The savannah lowveld ecosystem of Eswatini and Mphumalanga is part of the Maputaland biodiversity hotspot, an area of global conservation priority. We investigate the dynamics of this ecosystem and monitor it's threatened wildlife to advise conservation efforts, whilst training young local ecologists.
In partnership with researchers from the University of Florida and 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). We are in the process of establishing experimental exclusion plots to test the effects of herbivory by megafauna, physical clearing and fire on savannah dynamics.
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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