The Biodiversity focus establishes a data depository including a GIS database, hosts an annual biodiversity academy and coordinates projects on conservation ecology of threatened and iconic target ecosystems.
The work of the Biodiversity Value focus includes:
- An archival repository for local biodiversity information containing historical and current information, both spatial (GIS) and non-spatial for use by the broader conservation and research community.
- Based on a successful model developed by the Centre for Invasion Biology and the University of Cape Town an annual Biodiversity Academy training students from Southern African Development Community countries.
- Conservation ecology of threatened and iconic target ecosystems (mistbelt forests, grasslands and wetlands) and species (primates and predators); aquatic ecosystems research building on existing Univen strengths in fish biology, freshwater ecosystem health and historical and ongoing monitoring; monitoring of leopards and other predators in the Soutpansberg and management of conflict between predators and cattle/game farmers.
- Investigating and valuing ecosystem services within the VBR and Limpopo including:
- Valuation of ecosystem services of Limpopo protected areas (PA’s) in collaboration with Limpopo Economic Development Environment and Tourism (LEDET).
- Investigation of Integrated Pest Management ecological services to subtropical agriculture in northern Limpopo.
- Agroecological management solutions for subtropical agro-ecosystems, testing the prediction that complex agro-ecosystems with intact natural ecosystems and predator communities will enhance Integrated Pest Management.
- Development of a network approach to quantify the benefits of biodiversity to tropical agriculture – trade-offs in ecological services.