Special Session: Global change research and monitoring in the Maloti-Drakensberg mountain system (South Africa-Lesotho)

This session will provide an update on cutting edge science being undertaken in the Maloti-Drakensberg mountain system, an international mountain system shared between South Africa and Lesotho. The session provides a multi-disciplinary overview, highlighting inter alia outputs from the long-term sentinel site in Cathedral Peak (managed by SAEON and Ezemvelo), and the multi-disciplinary research being undertaken by various groups across the Maloti-Drakensberg, including the Afromontane Research Unit.

Attempts are being made to provide an enabling environment for multi-disciplinary research in the Maloti-Drakensberg through the establishment of long-term research and monitoring nodes, and the promotion of regional and international collaboration. A specific objective is to focus on technology innovation and technical capacity building, and promote the training of graduate and post-graduate students who can provide the foundation for the development of a robust and indigenous community of practice to address complex issues ('Wicked Problems' – notably communal rangeland degradation) that threaten the sustainability of the Maloti-Drakensberg. Given that southern African mountains are poorly represented in the global knowledge economy, the session provides a powerful opportunity to showcase the research being conducted in this context, together with highlighting research gaps – particularly the need to develop social-ecological systems thinking for understanding processes and dynamics in the Maloti-Drakensberg that can inform a 'science to policy to action' pipeline.

Key objectives of this interactive session are to:

  • Profile recent research findings and emerging understanding at local, regional and global scales
  • Facilitate discussions on the challenges and opportunities of long-term research and monitoring sites, including how we build more powerful user-driven platforms and enhance collaboration
  • Discuss and develop a coordinated and robust research and observation framework to advance science outcomes
  • Discuss the complexities of researching mountains as social-ecological systems, and the 'research gap' of southern Africa (and the southern hemisphere) mountains in the global knowledge economy
  • Work towards developing the collaborative research agenda for the next 10 years

We invite researchers to submit abstracts in relation to research results and emerging understanding of social-ecological processes and global change in the context of the Maloti-Drakensberg, and/or in relation to challenges and ideas for enhancing long-term research, monitoring and collaboration.

Open session– researchers and practitioners are encouraged to submit relevant presentations for inclusion in this session. Participation in the session during the Symposium is open to all. Submissions that cannot be incorporated into the session by the convener will be considered for general sessions in the remainder of the programme.

Navigate between Special Sessions

Data Management
Elephant Conservation
Indigenous Knowledge
Lead in Wildlife
Maloti-Drakensberg Exposition
PA Management Effectiveness
Protection via Partnerships
Species in Crisis
Vulture Conservation

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