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Charlie appointed to the NFAC

Date Released : 07/06/2019

At the end of 2018, Charlie Shackleton was appointed to the National Forestry Advisory Council (NFAC) for a three year term. This is a statutory council set to advise the minister of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries on all aspects relating to indigenous forests, plantations and woodlands in the country.

Distinguished Alumni Award

Date Released : 14/11/2018

Georgina Kemp (nee Cundill), former student, staff member and now research associate, was named as one of the recipients of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards.

DES celebrates the publication of a new book

Date Released : 01/11/2018

The department is proud to celebrate the recent publication of a new book, edited by former post-doctoral fellow Dr Deepa Pullanikkatil and Professor Charlie Shackleton. It is part of the new, presitgious Sustainable Development Series published by Springer.

PhD student takes greening project to Joza

Date Released : 19/07/2018

Nanamhla Gwedla is a PhD student in the Department of Environmental Science, under the supervision of Professor Charlie Shackleton, and Dr Lausanne Olvitt from the Environmental Learning Research Centre.

Dr Ruwanza joins the team

Date Released : 25/06/2018

After the departure of Prof Sheona Shackleton, her replacement has been given to Dr Ruwanza, a young ecologist and conservationist whose research focus is on restoration ecology and management of degraded ecosystems. He will start as a senior lecturer on the 1st July.

Gladman awarded NRF (Y1) Rating

Date Released : 14/03/2018

Dr Gladman Thondhlana has been awarded the NRF Rating category Y1) which is awarded to, “A young researcher (less than 40 years and within 5 years from PhD at the time of application) who is recognised by all or the overriding majority of reviewers as having the potential to establish him/herself as a researcher of considerable international standing on the basis of the quality and impact of his/her recent research outputs”.

AFRICITY Project gets underway

Date Released : 15/08/2017

The multi-country AFRICITY project got under way in the first half of 2017. AFRICITY is a three-year collaborative research and training project with sites in Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania. It seeks to examine the causes and effects of environmental change and resource use in Sub-Saharan African cities. The project will consider the rapid social and economic transformation processes and their external and internal drivers, and assesses the barriers for potentials of social adaptability in the context of inequity, risk, resourcefulness and rights to the city, all with an emphasis on their role, potential and governance of urban green infrastructure.

Editor's choice for Gladman's paper

Date Released : 08/12/2017

Gladman's paper, entitled "Local people and conservation officals' perceptions on relationships and conflicts in South African protected areas" has been selected as one of the Editor's choices in the International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management. The paper was selected, among other reasons, as being the most downloaded and for having made a great impact on social media.

Farewell to Sheona

Date Released : 05/12/2017

This month marks the end of Sheona Shackleton’s formal career at Rhodes University. Sheona has been associated with the Department of Environmental Science since 2000, taking up a permanent position in the Department in June 2008. During this time she progressed from lecturer to full Professor, which she obtained in 2013. She has been head of department for the last four years. 

2016 Distinguished Teaching Award for Dr Thondhlana

Date Released : 13/06/2017

The Rhodes University Distinguished Teaching Award is presented annually to a new staff member with ten or fewer years’ experience of teaching in higher education who is able to demonstrate exceptional contribution to teaching in his/her discipline.

New postdoc: Dr Penny Mograbi

Date Released : 25/05/2017

Penny joined the Department as a post-doctoral Research Fellow under Prof. Charlie Shackleton’s SARChI Chair in January 2017. Her research interests lie in human-environment interactions and she has a penchant for exploring these themes through spatial ecological methods.

DES welcomes new post-doc Deepa Pullanikkattil

Date Released : 15/09/2016

Deepa Pullanikkatil has worked in India, Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland. She worked at Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) Southern and Eastern Africa based in Malawi on climate change adaptation projects from 2010 to 2014, before moving to Swaziland where she is currently based.

New RUESSPA bursary student

Date Released : 13/09/2016

This year sees the awarding of our annual RUESSPA bursary to Ntuthuko Mbhele, a second year. Ntuthuko hails from Dimbaza just outside King Williams town. He is doing a BSc, majoring in Geology and Environmental Science, with Anthropology 1 added for interest. He is interested in building a career in Environmental Geology.

2017 Graduation

Date Released : 02/06/2017

This year saw a record number of senior graduations for our department. There were five PhD students, nine Masters students and a total of twelve honours graduations.

DES Alumni at the World Bank

Date Released : 21/09/2016

Shafiek Hoossein, a former Masters student in the dept, and who now works at the World Bank, is mentor to a new recruit. Mercedes Stickler, who graduated with a Masters in Environmental Science in 2009.

