The ecological evaluation of a property involves an analysis of the physical environment such as the climate, geology, soils, topography and drainage, and the biodiversity of the area.
The approach is to use aerial photographs to divide the property into areas or habitats that are similar in terms of the terrain and vegetation. Field surveys of the habitats are done and a vegetation map produced. Lists of the plant species are then compiled including the rare and protected plant species.
The grass species of each habitat type are surveyed and the condition of the veld determined. The approximate grazing capacity of each habitat type can then be calculated by using the rainfall, grass species composition and veld condition information. The browsing capacity can also be estimated based on the tree and shrub composition and structure. The grass biomass is measured to determine the grazing capacity as well as the amount of biomass for a fire program.
The introduction of suitable wildlife for the area is recommended based on habitat suitability, diet preferences, terrain, veld condition and grazing and browsing capacity. Intensive wildlife production of rare wildlife is addressed. The impact of elephants on the vegetation and the suitability of the area for the introduction of predators such as lion and cheetah may be addressed.
Management aspects such as fences, roads, waterpoint distribution, bush encroachment and bush control, fire, rehabilitation of degraded areas and alien plant control are addressed.
The sensitivity of the different habitats to impacts associated with development is determined and mitigation measures proposed.
The monitoring of the biodiversity on the property is addressed by locating monitoring sites and recommending monitoring methods.