien)
       Woodbush Granite        wetland                 • Helichrysum spp.           • Pinus sp.
       Grassland) -            communities)            • Berkheya setifera          • Solanum spp.
       Critically
       Endangered
       (lower site)
3      Acacia ataxacantha      Low closed woodland     • Acacia ataxacantha         • Cestrum sp.
       closed semi-                                    • Maerua caffra
                                                       • Canthium mundianum
       deciduous                                       • Maytenus undata
       Woodland                                        • Scutia myrtina
       (lower site)                                    • Ziziphus mucronata
                                                       • Rhamnus prinoides
                                                       • Dombeya rotundifolia
                                                       • Heteromorpha arborescens
                                                           var. abyssinica
                                                       • Gymnosporia buxifolia
                                                           (grassland form)
                                                       • Grewia occidentalis
4      Afromontane Forest      Forest                  • Brachylaena                • Solanum mauritianum
       (FOZ 4 Northern                                     transvaalensis           • Cestrum sp.
                                                       • Kiggelaria africana
       Mistbelt Forest) -                              • Combretum kraussii
       Least Threatened                                • Calodendrum capense
       (lower site)                                    • Cussonia spicata
                                                       • Senecio tamoides
                                                       • Xymalos monospora
                                                       • Gymnosporia harveyana
                                                       • Acacia ataxacantha
5      Transitional            Sparsely shrubby        • Trachypogon spicatus       • Acacia
       Grassland on steep      short closed            • Phymaspermum                   dealbata/mearnsii
                                                           athanasioides
       scree slopes            grassland               • Phymaspermum
       underlain by granite-                               argenteum
       gneiss or Swazian                               • Hebenstretia cf. oatesii
       rocks (transitional                             • Protea gaguedii
       between 2–4 & 6–
       10)
       (lower site)
6      Boulder shrub           Low shrubland           • Acacia ataxacantha         •
       community (part of                              • Hebenstretia cf. oatesii
       Gm 23 Northern
       Escarpment
       Quartzite Sourveld)
       - Vulnerable
       (upper site)




                                             12
7     Wolkberg scarp        Dwarf shrubland     • Protea rubropilosa           •
      community (part of                        • Macowania tenuifolia
                                                • Phymaspermum
      Gm 23 Northern                                 athanasioides
      Escarpment                                • Otiophora sp.
      Quartzite Sourveld)                       • Helichrysum spp.
      - Vulnerable                              • Metalasia densa
      (upper site)                              • Anisopappus junodii
                                                • Myrica pilulifera
                                                • Protea roupelliae ssp.
                                                     roupeliae
                                                • Gladiolus vernus
8     Helichrysum-Lippia    Shrubland           • Lippia javanica
      shrubland of                              • Helichrysum splendidum
                                                • Helichrysum aff. setosum
      Lineament (dolerite                       • Helichrysum chrysargyrum
      dyke?)                                    • Helichrysum
      - Rare microhabitat                            umbraculigerum
      in a vulnerable                           • Callilepis cf. leptophylla
      vegetation type                           • Cymbopogon sp.
                                                • Polygala virgata
      (upper site)
                                                • Teucrium trifidum
                                                • Satureja biflora
9     Montane Protea        Sparsely wooded     • Loudetia simplex             • Pinus sp.
      Grassland on NE       short closed        • Trachypogon spicatus         • Acacia
                                                • Alloteropsis semialata           mearnsii/dealbata
      aspect on quartzite   grassland           • Protea rubropilosa
      (part of Gm 23                            • Protea roupelliae ssp.
      Northern                                       roupeliae
      Escarpment                                • Lopholaena disticha
      Quartzite Sourveld)                       • Helichrysum spp.
      - Vulnerable
      (upper site)
10    Montane Protea        Wooded grassland    • Protea rubropilosa           • Pinus sp.
      Grassland on SW                           • Cymbopogon sp.
                                                • Helichrysum spp.
      aspect on quartzite
      (part of Gm 23
      Northern
      Escarpment
      Quartzite Sourveld)
      - Vulnerable



Conservation statistics (Table 3) are virtually only available at the scale of
vegetation units as used by Mucina & Rutherford (2006). As all these
vegetation units are unique to southern Africa, it follows that the global status
can be directly extrapolated from those statistics presented here (Table 3) for
the region.

Grassland transformation averages about 60% (Mucina et al. 2006) across
South Africa, but locally is estimated to be more than 90% in the Woodbush
Granite grasslands, which to my knowledge is the highest for any grassland
unit in the country. This is largely due to the perfect conditions for timber
plantations, and the resultant indiscriminate exploitation of the resource by the
forestry sector without responsible management of remaining areas. Van Wyk
& Smith (2001) mention the irony that despite the threats to the more sensitive
and floristically rich grasslands, efforts to conserve the Wolkberg Centre of
plant diversity “have hitherto focused mainly on the protection of the patches
of floristically poor Afromontane forest, the endemic-rich grasslands being
allowed to be destroyed at an alarming rate”.



                                         13
    Figure 7: The western part of the Wolkberg, with the Iron Crown, the highest point in
    Limpopo Province, left of center, and the study area right of centre.




Table 3. Conservation required and effected for the broader habitats
represented on the present sites.
                 Target for       Conservation                                Representation of
                                                     Protected areas
                 conservation     effected                                    on-site habitats or
Unit                                                 relevant to the
                 (% of total      (% of total unit                            species in local
                                                     proposed sites
                 unit area)       area)                                       protected areas
Grassland
biome SA               ?                2.2          see below                see below
(both sites)
                                  <1 of montane
                                  grasslands                                  Fair representation,
                                                     Lekgalameetse Nature
                                  (Van Wyk &                                  though several
                                                     Reserve, Wolkberg
                                  Smith 2001)                                 important species
Wolkberg                                             Wilderness Area,
                                                                              not represented.
Centre                 ?                             Blyde River Canyon
                                  Presumably                                  The site generally
(upper site)                                         Nature Reserve,
                                  due to bias                                 offers drier habitats
                                                     Bewaarkloof Nature
                                  toward                                      than in protected
                                                     Reserve
                                  conserving                                  areas.
                                  forest.




                                              14
                                                                            Fair representation,
                                                  Lekgalameetse Nature      though several
Gm 23                                             Reserve, Wolkberg         important species
Northern                            15            Wilderness Area,          not represented.
Escarpment          27        (Mucina et al.      Blyde River Canyon        The site generally
Sourveld                      2006)               Nature Reserve,           offers drier habitats
(upper site)                                      Bewaarkloof Nature        that are not
                                                  Reserve                   represented in
                                                                            protected areas.
                              cannot be met
                              without virtually   None. There are
                              impossible          efforts underway to
Gm 25                         restoration         achieve official
Woodbush                      efforts, as only    protection for the 240
Granite             27        10% is              ha on the                      Not at all
Grassland                     potentially in a    Haenertsburg
(lower site)                  natural state       townlands, but there is
                              (includes           also currently a land
                              degraded plant      claim there.
                              communities)
                                                  Lekgalameetse,
FOZ 4                                             Wolkberg Wilderness
Northern                                          Area, Grootbos                 Very well
                    30               10
Mistbelt Forest                                   (Woodbush forest             represented.
(lower site)                                      reserve), Forest Glens,
                                                  Black Forest etc.

There has in the past been a proposed conservancy including some portions
of Paardevlei, but to my knowledge, this never materialised. Lack of
appropriate conservation management even in all the so-called protected
areas is a cause for serious concern regarding the rapid loss of biodiversity in
these habitats. The decline observed in flagship species such as the Blue
Swallow, can be attributed to this loss of habitat. This situation is currently
being addressed by the biodiversity mainstreaming directorate of the SA
National Biodiversty Institute (SANBI), and in particular by their biodiversity
planning section, as well as through the National Grasslands Biodiversity
Initiative. Mining is one of the sectors that is coming under the spotlight with
the latter.

An important factor when considering mitigation of impact by rehabilitation of
disturbed grassland in this area is that it is impossible to restore to its original
state within human time frames once the soil has been disturbed over more
than a few m2. Attempts to rehabilitate former plantation areas in the
Wolkberg Wilderness area (part of Gm 23 Northern Escarpment Quartzite
Sourveld)
have failed, resulting in massive soil losses and siltation of rivers. Siltation in
turn has a disruptive impact on aquatic biodiversity. Landslip scars left from
the excessive rains in the year 2000 in the Wolkberg Wilderness area have
only recently been colonised by a few very sparse plants. The reason is that
grassland plants are adapted to persist rather than reseed, and it takes
centuries for grassland communities to regain the high species diversity that is
typical of the pristine condition. All grassland units are thus assessed as being
largely irreplaceable.




                                          15
  Important or threatened species

  Important species known from the sites or that were expected there, are listed
  in Tables 4 and 5. Protected plants are those that have been identified at
  provincial level for various reasons, and are currently listed independently of
  the IUCN guidelines or the Threatened Species Programme (SANBI-TSP). In
  terms of the IUCN categories, as followed by the TSP, the Red List contains
  two main categories, namely threatened with extinction, and not threatened
  with extinction. In the first category, there are those that are data deficient and
  cannot be classified further, and there are the categories from highest to low
  threat, namely extinct, critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable.


Table 4: Threatened or near threatened plants seen or expected to occur in the study area.
Please refer to Appendix 1 for other species that were considered unlikely to occur here. This data has bearing
on the Paeroa-Colberg-Paardevlei (1) sites only, and will not be appropriate for any other site. See text for
explanation of conservation categories.

