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Welcome Olli Hyvärinen

29 Sep 2017 - 11:45

The Plant Conservation Unit would like to give a warm welcome to Olli Hyvärinen who has recently joined us as an MSc Candidate in conservation biology under the supervision of Prof. M. Timm Hoffman and co-supervision of Dr Chevonne Reynolds (The Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology). Olli's research will focus on monitoring long-term vegetation change in the Asante Sana Game Reserve, Eastern Cape between 1984 and 2017.

Olli graduated from Leiden University College in the Netherlands in 2016, where he studied global challenges with a special focus on Sustainability. He did his bachelor thesis on Scottish red deer management and the potential impacts of grey wolf reintroduction on the local red deer population. Olli then worked in salmon conservation research in northern Finland, where they compared the impact of enriched rearing to standard rearing on salmon parr after release in nature. He also participated in a biogas research project at the Natural Resource Institute Finland, where they studied biomethane production and its utilization by small scale Finnish farmers. Olli also worked as a mentor on a youth camp in Russia and Finland, and volunteered in an animal sanctuary in the Netherlands.

Olli's broad research interests lie in conservation and resource management, where he is particularly interested in complex systems and social-ecological relationships, and how they influence conservation at both global and local scales. For his MSc research project, Olli will be working in Asante Sana Game Reserve near Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape. The area was formerly heavily stocked with livestock until 1995, after which it was transformed into a game farm with various wild grazers and browsers. Due to degradation of the veld from past land use activities, bush encroachment has increased in the area. Olli plans to assess the extent and variation of encroachment and to better understand the drivers of change over space and time, through various methods. He will also explore spatial and temporal trends in overall vegetation productivity in the area. This he will accomplish by using remotely sensed vegetation indices. One of the outcomes of the project would be to assist Asante Sana with a management strategy of the veld going forward.

Welcome Olli!