KNP Scientific Services
Rivers Research Programme
The Kruger National Park Rivers Research Programme (KNPRRP) was a highly succesfull multi-disciplinary, multi-organisational programme aimed at addressing major concerns about water quantity and quality of perennial rivers flowing through the KNP.
A key feature of Kruger Park is that it suffers biodiversity threats in and alongside the Park's rivers because of upstream activities in the catchments - all the major rivers arise on the escarpment and flow through several landuse types in the lowveld before the water even reaches the park boundary. The programme ran for the last decade of the 1990's, went through three phases (a startup, a research consolidation phase, and a more practical implementation-orientated phase) and was widely acclaimed for:
- having raised awareness of the importance of, and very vulnerable condition of rivers, in biodiversity conservation in South Africa and elsewhere
- having contributed very significantly to the knowledge levels around river issues especially in ecosystem and biodiversity context
- having exploited, and partly brought about, major changes in co-operative governance concerning rivers in South Africa. Researchers involved in the programme took the opportunity offered by an era of major policy change in South Africa, to contribute to the very progressive new Water Act with its enshrined environmental reserve concept
- having interacted with Kruger Park management in a way which greatly influenced paradigms of ecosystem function and subsequently led to many changes in thinking even around terrestrial ecosystem management. This story is sufficiently enticing that the Ecosystems, Protected Areas and People (EPP) Programme of IUCN will be showcasing Kruger's river story as an important lesson to be shared internationally. (see EPP...)
- having indirectly spawned further research programmes, notably the River/Savanna Boundaries Programme (which has its own website, as per Angela and Murray, give link) and the Post-Flood Programme which arose after the catastrophic floods in 2000 (Mellisa). Both programmes built on the strong base provided by the KNPRRP.
If you want more detail about the KNPRRP:
K. M. Rogers. And Jay O Keeffe 2003.River heterogeneity: Ecosystem structure, function and management. pp. 189-218. In Du Toit, J., K. M. Rogers and H. C. Biggs [eds.]. The Kruger Experience: Ecology and management of savanna heterogeneity. Island Press.
Jay O Keeffe and K. M. Rogers 2003. Heterogeneity and management of the Lowveld Rivers. pp. 447-469. In Du Toit, J., K. M. Rogers and H. C. Biggs [eds.]. The Kruger Experience: Ecology and management of savanna heterogeneity. Island Press