Keynote Speakers

In line with the past few years, the Congress will host several keynote speakers throughout the programme.

Keynote Speakers

In line with the past few years, the Congress will host several keynote speakers throughout the programme.

Prof Jonathan Jansen

Monday 21 July 2014, Opening Keynote Address

Prof Jonathan Jansen was appointed as Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State on 1 July 2009. He has published several books and, in these and related works, he examines how education leaders balance the dual imperatives of reparation and reconciliation in their leadership practice. Prof Jansen serves as Vice-President of the South African Academy of Science and from this vantage point leads three major studies on behalf of the academy, including an inquiry on the role of the South African PhD in the global knowledge economy and another investigation into the future of the humanities in South Africa. He has chaired ministerial committees on further education and training (appointed by Minister Kader Asmal) and (currently) school evaluation and teacher appraisal (appointed by Minister Naledi Pandor). In addition, he has advised provincial governments on school change. Prof Jansen has extensive experience in higher education as professor, head of department, dean, (acting) deputy vice-chancellor and, at the two South African universities he worked at, as senate representative on the council (UDW and UP). He has chaired committees at all levels of the university, and does extensive training for deans and for young scholars.

Prof Johann du Preez

Tuesday 22 July 2014, Plenary Keynote Address: A new vegetation map for the Free State: A tool for better biodiversity management

A new detailed vegetation map for the Free State has recently been compiled. This detailed map has major implications for the conservation and management of ecosystems in the Free State province because the boundaries of known vegetation types have been delineated more accurately and new vegetation types have been added. This GIS-based tool will assist with the accurate identification of sensitive ecosystems and the effective management thereof.

Johann (Pieter J.) du Preez started his career as plant ecologist at the National Museum in Bloemfontein in 1989. Here he specialised in the flora of the Free State. In 1992 he started working as Senior Researcher in terrestrial ecology at the Department of Nature Conservation and Tourism (Free State Province). He was appointed in 1995 as senior lecturer at the Department of Plant Sciences and promoted to Associate Professor in 2009. He lectures pre-graduates in Plant Biology and Terrestrial Ecology. On Hons level he teaches Vegetation Science. Several Masters and Doctoral degree students, under his supervision, have obtained their degrees, some with distinctions. Furthermore he is also involved in the presentation parts of a Masters Course in Environmental Management at the Centre for Environmental Management. He is author of more than 30 peer-reviewed articles in various journals. He also published 3 book chapters and is co-author of the recently published ecology book: “The story of life and the environment – an African perspective” by Van As, J.G., Du Preez, P.J., Brown, L.R. & Smit, N.

Dr Gert Dry

Tuesday 22 July 2014, Keynote Address for Session on Wildlife: Strategic institutional review of the wildlife ranching industry

A change of gears to gain traction for the wildlife industry cannot be delayed any further. Without change, our ambition to lead the green economy to a better and brighter future has little chance of succeeding. The changes required are at institutional level and a revised certification framework to effect a successful Green Economy is to be implemented.

Dr. G.C. Dry started his corporate career with Eskom where he spent 19 years of his working life. His career started in industrial engineering and he was promoted through the ranks to Engineering Projects Executive, responsible for power station, transmission line, substation, facilities and life-extension projects. He joined ABSA as Group Executive in 1991 and retired as Managing Executive: Real Estate Management on 31 October 2004. Dr Dry is a Wildlife Rancher in the Vaalwater district.

 Dr John Taylor

Tuesday 22 July 2014, Keynote Address for Workshop, Curriculum Development in Grassland Science: Developing and delivering a range science and management curriculum to meet stakeholder needs

Dr Colleen Seymour

Wednesday 23 July 2014, Plenary Keynote Address: Alien invasives in rangelands

The state of our knowledge to date of the influence of alien invasive organisms in rangelands will be reviewed, with emphasis on what we still need to know and whether that knowledge can be usefully applied.

Colleen Seymour is based at the Kirstenbosch Gardens branch of the South African National Biodiversity Institute, where she researches the ecological underpinnings of ecosystem services. She started her research career with an MSc in Conservation Biology followed a few years later by a PhD through the Percy FitzPatrick Institute at the University of Cape Town. For the vast majority of her career, she has focused on community and disturbance ecology in arid rangelands, and this remains a great interest. She is currently involved in a collaboration with the Universities of Exeter and Université Pierre et Marie Curie, in which a food web approach is being applied to the provision of the ecosystem services of pollination and pest control to farmers. Part of this research will investigate the extent to which alien invasive plants are infiltrating the native food web.

Dr Barbara Hutshinson

Wednesday 23 July 2014, Keynote Address: Worldwide Rangelands information from the Rangelands Partnership

Ms Anthea Stephens and Mr Mahlodi Tau

Thursday 24 July 2014, Plenary Keynote Address: Mainstreaming biodiversity in the grasslands biome – smoke and mirrors or gains at scale?

Catalysed through an $8.3million investment from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and implemented by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), since 2008 the Grasslands Programme has relied on partnerships to mainstream biodiversity objectives into the major production sectors that operate in the Grasslands Biome. These include agriculture, forestry, coal mining and urban economies, as well as the enabling environment. This presentation will review some of the achievements, the lessons emerging and the way forward as the Programme nears the end of its five year GEF investment.

Anthea Stephens is currently heading up the National Grasslands Programme at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). The Grasslands Programme is a US$8.3 million multi-stakeholder partnership initiative designed to mainstream biodiversity management into the major production sectors operating on the grasslands biome in South Africa. Anthea has years of experience managing complex environmental programmes having previously worked at IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) as acting director and manager of the country programme. She holds an MSc in Environmental and Geographical Science which she received from the University of Cape Town. She has held positions on the board of directors for PhytoTrade Africa, the Southern African National Products Trade Association and on the advisory panel of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa.

Mahlodi Tau is the Ecological Infrastructure Coordinator at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). He joined SANBI in 2007 and his key responsibility is to support the management of the Grasslands Programme within the overaching Enabling Environment component. He has an MSc Agric in Grassland Science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is the recipient of the 2006 UKZN/GSSA Award for Best MSc Student in Grassland Science. Mahlodi’s first profession was working as Research Assistant, later appointed as Environmental Scientist with the CSIR. Prior to joining SANBI, he worked for GDARD as a Senior Scientist: LandCare Programme. He is a member of the Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA).

Dr Neil Miles

Keynote Address for Special Session, Soil Carbon for Sustainable Pasture Production: Soil organic matter accumulation, composition and function under intensive pastures and crops in KwaZulu-Natal

Soil organic matter influences numerous soil properties and processes, including bulk density, structure, temperature, water relations, nutrient availability and biological activity. Major factors accounting for variations in organic matter levels include soil management practices and soil texture. In this paper, data reflecting typical ‘equilibrium’ organic matter levels under intensive pasture and cropping systems in KwaZulu-Natal are presented. Consideration is given to the crucial role of organic matter in soil productivity, as well as the challenges of predicting the release of nutrients from organic matter.

Neil Miles is currently a senior scientist with the South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI). Prior to his position with SASRI, he spent 28 years with the KZN Department of Agriculture, as a research scientist and research manager. His PhD, through the University of Natal, focused on the nutrition of intensive pastures. Dr Miles played a leading role in the development of the Cedara Fertilizer Advisory Service, which he also managed for some 20 years. At SASRI, Dr Miles manages the Fertiliser Advisory Service and conducts research relating to the optimization of soil health and the nutrient requirements of sugarcane. He is an Honorary Research Fellow with the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and was KZN’s Agriculturalist of the Year in 2013.




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