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.

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.

Key Biodiversity Areas delineation Workshop

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.

SECOSUD State of the Art and Farewell to our Dear Collaborator

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”

SECOSUD II – Workshop of presentation of mid-term results


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.

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SECOSUD II Workshop on the Integration of the 3 Rio Conventions – Presentations now available


We are pleased to announce that many of the partners who contributed to the Workshop held on June 22 and 23 have agreed to let us publish their presentations. Download links for each presentation (in PDF format) will be published as we get permission from the author to publish his material. Continue reading to download the presentations currently available.

Continue reading “SECOSUD II Workshop on the Integration of the 3 Rio Conventions – Presentations now available”

SADC decision-makers, donors and scientists brought together to discuss environmental conservation


On June 22 and 23, SECOSUD II Project organized an international conference, held at the Auditorium 1501 in the Main Campus of the Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) in Maputo, and focused on the integration of the three UN Conventions on environment (CBD, UNCCD, UNFCCC)  in the SADC countries.
The event, attended by around 150 participants and with great media attention, focused on the dual objective of presenting academic and institutional experience from Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Italy towards the definition of instruments and approaches that can contribute transversally to achieve the common goals of the so-called three Rio Conventions (biodiversity, fight against desertification and climate change), and at the same time bringing together the main partners of the initiative to synchronize the actions and maximize the synergies for future programming.

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International Conference – Integration of the Three Rio Conventions at the scientific and institutional level towards Sustainable Land Management in the SADC region

SECOSUD 2 Project is organizing an International Conference / Workshop on June 22 and 23 at the Pedagogic Complex of the Eduardo Mondlane University Main Campus.

Continue reading “International Conference – Integration of the Three Rio Conventions at the scientific and institutional level towards Sustainable Land Management in the SADC region”