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.
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. Biotropica, 51(5), pp.682-691.
In the framework of partnership program with government and private institutions, the SECOSUD 2 Project was part of the Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) delineation Workshop, led by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Three research assistants from the SECOSUD 2 Project have provided technical support as data management assistants.
The workshop took place on 14 and 15 November 2019, in Maputo and was attended by 60 participants from four countries (Mozambique, South Africa, United Kingdom and Australia), representing different sectors involved in the project. It resulted in the delineation of 42 potential KBAs in Mozambique, where 6 of them are marine.
The delineation process was done in 4 groups based on the geographical areas of the country (south, center, north and marine area). Each of the groups composed by experts from different taxonomic groups and other participants, was led by a spatial planning expert. The Data compiled by the Data Management Assistants (Including the SECOSUD 2 Project Research Assistants) such as population size, habitat ecology and potential threats, over the past 8 months have been analyzed from different perspectives, resulting in above mentioned 42 KBAs proposals.
The KBAs criteria were applied to plants, insects, freshwater fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, marine biodiversity and ecosystems. The final validation workshop will happen in March 2020, and till then it is expected that the results achieved so far are improved and more areas are identified. The closure of the project will be on May 2020.
After four years of assignment to SECOSUD II Project, Luca Malatesta, Scientific Coordinator and Co-founder of the project, ended his mission in Mozambique on Friday, September 27th.
In the occasion of his official farewell, Luca has overseen the latest general assembly of the governmental and non-governmental institutions that collaborate with the project, held at the camp of Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo City.
The meeting, leaded by Stefano Frasca – SECOSUD II Project Team Leader, was attended by most of the strategic national partners who have contributed in the developing of the project in the past years and addressed the current status of the activities developed by SECOSUD II since it is foundation. The reunion was also the occasion to formally introduce to the partners the successor of Luca as Scientific Coordinator, Silvio Cianciullo. Continue reading “SECOSUD State of the Art and Farewell to our Dear Collaborator”
The project “With scientist’s glasses” in collaboration with the Italian school “Giovanni Falcone “ Of Maputo was characterized by various educational activities. The teachers committed themselves to the pursuit of the improvement of the planet through the search for improved quality of life and the best environmental conditions through the field and practice of environmental education, where each child felt responsible for doing something to contain the progress of environmental degradation. Continue reading “Closure of Environmental Awareness Activities in Early Childhood Education”
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”
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”
SECOSUD II Project has organised a workshop to present the mid-term result of the activities, on September 27th. The workshop takes place in the framework of the Symposium on Biodiversity and Development, held by the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane – UEM Campus in Maputo, from the 26th to the 28th of September.
Continue reading “SECOSUD II – Workshop of presentation of mid-term results”
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:
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.
In the framework of the “Biodiversity Network of Mozambique” initiative, and in collaboration with the Natural History Museum of Maputo, SECOSUD II has started an on-the-job training aimed at recovering the historical herpetology collection of the Museum, and digitize the related data.
Continue reading “Recovery and maintenance of MHN biological collections”