Evaluation of afforestable montane grasslands for wildlife conservation in the north-eastern Cape, South Africa
Montane grasslands in high rainfall areas of South Africa are subject to large-scale afforestation, making wildlife conservation evaluations necessary. A system which uses landscape features to predict conservation value would be beneficial. This is an initial assessment in the afforestable region of the north-eastern Cape. Sampling of grasshoppers, butterflies and birds was done along a gradient of land types. Differences in conservation value between land types and between landscape elements were demonstrated, but rankings differed according to the criterion used. High-altitude land types and low-altitude Protea savanna were most valuable for conserving endemic species. Low-altitude land types with a Molteno sandstone lithology and the high-altitude land type with a Clarens sandstone lithology had the highest conservation values for taxic richness.