Alta de Vos

Senior Lecturer

Contact Details:

Tel: +27-046-603-7003
Fax: +27-046-603-7574

  • Biography

    Alta is a lecturer in the department. 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.  

    Her involvement with the MAPA Project piqued her interest in understanding protected areas as social-ecological systems, which lead to a post-doc with Prof Graeme Cumming at the University of Cape Town.  In her research, she explores spatial elements of resilience of protected areas, questions of scale-mismatches, and map and analyse the contribution of different kinds of protected areas to South Africa’s development and conservation goals. She has a strong interest in mapping and quantifying ecosystem services and trade-offs in protected areas. In this realm she is increasingly interested in linking participatory approaches and remote sensing.  More recently, she has started to investigate the dynamics of protected area establishment and change, protected area governance networks, and the spatial footprint and social-ecological consequences of land claims on protected areas. More generally, she is interested in teaching methods (particularly quantitative methods) for understanding social-ecological systems. 

  • Recent Publications


    Bellón, B., Blanco, J., de Vos, A.D., Roque, F.O. Pays, O. & Renaud, P. 2020. Integrated landscape change analysis of protected areas and their surrounding landscapes: Application in the Brazilian Cerrado. Remote Sensing12, 1413. https://doi:10.3390/rs12091413

    Clements, H.S., de Vos, A., Bezerra, J.C., Coetzer-Hanack, K., Maciejewski, K., Mograbi, P.J. & Shackleton, C.M. 2020. The relevance of ecosystem services to land reform policies: insights from South Africa. Land Use Policy, 100: 104939. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.104939.

    Parker, K., De Vos, A., Clements, H.S., Biggs, D. and Biggs, R., 2020. Impacts of a trophy hunting ban on private land conservation in South African biodiversity hotspots. Conservation Science and Practice2(7), p.e214.

    Shumba, T., de Vos, A., Biggs, R., Esler, K.J., Ament, J.M. & Clements, H.S. 2020. Effectiveness of private land conservation areas in maintaining natural land cover and biodiversity intactness. Global Ecology and Conservation, 22: e00935.


    Wolff, M., Cockburn, J., De Wet, C., Carlos Bezerra, J., Weaver, M., Finca, A., De Vos, A., Ralekhetla, M., Libala, N., Mkabile, Q. and Odume, O., 2019. Exploring and expanding transdisciplinary research for sustainable and just natural resource management. Ecology and Society, 24(4).

    Weyer, D., Bezerra, J.C. and De Vos, A., 2019. Participatory mapping in a developing country context: Lessons from South Africa. Land, 8(9), p.134.

    Nolte, C., De Vos, A. and Schöttker, O., 2019. Cost‐effectiveness of public policy for the long‐term conservation of private lands: What is the deal? Conservation Letters. DOI: 10.1111/conl.12691

    De Vos, A., Biggs, R. and Preiser, R. 2019. Methods for understanding social-ecological systems: a review of place-based studies. Ecology and Society24(4).

    De Vos, A., Clements, H.S., Biggs, D. & Cumming, G.S. 2019. The dynamics of proclaimed privately protected areas in South Africa over 83 years. Conservation Letters,

    De Vos, A. & Cumming, G.S. 2019. The contribution of land tenure diversity to the spatial resilience of protected area networks. People and Nature,

    Clements, H.S., Kerley, G.I., Cumming, G.S., De Vos, A. and Cook, C.N., 2019. Privately protected areas provide key opportunities for the regional persistence of large‐and medium‐sized mammals. Journal of Applied Ecology56(3), pp.537-546.

    Preiser, R., Biggs, R., De Vos, A & Folke, C. 2018. Social-ecological systems as complex adaptive systems: organizing principles for advancing research methods and approaches. Ecology and Society, 23(4): 46. 

    De Vos, A., Joana, C.B. & Dirk, R., 2018. Relational values about nature in protected area research. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 35: 89-99.

    Cundill, G., Bezerra, J.C., De Vos, A. and Ntingana, N., 2017. Beyond benefit sharing: Place attachment and the importance of access to protected areas for surrounding communities. Ecosystem Services

Last Modified: Tue, 01 Dec 2020 11:15:15 SAST