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Dr Brian van Wilgen.

C·I·B team member Dr Brian van Wilgen received the Award in Category A (for an individual who has made outstanding contributions for over a decade or more). He received the award in recognition of his contributions to the understanding of ecology and management of fire-prone ecosystems and invasive alien plants.

Dr Brian van Wilgen has three decades of experience as an ecologist in southern Africa, where he has focused both on research and the application of ecological understanding in environmental management and policy development. His research has been focused in three main fields the ecology and management of invasive alien plants; the ecological and atmospheric effects of vegetation fires and the use of fire in ecosystem management; and the conservation of biological diversity. In the field of the ecology and management of invasive alien plants, he has experience in the use of fire in managing invasions, the population dynamics of invasive plants, water use by invasive plants, the biological control of invasive plants, and studies on resource economics. Between 1996 and 2004 he acted as scientific advisor to the Working for Water programme, with regard to the ecology and management of ecosystems using fire. He was instrumental in motivating the establishment of this award winning poverty-relief programme. His work has been largely in fynbos, grassland and savanna ecosystems in South Africa, with additional experience in the USA and Australia. He is currently a member of the Invasive Species Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, and of the World Commission on Protected Areas. Dr Brian van Wilgen is currently Chief Ecologist in the CSIR Natural Resources and Environment Unit and based in Stellenbosch.

Dr Brian van Wilgen with Ms Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology.

The NSTF awards honour outstanding contributions to science, engineering, technology and innovation. The 12th annual NSTF Awards were announced at the annual Gala Dinner on 4 May 2010 at Emperors Palace, Gauteng by the Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor.