Phone: 021 650 3712 
Room No.: 3.01 (HW Pearson Building)



My main interests are in obtaining a better understanding of where plants get their resources and how this affects vegetation structure. In this regard I am particularly interested in the processes that define the boundaries between different vegetation types. I am also interested in the anthropogenic effect on the environment as I believe that people have affected the environment for many thousands of years.



The focus of my research is in two systems, savannas and winter rainfall shrublands. My two main research areas are in the savannas of the Kruger National Park and the winter rainfall shrublands of the Cedarberg and Cape Peninsula. I believe that my research within these reserves should be aligned with the interests and questions identified by reserve management and should inform the management of reserves



Outside of my research  I enjoy being in mountains either just walking or preferably on my bicycle.





Related web resources

How Do Trees and Grass Live Together in the Landscapes of Kruger.


Current research students


Matthew Trissos Manipulation of global change drivers and their impact on insect communities at multi-trophic levels in an arid savanna


Joel Lewis Does tree-on-tree competition structure acacia communitites in southern African savannas?

Munyai Nthabeliseni Determining the Potential drivers of invasive C4 grasses at De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa.

Josh Weeber Investigating the habitat selection and dietary preferences of a largely sedentary population of Blue wildebeest in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – impacts of permanent surface water provision in a semi-arid environment..

Some Relevant Publications:

February, E., Shadwell, E., Viljoen, S., & Hattas, D. (2017). Feeding choices and impacts of extralimital giraffe on two keystone tree species in the Kgalagadi National Park. Koedoe, 59(1), 10-pages.

Shadwell E. and February E. (2017) Effects of groundwater abstraction on two keystone tree species in an arid savanna national park. PeerJ 5:e2923

Ochyra, R., Gremmen, N. J. M., Hill, S., et al. (2017). New national and regional bryophyte records, 50. Journal of Bryology, 1.

Schmidt, P., February, E., Bretzke, K., & Bellot-Gurlet, L. (2016). Tempering-residue on heat-treated silcrete: an experimental perspective and a potential analytical protocol. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

White J.D.M., Jack S.L., Hoffman M.T., Puttick J., Bonora D., Visser V. and February E.C. (2016) Collapse of an iconic conifer: Long-term changes in the demography of Widdringtonia cedarbergensis using repeat photography BMC Ecology

February E.C. and Higgins S.I. (2016) Rapid leaf deployment strategies in a deciduous savanna. PLoS ONE 11(6): e0157833. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0157833

Wakeling, J.L., Bond, W.J., Ghaui, M. and February E.C. (2015) Grass competition and the savanna-grassland ‘treeline’: A question of root gaps? South African Journal of Botany 101:91-97.

Higgins SI, Keretetse M, February EC (2015) Feedback of trees on nitrogen mineralization to restrict the advance of trees in C4 savannahs. Biology letters 11:20150572.

Schmidt, P., Porraz, G., Bellot-Gurlet, L., Ludovic, L., February, E., Ligouis, B., Paris, C., Texier, P.J., Parkington, J.E., Miller, C.E., Nickel, K.G., Conard, N.J. (2015) A previously undescribed organic residue sheds light on heat treatment in the Middle Stone Age. Journal of Human Hvolution 85:22-34.

West A, February E, Bowen G (2014) Spatial analysis of hydrogen and oxygen stable isotopes (“isoscapes”) in ground water and tap water across South Africa. Journal of Geochemical Exploration 145:213-222

Matimati I., Musil C.F., Raitt L., and February E.C. (2013) Non rainfall moisture interception by dwarf succulents and their relative abundance in an inland arid South African system. Ecohydrology 6, 818-825.

February E., Matimati I., Hedderson T.A. and Musil C.F. 2013 Root niche portioning between shallow rooted succulents in a South African semi desert: implications for diversity. Plant Ecology 214, 1181-1187.

Schactschneider K. and February E. (2013) Impacts of Prosopis invasion on a keystone tree species in the Kalahari Desert. Plant Ecology 214, 597-605.

February E.C., Higgins S.I., Bond W.J., and Swemmer L. (2013) Influence of competition and rainfall manipulation on the growth responses of savanna trees and grasses. Ecology 94, 1155-1164.

February E.C., Cook G.D., and Richards A.E. (2013) Root dynamics influence tree-grass coexistence in an Australian savanna. Austral Ecology 38, 66-75.

West A.G., Dawson T.E., February E.C., Midgley G.F., Bond W.J. and Aston T.L. (2012) Diverse functional responses to drought in a mediterranean-type shrubland in South Africa