2016 Graduation

Date Released : 19/04/2016

This year saw a total of 26 of our students graduating. 1 PhD (Precillia Tata-Ngome), 5 Masters (Heather Maseko, Rebone Modipa, Kyle Langley, Tracey Steyn and Karabo Chadzingwa) and 20 Honours students. Well done to you all. Our department currently has 50 senior postgrads, 12 Honours students and 140 undergraduates and we are one of the most productive departments in the University in terms of per capita research outputs.

New collaborative interdisciplinary project on understanding place, identity and attachment to urban green spaces and places

Date Released : 16/02/2016

Enviros is part of a new interdisciplinary project that has recently been awarded R2.8 million by the national Research Foundation to examine urban dwellers’ needs and aspirations with respect to green spaces and biodiversity. The project is a collaboration between the Departments of Anthropology (Dr Michelle Cocks) and of Environmental Science (Prof Charlie Shackleton) and the Faculty of Law (Dr Gustav Muller), all at Rhodes University.

2015 Annual Schools quiz

Date Released : 06/11/2015

On the 16th of September, the 2015 Honours class hosted the eighth annual schools quiz. This event started in 2008 as part of the Dept's community engagement initiative and has become an event on the calendar of most of the schools in Grahamstown. This year ten schools participated, with each school being represented by three learners each from Grade 11. This year Victoria Girls High came first, with Graeme College second, DSG third and fourth place to Ntsika High.

2nd year wins 2015 CE award

Date Released : 29/10/2015

Angel Ancha Bulunga, a 2nd year in our dept was the winner of the VC's 2015 Community Engagement Award. She was also the student volunteer of the year in 2014. Angel has been a member of the student volunteer programme since her first year at Rhodes. She has served as one of the student leaders at Home of Joy for the past two years, and in that time she has spear headed a well-planned and directed approach to academic support activities at the Home

From Theory to Practice

Date Released : 19/05/2015

The 2015 People and Protected Landscapes honours class completed an internship with the Swartkops Conservancy this week. The internship aims to get students stuck into the realities of conserving biodiversity outside of protected areas, and on a human dominated planet. This year, the class got involved in thinking about these issues in an urban context. They assisted the Conservancy with an education day for local school kids, running a lesson on bird migrations and showing children how the estuary is connected other parts of the world. They also conducted a public opinion survey that will form the basis for an awareness raising program surrounding a critically threatened wetland in the estuary system. Throughout, the class was tasked with cross checking and probing the extent to which the theory they have learned in class assists them to come to grips with real life situations.

DES Paper is Editor's choice

Date Released : 04/05/2015

A new paper by DES authors entitled "Multiple benefits and values of trees in urban landscapes in two towns in northern South Africa" and published in Landscape and Urban Planning is the Editor's choice. "This is to congratulate you and your co-authors on your very fine paper in V. 136 of Landscape and Urban Planning. Because of its clarity and significance, I selected it as the Editor's Choice in its volume. That allows anyone online to have free access to your paper for six months. I hope you'll let lots of your colleagues know that they can download it free. It's great work, and I hope that you'll continue to contribute your work to the journal!"

New book publication for the Department

Date Released : 14/04/2015

The book "Ecological Sustainability for Non-timber Forest Products: Dynamics and case studies of Harvesting" is edited by Charlie Shackleton, Ashok Pandey and Tamara Ticktin. In addition to being the editor, Charlie contributed three chapters to the book and Georgina Cundill contributed a fourth.

DES wins Community Engagement Award

Date Released : 07/04/2015

The Jongaphambili Sinethemba Project Group (Professor Sheona Shackleton, Dr. Georgina Cundill, Mr. Nick Hamer, Mr. Monde Ntshudu, and Professor Heila Lotz - Sitsika) from the Department of Environmental Science, are the recipients of the 2014 Vice Chancellor’s Distinguished Award for Community Engagement. The engaged research project into climate change and adaptation in rural contexts, where vulnerability is exacerbated by multiple stressors, undertaken by the group, involved the participating communities of Lessyton and Willowvale from the conceptualisation stages of the project. The research project was named Jongaphambili Sinethemba (looking forward, we have hope) by the communities involved.

ASSAF inaugurates new members

Date Released : 31/10/2014

The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF) inaugurated 23 new Members at its Annual Awards and Inauguration Ceremony on 14 October 2014 swelling its numbers to 445, all of whom are recognised as among South Africa’s top scholars. Our very own Head of Department, Prof Sheona Shackleton was among those inaugurated as a new member. Well done Sheona!