  Species                               National              Interim           Comments
  (Those already confirmed on           Conservation          (2008)            (may include my own
  site are in bold)                     Status (Hilton-       National          estimate of conservation
                                        Taylor 1996)          Conservation      status)
                                                              status
  CRITICALLY ENDANGERED:
  Kniphofia crassifolia K                                     CR, PE            Collected once only on
                                                              (possibly         Woodbush Range, but
                                                              extinct)          may occur here, on
                                                                                either site.
  Chlorophytum radula                                         CR, B2ab(iii)     Known thus far only
                                                                                from rock outcrops in
                                                                                Woodbush Granite
                                                                                Grassland. May occur in
                                                                                unit 7 of upper site.
  ENDANGERED:
  Argyrolobium muddii                                         EN, A2c;          Known from Woodbush
                                                              B1ab(iii)         grasslands. unit 3 or 5 of
                                                                                lower site.
  Aster nubimontis                      V                     EN A2c;           Seen frequently in the
                                                              B1ab(iii) +       study area (vegetation
                                                              2ab(iii)          units 5, 7, 9, 10). Mainly
                                                                                upper site.
  Inezia speciosa                                             EN B1ab(iii)      Seen in unit 9 of the
                                                              + 2ab(iii)        upper site. The existence
                                                                                of a population in
                                                                                Mpumalanga may lead to
                                                                                downlisting when the
                                                                                conservation status is
                                                                                next assessed.




                                               16
Species                        National          Interim        Comments
(Those already confirmed on    Conservation      (2008)         (may include my own
site are in bold)              Status (Hilton-   National       estimate of conservation
                               Taylor 1996)      Conservation   status)
                                                 status
Ocotea bullata                                   EN, A2bd       May occur in unit 4
                                                                (lower site).
Warburgia salutaris                              EN, A2acd      May occur in unit 3
                                                                (lower site).
VULNERABLE:
Aloe chortolirioides var.                        VU A2c        Seen along the
chortolirioides                                                proposed access route
                                                               for drill rig on
                                                               Paardevlei (upper site).
Bowiea volubilis ssp. volubilis               VU, A2ad         Expected in unit 7
                                                               (upper site).
Cephalaria armerioides                        VU, D2           Could occur in unit 2
                                                               (lower site).
Crassula setulosa var. deminuta               VU, D2           Expected in unit 7
                                                               (upper site).
Dioscorea sylvatica                           VU, A2d          Expected in unit 6 (lower
                                                               site) or 7 (upper site).
Disa aristata                                 VU, D2           (Upper site - unit 7)
                                                               Probably too dry for it
                                                               here. My 2003 estimate
                                                               of conservation status
                                                               was LC.
Festuca dracomontana            R             VU, D2           Expected in unit 5 (lower
                                                               site), 9 or 10 (upper
                                                               site).
Nemesia zimbabwensis                          VU,              Expected in unit 2, 4, or
                                              B1ab(ii,iii)     6 (lower site).
Prunus africana                               VU, A4acd;       Could occur in units 3 or
                                              C1+2a(i)         4 (lower site).
DATA DEFICIENT (This category assumes a significant degree of threat):
Adromischus umbraticola ssp.                  DD, D + T        Expected in unit 7, 9 or
ramosus                                                        10 (upper site).
Aloe fouriei                    V             DD, T            I consider this the same
                                                               as A. verecunda, a
                                                               widespread, variable
                                                               species, and of least
                                                               concern (upper site).
Cyphia corylifolia                            DD, D            An unidentified Cyphia
                                                               sp. was collected (leaves
                                                               only) in the woodland
                                                               below the house on the
                                                               upper slopes of Paeroa
                                                               (lower site).



                                     17
Species                           National             Interim            Comments
(Those already confirmed on       Conservation         (2008)             (may include my own
site are in bold)                 Status (Hilton-      National           estimate of conservation
                                  Taylor 1996)         Conservation       status)
                                                       status
Drimia elata                                           DD, T              Recorded from 50 to
(incl. D. robusta)                                                        1 650 m altitude. Plants
                                                                          referable to both names
                                                                          are known from further
                                                                          north along the same
                                                                          watershed (Olifants-
                                                                          Letaba), between 1 500
                                                                          and 1 600 m, on rocky
                                                                          slopes. Lower site
NEAR THREATENED:
Alepidea attenuata                                     NT,                Perhaps in Paeroa
                                                       B2ab(i,ii,iii,iv   wetland below 1600 m.
                                                       ,v)                Expected in wetlands on
                                                                          gradual slopes only.
                                                                          Lower site
Clivia caulescens                                      NT, A3d            Perhaps in units 3, 4, 6
                                                                          (lower site) or 7 (upper
                                                                          site).
Curtisia dentata                                       NT, A2d            Could occur in units 3, 4
                                                                          or 6 (lower site). Seen in
                                                                          the valley to the SW of
                                                                          the study area.
POTENTIALLY THREATENED
(including those assessed as threatened according to my personal estimation):
Aloe lettyae                                           Not treated     Could occur in unit 2
                                                       distinctly      (lower site), though
                                                       from A.         usually at lower altitudes.
                                                       zebrina.        It is considered by most
                                                                       Aloe experts as a distinct
                                                                       species, in which case it
                                                                       would be at least VU.
Angraecum stella-africae           V                   LC, Declining Possibly in upper site.
Brachystelma pachypodium           Not threatened?     ?               Not clear what the
                                                                       current status is. Possibly
                                                                       in upper site.
Brachystelma pilosum               LRnt                ?               Possibly in upper site.
Crassula sp. nov. aff. C.                              ?               Reported from
expansa ssp. fragilis                                                  Lekgalameetse N.R.
                                                                       Possibly in upper site.
Dierama adelphicum                                     ?               VU? Possibly in upper
                                                                       site.




                                         18
Species                           National          Interim          Comments
(Those already confirmed on       Conservation      (2008)           (may include my own
site are in bold)                 Status (Hilton-   National         estimate of conservation
                                  Taylor 1996)      Conservation     status)
                                                    status
Gladiolus vernus                                    ?                In unit 7 and possibly 9
                                                                     & 10 (upper site). The
                                                                     form N of the Olifants
                                                                     River is quite distinct
                                                                     from the Mpumalanga
                                                                     form.
Hermannia sp. aff. H. gerrardii                     ?                Possibly in upper site.
Huernia sp. cf. H. loeseneriana                     ?                Reported from
                                                                     Lekgalameetse N.R.
                                                                     Possibly in upper site.
Indigofera rehmannii                                Not officially   Apparently endemic to
                                                    assessed         the Woodbush granite
                                                                     grasslands. Possibly in
                                                                     lower site.
Lotononis pariflora                                 LC, Rare-        Possibly in upper site.
                                                    critically
Monsonia lanuginosa               I                 LC, Rare         Known from Protea
                                                                     savanna between
                                                                     Houtbosch (Woodbush)
                                                                     and Chuniespoort.
                                                                     Possibly in upper site.
Ocotea kenyensis                  R                 LC, Rare         Possibly in lower site.
Searsia (=Rhus) sp.                                 ?                Possibly in upper site.
(aff. S. humpatensis from
Angola, or aff. S. tumulicola
var. meeuseana forma pumila)
Tulbaghia transvaalensis                            ?                Possibly in upper site.
Wahlenbergia brachiata                              ?                Possibly in upper or
                                                                     lower site.


Two endangered, one vulnerable and four protected species were
confirmed on the site. Several other important taxa occur, or are likely to
occur on the sites, out of the possible 20 red list taxa, 15 potentially
threatened taxa, and over 30 protected taxa that could appear here.
Practically I would estimate that a thorough search through all seasons would
confirm the presence of 4–6 more threatened plants than we have seen thus
far, and likewise about 15 plants that may be either potentially threatened or
protected.



Table 5 Some protected plants seen (boldface type) or expected in the study
area. This data is not complete, and has bearing on the Paeroa-Colberg-
Paardevlei(1) site only, and will not be appropriate for any other site.


                                        19
Species (Those already confirmed on site    Comments
are in bold)
Aloe longibracteata or affinis              Only one plant seen (upper site).
Aloe spicata                                Seen in unit 7 (upper site).
Anomatheca spp. = Freesia spp.              Either of the two northern species can be
                                            expected here (either site).
Brachystelma spp.                           At least B. coddii is expected here (unit 7
                                            — upper site).
Catha edulis                                Known from the general area in similar
                                            habitat (lower site).
Ceropegia spp.                              1–3 spp. could be expected here (either
                                            site).
Eulophia sp. (Orchid)                       Seen in unit 9 (upper site).
Felicia fruticosa ssp. brevipedunculata     Not enough information to assess (upper
                                            site?).
Gladiolus vernus                            Seen in unit 7 (upper site).
Inula paniculata                            Slight possiblility of occurrence in
                                            watercourse on lower end of Paeroa
                                            (lower site).
Kniphofia coralligemma                      Expected in unit 7 and above (upper site).
Kotschya thymodora                          Expected in unit 7 (upper site).
Merwilla plumbea (=Scilla natalensis)       Common in general area, though I don’t
                                            recall seeing it during the site visit (either
                                            site).
Monsonia lanuginosa                         (upper site)
cf. Mystacidium capense (Orchid)            Seen in unit 3 (lower site). Figure 8.
Other Orchidaceae                           Several orchids are no doubt present here.
                                            I would expect in the order of 20 species
                                            for this area (both sites).
Riocreuxia spp.                             At least one sp. can be expected (lower
                                            site).
Scadoxus puniceus                           Frequent in general area (both sites).
Stapeliads                                  Huernia insigniflora could occur here.
                                            Local variants occur nearby (different
                                            portion of Paardevlei) which may later
                                            warrant attention (both sites).
Watsonia transvaalensis                     Expected in most units (both sites).
NO LONGER OF CONCERN:
Babiana hypogea sensu G.J.Lewis, non        This is not a distinct entity from Babiana
Burch. var. longituba                       bainesii, which does not require
                                            protection (both sites).




                                           20
   Figure 8: cf. Mystacidium capense, a protected epiphytic orchid in unit 3.




These lists give an indication of the value and sensitivity of the study area
i.t.o. local biodiversity, as well as of the state of knowledge about plant
diversity of the study area. A few of the plants have not been formally named
(described) yet, and can thus be considered to be unknown to science, or at
least only poorly known.

