The K2C Biosphere Region has been the focus of a long history of environmental research, which is actively growing. The diverse ecosystems and starkly contrasting land uses in the Region have attracted a range of scientists, from ecologists to sociologists to economics. Today, the Region is one of the major focal areas for research in the fields of rural livelihoods, biodiversity conservation and global climate change.
The Kruger National Park is the flagship for ecological research, not only in the region but in the whole of Africa; with a long history of research on how best to manage large conservation areas. Earlier research focussed mainly on describing the thousands of species and ecosystem types that occur in the park, as well as globally-
Today, the Park has over 100 active research projects, mostly conducted by university students and professors, on topics that span the full breadth of ecology. The experimental burn plots established throughout the park in the early 1950's constitute one of the oldest ecological experiments in Africa. Results from this experiment have resulted in key developments in the management of fire, both inside Kruger Park and neighbouring private reserves.
The Park also contains the only two sites in the country where the movement of carbon dioxide between the vegetation and atmosphere is measured. The data produced by the high-
Both inside the Park, and in neighbouring private game reserves, veld condition assessments have been conducted for nearly 2 decades, by scientific staff in the Park and the Agricultural Research Council. These have allowed for the proper management of wildlife, and prevent over-
Currently, the Park is expanding its monitoring to include all aspects of biodiversity, in-
In the rural areas nestled side-
This facility focuses on human-
This massive social research program has surveyed 12 000 households every year since 1992, and has generated a wealth of data that is used to better understand the impacts of HIV/AIDS on rural people in the region.
In addition to these larger programs, countless post-
The South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) recently established a Node at Phalaborwa that aims to deal with this research need. SAEON is a government-
Finally, freshwater is a major environmental issue in the region, and the monitoring of the water flow and quality in the major rivers of the region has been undertaken by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry for decades, while the biodiversity of these rivers has been monitored through the Rivers Health Program, as well as by scientific staff within the Kruger National Park.
Pollution from the large mines at Phalaborwa has been closely monitored by the mining companies themselves, as part of their environmental impact management obligations.
To help faclitate and coordinate reserach within the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region, K2C have established a Research Forum that brings all primary research facilities in the region, together on a regular basis. For more info visit our FORUMS and follow the links to the RESEARCH FORUM information page.