Administrative responsibilities within the School of Biological and Conservation Sciences (UKZN) included the preparation, co-ordination and running of the 2nd and 3rd year ecology field courses (10 days duration), computer related issues in the department, the curriculum structure and co-ordination of the Honours course from 1997-1999, Zoology Programme Director 2000-2001, and coordination of a new course-work masters degree in African Ecology and Conservation biology.
At Charles Darwin University (2007 onward) I am a member of academic board and have served as acting head of school where necessary. I am currently the theme leader for the Wildlife and Landscape Sciences theme.I previously directed the Forest Biodiversity Research Unit at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The Forest Biodiversity Research Unit was committed to community welfare and improving the quality of life of local peoples by studying both the ecological processes that maintain indigenous forest and forest biodiversity and rural socio-economics and the use of forest resources. Through the unit I have been actively involved in community-based outreach programmes for sustainable development. I have participated in the Ongoye Forest Ecotourism Development Committee, which included members of the local community, conservation agencies, town council and the regional tourism authority. See also Report No. 5, Obiri and Lawes (1997). We have conducted livelihood analyses for forest-based users in a number of forests (Mt Thesiger, E. Cape; Ongoye, KwaZulu-Natal; iGxalingenwa, KwaZulu-Natal; KwaYili, KwaZulu-Natal; Thathe, Limpopo province).
In my role as theme leader of Wildlife and Landscape Sciences in the School for Environmental Research at Charles Darwin University, I am intimately involved in developing research projects that serve the needs of the community in northern Australia.
Tropical deforestation continues at around 13 million hectares per year. This and other land-use change in the tropics contributes greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, reduces the ability of forest to regulate climates, and threatens many species that are known only from tropical rain forests. Over the past 28 years the Center for Tropical Forest Science has implemented a standardized system for monitoring the diversity and dynamics of tropical forests. Thirty-four plots of 16-148 hectares have been established in 20 countries across the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Every tree with a stem diameter !]1 cm is mapped, measured, identified, and monitored. This international collaboration, involving hundreds of scientists from dozens of institutions, is now monitoring the growth and survival of 3.5 million trees in over 8,200 species (C over 15% of all known tropical tree species. These data provide a basis for determining: (i) forces maintaining diversity, and (ii) the response of trees and forest ecosystems to the Earth!/s changing climate. In this talk, I will discuss some of the key findings of the global network and describe progress with expanding the network to temperate forests.