TERRESTRIAL ECOLOGICAL ASSESSMENTS:

Assessment environments: Staff at STS are highly experienced in terrestrial ecological assessments, including specialist floral and faunal assessments for all taxa across the African continent. Further services offered include screening and risk assessments, Biodiversity Action Plans, Biodiversity Management Plans, Biodiversity Offset Plans, Alien and Invasive Species Management Plans, site walk-downs, terrestrial ecological monitoring and rehabilitation plans.

Assessment spheres:

 

STS has undertaken numerous terrestrial ecological assessments and over time has refined technique and presentation in such a way as to ensure the highest level of expertise which in turn leads to improved integration in the EIA process and easier decision making by both the proponent, the project professional team and the relevant decision making authorities. The following assessment spheres are highlighted with examples of prominent clients:

  • Commercial and residential development (Clients including Century Development and M&T Development).
  • Linear developments such as pipelines (Lepelle Northern Works, various mining clients) and powerlines (Private developers, mining, IPP’s and Eskom), roads (SANRAL and various mining clients).
  • Mining across all sub sectors and all regions of South Africa, Southern, East and West Africa from junior mining companies and small quarry operators, to the largest diversified mining Companies (Anglo Platinum, Assore, Sedibelo Platinum, Tshipi é Ntle Manganese Mining).
  • Industrial developments and facilities.


Reporting:
Reports generated provide both qualitative and quantitative data on the terrestrial ecology associated with each project. Staff at STS are highly competent at using the latest GIS software and presenting data in a clear yet informative manner in the form of maps and graphs. This, coupled with scientifically sound reporting, conveys results in an easy to understand manner, while complying with all relevant stakeholder requirements.

VISUAL IMPACT ASSESSMENTS:

Assessment environments: STS have developed specialised VIA techniques which combine high-resolution field data with expert GIS analysis, utilising the latest software and technology, to provide accurate and scientifically sound deliverables, which comply with all relevant national, provincial and local legal requirements.

Assessment spheres:

 

STS has undertaken numerous VIA’s and has developed unique technique and presentation methods to ensure the highest level of expertise, which in turn leads to improved integration in the EIA process and easier decision making by both the proponent, the project professional team and the relevant decision making authorities. The following assessment spheres are highlighted with examples of clients:

  • Sustainable energy developments such as Wind Energy Facilities and Solar Energy Facilities (Private developers and IPP’s).
  • Linear developments such as powerlines (Private developers, mining, IPP’s and Eskom).
  • Mining across all sub sectors and all regions of South Africa, Southern, East and West Africa from junior mining companies and small quarry operators to the biggest diversified mining companies.
  • Landfill facilities, waste facilities and waste treatment facilities (local government and private institutions).


Reporting:
VIA reporting focuses on presenting data collected and analysed utilising desktop data together with high-resolutions field data, using the latest GIS software and presenting data in a clear yet informative manner in the form of 3D models, maps and graphs. This, coupled with scientifically sound reporting, conveys results in an easy to understand manner, while complying with all relevant stakeholder requirements.

MEET OUR TEAM

Christoper Hooton

Chris obtained his National Diploma in Nature Conservation (2006-2008) and then proceeded to complete his BTech Nature Conservation degree (2011-2013), both at Tshwane University of Technology. Chris’s BTech research thesis looked at successfully calculating Spotted Hyaena population size using infrared camera traps and the capture-recapture model for population calculation.

Chris’s working career spans various departments, organizations and fields. A year was spent working for the Special Investigations Unit of the then Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment (GDACE), focusing on the enforcement of the Nature Conservation Ordinance of Gauteng, CITES and TOPS in the Gauteng and North West province. Here he focussed primarily on the control of illegal trade in endangered species, with special focus on Red Data List and CITES species and products thereof. Whilst working for GDACE Chris actively involved himself in the provincial game reserves, assisting with floral and faunal assessments.

Following his work on Spotted Hyaenas, Chris joined Scientific Aquatic Services in November 2013 as an ecologist, specialising in faunal studies.

Jaco du Plessis

Jaco du Plessis completed an undergraduate degree in Zoology and Botany. He then undertook an honours course in Zoology, where his research project involved a fish histopathology study of Clarias gariepinus (Sharptooth Catfish) in the Klipsruit River, Soweto, Johannesburg.

He has a strong background in terrestrial ecology where he trained and assessed students highlighted by the Mpumalanga department of Rural development during (2012-2014) and assisted in training of rangers for the AFRTS branch of the Southern African Wildlife College.

Jaco has been practicing as a consultant since 2016 specialising in terrestrial and aquatic impact assessments, which included a full baseline biodiversity assessment for a proposed photovoltaic plant in the Mariental region, Namibia. Jaco joined the STS team at the end of 2018.

Marelie Meintjies

Marelie completed an undergraduate degree in Biotechnology (2009-2011) at the University of Pretoria, from where she continued with her Honours degree (2012) in Medicinal Plant Science. She further obtained a Masters degree in Medicinal Plant Science from the University of Pretoria in 2014. Her Masters degree thesis comprised an in depth study on the toxic fluoride compounds associated with the Dichapetalaceae plant family, particularly the occurrence of trifluoroacetic acid identified and isolated from the species Tapura fischeri.

Upon completion of her studies at the end of 2014, she wanted to further her career and joined SAS as a Junior Field Biologist in April 2015. At SAS, she has been involved with various projects ranging from Ecological Assessments, Ecological Sensitivity Scans, Wetland Rehabilitation and Management Plans, GIS as well as the compilation of a Biodiversity Survey for the BMW Manufacturing Plant in Rosslyn, Gauteng.

Christien Steyn

Christien Steyn completed her BSc Environmental Science undergraduate degree at the University of Pretoria in 2013. She then continued her studies at the University of Pretoria the following year to complete a BSc(Hons) Plant Science degree, focusing on how plant traits were enabling alien plant species to move to higher elevations in Sani Pass, Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area, South Africa. Christien passed her BSc honours degree with distinction, for which she received Academic Honorary Colours, and was awarded the Schweickerdt medal for the best Plant Science BSc honours student of 2014. Her work on Sani Pass alien plants was published in 2016 in the Journal of Vegetation Sciences. From 2015 – 2017, Christien pursued a Master of Science degree where she assessed the invasion risk of a global pool of alien plant species to the Southern Ocean Islands – using distribution modelling approaches to predict potential future invaders to the islands. During this time, she continued her work on plant traits by partaking in two relief voyages to Marion Island in 2015 and 2016. On Marion Island she assisted with the collection and analyses of functional traits for all native and alien plants occurring on the island. To further develop her knowledge of plant traits, she participated in the second Plant Functional Traits Course (2016) held in Chengdu, China. Participants of this course conducted field work in the Hengduan Mountains.