SARChI Chair University of Venda

The University of Venda based South African Research Chair in Biodiversity and Change in the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve is a vibrant hub for biodiversity science, training and conservation application in the Southern African Development Community – a body of established and emerging researchers, postgraduate and postdoctoral candidates. The Research Chair, co-hosted by the Centre for Invasion Biology at the University of Stellenbosch, is funded by the Department of Science and Technology and administered by the National Research Foundation.

Ecosystem services & livelihoods

This focus develops models to determine the economic value of ecosystem services in provincial nature reserves as well as in agricultural landscapes, predicting that complex agro-ecosystems with intact natural ecosystems and predator communities will enhance pest management solutions.


  1. Baobab Blitz

        2017 Blitz dates are 24 & 25 November and 2 & 3 December Do you know what pollinates baobab flowers?  Bet you thought it was bats, but scientists have never seen bats visiting baobab flowers in Southern Africa.  We have a theory that both hawk moths and bats play a role in pollination.  […]
  2. Ecosystem services of bats in macadamias.

    Bats are major predators of crop pests worldwide. Our research in collaboration with the South African Macadamia Growers’ Association has shown that the diet of bats roosting or feeding in macadamia orchards in Levubu frequently contain pest green vegetable stinkbugs (Nezara viridula). Stinkbugs cause losses of R50 million annually to the macadamia industry. Almost certainly, […]
  3. Combining effective rodenticide application with an understanding of predator prey dynamics: Implications for ecologically based rodent management in summer rainfall maize production areas

    The long term objective of this study is to provide small holder and commercial farmers with cost effective and sustainable technologies for ecological rodent pest management in crop fields. This is because rodents can inflict considerable economic damage in agricultural activities because of their abundance, diversity and their ability to quickly multiply. Losses are largely […]
  4. SPACES Limpopo Living Landscapes

    SPACES North Limpopo Living Landscapes – Understanding the dynamics of ecological and cultural landscapes, in the face of global change, in the northern Limpopo region of South Africa. Within the agricultural landscapes of Limpopo Province, the Limpopo Living Landscapes project aims to understand and predict the combined effects of land use and climate change processes […]
  5. StopRats: Sustainable Technology to Overcome Pest Rodents in Africa Through Science.

    The Chair is one of the Southern African partners in this project initiated and led by Dr Steven Belmain from the University of Greenwich Natural Resources Institute and working in Namibia, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland and Tanzania.  The overall objectives of the project are to strengthen science, technology and innovation about rodent biology […]