PhD student

Glynis Humphrey

Thesis topic: The role of humans in the fire, climate and vegetation systems of North-east Namibia 

Supervisor: A/Prof Lindsey Gillson
Office: Room 5.12.2, HW Pearson Building
Telephone: +27 21 789 0571



Glynis’s main research interests are in fire history, ecology and people and understanding the use of interdisciplinary research in addressing savannah-woodland fire management in southern Africa. The objective of her research is to explore communication at the interface of social-ecological systems, the linkages to ecological theory and research and to understand how this influences conservation practise particularly in the field of fire management.

Her PhD, supervised by Associate Professor Lindsey Gillson, titled ‘The role of humans in the complex fire, climate and vegetation regimes of north-east Namibia’ is focused on determining the ecological and/ or social drivers of fire in the Bwabwata National Park. Glynis will use a combination of ground surveys, social surveys, satellite fire products, palaeoecological data and historical photography to elucidate the determinants of the current vegetation pattern and fire regime in the park.

She has a B.Sc (Hons) in Environmental Science from Rhodes University, and an M.Sc in Conservation Biology from the Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town, with several years of professional environmental work experience, prior to her academic training and between her M.Sc and her current research. Her interest in natural history has developed through working in different habitats and landscapes (savanna - woodlands, forest & desert) in South Africa, Peru, Botswana, Namibia and Tanzania. Professional experiences include work as a conservation ecologist, field guiding in South Africa, field research data collection and monitoring, and more recently work as an environmental consultant specializing in ecological restoration and environmental assessments in Namibia.

Her PhD research is funded by the GreenMatter Fellowship and NRF Scarce Skills Doctoral scholarships. 

Recent Peer Reviewed Publications
2016. Moore, A., Flügel, T., Hutton-Squire, T., Hutton-Squire, M., Humphrey, G.. Size distribution of Baobabs on Kubu “Island”, Sowa Pan (northern Botswana): an indicator of late-stage evolution of the Makgadikgadi palaeo-lake and climate change? South African Journal of Geology 119:3, 535-544.

2013. Humphrey, G.J. & Sarrafek, L.  ‘Evidence of Yellow-Billed Kites (Milvus aegyptius) fishing during the Barble run’ in the pan-handle of the Okavango River, Botswana: Ornithological Observations. Vol 4: 27 -30.

2010. Child, M.F., Milton, S.J., Dean, W. R. J., Lipsey, M. K., Puttick, J., Hempson, T. N., Mann, G. K., Babiker, H., Chaudrey, J., Humphrey, G., Joseph, G., Okes, N. C., Potts, R. and Wistebaar, T. 2010. Tree-grass coexistence in a flood-disturbed, semi-arid savanna system. Landscape Ecology 25(2):315-326.

Conference Abstracts
2017. Humphrey, G. and Gillson, L. 2017. Anthropogenic influence on fire regimes in North-east Namibia. Paper presented at the 15th Annual International Savanna Science Network Meeting, Kruger National Park, 12-17 March 2017.

2016. Humphrey, G., Gillson, L. and Ziervogel, G. Tracing the social fire history of the western Caprivi: 19th - 21st Century. Paper presented at the 14th Annual International Savanna Science Network Meeting, Kruger National Park, 13-17 March 2016.

2016. Humphrey, G. The role of indigenous fire knowledge in Bwabwata National Park, in north-east Namibia. Research presented at the National Fire Management Workshop and Strategy Development in Windhoek, Namibia, 28-29 November 2016.

2014. Humphrey, G.J. “The role of humans in the complex fire, climate, and vegetation regimes of North-east of Namibia”. 1st International Workshop on Historical Ecology: The Next Generation. Integrated History and Future of People on Earth (IHOPE) Workshop, 12-13th November 2014, Uppsala University, Sweden.

2011. Humphrey, G.J. ‘The Rehabilitation Conundrum’ – ecological processes vs. rehabilitation measures and landscape aesthetics in the Namib Naukluft Park, Namibia, Society of Ecological Restoration 2011. 4th World Conference on Ecological Restoration, 2nd Meeting of the Ibero-American & Caribbean Ecological Restoration Network. Merida, Mexico.