Latest Updates of Savanna Vegetation

It has been a busy few weeks in Skukuza, Kruger National Park for Dr Benjamin Wigley from  who recently joined the SECOSUD  II team. Dr Wigley helped to organize and facilitate a savanna plant functional trait workshop (27th – 29th February 2020) which brought together a group of scientists from the worlds different savannas to finalize and test some of the new and exciting functional traits that will be included in a new handbook that aims to standardize the sampling of plant functional traits that are especially relevant to savanna and grassland ecosystems.

During the International Savanna Networking Meeting held in Skukuza (1-5th March 2020), Dr Wigley presented the findings from research undertaken in Kenya which showed that the long-term removal of herbivores in semi-arid savanna resulted in a significant increase in soil carbon sequestration and surprisingly most of this soil carbon was derived from grasses not trees. This work has serious implications for large-scale tree planting programs (e.g. AFR100) which aim to plant up vast areas of African Drylands with trees. Dr Wigley also presented at the African Forestry and Wildlife Congress held in Skukuza from the 9-13th March 2020. In this presentation he outlined the findings from another study undertaken in Kruger National Park which outlined the importance of fires in savanna systems. This work showed that the removal of fire resulted in significant decreases in bark recovery in an iconic African tree species – the removal of fire resulted in increased colonization of damaged areas by ants which impeded bark recovery. Details of the published articles can be found below.

Bibliography:
Wigley, B.J., Augustine, D.J., Coetsee, C., Ratnam, J. and Sankaran, M., 2020. Grasses continue to trump trees at soil carbon sequestration following herbivore exclusion in a semi‐arid African savanna. Ecology, p.e03008.
Wigley, B.J., Coetsee, C., Kruger, L.M., Ratnam, J. and Sankaran, M., 2019. Ants, fire, and bark traits affect how African savanna trees recover following damage. Biotropica51(5), pp.682-691.

Pupils from the Italian school “Giovanni Falcone” on visit to the Institute of Agricultural Research of Mozambique

In the context of the SECOSUD II Program “Conservation and Equitable Use of Biodiversity in the SADC region “, the project “With scientist’s glasses” was created, which in collaboration with the Italian school “Giovanni Falcone” in Maputo, aims to approximate the world of scientific research and the conservation of biodiversity in particular to primary school pupils.

In this project, thematic classes and visits to the main research institutions present in the city of Maputo are under way. Today was the moment to visit the LMA Herbarium and Botanical Garden of the IIAM (Institute of Agricultural Research of Mozambique). Continue reading “Pupils from the Italian school “Giovanni Falcone” on visit to the Institute of Agricultural Research of Mozambique”

Summer school on Agrobiodiversity in a Changing Climate

Collaborators of the SECOSUD II Italian Cooperation Project attended in the Summer School on Agrobiodiversity in a Changing Climate that took place between September 25th to October 5th of the current year at the FAO, headquarters in Rome.

The course focused on the importance of biodiversity in agriculture, paying special attention to its role in strengthening the resilience and adaptability of the cultivation systems to climate change. The purpose of the course was to provide professionals with the appropriate tools, knowledge and understanding to increase productivity and improve marketing strategies in sustainable and resilient farming systems. Continue reading “Summer school on Agrobiodiversity in a Changing Climate”

Knowledge sharing on IUCN Red Lists and data sharing on the GBIF network

On September 8th, 9th and 11th, 2018, in the framework of the existing partnership between the Biodiversity Information for Development Programme (BID) and the SECOSUD II Project, a workshop was held for training on the species conservation status assessments (IUCN Red Lists) and use of the tool “Integrated Publishing Toolkit” (IPT) for the publication of primary biodiversity data in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Portal.

The workshop took place in the LMA Herbarium of the Institute of Agricultural Research of Mozambique, Maputo, and was attended by research assistants from the BID Programme and the SECOSUD II Project, which work on the digitization of biodiversity data in the partner institutions, namely:

  • Agricultural Research Institute of Mozambique (IIAM);
  • Plant health department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Safety (MASA);
  • Herbarium of Eduardo Mondlane University (LMU);
  • National Institute of Fisheries Research (IIP);
  • Natural History Museum of Maputo (MHN).

The aim of the training is to develop skills in the application of IUCN criteria and categories for the assessment of the conservation status of priority species and improve the skills in using the IPT tool for the publication of primary biodiversity data in the GBIF portal.

Foundations of biodiversity data network in Swaziland – First training completed

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In the framework of the MoU recently signed with UNISWA and SNTC, we are exporting the BioNoMo initiative, aimed at creating networks of primary biodiversity data providers, to Swaziland. The final objective is to create a portal to host research-grade biodiversity data from various national sources and provide these data to the public to support scientific research, environmental planning, reporting and citizen science. As a first step, a training course on biodiversity data bases has been held at UNISWA Faculty of Science from October 30 to November 3, 2017.

Continue reading “Foundations of biodiversity data network in Swaziland – First training completed”

Advanced Bioinformatics Training Workshop

One of the collaborators of the project SECOSUD II Italian Cooperation attended in the practical training workshop of 6 days on advanced bioinformatics, which took place from 19 to 24 August 2017 in Gorongosa National Park, under the leadership of Dr. Piotr Naskrecki, deputy Director of E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory.

The workshop provided a learning forum for the application of bioinformatics to the participants from different areas of Mozambique and representatives from five of the country’s main educational institutions. Continue reading “Advanced Bioinformatics Training Workshop”

Fire Management System for the Limpopo National Park – Training for the production of the Fire Scar Map

From 24th to 27th of July 2017 the SECOSUD II Project has organised and executed an on-the-job training course for the personnel of the Faculty of Agronomy and Forest Engineering (UEM FAEF), of the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) and of the Maputo Special Reserve (REM). This training was held in Maputo, at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM), and has focused the replication of the Fire Management Methodology and Approach used by the Kruger National Park (KNP) for the Limpopo National Park (LNP).

Continue reading “Fire Management System for the Limpopo National Park – Training for the production of the Fire Scar Map”

Training course at the UEM DCB on the use of Collect Earth for Land Use Change and Forestry monitoring

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From May 30 to June 10, 2016, SECOSUD II Project and FAO organised a training course, held at the Department of Biological Sciences of the Eduardo Mondlane University, on the use of Collect Earth software for Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry monitoring.

Continue reading “Training course at the UEM DCB on the use of Collect Earth for Land Use Change and Forestry monitoring”