Southern Africa’s biodiversity has changed significantly, says SU professor
Should we be more worried than we already are about the state of southern Africa’s natural beauty? Yes, says Prof Steven Chown from Stellenbosch University, who will address issues on the extensive and rapid change to biodiversity in the region in a public lecture on 15 September in Stellenbosch.
His talk is part of a public lecture series being held by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology (CIB) at Stellenbosch University in celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity. Prof Chown is the CIB’s director and recently received the international Martha T Muse Prize in recognition of his outstanding work on the study of invasive alien species and the effects of climate change and human interactions in the Antarctic region.
The talk will be held in the Wallenberg Centre in Stellenbosch and starts at 18:00.
According to Prof Chown, the environment has been changed to such a degree that some experts believe that the world’s biomes should be classified according to the extent and nature of this transformation.
“Even areas that are thought to have a relatively limited human footprint have experienced substantial biodiversity change”, he says.
Prof Chown will give an overview of the state of the marine and terrestrial systems of southern Africa, a region renowned for its high biodiversity which includes several large conservation areas.
He will reflect on how the environment is being changed by climate change, invasive species and CO2 fertilization, and how different views about the seriousness of the situation are hampering constructive management and conservation efforts.
The International Year of Biodiversity is an appropriate time to take stock of the state of the world’s wildlife, populations, species and habitats. The CIB’s four-part lecture series, which started in August, sees local and international speakers take the stage on matters relating to biodiversity decline, climate change, invasive species and biosecurity.
Still to come as part of the series is as talk by Tim Low, an environmental writer from Australia and author of “Feral Future”, on issues relating to climate change and invasive species. This will be held on 5 October, also at the Wallenberg Centre in Stellenbosch at 18:00.
The public lecture series concludes on 18 November with a talk by Prof Richard Duncan, an expert in biosecurity from Lincoln University in New Zealand. It will be held in the JC Gericke Library Auditorium at Stellenbosch University, as part of the CIB’s annual research meeting. The talk starts at 09:00.
For more information, or to RSVP, contact Ms Mathilda van der Vyver at (021) 808 2832 or firstname.lastname@example.org