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Edwin I. Mudongo, MPhil - PhD Student

Contact
Botanical Institute, Workgroup Linstädter
University of Cologne
Zülpicher Straße 47b
D-50674 Cologne, Germany
Tel: +49 221 470 7906
E-Mail: Edwin.mudongo(at)uni-koeln.de

2nd Affiliation
Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Centre
University of Limpopo
Private Bag X1106
Sovenga 0727
South Africa
Tel: +27 15 268 4006
Mobile: +27 72 446 5916
Email: edwin.mudongo810(at)gmail.com

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Research Interests

  • Range ecology and management
  • Herbivore ecology
  • Climate change and the environment
  • Climate change effects on ecosystem functions and services
  • Intra- and interspecific variation in plant functional traits

Current Project

I am currently a PhD student in the BMBF funded research program “LLL - Limpopo Living Landscapes”, Subproject 4: Livelihoods and farming systems.

Working Title of Doctoral Thesis
Combined effects of drought and grazing on ecosystem services of semi-arid rangelands in Limpopo, South Africa

Abstract
Livestock farming in the Limpopo Region of South Africa takes place in arid and semi-arid rangelands that are characterised by low and erratic rainfall and regular droughts. Intensive herbivore grazing exerts extra pressure on the ecosystem, which may lead to rangeland degradation. Besides, climate change models predict rainfall, as well as increasing frequency of more extreme drought events in this region. In my PhD study (part of the subproject “Livelihoods and farming systems” of the Limpopo Living Landscapes project), I focus on the joint effects of grazing and drought on the savanna rangelands in the Limpopo Region. This vegetation is exceptionally rich in species, and adequate levels of grazing are needed to maintain its high diversity. Thus, an ecosystem-based management is required to increase livestock production while conserving vegetation diversity and the functioning of the ecosystem to prevent rangeland degradation. Despite its importance, the relationships between the impact of drought and grazing on the vegetation have seldom been studied in the Limpopo region or in semi-arid savanna and grassland biome in general. For doing so, I use an experimental manipulation of precipitation (artificial drought) and grazing at the Syferkuil Experimental Farm, University of Limpopo – the DroughtAct experiment.

Curriculum Vitae

Post-Graduate Education
Since 10/2014: PhD student – University of Cologne, Germany & University of Limpopo, South Africa (aiming at a Dual Degree)

Graduation
10/2014: MPhil Natural Resources Management. Thesis title: The influence of grazing and fire management on rangeland dynamics in the Kgalagadi ecosystem – Western Botswana

09/2005: BSc Wildlife Biology and Environmental Science – Griffith University, Australia

Professional Experience
Since 10/2014: Research Assistant in the BMBF funded research program 'LLL - Limpopo Living Landscapes', Subproject 4: Livelihoods and farming systems (Principal Investigator Dr. Anja Linstädter, University of Cologne, Germany).

01/2007 - 07/2014: Ecologist, Department of Wildlife and National Parks Botswana

10/2005 - 12/2006: Assistant Ecological Consultant, Mantswe Natural Resources Consultants

Awards and Scholarships
06/2016 - 08/2016: DAAD-SPACES Scholarship for a 3-months research stay in Germany (University of Cologne, University of Tuebingen)

05/2015 - 08/2015: DAAD-SPACES Scholarship for a 3-months research stay in Germany (University of Cologne)

Since 01/2015: ACCESS Scholarship for PhD study (University of Limpopo)

08/2011 - 08/2013: Smithsonian Conservation Biology Scholarship for MPhil study (University of Botswana)

01/2003 - 09/2005: Government of Botswana Scholarship for undergraduate study (Griffith University, Australia)

Publications (Peer Reviewed)

Mudongo, E.I., Fusi, T., Fynn, R.W.S. and Bonyongo, M.C., 2016. The role of cattle grazing management on perennial grass and woody vegetation cover in semiarid rangelands: Insights from two case studies in the Botswana Kalahari. Rangelands, in press. DOI: 10.1016/j.rala.2016.07.001

Mudongo, E., Fynn, R. and Bonyongo, C. 2016. Influence of fire on woody vegetation density, cover and structure at Tiisa Kalahari Ranch in western Botswana. Grassland Science 62: 3 – 11. DOI: 10.1111/grs.12110

Mudongo, E.I., Fynn, R.W. and Bonyongo, M.C., 2016. Role of herbivore impact and subsequent timing and extent of recovery periods in rangelands. Rangeland Ecology & Management 69: 327 – 333. DOI: 10.1016/j.rama.2016.04.003

Conference Contributions (Oral Presentations)
Mudongo, E.I., Ruppert, J.C. and Linstädter, A. 2015. The DroughtAct Experiment: Exploring ecosystem functioning and management options in the face of drought. 45th Annual GfÖ Conference. Göttingen, Germany.

Mudongo, E.I. and Keitsile, O.A. 2014. The effect of increasing livestock populations on wildlife forage dynamics at the wildlife/livestock interface. Botswana Wildlife Research Symposium. Maun, Botswana. [Download Abstract]

Mudongo, E.I. and Fynn, R.W.S.  2014. Effects of management versus stocking density on forage quality and quantity for livestock in semi-arid Savanna rangelands. AHEAD/RP-PCP, Hwange National Park. Zimbabwe.

Mudongo, E. I. and Fynn, R. W. S. 2013. The effects of sporadic fire on woody vegetation density, cover and structure. 11th Savanna Science Network Conference, 7th to 11th March 2013, Skukuza, South Africa.

Mudongo, E. I., Fynn, R. W. S. and Bonyongo, M. C. 2013. The significance of grassland diversity on functional dry season forage for grazing herbivores. 48th Annual Congress for the Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA), 15th to 19th July 2013, Modimolle, South Africa. [Download Abstract]