Global scientists gather in the Kruger National Park
Global scientists gather in the Kruger National Park. Photo: Pixabay

The Kruger National Park (KNP) is hosting a large number of scientists and researchers from around the world this week in Skukuza. The 214 international delegates – who represent 84 different institutions from most continents – have gathered for the 20th annual Savanna Science Network Meeting which ends on Friday.

The four-day programme includes 150 presentations covering a wide range of topics and research conducted in all Savanna National Parks and Protected Areas.

Many topical issues in ecological and social sciences are being be covered, including:

  • Classic ecological themes like studying ecological patterns (e.g. animal space-use patterns, large-scale biodiversity patterns),
  • Understanding ecological processes (e.g. erosion, predation, plant recruitment, herbivory, fire, disease, decomposition),
  • Presentations on cultural heritage, tourism and human wildlife conflict and co-existence.

SANParks GM: Savanna Research Unit, Dr Danny Govender, says the Meeting allows SANParks scientists to engage and collaborate with a wide range of national and international scientists, research partners and funders in a formal and informal manner, in a spectacular venue.

“The close interactions between academics and park authorities facilitated by this meeting are key to promoting pro-active evidence-based decision-making, and directing research to address priority conservation management needs. The meeting has always valued capacity building, and as such students share the platform with world-renowned savanna scientists from across the globe.”

The idea for the Savanna Science meeting came about when a small group of scientists working on river-related issues in KNP, reflecting on the impacts of the 2000 floods, started thinking that a small meeting held annually to share research findings with management, might be very useful.

The scope and participation of these meetings grew quickly to include Savanna-related research and delegates from many countries and organisations.

This meeting is now considered the premier international savanna science conference covering socio-ecological research taking place in savannas across the globe.

For more information including the programme on the Science Network Meeting, please visit:

Sessions are being streamed live: