HABITAT AND WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT PLANNING

Conservation Management Services

Habitat & wildlife management planning

- Evaluation of resources
- Preparation of management plans
- Implementation guidelines
- Habitat monitoring
- Invasive plant management

We specialise in the preparation of management guideline documents and environmental management plans for game ranches, nature reserves and other areas of natural habitat.

This planning involves the determination of the natural resources of the sites, the evaluation of habitat condition, the preparation of guidelines for the long-term management and conservation of the area and the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the site after implementation of the guidelines.

Our guideline documents are practical and typically include many of the following aspects:

  • Habitat evaluation, vegetation maps and plant checklists.
  • Evaluations of overgrazing, overbrowsing and soil erosion.
  • The determination of suitable wildlife (game) species that are an ecological match for the available habitats.
  • The estimation of a stocking rate and species mix that can be sustainably supported by the available habitats.
  • Ecologically sensitive guidelines for water provision, parasite control, problem predator control and supplementary feeding.
  • Designs for fencing, water provision, animal holding facilities, road building and maintenance and eco-tourism facilities.
  • Guidelines for habitat rehabilitation and the control of alien plant infestations.
 
  • Guidelines for game census and habitat condition monitoring.
  • Guidelines for sensitive ecotourism management.
  • The establishment of a long term habitat monitoring system.

Our guideline documents are detailed, but practical. They are liberally illustrated with maps, photographs and diagrams that illustrate each and every evaluation and prescription given. All of the content is based on our considerable experience with the development of a number of nature reserves and game ranches.

The evaluations and prescriptions of our guidelines are based on detailed fieldwork during which we endeavour to evaluate and record the characteristics and conditions in every habitat and landscape type, most of which is carried out on foot.

We offer alien invasive plant management solutions for properties that have a legal obligation to remove alien plants in line with NEM:BA and CARA legislation as well as to improve the biodiversity and viability of property. We advocate a cost-effective and integrated approach by means of the following methodology: mechanical, chemical, biological as well as an integrated combination of these methods, depending on the landowner’s objective. Much of the alien control by-product can be recycled into further rehabilitation efforts on the property.

Invasive plant management and removal
Invasive plant management and removal
Aerial views of alien tree clearing projects undertaken

LANDSCAPE REHABILITATION

Conservation Management Services

Landscape rehabilitation

- Evaluation of the degradation
- Treatment design
- Implementation & maintenance
- Soil erosion control
- Restoration & rehabilitation

The control of soil erosion as a first step to landscape rehabilitation is a particular speciality which lies very close to our hearts. We also concern ourselves with the increasingly poor and eroded condition of roads in the veld.

We have been involved in trial and error soil erosion control efforts for almost 30 years and have built up a considerable expertise and “feel” for the rehabilitation of degraded habitats.

Our objective is to provide landowners with practical and affordable methodology which has its foundation in the elimination of the cause of the degradation before any attempt is made to rehabilitate the degraded sites. Our methods can be implemented using unskilled labour and we make extensive use of biodegradable materials and recycled old fencing materials.

Our particular approach is to create the favourable conditions that the natural vegetation of the area needs to regain its former protective cover.

This we achieve by retarding the loss of rainfall runoff, capturing this runoff and increasing water infiltration into the soil. We pay particular attention to the re-establishment of a protective soil mulch (litter) cover and the rehydration of the aridified soil.

We advocate the use of locally indigenous plants for revegetation of the rehabilitation project areas and pay particular attention to the restoration of the soil micro-organisms that are necessary for soil health and plant wellbeing.

We also offer the services of a fully supervised and trained team of workers that have been employed to implement our rehabilitation methods. Thus far, our team has completed numerous projects in degraded parts of the Little and Great Karoo, working for the Ostrich Business Chamber, Wilderness Foundation South Africa, the Endangered Wildlife Trust and various private landowners.

With our hands-on approach and our trained worker team, we have been able to do on-the-job training for a number of unemployed people with the view to establishing them as a self-employed rehabilitation business. This is, however, a long term objective.

