On Monday 11 September 2017, Plant Conservation Unit (PCU) Honourary Research Associate Dr Rick Rohde attended SCOLMA’s annual conference at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh. This year’s theme was, ‘Document to Digital: how does digitisation aid African research?' Rick collaborated with Samantha Venter (rePhotoSA project coordinator) and PCU Director, Prof. Timm Hoffman to present on, ‘Repeat landscape photography, historical ecology and the wonder of digital archives’. Overall, Rick found the conference to be thought-provoking and a great success. Read the article to learn more!
In August, Plant Conservation Unit PhD student, Wesley Bell, and Timm Hoffman spent a few days in Namaqualand. Timm is contributing to an initiative by the Wilderness Foundation to develop grazing guidelines for the region and, since Wesley is conducting his PhD on Land Degradation in Namaqualand, he tagged along to learn more about how the vegetation is managed and to meet some of the people working in the region. Read the full article to learn more!
Plant Conservation Unit PhD student, Gina Arena, recently visited the Graaff-Reinet area, also known as the "Jewel of the Karoo" in the Eastern Cape to collect data for her PhD. She is assessing the long-term changes of Nama Karoo and Grasslands vegetation in the context of historical and current land use and rainfall patterns. Gina says that she learnt a lot from the landowners and shares her experience together with a brief history of Graaff-Reinet here.
The latest edition of Past Global Changes (PAGES) Magazine has now been published and is available online. This issue, edited by A/Prof. Lindsey Gillson (Plant Conservation Unit Deputy Director) and others, is titled “Sustaining Earth’s Biodiversity”, and so "highlights how the study of long-term ecosystem change can provide critical insights into the resilience of ecosystems, the restoration of disturbance regimes and the prediction of future responses to changing climate and disturbance". Congrats to Lindsey and colleagues on a successful publication.
The Plant Conservation Unit (PCU) would like to congratulate Petra Holden (PCU PhD Candidate) together with colleagues Amanda Bourne (University of Cape Town, UCT), Lorena Pasquini (UCT), Camila I Donatti (Conservation International) and Sarshen Scorgie (Conservation South Africa) who published a chapter titled, 'Strengthening the role of local authorities to support community-based adaptation: The case of South Africa' in the recently published book, 'Enhancing adaptation to climate change in developing countries through community-based adaptation'. Congrats to all involved! Read the article to learn more.
Petra Holden, PhD candidate at the Plant Conservation Unit, recently visited her study area in Groot Winterhoek to share the findings of her research with landowners living and farming in the area. Read the article to learn more about how it went and what Petra will be up to next.
On 7 and 8 August 2017, the Science Postgraduate Student's Council at the University of Cape Town held the 10th Annual Science Postgradruate Symposium, 'Science Through an African Lens'. Over 43 oral and 25 poster presentations from various departments across the Faculty of Science were presented. Three postgraduate students associated with the Plant Conservation Unit, including Tsilavo Razafimanantsoa (Poster), Estelle Razanatsoa (Oral Presentation) and Justin van Blerk (Oral Presentation) presented at the symposium. Read the article to learn more!
On Saturday (12 August 2017) rePhotoSA turned two! Read the article to learn more and click on the link (included in the article) with highlights from the past year. Happy birthday rePhotoSA!
A researcher in the Eastern Cape contacted the Plant Conservation Unit (PCU) team recently for historical images (prior to 21st century) of landscapes in three nature reserves in the Nama Karoo, including Tsolwana Nature Reserve; Commando Drift Nature Reserve; & Oviston Nature Reserve. The PCU does not have images from within the relevant reserves and so have put out a request to the public. Read the full article for more information.
The Plant Conservation Unit is pleased to announce the publication of an exciting new paper by Zander Venter, Samantha Scott, Johann Strauss, Karin Jacobs and Heidi-Jayne Hawkins in the South African Journal of Plant and Soil. The article is titled, "Increasing crop diversity increased soil microbial activity, nitrogen-sourcing and crop nitrogen, but not soil microbial diversity”. The abstract is provided but the full paper may be downloaded here.
Plant Conservation Unit (PCU) students Elelwani Nenzhelele and Liesl Eichenberger, both supervised by Simon Todd and Prof Timm Hoffman, and PCU research assistant, Yolanda Chirango, were among 800 students to graduate at the formal ceremony held in Jameson Hall on Friday evening (14 July 2017). We would like to congratulate these students on their hard work and dedication to their projects. You have all worked so hard and we wish you every success for the future. Read the article to learn more.
The Plant Conservation Unit is pleased to announce the publication of an exciting new paper by Anneli Ekblom, Lindsey Gillson and Michel Notelid in WIREs Water. The article is titled, "Water flow, ecological dynamics, and management in the lower Limpopo Valley: a long‐term view”. The abstract is provided but the full paper may be downloaded here.