Change the world

Sustainability Research Unit George Campus


Professor Christo Fabricius

Leader & Manco member

PhD (Cape Town)

Current Projects:

  • Communities of practice, adaptive co-management and social-ecological transformation in the Garden Route

  • Vulnerability, social learning and mal-adaptations to climate change

Research interests: resilience, transformations and adaptive co-management in disorderly social-ecological systems

Contact details:

Find me on Google Scholar… or Linked In…


Bianca Currie

Deputy leader & Manco member

MTech (Nelson Mandela University)

Designing a participatory process to facilitate social learning in complex social ecological systems.

Study area: Sedgefield/Knysna (Swartvlei)

Promoter: Prof Christo Fabricius

Research interests: social learning, participatory processes, resilience, adaptive co management

Contact details:

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Professor Dirk Roux

Research Associate, Adjunct Professor & Manco member

PhD (UJ)

Research Interests:

  • Conservation of freshwater ecosystems, sharing the benefits derived from their services, and the role of Protected Areas in achieving this.

  • Processes of adaptive management, cooperation and trans disciplinary learning.

Contact details:

Find me on Google Scholar...


Professor Janine Adams

Manco member, Professor for Botany Department & Director of ICMR (Institute of Coastal and Marine Research).


Current Projects:

  • Estuary habitats and response to anthropogenic impacts and climate change.

  • Impacts of climate change on mangroves and adaptations to their environment.

  • Structure and function of temporarily open/closed estuaries.

  • Environmental water requirements of estuaries in the Gourtiz water management area.

  • Water quality management of the Swartkops Estuary.

Research interests: Environmental flow requirements of estuaries; response of mangroves and salt marshes to climate change; estuary health assessments, monitoring and management plans; ecophysiology of salt marsh plants

Contact Details:


Professor Lyn Snodgrass

Department of Political and Conflict Studies

DPhil (Nelson Mandela University)

Current Projects:

  • Trans-disciplinary research projects that interrogate deep-rooted, intractable conflict with an emphasis on Africa.

  • Current research focus is the role of collective emotion, communal memory and narrative in the manifestations of violence in post-conflict societies and communities.

  • Conflict resolution interventions and facilitation include conflict management systems design, conflict analysis and ‘mapping’, negotiation and mediation for inter alia civil society, government and non-governmental organisations and business.

Contact Details:




Luzanne Visagie

SRU Coordinator

BA(Hons) Psychology

Contact details:

Tel: (044) 801 5127





Jeanette Pauw



Contact details:


Dr Peter Novellie

Research Associate

DSc (Pretoria)

Current Projects: 

  • An evaluation of the legislation governing South Africa’s national parks: does it accord with the principles of adaptive governance?

Research interests: Adaptive management and adaptive governance of social-ecological systems; the impact of grazing on biodiversity and spatial heterogeneity.

Contact details:


Professor Robert Fincham

Research Associate

PhD (Rhodes)

Research interests: Landscape scale appreciation of African landscapes; Monitoring & Evaluation of development initiatives & food security.

Contact details:


Dr Hervé Fritz

Research Associate

PhD in Ecology (UPMC Paris)

Current Projects:

  • Coupling behavioral and community ecology to understand the role of trophic relationships in the functioning of conservation orientated socio-ecological systems

Research interests: Wildlife management; the interface between theoretical and applied sciences; social-ecological system dynamics.

Institutional websites:

Contact details:

Find me on Research Gate and Google Scholar.


Dr Jeanne Nel

Research Associate

PhD (Cape Town)

Current Projects: 

  • Specific place-based strategies for building resilient landscapes within risk hotspots

  • From National Freshwater Conservation targets to local action

Research interests: water management and policy within the fields of biodiversity, ecosystem services and human wellbeing and sustainability science.

Contact details:

Dr James Dabrowski

Research Associate


Research interests:

Ecological Risk Assessment, Aquatic Ecology, Water Quality, Ecotoxicology, Geographical Information Systems.