Several specimens could not be identified and may represent important
species:
These are Cyphia sp. cf. corylifolia, C. sp. aff. stenopetala, and Gnaphalium /
Helichrysum sp.? Further work on this study area will require that such
species are identified properly.

Apparently some of these species have not been formally assessed i.t.o. their
conservation status. Further work on this study area will require that these
species are formally assessed.

The grassland units are particularly vulnerable, as they are not as resilient to
disturbance as other habitats, and may take centuries to recover. The effect of
even minor disturbance is evident where recent anonymous sampling (manual
pitting) has taken place in unit 10. Helichrysum splendidum becomes
dominant in such cases (Fig. 9). It may take in the order of 100 years before
the previous plant assemblage is replaced here through natural succession.
This changes the structure of the vegetation from grassland to shrubland, and
thus the habitat is transformed and facilitates the introduction of a host of
other organisms that alter the dynamics of the ecosystem, the most important
of these probably being soil microbes.



                                            21
   Figure 9: A disturbed grassland (foreground) that has become dominated by
   Helichrysum splendidum, the grey shrublet (west northwest of the study area, looking
   southeast).




Invasive alien plants

Several exotic species were observed, of which the most important invasive
ones are given in Table 1 for each vegetation unit. Despite the threat of these
alien species invading the area (as evident from surrounding properties),
much of the vegetation, with the exception of the lower slopes, is still in a
relatively pristine condition. A look at the pipeline servitude from Haenertsburg
toward Polokwane will confirm that it has acted as a distinct nucleus for the
establishment of a wattle breeding population. After about a decade, the
majority of wattle trees are on the servitude, from where they are now starting
to spread. Pine trees are less reliant on human intervention (Fig. 10).

Most natural grassland plants are either hemicryptophytes or cryptophytes.
Aliens with different growth forms will tend to transform the ecological
functioning of these hemicryptophyte dominated plant communities.
Rehabilitation aims to restore the domination of hemicryptophytes, but may
require an intermediate stage dominated by small shrubs e.g. some
Helichrysum species. This would be an important factor for rehabilitation in the
EM Plan.
   Figure 10: A pristine grassland (unit 5 - Colberg) with young pine (Pinus sp.) saplings
   starting the invasion process.




                                             22
4 Analysis of potential impacts

Please refer to Table 6 for an analysis.

It must be emphasized that the present rating assumes 100% effective
mitigation, unless otherwise indicated.

Some of these impacts additionally have a high cumulative risk.




                                       23
               Table 6: Assessment of impacts (rating system outlined in section 1).
               Duration:                1 = Negligible;          2 = Short term or intermittent; 3 = Medium term;               4 = Long term;        5 = Permanent (irreplacable or irreversible).
               Extent:                  1 = Impact only at area of activity;              3 = Impact extends beyond the area of activity;             5 = Impact extends significantly beyond the area of activity.
               Severity = Duration + Extent
               Probability:             1 = Improbable;          3 = Vaguely probable;                 5 = Probable (where there is a distinct possibility that the impact will occur);
                                        7 = Highly probable (where it is most likely that the impact will occur); 10 = definite (where the impact will occur regardless of any prevention measure).
               Significance = Severity x Probability                (64–100 denotes a high significance; 35–63 denotes a moderate significance; 0–34 denotes a low significance)
                                                                                                                SEVERITY
                                     ASPECT                                                                                                     SIGNIFI-
                                                                                                               = Duration +
       ACTIVITY                of the activity which                                                                          SEVERITY PROBA     CANCE                Mitigation assumed at the Time of Rating or Proposed Mitigation (Italics) for
                                                                               IMPACT                              Extent
       of concern               interacts with the                                                                                     -BILITY = Severity x                                        second rating.
                                   environment                                                                 Du-                             Probability
                                                                                                                       Extent
                                                                                                              ration
                                                                                                                                                                   Mitigation only partially implemented or partially effective, or not applied at all.
 Any activity where full     Any aspect where full
                                                        As described below per activity and aspect            up to 5 up to 5     up to 10 up to 10   up to 100   If mitigation cannot be achieved under the conditions inherent to this site, prospecting
mitigation is not achieved   mitigation is not achieved
                                                                                                                                                                  should be done elsewhere
                                                        Unvegetated scars on mountain slopes.                                                                     1. Minimise footprint of activities through planning and control
                                                        Soil erosion.                                                                                             2. Rehabilitation methodology to be documented in EM Plan.
                             Neglect of sustainable     Direct or indirect (via erosion or alteration of                                                          3. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
                             responsibility & duty of   species composition of plant communities)                                                                 rehabilitation measures, as required to accelerate restoration of natural fire climax
 Rehabilitation (general)                                                                                       5        3           8        7          56
                             care (controversial due to degradation of cultural ecosystem services                                                                communities, for 10 years or until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME,
                             the Marsfontein case).     (Aesthetic value; Sense of pristine landscape;                                                            which ever comes first.
                                                        Spiritual value; Sense of place).                                                                         4. Take measures as advised by botanist to speed succession, e.g. slashing of pioneer
                                                                                                                                                                  species once a year to promote growth of grasses.
                                                       Direct or indirect (via erosion or alteration of
                                                       species composition of plant communities)
                                                       degradation of cultural ecosystem services
                             Disturbance of vegetation                                                                                                            Although vegetation is already somewhat transformed by invasions of alien plants, this is
     Roads, Drilling                                   (Aesthetic value; Sense of pristine landscape;
                             or soil (Visually altered                                                                                                            not a mitigating factor, as it is manageable, and at this stage is better interpreted as an
          or                                           Spiritual value; Sense of place).
                             structure and texture)                                                             5        3           8        10         80       aggravating effect, i.e. adding to the cumulative impact.
   Mechanised pitting                                  Local stakeholders place a high value on natural
                             particularly on steep                                                                                                                Activities that have a significant scarring effect to be limited to slopes not visible from the
(Indigenous vegetation)                                landscapes, particularly as the last generation was
                             slopes.                                                                                                                              main road.
                                                       responsible for so little remaining of the Woodbush
                                                       Granite grasslands.
                                                       Scale varies from local to international (tourism).
                                                       Direct or indirect (via erosion or alteration of
                             Disturbance of vegetation
     Roads, Drilling                                   species composition of plant communities)
                             or soil (Visually altered
            or                                         degradation of cultural ecosystem services
                             structure and texture)                                                             2        2           4        3          12       Vegetation already transformed in plantations.
   Mechanised pitting                                  (Aesthetic value; Sense of pristine landscape;
                             particularly on steep
  (Plantation -Paeroa)                                 Spiritual value; Sense of place). Scale varies from
                             slopes.
                                                       local to international (tourism).




                                                                                                                             24
                                                                                                                   SEVERITY
                                        ASPECT                                                                                                     SIGNIFI-
                                                                                                                  = Duration +
        ACTIVITY                  of the activity which                                                                          SEVERITY PROBA     CANCE           Mitigation assumed at the Time of Rating or Proposed Mitigation (Italics) for
                                                                                IMPACT                                Extent
        of concern                 interacts with the                                                                                     -BILITY = Severity x                                   second rating.
                                      environment                                                                 Du-                             Probability
                                                                                                                          Extent
                                                                                                                 ration
                                                          Direct or indirect (via erosion or alteration of
                                                          species composition of plant communities)
                                                          degradation of cultural ecosystem services
 Roads, Manual pitting, or                                (Aesthetic value; Sense of pristine landscape;
                                Disturbance of vegetation                                                                                                        Although vegetation is already somewhat transformed by invasions of alien plants, this is
  drilling on level or slight                             Spiritual value; Sense of place).
                                or soil (Visually altered                                                          5      2         7        5         35        not a mitigating factor, as it is manageable, and at this stage is better interpreted as an
            slopes                                        Local stakeholders place a high value on natural
                                structure and texture).                                                                                                          aggravating effect, i.e. adding to the cumulative impact.
 (Indigenous vegetation)                                  landscapes, particularly as the last generation was
                                                          responsible for so little remaining of the Woodbush
                                                          Granite grasslands.
                                                          Scale varies from local to international (tourism).
                                                                                                                                                                 1. Identify suitable access roads and limit heavy traffic to these.
                                                                                                                                                                 2. Where necessary, unpaved private roads to be upgraded to a level that can handle
                                                                                                                                                                 expected load.
                                Erosion of soil along                                                                                                            3. Drainage to be optimised i.t.o. getting rain water off the road as quickly as possible
 Use of unpaved roads, in       existing access road or                                                                                                          and keeping it off, e.g. by raising height above surrounding surface, by applying an
                                                           Loss of soil from access road causing siltation of
general, by heavy vehicles      new access roads due to                                                                                                          appropriate camber, and by providing drainage culverts leading off the road surface i(nto
                                                           wetlands and watercourses (with resulting aquatic       5      5        10        6         60
and creation of new access      heavy trucks and earth                                                                                                           silt traps).
                                                           biodiversity disruptive impact) and erosion dongas
           roads                moving equipment and                                                                                                             4. Silt traps to be implemented in order to dissipate energy of water flow.
                                storm water run-off                                                                                                              5. No driving on muddy roads (this will also prevent accidents that may impact the
                                                                                                                                                                 environment, e.g. through fuel or oil spills).
                                                                                                                                                                 6. Assessment of erosion & siltation to be undertaken monthly (or following exceptionally
                                                                                                                                                                 heavy rain) and weekly during drilling programme, and necessary action taken.
                                                                                                                                                                 1. Identify suitable access roads and limit heavy traffic to these.
                                                                                                                                                                 2. Where necessary, unpaved private roads to be upgraded to a level that can handle
                                                                                                                                                                 expected load.
                           Erosion of soil along                                                                                                                 3. Drainage to be optimised i.t.o. getting rain water off the road as quickly as possible
                           existing access road or         Loss of soil from access road causing siltation of                                                    and keeping it off, e.g. by raising height above surrounding surface, by applying an
Emergency use of unpaved
                           new access roads due to         wetlands and watercourses (with subsequent                                                            appropriate camber, and by providing drainage culverts leading off the road surface (into
roads by heavy vehicles in                                                                                         5      5        10        9         90
                           heavy trucks and earth          aquatic biodiversity disruptive impact) and erosion                                                   silt traps).
    muddy conditions
                           moving equipment and            dongas                                                                                                4. Silt traps to be implemented in order to dissipate energy of water flow.
                           storm water run-off                                                                                                                   5. No driving on muddy roads (this will also prevent accidents that may impact the
                                                                                                                                                                 environment, e.g. through fuel or oil spills).
                                                                                                                                                                 6. Assessment of erosion & siltation to be undertaken following emergency, and
                                                                                                                                                                 necessary corrective action taken.