We also offer soil erosion control and veld rehabilitation training and workshops, with specific emphasis on practical, hands-on methods that have been tested and proven successful. Our vast practical knowledge and experience in combating soil erosion in various biomes enable us to provide area specific solutions and support services.

 

We have also been intimately involved with the implementation of the SANParks Working on Land Project and are responsible for the infield erosion control training of all the staff, contractors and labourers employed in the project within the Eastern, Western and Northern Cape. We also offer and undertake annual audits of erosion control and rehabilitation projects to assess the level of success or failure and provide alternative solutions, corrective steps or follow-up training where necessary.

Soil erosion control
Before Treatment
Soil erosion control
After Treatment

By means of our associates, we are able to provide the harvested seed of locally indigenous plants as well as nursery-grown plants for rehabilitation projects. (See Associates – Renu Karoo).

We believe that restoration is a complex process that requires an integrated approach in most cases. CMS has extensive experience using cost-effective, innovative and practical techniques that yield significant results. One restoration intervention that has multiple benefits involves the planting of Spekboom Portulacaria afra which not only has an important restoration effect but also yields significant carbon sequestration potential and is attractively marketable on the newly-established carbon market. In addition, it is easily propagated from cuttings, requires little water, is known as an ecosystem engineer and is highly palatable for browsers once restored.

Restoration project Restoration project
Restoration project Restoration project

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT

Conservation Management Services

Wildlife management

- Sourcing of animals
- Application for permits
- Supervise capture, transport, release
- Provide infrastructure
- Intensive Breeding Projects

The recent boom in the game industry, the high risk and large capital investment involved with game introductions and general wildlife management has seen a considerable increase in the demand for specialized wildlife services and technical supervision. This has created an opportunity for our services to be incorporated not only in the reserve or game farm design and planning phase but right through to the practical implementation phase of the wildlife management programme.

We have over the last 13 years worked very closely with the conservation authorities in the Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free-State. We have an intimate knowledge of the various translocation policies, permit systems and regulations applicable to the game industry in all the providences mentioned. As a result of our continuous involvement within the wildlife industry, we have developed a reliable network of game capture outfitters, helicopter pilots, veterinarians and wildlife brokers that can be called upon to assist with any wildlife related challenge and to cater for a client’s specific needs.

We offer the following services to developing game and nature reserves, intensive and semi-intensive breeding operations, conservancies and government institutions:

Permits

• Application for permits in all the relevant provinces.

• Permit applications include import/export permits, TOPS permits, dangerous game applications, and extralimital applications.

Sourcing of animals.

• We source suitable game, adapted for specific habitat and veld types and specialize in the Free-State and the area south of the Orange River.

• Our service also includes the sourcing of specific breeding animals for intensive and semi-intensive breeding operations and trophy hunting farms.

Supervision of the capture process, transport and release of animals.

• Here our main objective is to safeguard the interest of our client during the wildlife translocation process.

 

• We determine the species and number of animals to be captured, we appoint the capture outfitter, manage the capture process, supervise the transport of the animals and obtain short term insurance where required and finally we deliver the animals to the satisfaction of the client.

Infrastructure

• We provide wildlife infrastructure, services and related products.

• We also supply wildlife related products such as customized game pellets, telemetry equipment and collars, dip applicators and feeding troughs.

Implementation

• We can assist all landowners with the practical implementation of their wildlife management programme.

• We offer the services of a fully supervised and trained team of workers that can build automated electric gates, bomas, fence-off game camps, construct wildlife friendly waterholes and dismantle internal fences.

Our extensive experience with developing nature and game reserves, introducing game and managing wildlife on a day to day basis ensures that our clients are guaranteed positive results and excellent service.

Intensive Breeding Projects

• We can assist a landowner to assess and determine their property’s potential for an intensive breeding project and earmark suitable and compatible species.

• We can design and implement the necessary infrastructure, camps, holding pens and loading facilities.

• Suitable species can be sourced and procured on behalf of the client and the translocation of these animals can also be personally supervised to safeguard the interest of our client.

• We assist with all aspects of the day to day management of intensive breeding programmes and provide a personal and telephonic support service to minimize risk and to ensure a speedy solution to a problem.

