Monique Van Zitters

Background

The natural environment has always fascinated me. I completed my BSc degree in Conservation Ecology and Entomology at Stellenbosch University in 2018. My fourth year project focused on the contribution of wild harvested plant species to the livelihoods of people in the rural area of Genadendal. This sparked my interest in rehabilitation of natural areas because of the inherent value of ecosystems and the services they provide. Currently, I am enrolled for an MSc in Conservation Ecology and my research focuses on the riparian rehabilitation of the Berg and Breede River catchment areas.

Current research

The focal aim of my MSc is to evaluate the effectiveness of various rehabilitation efforts following alien-clearing along the Berg and Breede riparian systems. This is to advance efficient, evidence-based riparian rehabilitation programmes. To investigate this I will be evaluating rehabilitation success by quantifying native vegetation recovery, plant species richness and diversity along the specified riparian trajectories. I will also investigate the effect of other factors on rehabilitation such as abiotic and biotic parameters. Lastly, I will quantify the effect of initial investment or input on rehabilitation success.