                                                                                                                              25
                                                                                                                     SEVERITY
                                       ASPECT                                                                                                        SIGNIFI-
                                                                                                                    = Duration +
        ACTIVITY                 of the activity which                                                                             SEVERITY PROBA     CANCE            Mitigation assumed at the Time of Rating or Proposed Mitigation (Italics) for
                                                                                 IMPACT                                 Extent
        of concern                interacts with the                                                                                        -BILITY = Severity x                                    second rating.
                                     environment                                                                    Du-                             Probability
                                                                                                                            Extent
                                                                                                                   ration
                                                                                                                                                                   1. Careful checking of fauna and flora prior to construction.
                                                           Impact on plant biodiversity; potential impact on                                                       2. Confine activities to minimise footprint .
                                                           fauna; potential erosion on steep sections; potential                                                   3. Careful planning, construction and rehabilitation of access road, using specialist input.
                                                           destruction of soil profile and impact on vegetation                                                    Ensure rehab as soon as possible.
                                                           communities; increased chance of invasive species                                                       4. Train employees on acceptable standard of rehab.
Construction of new access
                           Trampling of vegetation         encroaching. Attempts would be made to cordon off                                                       5. Detail all requirements in EM Plan e.g. monitoring for invasive species.
  road across grassland                                                                                              5      2         7       10         70
                           and compaction of soil          track for rehab. but remote situation makes                                                             6. Ensure secure cordoning off of access road across grassland to exclude vehicular
       (Paardevlei)
                                                           success of keeping vehicles off track very difficult;                                                   access and so facilitate optimum rehabilitation
                                                           without close monitoring and control to ensure
                                                           rehab., abuse of track could cause permanent scar                                                       Consider building a track of planks or similar rigid material (e.g. sand ladders used in the
                                                           on landscape                                                                                            4x4 fraternity) that will spread the weight, and can be removed immediately following
                                                                                                                                                                   use. As few as eight such planks may be required.
                             Creation of dust which will   Degradation of surrounding vegetation; unsightly;
                                                                                                                                                                   1. Wetting of access roads where prospecting vehicles contribute significantly to dust.
  Drilling and use of roads  settle on surrounding         disturbance of animal-plant interactions in               4      5         9        5         45
                                                                                                                                                                   2. Monitor effect and consider sprayers to minimise dust at source.
                             vegetation and faunal life.   surrounding habitats;
Use of drilling machines and Noise at prospecting          Disturbance of animal -plant interactions in                                                            1. Minimise noise levels through equipment selection and maintenance;
                                                                                                                     2      5         7        7         49
          vehicles.          areas and from traffic.       surrounding habitats.                                                                                   2. Screening will be investigated as an additional option, if necessary.
                                                                                                                                                                   1. Procedure for use and disposal of hazardous substances.
                                                         Potential pollution of soil, surface water and ground                                                     2. Emergency preparedness and response plan in place
                                                         water and wetlands, directly or indirectly causing                                                        3. Incident reporting and corrective and preventive action procedure in place.
Use of drilling machines and Possible leaks or spills of disruption of existing indigenous plant communities                                                       4. Regular maintenance of vehicles and equipment stipulated (not on site).
                                                                                                                     5      1         6        5         35
           vehicles          fuel or oil.                & ecosystem integrity (biodiversity).                                                                     5. Tarpaulin placed under drill; any contaminated soil collected.
                                                         Secondary disturbance of soil and associated                                                              6. Contractors and own staff trained re spills and disposal.
                                                         ramifications if soil needs to be removed.                                                                7. Drilling monitored daily.
                                                                                                                                                                   8. Rehabilitation of disturbed soil to be outlined in EMPlan.
Use of drilling machines and                               Potential pollution of soil, surface water and ground
                                                                                                                                                                   1. For all activities in plantations the impact will be shielded to some extent, rendering it
   vehicles (emergency       Possible leaks or spills of   water, directly or indirectly causing disruption of
                                                                                                                     5      4         9        9         81        insignificant unless close to a watercourse.
  situation; mitigation not  fuel or oil.                  existing indigenous plant communities & ecosystem
                                                                                                                                                                   2. Restrict to manual pitting if emergencie cannot be avoided.
          effective)                                       integrity (biodiversity).
                                                                                                                                                                   1. Minimise footprint of activities through planning and control
                            Any disturbances to            Disruption of existing indigenous plant communities                                                     2. Rehabilitation methodology to be documented in EM Plan.
                            indigenous vegetation          & ecosystem integrity (biodiversity) and decline in                                                     3. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
Footpath creation & use (in which leads to the opening     populations of threatened or protected plant                                                            rehabilitation measures, as required to accelerate restoration of natural fire climax
                                                                                                                     5      2         7        7         49
   natural vegetation)      of niches that can act as      species; increased fuel load to increase fire hazard;                                                   communities, for 10 years or until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME,
                            nuclei from where invasive     increased water usage; decreased productivity                                                           which ever comes first.
                            species can spread             (natural food value);                                                                                   4. Take measures as advised by botanist to speed succession, e.g. slashing of pioneer
                                                                                                                                                                   species once a year to promote growth of grasses.
                                                        Potential for erosion, siltation of water bodies(with                                                      1. Design path to follow contours or zig-zag on steep slopes.
                            Potential lack of adequate
Footpath creation & use (in                             resulting aquatic biodiversity disruptive impact),                                                         2. Ensure adequate drainage.
                            storm water run-off control                                                              5      5        10        5         50
   natural vegetation)                                  unsightly scar on the landscape; difficulty in rehab                                                       3. Rehabilitation methods to be documented in EM Plan.
                            along footpath.
                                                        only on steep gradients.                                                                                   4. Monitor and remediate as soon as any erosion is evident.




                                                                                                                                26
                                                                                                                    SEVERITY
                                      ASPECT                                                                                                        SIGNIFI-
                                                                                                                   = Duration +
       ACTIVITY                 of the activity which                                                                             SEVERITY PROBA     CANCE            Mitigation assumed at the Time of Rating or Proposed Mitigation (Italics) for
                                                                                IMPACT                                 Extent
       of concern                interacts with the                                                                                        -BILITY = Severity x                                    second rating.
                                    environment                                                                    Du-                             Probability
                                                                                                                           Extent
                                                                                                                  ration
                                                                                                                                                                  1. Design path to follow contours or zig-zag on steep slopes.
                            Potential lack of adequate Potential for erosion, siltation of water bodies,
Footpath creation & use (in                                                                                                                                       2. Ensure adequate drainage.
                            storm water run-off control unsightly scar on the landscape; difficulty in rehab        1      5         6        5         35
   plantation - Paeroa)                                                                                                                                           3. Rehabilitation methods to be documented in EM Plan.
                            along footpath.             only on steep gradients.
                                                                                                                                                                  4. Monitor and remediate as soon as any erosion is evident.
                                                                                                                                                                  1. Minimise footprint of activities through planning and control
                                                                                                                                                                  2. Rehabilitation methodology to be documented in EM Plan.
                                                                                                                                                                  3. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
                                                           Decline in populations of threatened or protected
Footpath creation & use (in Trampling of indigenous                                                                                                               rehabilitation measures, as required to accelerate restoration of natural fire climax
                                                           species in threatened grassland and disruption of        5      2         7        7         49
   natural vegetation)      vegetation                                                                                                                            communities, for 10 years or until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME,
                                                           plant community & ecosystem integrity
                                                                                                                                                                  which ever comes first.
                                                                                                                                                                  4. Take measures as advised by botanist to speed succession, e.g. slashing of pioneer
                                                                                                                                                                  species once a year to promote growth of grasses where approprate.
                                                                                                                                                                  1. Store and cover topsoil on upslope side of drill site to divert rainwater around site (for
                                                                                                                                                                  minimum period, and only where topsoil needs to be removed).
                                                                                                                                                                  2. Rehabilitate as per procedure to dissipate energy of run-off water before it reaches the
                                                                                                                                                                  surrounding areas.
                                                           Disruption of existing indigenous plant communities
                              Any disturbances to                                                                                                                 3. Sample to be placed directly into bulk bag, loaded onto vehicle and removed from site
                                                           & ecosystem integrity (biodiversity) and decline in
                              indigenous vegetation                                                                                                               as soon as possible. No soil directly on surface (use a tarpaulin if stockpiling required).
                                                           pops of threatened or protected plant species;
Large diameter drilling (in   which leads to the opening                                                                                                          4. Use non-climax vegetation to bind soil; Monitor and remediate as soon as any erosion
                                                           increased fuel load which increases fire hazard;         4      3         7        5         35
   natural vegetation)        of niches that can act as                                                                                                           is evident.
                                                           increased water useage; decreased productivity
                              nuclei from where invasive                                                                                                          5. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
                                                           (natural food value); Loss of land with conservation
                              species can spread                                                                                                                  rehabilitation measures, as required to accelerate restoration of natural fire climax
                                                           potential.
                                                                                                                                                                  communities, for 10 years or until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME,
                                                                                                                                                                  whichever comes first.
                                                                                                                                                                  6. Take measures as advised by botanist to speed succession, e.g. slashing of pioneer
                                                                                                                                                                  species once a year to promote growth of grasses where appropriate.
                                                                                                                                                                  1. Minimise footprint of activities through planning and control.
                                                                                                                                                                  2. Rehabilitation methodology to be documented in EM Plan.
                              Clearing of indigenous
                                                                                                                                                                  3. Sample to be placed directly into bulk bag, loaded onto vehicle and removed from site
                              vegetation or trampling of
                                                                                                                                                                  as soon as possible. No soil directly on surface (use a tarpaulin if stockpiling required).
                              indigenous vegetation or Decline in populations of threatened or protected
Large diameter drilling (in                                                                                                                                       4. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
                              stockpiling of             species in threatened grassland and disruption of          5      3         8        5         40
   natural vegetation)                                                                                                                                            rehabilitaton measures, as required to accelerate restoration of natural fire climax
                              soil/vegetation and        plant community & ecosystem integrity
                                                                                                                                                                  communities, for 10 years or until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME
                              disruption of natural
                                                                                                                                                                  which ever comes first.
                              topsoil boundary
                                                                                                                                                                  5. Take measures as advised by botanist to speed succession, e.g. slashing of pioneer
                                                                                                                                                                  species once a year to promote growth of grasses.




