Media Release: Scientists Meet in Kruger National Park
15 April 2007
The Executive Director of the Kruger National Park (KNP) Dr Bandile Mkhize welcomed almost 200 scientists, researchers, conservationists and other interested parties to the Fifth KNP Science Network Meeting, which started in Skukuza today (Monday April 16, 2007).
Dissertations on the programme for the week explore various issues, including: “How have research projects contributed to our knowledge and strategies?”, “Managing human impacts in savannah systems”, “role of herbivores in the creation of heterogeneity”, “fire research and implications on savannah management”, “the role of below surface water in the KNP”, “the implications of providing artificial water”, “remote sensing applications and how they can be used for monitoring”, “humans in complex ecological systems” and “adaptive management and implementation”.
“The Science Networking Meeting is the most important annual event for the Scientific Services unit in the KNP and will hopefully set up fruitful collaborations and partnerships,” said the KNP’s head of Scientific Services, Mr Danie Pienaar.
It also provides an opportunity for South African National Parks (SANParks) to gauge how effective the research programmes are and also to assess the progress in meeting SANParks’ objectives towards biodiversity conservation.
“It brings together different viewpoints and ideas, so that researchers can challenge each other and perhaps work together on collaborative projects,” added Mr Pienaar.
Scientific Services, based in Skukuza, has a strong team of specialist scientists working in different fields who, together with external scientists – mainly from academic institutions – conduct research in many topics including but not restricted to biodiversity monitoring, population studies, fire behaviour, vegetation monitoring and aerial game census techniques.
“The meeting is not only restricted to scientists and researchers, but also includes field rangers and managers so that they can be brought up to speed with the latest research findings. This communication between scientists and managers is also important for effective management,” concluded Mr Pienaar.
This year, the KNP Science Network Meeting is largely sponsored by the United States-based Andrew W Mellon Foundation, which currently supports the Kruger River/Savannah Boundary Project and SANParks’ Junior Scientist Programme.