Status: Closed |  Closed on: 17 February 2020

Biodiversity Management Plan for Ecosystems

Applications are invited for one postdoctoral fellow to join the SANBI Biodiversity Research, Assessment and Monitoring Division to support research for the first Biodiversity Management Plan for Ecosystems as part of a pilot study. The fellowship will commence in March/April. Funding is available for one year dependent on satisfactory performance.

Closes: Monday, 17 February 2020
Location: South Africa


Candidates must be independent and productive, and in possession of a PhD that is related to biodiversity – preferably related to socio-ecological considerations of ecological systems in landscape management. The postdoctoral fellowship is open to anyone who has completed their PhD in the last five years.

An understanding of the biodiversity sector in South Africa, specifically ecological knowledge of the Thicket Biome and the relevant actors in the biodiversity landscape would be highly advantageous. Applicants must be able to demonstrate an ability to undertake research, synthesise literature and data sources, and find scientific evidence to formulate defendable recommendations. Experience should preferably include peer reviewed publication outputs. Experience in spatial biodiversity planning and socio-ecological practices would be advantageous.

Research areas

The aim of this postdoctoral fellowship is to undertake research, analyses and stakeholder engagement for South Africa’s first Biodiversity Management Plan for ecosystems. This project aims to pilot the development of a Biodiversity Management Plan for an ecosystem (BMP-E) by conforming to the “Norms and Standards for the Publication of Biodiversity Management Plans for Ecosystems” published by DEA (2013).

The plan is to be developed using the best available scientific and management information and will be developed with relevant stakeholders (including land owners and local communities, agricultural associations, provincial government agencies and departments, national government agencies and departments, non-governmental organisations and the scientific community).

Components of the BMP-E should include the following:

  • Assess the feasibility of conducting a BMP-E for candidate ecosystems and select the ecosystem type for which the BMP-E will be piloted.
  • Develop a simple model of ecosystem function and identify the key pressures acting on the ecosystem.
  • A full analysis of the ecosystem type will be undertaken in conjunction with willing stakeholders, including land cover and land cover change, ecosystem condition, land tenure, relevant spatial plans and legal setting.
  • Management objectives will be clearly identified and recommendations for implementation and management will be co-created with relevant stakeholders.
  • A comprehensive draft biodiversity management plan for the chosen ecosystem will then be shared with stakeholders for adoption

The fellowship provides the opportunity to be involved in the synthesis of a pilot BMP-E using the best available information for a key applied outcome with the opportunity to capture and share scientific knowledge as well as important lessons learned for future BMP-E’s. The opportunity to explore other related research questions may also arise during the process.

This BMP-E will be peer reviewed and submitted to DEA for consideration. Workshops with scientific experts, provincial bodies and other relevant stakeholders will be required as part of the research and/or conceptualisation of the research questions and formulation of the BMP-E.

Bursary value

A fellowship of R300,000 for one year is available. Some running expenses will also be made available for the year. The postdoctoral fellow must register at the Nelson Mandela University, with Dr Alastair Potts as the institutional host.

Application procedure

Each application is to be accompanied by a standard bursary application cover sheet (attached to this advert). Applications are to include a full CV; certified copies of ID and academic records; two letters of reference (one must be from an academic supervisor); examples of published work; and a short project outline. Send all documents to with “SANBI BMP for Ecosystems postdoctoral fellowship” in the subject line.

SANBI reserves the right not to fill this fellowship.

If no response has been received within 21 days of the closing date, candidates may assume that their applications were unsuccessful.

Academic queries:
Dr Andrew Skowno

Application enquiries:
Ms René du Toit



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