Wednesday, October 31, 2007

ELTOSA WORKSHOP – October 22-26th, 2007

ELTOSA meeting participants at Satara exclosure, photo courtesy of Joh Henschel

The annual ELTOSA (Ecological Long Term observation network of southern Africa meeting took place in South Africa this year in Paborwa, a mining town on the edge of Kruger National Park with invitees from Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa. Following updates from the various representative networks (such as BENRON for Botswana) scientific papers demonstrated the successful integration of monitoring activities into mainstream science. An example of this is the Africa Array project which, while seeking to train geoscientists, is also establishing a seismic network throughout Africa. In fact, plans are currently underway to enhance long term seismic monitoring at the HOORC site.

Papers were also given by various funding agencies such as NEPAD, the NSF and the South African Department of Science and Technology. A number of grants for students are available from southern African countries, although registration at a South African University is often required. The workshop participants were charged with developing a proposal for integrated long term monitoring over several southern African rivers. Botswana’s contribution to the proposal will focus on augmenting and integrating monitoring activities through capacity building in the Okavango river basin.

Particpants also visited monitoring sites (exclosures and fire trials) in Kruger National Park (KNP) and heard a series of stimulating presentations by the Scientific Services group of SANParks. They introduced the concept of Thresholds of Potential Changes (TPCs), a monitoring indexing system now integrated into KNP management that enables them to respond to flooding and other aspects of change deemed detrimental to ecosystem functioning.

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