World Scientists gather in the Kruger National Park


The Kruger National Park (KNP) hosted at the 15th Annual Savanna Science Network Meeting which took place from 12 - 16 March 2017 at the Skukuza's Nombolo Mdluli Conference Center.

According to the SANParks Acting Head of Communications, William Mabasa, “the meeting hosted about 200 delegates representing 79 different scientific and conservation organizations from 14 countries around the globe; which makes it one of the most crucial events in the organizational calendar. The meeting has grown from one encouraging scientific dialogue around the world in the KNP to one now encouraging to broader social-ecological savanna focus from across different continents "; Mabasa explained.

The program will include 110 presentations and 28 poster presentations; providing opportunities for scientists to study their latest research findings in national parks and other conservation areas within the savanna biome. This article includes numerous research projects in the areas of South Africa (with KNP the best represented), but also in Australia, South America, USA and Asia.

Many topical issues in ecological and social sciences were covered during the four days' presentations. These includes:

• Issues related to conservation management eg restoration, monitoring animals and plants, river management, problem animal management, animal reintroductions, etc.

• Ecological issues eg fire, nutrients, soils, hydrology, climate, predation, herbivory, disease, etc. and

• Social issues eg poaching, tourism, beneficiation, ecosystem services, wildlife/livestock interface, etc., processes and a session dealing with the drought.

In order to support a wide range of national and scientific scientists, research partners and funders. A mix of basic and applied research, spanning the biophysical and social domains strengthens research and monitoring efforts as well as capacity building.

“The interactions between academics and park authorities facilitated by this meeting are key to promoting pro-active evidence-based decision-making and directing research into priority conservation management needs. As SANParks, we have been hosting this meeting for 15 years now, which is an honour for us because many researchers rate this meeting as the leading savannah meeting in the world, "concluded Mabasa.