Renosterveld Research & Student Update

Renosterveld Research & Student Update

The research work of our PhD student, Zoë Poulsen is progressing well. Zoë is based in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Cape Town and is supervised by Dr Samson Chimphango, Prof Muthama Muasya, Prof Timm Hoffman and Dr Pippin Anderson. Her project title is: ‘Conserving living landscapes: Investigating impacts of livestock grazing and assessing rangeland restoration potential in Overberg renosterveld’.

Muthama in the quartz fields of the Knersvlakte.
Prof Muthama in the quartz fields of the Knersvlakte.

Since the project started she has built collaboration to facilitate research with 21 farmers across the Overberg region from Caledon to the Heidelberg District. Data collection is well under way and we look forward to a productive autumn field season. Zoë will also be writing some Blogs for us over the coming months, so please keep a look-out for these on our website. We would like to extend a special thank-you to all the farmers involved in the project for access to their veld, warm welcome and support in running the project. We would particularly like to thank CD Du Toit and the rest of the group farming at Quarrie Farm for their immensely generous donation of previously-used fencing material to the project. We would also like to thank Hansie Swart at Sandkraal and Nelis Swart of Posstal, both of whom have generously donated labour towards erecting fenced plots for this research project in their veld. We couldn’t do it without you and your generous support!

In addition to Zoë’s PhD, we have Luka Gallant undertaking his MSc investigating the potential for indigenous plants in Renosterveld to be used as artificial pastures; we have Jannie Groenewald starting his PhD on the ecology of quartz patches in Renosterveld; and we have at least five additional students looking at a suite of different aspects of Renosterveld ecology, from soils and plant communities on quartz patches, to small mammals to invertebrates, to restoration opportunities in remnants and watercourses.

We will report more on the student projects in the next newsletter.