                                                                                                                               27
                                                                                                                       SEVERITY
                                       ASPECT                                                                                                          SIGNIFI-
                                                                                                                      = Duration +
        ACTIVITY                 of the activity which                                                                               SEVERITY PROBA     CANCE            Mitigation assumed at the Time of Rating or Proposed Mitigation (Italics) for
                                                                                    IMPACT                                Extent
        of concern                interacts with the                                                                                          -BILITY = Severity x                                    second rating.
                                     environment                                                                      Du-                             Probability
                                                                                                                              Extent
                                                                                                                     ration
                                                                                                                                                                     1. Store and cover topsoil on upslope side of drill site to divert rainwater around site (for
                                                                                                                                                                     minimum period, on a tarpaulin, and only where topsoil needs to be removed).
                                                                                                                                                                     2. Rehabilitate as per procedure to dissipate energy of run-off water before it reaches the
                                                                                                                                                                     surrounding areas.
                                                           Potential for erosion, siltation of water bodies(with
                                                                                                                                                                     3. Use non-climax vegetation to bind soil; Monitor and remediate as soon as any erosion
                               Potential lack of adequate resulting aquatic biodiversity disruptive impact,
 Large diameter drilling (in                                                                                                                                         is evident.
                               storm water run-off control unsightly scar on the landscape; difficulty in rehab if     5      3         8        5         40
    natural vegetation)                                                                                                                                              4. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
                               at drill site.              on steep gradients.
                                                                                                                                                                     rehabilitation measures, as required to accelerate restoration of natural fire climax
                                                           Loss of land with conservation potential.
                                                                                                                                                                     communities, for 10 years or until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME,
                                                                                                                                                                     whichever comes first.
                                                                                                                                                                     5. Take measures as advised by botanist to speed succession, e.g. slashing of pioneer
                                                                                                                                                                     species once a year to promote growth of grasses where appropriate.
                                                                                                                                                                     1. Rehabilitate in conjunction with erosion control procedure.
                                                                                                                                                                     2. On moderate slopes, rehabilitate the soil profile; on steeper slopes, simulate post
                                                                                                                                                                     landslip or scree colonization.
                                                                                                                                                                     3. Use non-climax vegetation to bind soil; Monitor and remediate as soon as any erosion
                                                                                                                                                                     is evident.
                                                             Soil profile irreversibly disturbed.
                                                                                                                                                                     4. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
 Large diameter drilling (in Levelling of drill site and     All present plant communities lost.
                                                                                                                       5      3         8       10         80        rehabilitation measures, as required to accelerate restoration of natural fire climax
natural vegetation - Paeroa) access on steep slopes.         Long distance visible scar on mountainside.
                                                                                                                                                                     communities, for 10 years or until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME,
                                                             Loss of land with conservation potential.
                                                                                                                                                                     whichever comes first.
                                                                                                                                                                     5. Take measures as advised by botanist to speed succession, e.g. slashing of pioneer
                                                                                                                                                                     species once a year to promote growth of grasses where appropriate.
                                                                                                                                                                     6. Raise a platform or series of platforms rather than cutting into the mountainside.
                                                                                                                                                                     7. Alternately restrict to activities that do not have this impact.
 Large diameter drilling (in   Levelling of drill site and   Soil profile irreversibly disturbed.
                                                                                                                       1      3         4       10         40
   plantation - Paeroa)        access on steep slopes.       Limitation to future land use.
                                                                                                                                                                     1. Store and cover topsoil on upslope side of drill site to divert rainwater around site.
                                                           Potential for erosion, siltation of water bodies(with
                               Potential lack of adequate                                                                                                            2. Rehabilitate as per procedure to dissipate energy of run-off water before it reaches the
 Large diameter drilling (in                               resulting aquatic biodiversity disruptive impact,
                               storm water run-off control                                                             5      3         8        5         40        surrounding areas.
   plantation - Paeroa)                                    unsightly scar on the landscape; difficulty in rehab if
                               at drill site.                                                                                                                        3. Use non-climax vegetation to bind soil; Monitor and remediate as soon as any erosion
                                                           on steep gradients.
                                                                                                                                                                     is evident.




                                                                                                                                  28
                                                                                                         SEVERITY
                         ASPECT                                                                                                          SIGNIFI-
                                                                                                        = Duration +
 ACTIVITY          of the activity which                                                                               SEVERITY PROBA     CANCE            Mitigation assumed at the Time of Rating or Proposed Mitigation (Italics) for
                                                                    IMPACT                                  Extent
 of concern         interacts with the                                                                                          -BILITY = Severity x                                    second rating.
                       environment                                                                      Du-                             Probability
                                                                                                                Extent
                                                                                                       ration
                                                                                                                                                       1. Minimise footprint of activities through planning and control
                                                                                                                                                       2. Rehabilitation methodology to be documented in EM Plan.
                                                                                                                                                       3. Stockpiling of overburden directly on vegetation and topsoil will be eliminated through,
                                                                                                                                                       for example, temporary storage on a tarpaulin.
                                                                                                                                                       4. Samples from manual pits not to be stacked on vegetation but to be removed directly
                 Any disturbances to          Disruption of existing indigenous plant communities
                                                                                                                                                       in bags (generally < 30 kg).
                 indigenous vegetation        & ecosystem integrity (biodiversity) and decline in
                                                                                                                                                       5. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
                 which leads to the opening   populations of threatened or protected plant
Manual pitting                                                                                           4      3         7        5         35        rehabilitation measures, as required to accelerate restoration of natural fire climax
                 of niches that can act as    species; increased fuel load to increase fire hazard;
                                                                                                                                                       communities, for 10 years or until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME,
                 nuclei from where invasive   increased water usage; decreased productivity
                                                                                                                                                       whichever comes first.
                 species can spread           (natural food value);
                                                                                                                                                       6. Take measures as advised by botanist to speed succession, e.g. slashing of pioneer
                                                                                                                                                       species once a year to promote growth of grasses where appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                       Additional mitigation - ideally minimise the number of sample sites to reduce total
                                                                                                                                                       footprint. This will only be determined once the pitting has started.
                                                                                                                                                       1. Minimise footprint of activities through planning and control - obtain botanical input
                                                                                                                                                       when siting pitting sites.
                                                                                                                                                       2. Rehabilitation methodology to be documented in EM Plan.
                                                                                                                                                       3. Stockpiling of overburden directly on vegetation and topsoil will be eliminated through,
                                                                                                                                                       for example, temporary storage on a tarpaulin.
                 Clearing of indigenous
                                                                                                                                                       4. Samples from manual pits not to be stacked on vegetation but to be removed directly
                 vegetation or trampling of
                                                                                                                                                       in bags (generally < 30 kg).
                 indigenous vegetation or Decline in populations of threatened or protected
                                                                                                                                                       5. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
Manual pitting   stockpiling of             species in threatened grassland and disruption of            5      1         6        5         30
                                                                                                                                                       rehabilitation measures, as required to accelerate restoration of natural fire climax
                 soil/vegetation and        plant community & ecosystem integrity
                                                                                                                                                       communities, for 10 years or until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME,
                 disruption of natural
                                                                                                                                                       whichever comes first.
                 topsoil boundary
                                                                                                                                                       6. Take measures as advised by botanist to speed succession, e.g. slashing of pioneer
                                                                                                                                                       species once a year to promote growth of grasses where appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                       Additional mitigation - ideally minimise the number of sample sites to reduce total
                                                                                                                                                       footprint. This will only be determined once the pitting has started.
                                                                                                                                                       1. On steep slopes, use shade net and droppers to construct anti-erosion barriers on the
                                                                                                                                                       down slope side of the pit.
                                                                                                                                                       2. Rehabilitate as per procedure including measures to dissipate energy of run-off water
                                             Potential for erosion, siltation of water bodies(with                                                     before it reaches the surrounding areas.
                 Potential lack of adequate
                                             resulting aquatic biodiversity disruptive impact,                                                         3. Use non-climax vegetation to bind soil;
Manual pitting   control of storm water run-                                                             5      5        10        4         40
                                             unsightly scar on the landscape; difficulty in rehab if                                                   4. Backfill all excavations with original material
                 off at pit site.
                                             on steep gradients.                                                                                       5. Monitor and remediate as soon as any erosion is evident.

                                                                                                                                                       Additional mitigation - ideally minimise the number of sample sites to reduce total
                                                                                                                                                       footprint. This will only be determined once the pitting has started.




