Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology
We specialise in the sustainable management of plant and animal species, ecosystems and the goods and services they provide, primarily in production landscapes. We conduct research in, and train students to apply an understanding of the functioning and ecology of plant and animal populations, and of the complex living communities in the management of natural resources and landscapes. This includes the conservation and sustainable use of forest trees, natural grazing lands, crocodiles and other game species, the prevention and control of bush encroachment, invasive alien plants and problem animals, the management of species, ecosystems and environmental processes in both formal and private protected areas, especially those in fragmented landscapes, the mitigation and repair of damage caused by agriculture (e.g. over grazing), development and mining, social assessment of rural communities, spatial prioritisation for improved decision-making for conservation activities, and the implementation of social learning institutions for the adaptive management of production landscapes.
The applied research focuses mainly on the integrated management of mite and insect pests and the concepts, rationale and application thereof, especially to deciduous fruit, fruit fly management in the fruit industry, post-harvest entomology and plant nematological pests. Basic research is done on morphology and systematics, especially on Lepidoptera and fossil insects, and the physiology and ecology of fynbos insects. The Department houses an extensive collection of insects for study. A new, exciting field of study in the Department deals with the effect of agricultural and forestry activities on the landscape, on the animal and plant diversity, and on the water supply. The emphasis is on insect conservation biology, both in Southern Africa and the Western Indian Ocean islands.