The savannah ecosystem of Eswatini and Mphumalanga known as the lowveld bushveld is part of the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany biodiversity hotspot, an area of global conservation priority. We investigate the dynamics of this ecosystem and it's biodiversity and study the influences and interactions with people, development, agriculture and conservation management to advise conservation action, whilst training young ecologists both local and international.
In partnership with researchers from the University of Florida and the University of Eswatini we conduct seasonal biodiversity surveys within six long term monitoring grids in the Lubombo Conservancy of NE Eswatini in Mbuluzi Game Reserve, Hlane Royal National Park and Mlawula Nature Reserve. We survey birds, small mammals (rodents, shrews & bats), large mammals (ungulates & predators), trees, shrubs and grasses. We record climate and disturbances (e.g. fire) as well as management interventions (clearing & culling) to record long-term change. This project has been on-going since 2004.
In partnership with researchers from the University of Florida, University of Eswatini and the Organization for Tropical Studies we conduct seasonal biodiversity surveys within the Lubombo Conservancy of NE Eswatini and Kruger National Park of South Africa. We survey birds, small mammals (rodents, shrews & bats), large mammals (ungulates & predators), trees, shrubs and grasses within plots of similar historical vegetation but different herbivore impact (particularly elephant). We have established 18 experimental plots in Kruger National Park (South Africa) and Mlawula Nature Reserve (Eswatini) to test the effects of herbivory by megafauna, physical clearing and fire on savannah dynamics. This project has been on-going since 2015.
social bird research
In partnership with researchers from Wageningen University and the University of Eswatini, we are investigating the behavioural ecology of social birds in the savannah ecosystem of Mbuluzi Game Reserve. This includes studying the genetics, breeding success, survival and behaviour of arrow marked babblers, white crested helmet shrikes, dark capped bulbuls, green woodhoepoes and speckled mouse birds.
raptor, vulture & stork breeding
In partnership with researchers from the University of Eswatini, we are investigating the nesting and breeding success of threatened large birds including raptors, vultures and marabou storks in Hlane Royal National Park, Mlawula Nature Reserve and Mbuluzi Game Reserve. This is a long term monitoring project of conservation priority threatened species.
small predator research
In partnership with researchers from Fort Hare University and the University of Eswatini, we are investigating the ecology of large spotted genets in the savannah ecosystem of Mbuluzi Game Reserve. This includes studying the genetics, diet, survival and movement patterns of large spotted genets.
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other similar projects
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