Prof Klaus Kellner

Kellner, Klaus

Prof Klaus Kellner

Prof Dr Klaus Kellner is a C3 rated researcher (re-rated till end of 2022) by the National Research Foundation (NRF) in South Africa, in the field “Conservation and Management of Ecosystems and Biodiversity”.

He has been working at the North-West University for the last 27 years, as lecturer, mentor, supervisor and researcher and has supervised and co-supervised many post-graduate studies. His fields of expertise include vegetation dynamics, land degradation and desertification, restoration ecology and range condition assessment of mainly the arid- and semi-arid lands. The impacts of climate, different land-use strategies, loss in biodiversity, vegetation regression and anthropogenic factors, are used to identify indicators for the construction of simulation models for long-term decision making. The effects of implementing restoration strategies, especially after bush encroachment control are studied in the arid- and semi-arid Savannas.

Prof Kellner was or is the leader or PI (Principle Investigator) of several International projects carried out in Southern Africa, e.g. the Desert Margins Program (DMP), the Kalahari Namib Project (KNP), PRACTICE (Prevention and Restoration Actions to Combat Desertification. An Integrated Assessment), IDESSA (An Integrative Decision Support System for Sustainable Rangeland Management in southern African Savannas), etc. He contributes to three Chapters for IPBES deliverables (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) and represents South Africa at the UNCCD-CST (Committee on Science and Technology of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) and COP’s (Conference of Parties) for the UNCCD for the last 14 years. He is also a member of the National Coordinating Body (NCB) for UNCCD matters at the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and leads research projects for the DEA and DAFF (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) in South Africa. He serves on different national and International committees regarding land degradation, desertification and restoration ecology and has done work for UNEP, the African Union (AU) and UNCCD regarding his field of expertise..

Prof Kellner served as Co-chair on the Advisory Group for the Provision of Scientific Advice (AGSA) on DLDD (Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought) matters for the UNCCD and is currently part of the SPI (Science and Policy Interface) committee for the UNCCD.

He is an honorary member of the Land Rehabilitation Society of Southern Africa (LaRSSA) (2014), was the president and chairperson of the Trust and now only a member of the GSSA (Grassland Society of South Africa), was the president of the Arid Zone Ecology Forum (AZEF) and is currently a member of the Society of Ecological Restoration (SER).

He has done many consultancies regarding advice about SLM and restoration at national and international level. In 2010 and 2015, he received the award as the “International Researcher of the year” from the North-West University for contributions in policy and advisory bodies, related societies and managerial level, international panels, subject related journals, conferences and organisations at national and global level. In 2007, he was selected as one of the top 10% and in 2009 and 2010 as one of the top 20% researchers at the North-West University in South Africa.