Intensive breeding projects Intensive breeding projects

SURVEYS, INVENTORIES AND EVALUATIONS

Conservation Management Services

Inventories, surveys, evaluations

- Botanical & habitat sensitivity
  analysis
- Fauna census & inventory
- Habitat condition analysis

We function as vegetation and fauna specialists for environmental impact assessments and other environmental sensitivity evaluations. This speciality includes the determination of the importance of the landscape connectivity (corridors) requirements of the sites assessed.

We have a good working knowledge of the vegetation and fauna of most natural environments in the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and the Free State and by our association with other specialists; we are able to complete fauna and vegetation inventories and impact assessments, to the required standards of the industry, in almost any Southern African environment.

To date, we have successfully completed biodiversity impact reports for a wide variety of development proposals including golf courses, residential developments, wind power generation projects, holiday resorts and infrastructural developments like pipelines, dams and roads.

 

We have successfully completed more than 200 biodiversity impact assessments, surveys and inventories.

In addition to biodiversity survey and impact assessment work, we also offer a habitat monitoring service.

This is particularly valuable to game ranchers who need to regularly evaluate the impact of their game on the habitat and particularly, the grazing and browsing resource.

We use practical techniques that are simple to evaluate once a long-term monitoring system is established. Our methods include fixed-point photography, veld condition assessment transects, exclosures and landscape function analysis (LFA).

We frequently carry out wildlife census surveys, using transect, known group and aerial survey techniques and we have been involved in the aerial evaluation of extensive areas of natural habitat as a preparation for game ranch development.

We offer a field auditing service for the evaluation of the progress made with the formal management plans of protected areas.

The same auditing service is useful for landowners to help them determine what their conservation management or production shortcomings may be on the protected area or game ranch.

TRAINING

Through our multi-skilled consultancy team with a blend of ability in strategic planning, academia and practical implementation, we offer hands on practical environmental training to our clients who primarily consist of game ranch managers and staff, programme and project managers, rangers, field staff and contractors as well as educational groups.

We have recently done Working for Land training for SAN Parks, Cape Nature and the Paardeberg Sustainability Initiative in addition to the agricultural sector. We are currently arranging for SETA accreditation for all of our training modules.

Over and above providing a first class service to our clients, we aim to transfer the necessary environmental skills into the conservation sector to ensure a sustainable industry and heritage for generations to come.

We offer the following types of environmental training and can customise training to suit our clients’ requirements:

 
  • Erosion control and land rehabilitation training
  • Spekboom restoration
  • Game- and predator-proof fence construction and maintenance
  • Alien invasive plant density evaluation, contract generation, methodology selection and implementation and post-clearing rehabilitation
  • Wetlands identification and classification
  • Monitoring: Vegetation surveys, Landscape Function Analysis, Fixed Point photography
  • Field Ranger training in the ecological and supervisory aspects of Game Ranch or Conservation Area management
  • Basic management planning and the establishement of Annual Plans of Operation based on the management plans

WETLAND IDENTIFICATION AND CLASSIFICATION

WETLAND IDENTIFICATION AND CLASSIFICATION

Wetlands are of critical importance to micro- and macro-ecosystem functionality and are often used as indicators of system health. Conservation Management Services specializes in the identification and classification of wetlands in accordance with SANBI Biodiversity Series 22: Classification Systems for Wetlands and other Aquatic Ecosystems in South Africa.

 

Our methodology includes the following key areas:

  • Desktop mapping and digitizing of wetlands
    Delineation of wetlands through a rapid and remote assessment, making use of the most recent satellite imagery to pinpoint wetland systems.
  • Infield verification of size and scale
    Field assessments are undertaken in the required area to ground truth the digital information and assist in pinpointing additional wetland areas.
  • Infield identification and classification
    Once wetlands have been located, they are systematically identified and classified in accordance with SANBI Biodiversity Series 22: Classification Systems for Wetlands and other Aquatic Ecosystems in South Africa.
  • Wetland inventory report and GIS layer
    A final report is drafted which includes methodology, detailed data sheets aligned with the classification process, photographs taken per wetland visited and a final GIS shape file reflecting the spatial positioning and attribute data.
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