Annual Schools quiz won by Mary Waters

Date Released : 22/09/2014

2014 marks the 7th year that our department, in conjuction with our Honours students, has hosted this increasingly popular event among our local schools. This year saw Mary Waters High School winning for the very first time. They took home a cheque of R3000 for their school. Well done Mary Waters.

DES Welcomes Alta de Vos

Date Released : 09/09/2014

Alta started as a lecturer in the department on the 1st September. She started her academic training as a behavioural ecologist, completing a PhD on the interactions of fur seals and great white sharks at the University of Cape Town, in 2010. After her PhD she left academia for two years to manage the MAPA Project, a non-profit initiative that aims to make African conservation more visible online. In this role, she taught conservationists how to use free online tools to communicate their work and has been instrumental in setting up the beginnings of an online registry and map of African conservation areas and actions. She remains involved with this initiative on a volunteer basis and firmly believes in working collaboratively with non-profits and other public-benefit organisations to co-develop research agendas.

Sheona's inaugural speech

Date Released : 22/08/2014

Linking livelihood and ecosystem services in a context of heightened vulnerability. Climate change is real, but its impacts cannot be measured in isolation. In her Inaugural Lecture, Professor Sheona Shackleton of the Department of Environmental Science looked at the links between livelihoods, vulnerability, ecosystem services and climate change. Professor Shackleton has been working in this arena for most of her academic career. In the past few years she has been doing a lot more applied research around climate change adaptation, which she describes as interdisciplinary, challenging and exciting.

DES awarded R930 000 contract from the national NRM

Date Released : 09/06/2014

The NRM (National Resources Mangaement) Programme is a collective of all the Working-for… programmes (WfWater, WfLand, WfEnergy, WfForests, WfCoast, WfWetlands etc.). In 2007 the Rhodes Restoration Research Group was established to provide guidance and scientific oversight to the Eastern Cape Restoration Programme (principally the thicket restoration, WfLand, and the clearing of alien plants, WfWater). One of the benefits accrued through this contract was the provision of student bursaries from the DEA, which helped a number of students graduate in the field of restoration ecology and applied sciences as well as result in the publication of several papers from this work.

DES well-represented at the Resilience2014 Conference

Date Released : 26/05/2014

Dr. Georgina Cundill, two masters students (Karabo Chadzingwa and Nokuthula Dubazane), and a new Phd student, Jessica Cockburn, all travelled to Montpelier in France this month to attend the Resilience2014 conference (http://www.resilience2014.org).

Graduation 2014

Date Released : 15/05/2014

This year's graduation saw the University awarding 1 PhD, 4 Masters and 14 Honours degrees to our students. PhD: Omar Makame's work, supervised by Prof Sheona Shackleton, was on the vulnerability and adaptation of Zanzibar coastal communities to climate variability and change. Masters: Keitometsi Ngulube Abu-Basutu's work, supervised by Prof Charlie Shackleton looked at the contribution of wold foods to individual and household food security in the context of increasing vulnerability due to HIV/AIDS and climate change.

Public announcement of the new Research Chairs

Date Released : 22/04/2014

This public announcement was made at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria on 7th March 2014. Charlie Shackleton is seen here with Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe. Charlie was awarded the Research Chair in Interdisciplinary Science in Land and Natural Resource Use for Sustainable Livelihoods.

New Head of Department: Prof Sheona Shackleton

Date Released : 25/02/2014

The department welcomes it first female and fourth HOD since its inception as a full department in 2002. Sheona follows on from Prof Christo Fabricius, Prof Charlie Shackleton and Prof Fred Ellery. Sheona joined the department as a full-time staff member in July 2008, following eight years as an independently funded research associate in the department.


Date Released : 21/02/2014

A R50,000 per annum Masters bursary is on offer to a student interested in pursuing the following research area - "Towards sustainable landscapes: harnessing social learning for collective action".

New handbook

Date Released : 05/02/2014

New handbook on social learning for adaptation

Vacancy - Senior Lecturer

Date Released : 23/01/2014

The department is looking to fill the position of Senior Lecturer

Visiting PhD student from Chile

Date Released : 25/09/2013

Jaime Aburto spent the month of August in the department working with Dr Georgina Cundill on a number of papers for his Phd research.

Tree for Life project

Date Released : 22/09/2013

As part of its Community Engagement activities, the Dept of Environmental Science Tree for Life Project aims to promote awareness of the need to plant and maintain indigenous trees in and around the Grahamstown area.

New Postdoc in the Department

Date Released : 25/09/2013

Dr Sheunesu Ruwanza is a young ecologist and conservationist whose research focus is on restoration ecology and management of ecological processes that shape the world focus on conservation and restoration issues.