My publications

1. Kellner, K., Von Maltitz, G., Seely, M., Atlhopheng, J & Lindeque, L. 2018. South African arid lands: current status and future prospects. (In Guar, M.K. & Squires, V.R., eds. Climate variability impacts on land use and livelihoods in drylands. Cham: Springer. p. 243-260) [eBook]
2. Pichs-Madruga, R.M., Obersteiner, M., Cantele, M., Ahmed, M.T., Cui, X., Cury, P., Fall, S., Kellner, K. & Verburg, P. 2016. Building scenarios and models of drivers of biodiversity and ecosystem change. (In Ferrier, S., Ninan, K.N., Leadley, P., Alkemade, R., Acosta, L.A., Akçakaya, H.R., Brotons, L., Cheung, W.W.L., Christensen, V., Harhash, K.A. et al. eds. IPBES, 2016: Methodological assessment of scenarios and models of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Bonn, Germany: Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. pp 102-145). Date of access: 15 Sept. 2017.
3. Contributing author and reviewer: Kellner, K. UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) 2013. The economics of desertification, land degradation and drought: methodologies and analysis for decision-making. Background document. UNCCD 2nd Scientific Conference: 9-12 April organized by the UNCCD & GRF, Bonn, Germany. Bonn: UNCCD. Date of access: 14 Sept. 2017.
4. Contributing author and reviewer: Kellner, K. Poulsen, L., ed. 2013. Costs and benefits of policies and practices addressing land degradation and drought in the dry lands. White Paper II UNCCD 2nd Scientific Conference. 9-12 April 2013. Bonn, Germany. Date of access: 14 Sept. 2017.
5. Moussa, A.S., Van Rensburg, L., Kellner, K. & Bationo, A. 2008. Soil indicators of rangeland degradation in a semi-arid communal district in South Africa. (In Lee, C & Schaaf, T., eds. The Future of dry lands. International scientific conference on desertification and drylands research. 19-21 June 2006. Tunis, Tunisia. Cham: Springer. p. 383-393). [eBook]
6. Kellner, K., & Bosch, O.J.H. 2003. The value of local and indigenous knowledge for the development of information systems for conservation management (In Lemons, J., Victor, R. & Schaffer, D. eds. Conserving biodiversity in arid regions: best practices in developing nations. New York, N.Y.: Springer. p. 105-118).
7. Meyer, T., Kellner, K. & Viljoen, C. 2003. Land transformation and soil quality (In Magold, S., Kalule-Sabiti, M. eds. North West province state of the environment report: overview 2002. Mafikeng: Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment, North West Province. Date of access: 15 Sept. 2017.
8. Kellner, K. & Van der Merwe, J.P.A. 2000. Data base and expert system for rangeland restoration: a community participation approach. (In Ringrose, S. & Chanda, R. eds. Towards sustainable management in the Kalahari region: some essential background and critical issues. Gaborone: Directorate of research and development, University of Botswana. p. 156-165).
9. Kellner, K. & Booysen, J. 2000. ISPD - integrated system for plant dynamics: a descision support system for rangeland management. (In Ringrose, S. & Chanda, R. eds. Towards sustainable management in the Kalahari region: some essential background and critical issues. Gaborone: Directorate of research and development, University of Botswana).
10. Kellner, K. & Booysen, J. 1999. Modelling populations and community dynamics in Karoo ecosystems. (In Dean, R.J.W. & Milton, S. eds. The Karoo: ecological patterns and processes Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 224 – 230).
11. Kellner, K. 1998. Guidelines for the rehabilitation after control of alien plants and bush encroachment species. (In Campbell, P.L., Kellner, K., Mappledoram, B., Findlay, J., Henderson, L. & Kluge, R. eds. 2000. Rehabilitation recommendations after alien plant control. Reference handbook 11. Pretoria: Plant protection research institute of the ARC (Agricultural Research Council).
12. Scheepers, J.C. & Kellner, K. 1995. (In Arbuthnot, J.D. ed. Report of the ESA working group on land degradation. Pretoria: Department of Agriculture, Directorate of Resource Conservation).


