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Stubs for the homepage slides for the SAEON Ndlovu Node website

The SAEON Ndlovu Node is a branch of SAEON that focuses on understanding environmental change occurring in the savanna biome of South Africa. Based in the Kruger National Park, at Phalaborwa, the Node runs a number of long-term research projects in the north-eastern part of the country, in national parks, private conservation areas, mining areas and rural rangelands. "Ndlovu", the name chosen for the Node, means "elephant" in isiZulu. It symbolizes the relatively pristine state of many ecosystems in the savanna biome, as well as the role that these ecosystems play in sustaining economic activities and the livelihoods of people living in the region.
The scientific focus of the Node is acquiring and analysing long-term data, in order to understand the causes and consequences of the major ecological changes occurring in the north-eastern part of South Africa. We have three main research areas: 1) The impact of land use and climate on the biodiversity and productivity of savanna ecosystems. Current projects investigate the causes and consequences of bush encroachment, the sustainability and impacts of the harvesting of natural resources, the impacts of mining and rehabilitation on biodiversity, and the impacts of elephants on biodiversity. 2) Detecting the impacts of global change on South African ecosystems. As global climate change is expected to impact higher-altitude regions first, this research is mainly conducted at sites in the Drakensberg Escarpment mountain range. Current projects involve monitoring of shrub cover and plant diversity in montane grasslands, and monitoring the distributions of key species predicted to migrate in response to climatic change 3) The biodiversity and hydrology of rivers. Freshwater resources are under threat across South Africa (and most of the world) and biodiversity is declining most rapidly in freshwater aquatic ecosystems. Current projects investigate how pollution, water abstraction and land management in catchments affect the biodiversity and hydrology of rivers in semi-arid savanna environments. This research also provides baseline data to detect and monitor the impact of global climate change on rivers. Click on the SCIENCE tab above to learn more.
Education outreach is an important function of SAEON, and the Node conducts environmental science projects and activities with many schools in the Phalaborwa area, as well as environmental awareness events with the broader community. The aim of these various activities is to create awareness of environmental issues amongst learners, educators and the general public, and to encourage secondary school learners to follow careers in the environmental sciences. Click on the OUTREACH tab above to learn more.
The SAEON Ndlovu Node has a small staff component, and relies on collaborations with professors, students, volunteers, land owners and land managers to conduct research and education outreach projects.
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