Royal society lecture: Explaining why trees are invading grassy plains

2011-04-05 00:00

PROFESSOR David Ward of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Biological and Conservation Sciences Department will give a Royal Society lecture “Why are trees threatening our grassy plains?”.

Prof Ward will discuss examples from a wide variety of habitats, both his own results as well as those of his post-graduate students and with a focus on the most important factors affecting woody plant encroachment.

He said that woody plant encroachment affects the agricultural productivity and biodiversity of 10-20 million hectares of South Africa.

He said many people believe that either heavy grazing by domestic livestock or fire is the sole cause of bush encroachment. However, bush encroachment is widespread in areas where grazing is infrequent and light.

A number of small-scale and some large-scale factors may explain the causes of woody plant encroachment. Some of the most important factors may include increased CO2 induced by global climate changes and rainfall, disturbance and soil nutrients.

Author of The Biology of Deserts, Ward was awarded the Paula and David Ben Gurion prize for outstanding contributions to desert research and combating desertification. He received the University of KwaZulu-Natal Research Fellow award in 2010.

The talk takes place on Thursday April 7 at 5.30 pm at the John Bews Lecture Theatre, Life Sciences Campus in Pietermaritzburg. Light refreshments will be supplied. Inquiries: Edith Elliott, 033 260 5455. — WR.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.