The Annual Congress of the Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA) was hosted by the Limpopo Province at Weesgerus Holiday Resort and Conference Centre in Modimolle from the 15th to the 19th of July 2013. The GSSA is involved and concerned with the science and practice of range and pasture management encouraging a multi-disciplinary base, thus promoting interface amongst the various stakeholders.
Advancing Rangeland Ecology and Pasture Management in Africa was the theme of this year’s conference, and attracted approximately 200 local and international participants from cross-cutting agencies, disciplines and institutions.
On the first day a short course titled ‘Fire management in South Africa- Legislation, Policy and Practice’ was facilitated by Prof. Winston Trollope and attracted 150 participants including game and cattle farmers in the region. Practical demonstrations were also held where different burn patterns were demonstrated.
This year’s conference and had interesting sessions that covered topics such as encroachment by woody species; plant-animal interactions; fire effects across continents; managing rangelands and land uses; policies for communal rangelands; and ecosystem services.
The new cover and a Special Issue of the African Journal of Range and Forage Science titled ‘Aligning policy with the socio-ecological dynamics of rangeland commons’ were also launched at this year’s GSSA Congress. The African Journal of Range & Forage Science an ISI accredited journal and is the leading rangeland and pastures journal in Africa. The Journal is dedicated to publishing quality original material that advances rangeland ecology and pasture management in Africa. The African Journal of Range & Forage Science is the official journal of the GSSA and publishes three issues per year.
A special session that focused on developing biodiversity-friendly grazing and burning guidelines for livestock farmers was also held. An integrated session between researchers and government was held where issues were discussed which would inform the draft range and forage policy of South Africa. Congress participants were also treated to a field visit at Nyslvley Provincial Nature Reserve on the last day of the Congress.
For more information about the GSSA go to www.grassland.org.za
To access the Special Issue: Aligning policy with the socio-ecological dynamics of rangeland commons, go to http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/tarf20/current