Dr Wendy Foden
Associate Professor: Stellenbosch University
Head: Cape Research Centre, South African National Parks
Chair: IUCN Species Survival Commission, Climate Change Specialist Group
Wendy’s research focuses on climate change vulnerability and adaptation in natural systems. As a researcher in SANBI’s Climate Change and Biodiversity Group, Wendy studied Namib Desert Quiver Trees and documented some of the first evidence of climate change impacts in arid ecosystems and on plants. She led SANBI’s Threatened Species Programme (2003-2007) where she initiated several Red Listing, atlasing and monitoring projects, and founded a scholarship for research on threatened species conservation. Thereafter, she initiated and led the IUCN Global Species Programme’s Climate Change Unit, based in Cambridge, UK (2007-2013) where she led development of the IUCN’s best-practice guidelines for assessing species’ vulnerability to climate change. Wendy recently won IUCN’s George Rabb award for innovative conservation and the British Ecological Society’s Marsh award for outstanding climate change research. In her role as head of the Cape Research Centre at South African National Parks, she leads development of the organisation’s Climate Change Preparedness strategy, including development of park-level vulnerability assessments, adaptation planning and ongoing climate change monitoring.
Dr Nicola Stevens
Trapnell Fellow for African Systems, ECI, Oxford University
Nikki’s research interests are centred around understanding vegetation dynamics in African savannas and how they are likely to change given increasing global change pressures like altered fire and herbivory regimes against a backdrop of changing CO2 concentrations. Along this vein she has become particularly interested in the phenomenon of woody encroachment where open ecosystems across the tropics are being invaded by native woody species. It has also driven her to improve our ability to predict future species ranges under global change by improving our mechanistic understanding of range edges in disturbance limited systems. She is currently based at the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University but has ongoing projects in Southern Africa with the hopes to expand this research to other tropical savannas.