                                                                                                                    29
                                                                                                          SEVERITY
                             ASPECT                                                                                                       SIGNIFI-
                                                                                                         = Duration +
   ACTIVITY            of the activity which                                                                            SEVERITY PROBA     CANCE            Mitigation assumed at the Time of Rating or Proposed Mitigation (Italics) for
                                                                       IMPACT                                Extent
   of concern           interacts with the                                                                                       -BILITY = Severity x                                    second rating.
                           environment                                                                   Du-                             Probability
                                                                                                                 Extent
                                                                                                        ration
                                                                                                                                                        1. Minimise footprint of activities through planning and control.
                                                                                                                                                        2. Rehabilitation methodology to be documented in EM Plan.
                                                                                                                                                        3. Stockpiling of overburden directly on vegetation and topsoil will be eliminated through,
                                                                                                                                                        for example, temporary storage on a tarpaulin.
                                                                                                                                                        4. Samples from pits not to be stacked on vegetation but to be removed directly.
                     Any disturbances to          Disruption of existing indigenous plant communities
                                                                                                                                                        5. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
                     indigenous vegetation        & ecosystem integrity (biodiversity) and decline in
                                                                                                                                                        rehabilitation measures, as required to accelerate restoration of natural fire climax
Mechanised Pitting   which leads to the opening   populations of threatened or protected plant
                                                                                                          5      3         8        9         72        communities, for 10 years or until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME,
  (Paardevlei)       of niches that can act as    species; increased fuel load with increased fire
                                                                                                                                                        whichever comes first.
                     nuclei from where invasive   hazard; increased water useage; decreased
                                                                                                                                                        6. Take measures as advised by botanist to speed succession, e.g. slashing of pioneer
                     species can spread           productivity (natural food value).
                                                                                                                                                        species once a year to promote growth of grasses where appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                        Additional mitigation - ideally minimise the number of sample sites to reduce total
                                                                                                                                                        footprint. This will only be determined once the pitting has started.
                                                                                                                                                        Lastly, if the impact cannot be mitigated, sample by drilling only.
                                                                                                                                                        1. Minimise footprint of activities through planning and control.
                                                                                                                                                        2. Rehabilitation methodology to be documented in EM Plan.
                                                                                                                                                        3. Stockpiling of topsoil or overburden directly on vegetation and topsoil will be eliminated
                                                                                                                                                        through, for example, temporary storage on a tarpaulin.
                     Clearing of indigenous                                                                                                             4. Samples from pits not to be stacked on vegetation but to be removed directly.
                     vegetation or trampling of                                                                                                         5. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
                                                  Decline in populations of threatened or protected
                     indigenous vegetation or                                                                                                           rehabilitation measures, as required to accelerate restoration of natural fire climax
Mechanised Pitting                                species in threatened grassland and disruption of
                     stockpiling of                                                                       5      2         7       10         70        communities, for 10 years or until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME,
  (Paardevlei)                                    plant community & ecosystem integrity.
                     soil/vegetation and                                                                                                                whichever comes first.
                                                  Loss of land with conservation potential.
                     disruption of natural                                                                                                              6. Take measures as advised by botanist to speed succession, e.g. slashing of pioneer
                     topsoil boundary                                                                                                                   species once a year to promote growth of grasses where appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                        Additional mitigation - ideally minimise the number of sample sites to reduce total
                                                                                                                                                        footprint. This will only be determined once the pitting has started.
                                                                                                                                                        Lastly, if the impact cannot be mitigated, sample by drilling only.




                                                                                                                     30
                                                                                                                  SEVERITY
                                     ASPECT                                                                                                       SIGNIFI-
                                                                                                                 = Duration +
        ACTIVITY               of the activity which                                                                            SEVERITY PROBA     CANCE            Mitigation assumed at the Time of Rating or Proposed Mitigation (Italics) for
                                                                               IMPACT                                Extent
        of concern              interacts with the                                                                                       -BILITY = Severity x                                    second rating.
                                   environment                                                                   Du-                             Probability
                                                                                                                         Extent
                                                                                                                ration
                                                                                                                                                                1. Store topsoil covered and on tarpaulin on upslope side of drill site to divert rainwater
                                                                                                                                                                around site.
                                                                                                                                                                2. On steep slopes, use shade net and droppers to construct anti-erosion barriers on the
                                                                                                                                                                down slope side of the pit.
                                                        Potential for erosion, siltation of water bodies(with
                                                                                                                                                                3. Rehabilitate as per procedure including measures to dissipate energy of run-off water
                            Potential lack of adequate resulting aquatic biodiversity disruptive impact,
    Mechanised Pitting                                                                                                                                          before it reaches the surrounding areas.
                            control of storm water run- unsightly scar on the landscape; difficulty in rehab      5      5        10        5         50
      (Paardevlei)                                                                                                                                              4. Backfill all excavations, ending with original material and topsoil.
                            off at pit site.            on steep gradients.
                                                                                                                                                                5. Use non-climax vegetation to bind soil;
                                                        Loss of land with conservation potential.
                                                                                                                                                                6. Monitor and remediate as soon as any erosion is evident.

                                                                                                                                                                Additional mitigation - ideally minimise the number of sample sites to reduce total
                                                                                                                                                                footprint. This will only be determined once the pitting has started.
                                                                                                                                                                1. Minimise footprint of activities through planning and control.
                                                                                                                                                                2. Rehabilitation methodology to be documented in EM Plan.
                                                                                                                                                                3. Stockpiling of topsoil or overburden directly on vegetation and topsoil will be eliminated
                                                                                                                                                                through, for example, temporary storage on a tarpaulin.
                                                                                                                                                                4. Samples from pits not to be stacked on vegetation but to be removed directly.
                            Any disturbances to          Disruption of existing indigenous plant communities
                                                                                                                                                                5. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
                            indigenous vegetation        & ecosystem integrity (biodiversity) and decline in
                                                                                                                                                                rehabilitation measures, as required to accelerate restoration of natural fire climax
Mechanised Pitting (Paeroa) which leads to the opening   pops of threatened or protected plant species;
                                                                                                                  5      3         8        9         72        communities, for 10 years or until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME,
  Indigenous vegetation     of niches that can act as    increased fuel load to increase fire hazard;
                                                                                                                                                                whichever comes first.
                            nuclei from where invasive   increased water usage; decreased productivity
                                                                                                                                                                6. Take measures as advised by botanist to speed succession, e.g. slashing of pioneer
                            species can spread           (natural food value);
                                                                                                                                                                species once a year to promote growth of grasses where appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                Additional mitigation - ideally minimise the number of sample sites to reduce total
                                                                                                                                                                footprint. This will only be determined once the pitting has started.
                                                                                                                                                                Lastly, if the impact cannot be mitigated, sample by drilling only.




                                                                                                                             31
                                                                                                                    SEVERITY
                                       ASPECT                                                                                                       SIGNIFI-
                                                                                                                   = Duration +
        ACTIVITY                 of the activity which                                                                            SEVERITY PROBA     CANCE            Mitigation assumed at the Time of Rating or Proposed Mitigation (Italics) for
                                                                                IMPACT                                 Extent
        of concern                interacts with the                                                                                       -BILITY = Severity x                                    second rating.
                                     environment                                                                   Du-                             Probability
                                                                                                                           Extent
                                                                                                                  ration
                                                                                                                                                                  1. Minimise footprint of activities through planning and control.
                                                                                                                                                                  2. Rehabilitation methodology to be documented in EM Plan.
                                                                                                                                                                  3. Stockpiling of topsoil or overburden directly on vegetation and topsoil will be eliminated
                                                                                                                                                                  through, for example, temporary storage on a tarpaulin.
                            Clearing of indigenous                                                                                                                4. Samples from pits not to be stacked on vegetation but to be removed directly.
                            vegetation or trampling of    Decline in populations of threatened or protected                                                       5. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
                            indigenous vegetation or      species in threatened grassland and disruption of                                                       rehabilitation measures, as required to accelerate restoration of natural fire climax
Mechanised Pitting (Paeroa)
                            stockpiling of                plant community & ecosystem integrity; loss of land       5      3         8        9         72        communities, for 10 years or until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME,
  Indigenous vegetation
                            soil/vegetation and           with conservation potential.                                                                            whichever comes first.
                            disruption of natural                                                                                                                 6. Take measures as advised by botanist to speed succession, e.g. slashing of pioneer
                            topsoil boundary                                                                                                                      species once a year to promote growth of grasses where appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                  Additional mitigation - ideally minimise the number of sample sites to reduce total
                                                                                                                                                                  footprint. This will only be determined once the pitting has started.
                                                                                                                                                                  Lastly, if the impact cannot be mitigated, sample by drilling only.
                                                                                                                                                                  1. Store topsoil covered and on tarpaulin on upslope side of drill site to divert rainwater
                                                                                                                                                                  around site.
                                                                                                                                                                  2. On steep slopes, use shade net and droppers to construct anti-erosion barriers on the
                                                                                                                                                                  down slope side of the pit.
                                                        Potential for erosion, siltation of water bodies(with                                                     3. Rehabilitate as per procedure including measures to dissipate energy of run-off water
                            Potential lack of adequate resulting aquatic biodiversity disruptive impact,                                                          before it reaches the surrounding areas.
Mechanised Pitting (Paeroa)
                            control of storm water run- unsightly scar on the landscape; difficulty in rehab if     5      5        10        8         80        4. Backfill all excavations, ending with original material and topsoil.
  Indigenous vegetation
                            off at pit site.            on steep gradients.                                                                                       5. Use non-climax vegetation to bind soil;
                                                        Loss of land with conservation potential.                                                                 6. Monitor and remediate as soon as any erosion is evident.