Contact Details:

Google Scholar Link:



Dr Jackie Dabrowski

Research Associate

Ph.D. Veterinary Science (Onderstepoort, University of Pretoria)

Research interest:

Freshwater ecology, aquatic food webs, eutrophication, water quality, drought, ephemeral waterbodies, biodiversity, fish kill diagnosis and fish health, mine rehabilitation.

Contact details

Tel: 083 2563159


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Dr Chloé Guerbois

Post-doctoral fellow

PhD in Ecology (MNHN Paris)

My current projects focus on theoretical and applied interdisciplinary research on the dynamics of social-ecological systems including protected areas in Southern Africa:

Host: Prof Christo Fabricius

Research interests: Complex systems, protected areas, natural resources, biodiversity conservation, human-wildlife coexistence, vulnerability transfers, indigenous knowledge, ecosystem services, value systems, connectedness.

Study areas: Garden Route, Hwange National Park, Niassa Game Reserve

Partner institutions: CNRS, CIRAD, Hwange LTER, RP-PCP, ZPWMA, SANParks

Contact details:



Tatenda Mapeto

Doctoral Student

Title of current project:

Measuring and modelling water use in tree production systems: Perspectives from regulated and wild invasion plant communities. 

Study area: Southern Cape region

Promoters: Prof Jos Louw, Prof Christo Fabricius and Dr Mark Gush

Contact details:


Lisa Heider

Doctoral Student

Title of current project:

Stewardship behaviours and the resilience of biodiversity commons- The case of South Africa’s Garden Route.

Study Area: Garden Route

Promoter: Prof Christo Fabricius

Contact details:


Current Masunungure

Doctoral student (BSc, MSc)

Title of research project: Development of a regional alien and invasive species management plan for Eden district and GIS Decision Support System (DSS)

Study area:  Eden District

Promotor:  Prof Christo Fabricius and Dr Anton de Wit

         Contact details: or

Samantha Mc Culloch

Doctoral student

PhD Nature Conservation

Title: Promoting systemic and adaptive governance in conservation: a national protected area expansion project

Key Questions

1.How can the theory on network governance and landscape scale conservation inform effective and sustainable governance for the expanded national network of protected areas?

2.What can we learn about sustainability from past and current South African stewardship initiatives?

3.How can the facilitation of an Adaptive Co-Management Framework and Social Network Analysis (SNA) be used to gain insight, monitor, develop and influence the governance network of the GEF 5-SA project?

MSc Nature Conservation

Title: Absorptive capacity for responding to environmental change: an assessment of three public-sector agencies 2013 – 2015

Study area: Associated Gef 5 projects in Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape

Promotor: Peter Novellie and Dirk Roux

Contact details:

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Zanele Hartmann

PhD Development Studies

Title of current project:

Social-ecological systems approaches to integrated water management: The Swartkops Estuary as a laboratory

Aims and Objectives:

  • describe the current management system of the estuary;
  • assess the views of local stakeholders, and authorities (policy makers ) policy implementers about the management system; 
  • evaluate the consequences, for human well-being and ecosystem services, of the current management system;
  • and co-develop a novel, transformative management system with stakeholders;
  • and Evaluate its legitimacy acceptability and practicability.

Study Area: Swartkops Estuary, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape

Duration of project: 2017

Promoter: Prof Christo Fabricius and Dr Gavin Snow

Contact details:



Rosie Gerolemou

MSc Geography

Title of current project:

Using Geographical Information Systems to Prioritise Clearing of Invasive Alien Plants in the Wilderness National Park Wetlands, South Africa

Study Area: Wilderness National Park

Promoter: Prof Christo Fabricius and Prof Dirk Roux

Research Interests: Geographical Information Systems (GIS), wetlands, conservation, invasive alien plants, freshwater management

Contact details:

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Sibonokuhle Nontongana

Msc (Agriculture)

Title of current project:

Adapting to climate change in South Africa: Commercial and Emerging dairy farmers' perception of and response to changing climate.

Study Area:

         Tsitsikamma for commercial farmers, Peddie and Queenstown for emerging farmers.

Promoter: Prof Christo Fabricius

Contact details: