Home News Global scientists gather at Kruger National Park

Global scientists gather at Kruger National Park

207

The Kruger National Park is set to welcome scientists, researchers and protected area managers from across the globe for the 21st annual Savanna Science Network Meeting, scheduled for March 3 to 7 in Skukuza.

A total of 208 delegates will convene for the Savanna Science Network Meeting at the Kruger National Park. Picture: Supplied

THE KRUGER National Park (KNP) is set to welcome scientists, researchers and protected area managers from across the globe for the 21st annual Savanna Science Network Meeting, scheduled for March 3 to 7 in Skukuza.

Representing a diverse array of scientific and conservation organisations from 25 countries, a total of 208 delegates will convene, with 99 hailing from South Africa alone, representing 30 institutions spanning governmental bodies, academic institutions, research organisations, NGOs and conservation agencies.

For those unable to attend in person, the meeting will be streamed live on YouTube for remote participation, as announced by Cathy Greaver, the acting general manager of the Savanna Research Unit at SANParks.

The conference agenda will tackle a wide range of ecological and social science topics through presentations and posters over the course of the four-day event.

Key themes include the study of ecological patterns such as animal space-use patterns and large-scale biodiversity patterns, as well as the understanding of ecological processes including erosion, predation, plant recruitment, herbivory, fire, disease and decomposition.

Additionally, this year’s programme will feature discussions on cultural heritage, tourism, human-wildlife conflict, co-existence, the wildlife economy and wildlife crime, reflecting a holistic approach to conservation efforts.

SANParks emphasised the importance of collaboration with both national and international scientists, research partners and funders to address the evolving challenges in biodiversity management.

By fostering a mix of basic and applied research across biophysical and social domains, the conference aims to deepen understanding of savanna ecosystems and strengthen conservation strategies.

Furthermore, the close collaboration between academics and park authorities facilitated by the conference is crucial for evidence-based decision-making and prioritising conservation management needs.

The genesis of the Savanna Science Network Meeting traces back to a group of scientists reflecting on the impacts of the 2000 floods in KNP and envisioning a platform to share research findings annually. Over time, the conference has evolved into the premier international savanna science conference, fostering dialogue and collaboration among researchers and shaping future research endeavours to address key knowledge gaps.

In conclusion, Greaver remarked, “The conference format allows for dialogue and discussion on ecological science and conservation matters, both formally and informally, in a spectacular venue, shaping our collective understanding and seeding future research collaborations and projects to fill key knowledge gaps.”

Previous articleSANParks, Namibian Rangers unite against poaching along Orange River
Next articleNorthern Cape tennis players shine at national tournament