                                                                                                                                                                  Additional mitigation - ideally minimise the number of sample sites to reduce total
                                                                                                                                                                  footprint. This will only be determined once the pitting has started.
                                                                                                                                                                  Lastly, if the impact cannot be mitigated, sample by drilling only.
                            Any disturbances to           Disruption of existing indigenous plant communities
                            vegetation which leads to     & ecosystem integrity (biodiversity) and decline in
                                                                                                                                                                  1. Rehabilitation methodology to be documented in EM Plan.
Mechanised Pitting (Paeroa) the opening of niches that    pops of threatened or protected plant species;
                                                                                                                    2      3         5        1         5         2. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
        Plantation          can act as nuclei from        increased fuel load to increase fire hazard;
                                                                                                                                                                  rehabilitation measures, until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME.
                            where invasive species        increased water useage; decreased productivity
                            can spread                    (natural food value); Limitation of future land use.
                            Clearing of vegetation or
                            trampling of vegetation or
                                                          Decline in populations of threatened or protected                                                       1. Rehabilitation methodology to be documented in EM Plan.
Mechanised Pitting (Paeroa) stockpiling of
                                                          species in threatened grassland and disruption of         1      1         2        1         2         2. Monitoring will continue after implementing rehabilitaton measures until closure of the
        Plantation          soil/vegetation and
                                                          plant community & ecosystem integrity                                                                   prospecting right is obtained from DME.
                            disruption of natural
                            topsoil boundary




                                                                                                                               32
                                                                                                                        SEVERITY
                                       ASPECT                                                                                                           SIGNIFI-
                                                                                                                       = Duration +
        ACTIVITY                 of the activity which                                                                                SEVERITY PROBA     CANCE           Mitigation assumed at the Time of Rating or Proposed Mitigation (Italics) for
                                                                                    IMPACT                                 Extent
        of concern                interacts with the                                                                                           -BILITY = Severity x                                   second rating.
                                     environment                                                                       Du-                             Probability
                                                                                                                               Extent
                                                                                                                      ration
                                                                                                                                                                      1. Store and cover topsoil on upslope side of drill site to divert rainwater around site.
                                                        Potential for erosion, siltation of water bodies(with
                            Potential lack of adequate                                                                                                                2. Rehabilitate as per procedure to dissipate energy of run-off water before it reaches the
Mechanised Pitting (Paeroa)                             resulting aquatic biodiversity disruptive impact,
                            control of storm water run-                                                                 3      5         8        5         40        surrounding areas. Silt traps to be implemented en route to wetlands.
        Plantation                                      unsightly scar on the landscape; difficulty in rehab if
                            off at pit site.                                                                                                                          3. Use non-climax vegetation to bind soil;
                                                        on steep gradients. Limitation of future land use.
                                                                                                                                                                      4. Monitor and remediate as soon as any erosion is evident.
                                                                                                                                                                      1. Rehabilitate in conjunction with erosion control procedure.
                                                                                                                                                                      2. On moderate slopes, rehabilitate the soil profile; on steeper slopes, simulate post
                                                                                                                                                                      landslip or scree colonization.
                                                                                                                                                                      2. Use non-climax vegetation to bind soil;
                                                             Soil profile irreversibly disturbed. All present plant                                                   3. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
   Small diameter drilling     Levelling of drill site and   communities of threatened vegetation types lost                                                          rehabilitaton measures, as required to accelerate restoration of natural fire climax
                                                                                                                        5      3         8       10         80
  (Indigenous vegetation)      access on steep slopes.       (including threatened species). Long distance                                                            communities, for 10 years or until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME
                                                             visible scar on mountainside.                                                                            which ever comes first.
                                                                                                                                                                      4. Take measures as advised by botanist to speed succession, e.g. slashing of pioneer
                                                                                                                                                                      species once a year to promote growth of grasses, where appropriate.
                                                                                                                                                                      5. Raise a platform or series of platforms rather than cutting into the mountainside.
                                                                                                                                                                      6. Alternately restrict to activities that do not have this impact.
 Small diameter drilling (in   Levelling of drill site and
                                                             Soil profile irreversibly disturbed.                       1      3         4       10         40
   plantation - Paeroa)        access on steep slopes.
                                                                                                                                                                      1. Minimise footprint of activities through planning and control
                                                                                                                                                                      2. Depending on geological situation it may be possible to reduce the number of drill sites
                               Any disturbances to           Disruption of existing indigenous plant communities                                                      by using a number of inclined holes from one site.
                               indigenous vegetation         & ecosystem integrity (biodiversity) and decline in                                                      3. Rehabilitation methodology to be documented in EM Plan.
                               which leads to the opening    populations of threatened or protected plant                                                             4. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
   Small diameter drilling                                                                                              4      3         7        5         35
                               of niches that can act as     species; increased fuel load to increase fire hazard;                                                    rehabilitaton measures, as required to accelerate restoration of natural fire climax
                               nuclei from where invasive    increased water useage; decreased productivity                                                           communities, for 10 years or until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME
                               species can spread            (natural food value);                                                                                    which ever comes first.
                                                                                                                                                                      5. Take measures as advised by botanist to speed succession, e.g. slashing of pioneer
                                                                                                                                                                      species once a year to promote growth of grasses, where appropriate.
                                                                                                                                                                      1. Minimise footprint of activities through planning and control, using a modular, portable
                                                                                                                                                                      rig.
                               Clearing of indigenous                                                                                                                 2. Depending on geological situation it may be possible to reduce the number of drill sites
                               vegetation or trampling of                                                                                                             e.g. by using a few inclined holes from one site
                               indigenous vegetation or Decline in populations of threatened or protected                                                             3. Rehabilitation methodology to be documented in EM Plan.
   Small diameter drilling     stockpiling of             species in threatened grassland and disruption of             5      3         8        4         32        4. Monitoring as well as invasive species eradication will continue after implementing
                               soil/vegetation and        plant community & ecosystem integrity                                                                       rehabilitaton measures, as required to accelerate restoration of natural fire climax
                               disruption of natural                                                                                                                  communities, for 10 years or until closure of the prospecting right is obtained from DME
                               topsoil boundary                                                                                                                       which ever comes first.
                                                                                                                                                                      5. Take measures as advised by botanist to speed succession, e.g. slashing of pioneer
                                                                                                                                                                      species once a year to promote growth of grasses, where appropriate.




                                                                                                                                   33
                                                                                                                         SEVERITY
                                         ASPECT                                                                                                          SIGNIFI-
                                                                                                                        = Duration +
         ACTIVITY                  of the activity which                                                                               SEVERITY PROBA     CANCE           Mitigation assumed at the Time of Rating or Proposed Mitigation (Italics) for
                                                                                    IMPACT                                  Extent
         of concern                 interacts with the                                                                                          -BILITY = Severity x                                   second rating.
                                       environment                                                                      Du-                             Probability
                                                                                                                                Extent
                                                                                                                       ration
                                                                                                                                                                       1. Depending on geological situation it may be possible to reduce the number of drill sites
                                                                                                                                                                       e.g. by using a few inclined holes from one site.
                                                             Potential for erosion, siltation of water bodies(with                                                     2. Store and cover topsoil on a tarpaulin on upslope side of drill site to divert rainwater
                                 Potential lack of adequate
                                                             resulting aquatic biodiversity disruptive impact,                                                         around site.
    Small diameter drilling      control of storm water run-                                                             5      5        10        4         40
                                                             unsightly scar on the landscape; difficulty in rehab if                                                   3. Rehabilitate as per procedure including dissipating energy of run-off water before it
                                 off at drill site
                                                             on steep gradients.                                                                                       reaches the surrounding areas.
                                                                                                                                                                       4. Use vegetation to bind soil;
                                                                                                                                                                       5. Monitor and remediate as soon as any erosion is evident.
                                                                                                                                                                       1. Plan pathway with assistance of botanist so as to avoid threatened populations and
                                                                                                                                                                       rehab. specialist.
                                 Transporting drill rig by
                                                              Decline in populations of threatened or protected                                                        2. Ensure that all persons stick to the demarcated path at all times and thus limit the
Small diameter drilling          carrying in, resulting in
                                                              plant species and disruption of plant communities          5      2         7        7         49        trampling impact.
(Paardevlei)                     well worn, demarcated
                                                              and ecosystem integrity.                                                                                 3. Rehabilitate appropriately as soon as rig is moved out of area; cordon off path to
                                 path;
                                                                                                                                                                       prevent use whilst rehabilitation takes place; monitor for invasive species and slash to
                                                                                                                                                                       accelerate restoration of natural fire climax communities.;
                                                           The cumulative impact of several prospecting
                                                           projects of this nature can be expected to be
                                                           significant, extrapolating from impacts associated
                                                           with this project. Once a threshold is reached, the
  Approval of the Ndowana                                  approval of the Ndowana project will be seen as
  project as a precedent for                               the cause of the trend to allow similar projects in
                                                                                                                                                                       1. DME & Conservation authority to set a clear threshold for the amount and type of
more prospecting in future: In   Disturbance of vegetation the Wolkberg area.
                                                                                                                                                                       prospecting to be allowed, if any, in the Wolkberg-Woodbush area in unproclaimed areas
particular as a precedent for    or soil (Visually altered Cumulative degradation of natural environment in
                                                                                                                                                                       with conservation potential .
      allowing Drilling or       structure and texture)    the Woodbush & Wolkberg area, including threat to             5      3         8        8         64
                                                                                                                                                                       Comment: Although vegetation is already somewhat transformed by invasions of alien
 Mechanised pitting in other     particularly on steep     biodiversity and cultural ecosystem services
                                                                                                                                                                       plants, this is not a mitigating factor, as it is manageable, and at this stage is better
   non-protected areas of        slopes.                   (Aesthetic value; Sense of pristine landscape;
                                                                                                                                                                       interpreted as an aggravating effect, i.e. adding to the cumulative impact.
indigenous vegetation in the                               Spiritual value; Sense of place). Scale varies from
Woodbush & Wolkberg area.                                  local to international (tourism).
                                                           Stakeholders place a high value on natural
                                                           landscapes, particularly as the last generation was
                                                           responsible for so little remaining of the Woodbush
                                                           Granite grasslands.




                                                                                                                                    34
5 Conclusions and recommendations

Given the vulnerable and critically endangered status of the grassland units,
the confirmed occurrence of at least three plant species threatened with
extinction in the upper site (mainly on Paardevlei), and the high number (69 or
more) of other important species that are likely to occur on the sites, I
conclude that we are dealing with a very sensitive habitat. As vegetation
forms habitat for other life forms, I must assume that the total spectrum of
biodiversity in units 7–10 (upper site) is sensitive from several perspectives.