1.Kellner, K., Kruger, A., Coetzee, H. & van den Berg, H. 2017. Linking land-user perceptions and range-management practices in the Mier region of the Kalahari duneveld savanna, South Africa. Journal of arid environments, (submitted for publication).
2. Dreber, N., Van Rooyen, S.E. & Kellner, K. 2017. Relationships of plant diversity and bush cover in rangelands of a semi-arid Kalahari savannah, South Africa. African Journal of Ecology, doi:10.1111/aje.12425.
3. Harmse, C.J., Kellner, K. & Dreber, N. 2016. Restoring productive rangelands: a comparative assessment of selective and non-selective chemical bush control in a semi-arid Kalahari savanna. Journal of arid environments, 135: 39-49.
4. Akhtar-Schuster, M., Amiraslani, F., Diaz Morejon, C.F., Escadafal, R., Fulajtar, E., Grainger, A., Kellner, K., Khan, S.I., Perez Pardo, O., Sauchanka, U., Stringer, L.C., Reda, F. & Thomas, R.J. 2016. Designing a new science-policy communication mechanism for the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. Environmental science & policy, 63:122-131.
5. Van der Walt, L., Cilliers, S.S., Du Toit, M.J. & Kellner, K. 2015. Conservation of fragmented grasslands as part of the urban green infrastructure: how important are species diversity, functional diversity and landscape functionality. Urban ecosystems, 18(1): 87-113.
6. Van der Walt, L., Cilliers, S.S., Kellner, K., Du Toit, M.J. & Tongway, D. 2015. To what extent does urbanisation affect fragmented grassland functioning? Journal of environmental management, 151: 517-530.
7. Kong, T.M., Marsh, S.E., Van Rooyen, A.F., Kellner, K. & Orr, B.J. 2015. Assessing rangeland condition in the Kalahari Duneveld through local ecological knowledge of livestock farmers and remotely sensed data. Journal of arid environments, 113:77-86.
8. Dreber, N., Kong, T.M., Kellner, K., Harmse, C.J., Van Eeden, A. & Ocampo-Melgar, A. 2014. Towards improved decision-making in degraded dry lands of Southern Africa: an indicator based assessment for integrated evaluation of restoration and management actions in the Kalahari rangelands. Planet@Risk, 2(1): 21-28.
9. Dreber, N., Harmse, C.J., Götze, A., Trollope, W.S.W. & Kellner, K. 2014. Quantifying the woody component of savanna vegetation along a density gradient in the Kalahari bushveld: a comparison of two adapted point-centered quarter methods. The rangeland journal, 36: 91-103.
10. Kong, T.M., Austin, D.E., Kellner, K. & Orr, B.J. 2014. The interplay of knowledge, attitude and practice of livestock farmers’ land management against desertification in the South African Kalahari. Journal of arid environments, 105:12-21.
11. Nel, L., Truter, W.F., Van Deventer, P. & Kellner, K. 2014. The emergence and survival of Digitaria eriantha and Chloris gayana seedlings on mine tailings planted with coated and non-coated seed. Tropical grasslands - Forrajes tropicales, 2(1):97−99.
12. Kong, T.M., Kellner, K. Austin, D.E., Els, Y. & Orr, B.J. 2014. Enhancing participatory evaluation of land management through photo elicitation and photo voice. Society & natural resources, 28(2):212-229.
13. Weber, K., Lange, C.A., Kellner, K., Mishra, D. & Soni, V. 2013. Probing the process leading to desertification and its impact on plant biodiversity in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, India. Economology journal, 5: 8-19. Date of access: 19 Sept. 2017.
14. Breedt, J.A.D., Dreber, N. & Kellner, K. 2013. Post-wildfire regeneration of rangeland productivity and functionality – observations across three semi-arid vegetation types in South Africa. African journal of range and forage science, 30(3):161-167.
15. Van der Walt, L., Cilliers, S.S., Kellner, K., Tongway, D., & Van Rensburg, L. 2012. Landscape functionality of plant communities in the Impala Platinum mining area, Rustenburg. Journal of enviromental management, 113:103-116.
16. Boneschans, R.B., Malo, D.S., Van Rooijen, F.S.J. & Kellner, K. 2012. Die evaluering van die kronologiese opvolging en plantdinamika op gerehabiliteerde goudslikmyndamme by Stilfontein, Noordwes Provinsie. Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie, 31(1):1.
17. Schwilch, G., Bestelmeyer, B., Bunning, S., Critchley, W., Herrick, J., Kellner, K., Liniger, H.P., Nachtergaele, F., Ritsema, C.J., Schuster, B., Tabo, R., van Lynden, G. & Winslow, M. 2010. Experiences in monitoring and assessment of sustainable land management. Land degredation & development, 22(2):214-225.
18. Kellner, K. and Moussa, A.S. 2010. A conceptual tool for improving rangeland management decision-making at grassroots level: the local-level monitoring approach. African journal of range & forage science, 26 (3):139-147.
19. Moussa, A.S., van Rensburg, L. & Kellner, K. 2009. Soil properties changes after short-term livestock exclusion in “degraded” communally manged rangelands in the western Bophirima District, South Africa. South African journal of plant and soil, 26 (2):102-109.
20. Moussa, A.S., van Rensburg, L., Kellner, K. & Bationo, A. 2009. Expoloring differences of soil quality as related to management in semiarid rangelands in the western Bophirima District, North West province, South Africa. African journal of range & forage science, 26(1):27-36.
21. Moussa, A.S., van Rensburg, L., Kellner, K. & Bationo, A. 2007. Soil microbial biomass in semi-arid-communal sandy rangelands in the Western Bophirima district, South Africa. Applied ecology and environmental research, 5(1):43-56.
22. Van den Berg, L. & Kellner, K. 2005. Restoring degraded patches in a semi-arid rangeland of South Africa. Journal of arid environments, 61: 497-511.
23. Baraqc, A.S., Kellner, K. & De Klerk, N. 2004. Land user participation in developing a computerised decision support system for combating desertification. Environmental monitoring and sssessment, 99: 223-23.