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Opportunities for Further Studies

Profile: David Maphisa

The establishment of the Ingula Partnership between Eskom, BirdLife South Africa and Middelpunt Wetland Trust and the identification of specific projects and activities also provides an opportunity for individuals to improve their academic qualifications. One such person is David Maphisa, who has been BirdLife South Africa’s Project Manager at Ingula since 2006. David’s activities at Ingula included baseline monitoring of bird distribution through regular recording along transects.

The main focus of David’s research now is to collect sufficient relevant data to be able to undertake analysis and develop an adaptive management plan for Ingula, using burning and grazing regimes as the main management tools. This is a highly threatened habitat, vulnerable to afforestation, mining, overgrazing and often inappropriate annual burning. High altitude grasslands are home to a multitude of floral and faunal endemic South African species, many of whcich are categorised at various levels of threat. There has been insufficient study of this habitat and, most certainly, nowhere near enough of it is sufficiently protected.
Through the facilitation of the Ingula Partnership, it is expected that David’s work, which is the subject of a PhD, will develop a monitoring protocol and adaptive management programme that can be used for the improved management and protection of high altitude grasslands. Such adaptive management techniques will not only apply to Ingula but also to high altitude grasslands generally. As well as his main focus area, David continues to make meaningful contributions to our knowledge of butterflies, reptiles and plants at Ingula.