   Figure 10: Looking southeast onto the ridge on the upper site, as seen from near the
   northwest corner of Paardevlei (portion 1), across the saddle formed by the lineament
   (unit 8). The dominant small tree is Protea rubropilosa.




                                            35
Units 5 & 8 are steep slopes visible from a long distance, and are thus
sensitive from a cultural perspective on vegetation and landscape (Fig. 11).

      Figure 11: The steep slopes of transitional grassland (unit 5) are vulnerable to
      scarring that will be visible from afar.




Most of the envisaged prospecting activities in these units, though local,
will no doubt have some long term, irreversible and cumulative impacts
on this biodiversity. I recommend that these units are avoided i.t.o.
prospecting activities rated as having a significant impact, and brought to the
attention of the provincial conservation authority for appropriate conservation
planning and management.

The landowner should be trained in future duty of care of the environment,
including the control of alien plant invasions.

An Environmental Control Officer should be appointed for the duration of the
project.


References:

Davis, S.D., Heywood, V.H. & Hamilton, A.C. (eds) 1994. Centres of plant
       diversity. A guide and strategy for their conservation. Vol. 1: Europe,
       Africa, South West Asia and the Middle East. IUCN Publications Unit,
       Cambridge, U.K.
Edwards, D. 1983. A broad-scale structural classification of vegetation for
       practical purposes. Bothalia 14: 705-712.



                                            36
Hilton-Taylor, C. 1996. Strelitzia 4: Red Data List of southern African plants.
        National Botanical Institute. Pretoria
Hilton-Taylor, C. 1997. Red Data List of southern African plants. 2.
        Corrections and additions. Bothalia 27: 195-205.
Mucina, L. et al. 2006. Grassland biome. In L. Mucina & M.C. Rutherford (eds)
        Strelitzia 19: The vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.
        South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.
Mucina, L. & Geldenhuys, C.J. 2006. Afrotemperate, subtropical and azonal
        forests. In L. Mucina & M.C. Rutherford (eds) Strelitzia 19: The
        vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. South African
        National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.
Mucina, L, & Rutherford, M.C. (eds) Strelitzia 19: The vegetation of South
        Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. South African National Biodiversity
        Institute, Pretoria.
Van Wyk, A.E. & Smith, G.F. 2001. Region of floristic endemism in southern
        Africa. Umdaus Press, Hatfield.
Victor, J.E. 2002. South Africa. In J.S. Golding (ed.) Southern African Plant
        Red Data Lists. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report
        No. 14: 93-120. SABONET, Pretoria.
White, F. 1983. The vegetation of Africa: a descriptive memoir to accompany
        the Unesco/Aetfat/UNSO vegetation map of Africa. Natural Resources
        Research XX. Unesco. Paris.




                                      37
APPENDIX 1


Table 1 Plants that had been identified as relevant for the Wolkberg-Woodbush area, but are
not thought to occur on this particular study area. The likelihood of each occuring on the
Paeroa-Colberg-Paardevlei(1) study area is assessed where possible. This data has bearing
on the Paeroa-Colberg-Paardevlei(1) study area only, and will not be appropriate for any
other site.


Species                             National          Interim (2008) National   Comments
                                    Conservation      Conservation status       (may include my own estimate
                                    Status (Hilton-                             of conservation status)
                                    Taylor 1996)
EXTINCT IN THE WILD:
Encephalartos nubimontanus                            EW                        Only known in cultivation. Highly
                                                                                unlikely here.
   CRITICALLY ENDANGERED:
Encephalartos dolomiticus                             CR, C1                    Known to occur on Paardevlei,
                                                                                but presumed to be restricted to
                                                                                dolomite.
Encephalartos laevifolius                             CR, A2acde                Highly unlikely here
ENDANGERED:
Brachystelma gerrardii                                EN, C2; A1                Seen on dolomites nearby but
                                                                                presumed to only occur there in
                                                                                this case.
Encephalartos eugene-maraisii       E                 EN, C1                    Not known from here. Perhaps
                                                                                refers to E. dolomiticus.
VULNERABLE:
Barleria dolomiticola                                 VU, D1                    Presumed to be restricted to
                                                                                dolomite.
Dioscorea sylvatica var. brevipes                     VU, A2cd                  D. sylvatica is VU, A2cd, thus this
(glaucous form; previously D.                         (status for all 5         entity known from dolomite &
sylvatica subsp. lydenbergensis                       varieties combined at     gabbro-norite may have a higher
Blunden, Hardman & Hind)                              species level)            status. It is not expected on
                                                                                quartzite.
DATA DEFICIENT:
Aloe vryheidensis                                     DD, T                     Only on dolomite in this area.
(incl. A. dolomitica)
NEAR THREATENED:
Disa extinctoria                    R                 NT, B1ab(iii,iv,v)        Wide but sporadic distribution at
                                                                                lower altitudes (1 000–1 300 m).
OTHER:
Aloe thompsoniae                    EN                ?                         Not known from W of the
                                                                                Mohlapitse Valley. VU to LC
Anacampseros bremekampi (=Avonia    V                 ?                         Widespread but inconspicuous at
rhodesica)                                                                      lower altitudes (500–1 600 m).
                                                                                occurs in shallow gravel overlying
                                                                                rock sheets.
Brachystelma minor                  LC                LC, Rare                  Endemic to dolomite outcrops in
                                                                                the Wolkberg centre of endemism
Chlorophytum cyperaceum             K                 ?                         Waterberg to Mpumalanga, at
                                                                                lower altitudes (760–1 500 m).
Combretum petrophilum               R                 LC, Rare                  Highly unlikely, prefers dry
                                                                                slopes.
Cyrtanthus huttonii                                   ?                         Cliffs here are not moist enough.
Cyrtanthus thorncroftii             R                 ?                         Only on dolomite in the Wolkberg
                                                                                part of its distribution.



                                                 38
Species                                     National          Interim (2008) National   Comments
                                            Conservation      Conservation status       (may include my own estimate
                                            Status (Hilton-                             of conservation status)
                                            Taylor 1996)
Delosperma dolomitica                                         ?                         Dolomite only
Delosperma sp. aff. cooperi                                   ?                         Dolomite only, wider flowers than
                                                                                        D. dolomitica.
Dicliptera fionae                           K                 LC, Rare-critically       Only on dolomite
Dyschoriste sp. nov. aff.                                     ?                         Only on dolomite
Chaetacanthus persoonii
Eriosema transvaalense                      I                 ?                         Not taxonomically delimited
                                                                                        enough to warrant attention.
Euclea sp. nov.                                               ?                         Dolomite only
Eucomis sp.                                                   ?                         Seen on dolomite on La Fleur;
                                                                                        was thought to differ from E.
                                                                                        autumnalis. Not expected here.
Euphorbia restricta                         R                 LC, Rare-sparse           Dolomite or amphibolite only;
                                                                                        lower and drier habitat than here.
Euphorbia sp. nov., aff. E. striata or E.                     ?                         Known from Lekgalameetse
guenzii                                                                                 Nature reserve. Perhaps a
                                                                                        dolomite form of E. striata, but
                                                                                        requires research. There is no
                                                                                        reason to expect it on quartzite.
Euphorbia sp. nov. aff. E. schinzii                           ?                         Endemic to dry areas E of
                                                                                        Polokwane; Flowers in summer.
Euphorbia sp. nov. aff. E.                                    ?                         Only on dolomite or at lower
‘steelpoortensis ms’                                                                    altitudes.
Faurea macnaughtonii                        R                 ?                         Lower altitude; probably different
                                                                                        forest types
Gymnosporia sp. nov.                                          ?                         Endemic to 2429BB grid, but
                                                                                        dolomite only
Justicia sp. aff. J. striata / schimperi                      ?                         Only on dolomite
Lotononis anthyllopsis                      R                 ?                         Not expected outside
                                                                                        Namaqualand. This record
                                                                                        represents either an error in the
                                                                                        PRECIS database, or an
                                                                                        undescribed sp. probably
                                                                                        restricted to this area.
Melhania integra                            K                 ?                         Only on dolomite
Ocimum dolomiticum (=Becium                                   ?                         Only on dolomite
citriodorum)
Orbea hardyi                                V                 LC, Rare-sparse           Lower altitude woodland, drier
                                                                                        than here.
Ozoroa albicans                             K                 ?                         Sekhukhuneland near endemic
Pearsonia callistoma                                          ?                         Only on dolomite
Ruellia sp. nov.                                              ?                         Only on dolomite
Salvia dolomitica                           K                 ?                         Only on dolomite or calcrete
Senecio sp. aff. S. barbertonicus                             ?                         Endemic to the Wolkberg –
                                                                                        Makapans – Sekhukhuneland
                                                                                        area, but in drier areas usually on
                                                                                        dolomite, calcrete, or gabbro-
                                                                                        norite.
Thesium davidsoniae                         LRnt              ?                         Only on dolomite
Thesium densum                                                ?                         Recorded from lower altitudes
                                                                                        (1 200–1 400 m)
Thesium resinifolium                                          ?                         Recorded from lower altitudes
                                                                                        (1 000–1 300 m)




                                                         39
Table 2 Plants that were considered due to previous redlisting or endemic status, but were
assessed in this study (personal opinion) as not threatened, and are relegated to the least
concern category (LC). This data has bearing on the Paeroa-Colberg-Paardevlei(1) study
area only, and will not be appropriate for any other site.
Species                            National               Interim (2008)   Comments
(Those already confirmed on site   Conservation           National
are in bold)                       Status (Hilton-        Conservation
                                   Taylor 1996)           status
Khadia media                                              ?                Endemic to the Woodbush –Strydpoort area
Ochna confusa                                             ?                Widespread up to Tanzania and Zambia.
Phymaspermum argenteum             K                      ?                Seen in units 2 & 5
Searsia pondoensis                 K                      ?                Widespread though sporadic occurrence.
(=Rhus pondoensis)                                                         Seen in units 5 & 9.




Phymaspermum argenteum




                                                     40

				
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