|Location:||Exeter, Shangani - Zimbabwe|
|Funding for:||UK Students, EU Students, International Students|
|Funding amount:||From £17,668 The studentship will cover Home tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend, for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study|
|Placed On:||11th January 2023|
|Closes:||27th February 2023|
Managing Bush Encroachment on Holistically Managed Rangeland, Global Systems Institute/Geography – PhD Studentship
Global Systems Institute, Department of Geography, Streatham Campus, Exeter, UK
The University of Exeter’s Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy is inviting applications for a fully-funded ‘Oppenheimer-Turvill PhD studentship’ as part of the University’s Oppenheimer Programme in African Landscape Systems (OPALS; https://opals-exeter.org/), jointly funded by the University of Exeter and Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation. This post will commence in July 2023. For eligible students, the studentship will cover international tuition fees plus a tax-free stipend of at least £17,688 for at least 3.5 years full-time study and a comprehensive research training support grant. The student would be based in Geography at the Streatham Campus in Exeter, UK.
The encroachment of woody shrubs (bush) into former rangelands is a widespread phenomenon globally, caused by a range of drivers which interact to alter the competitive balance of different plants in these ecosystems. Bush encroachment is widely considered problematic as it can lessen the value of landscapes for production of cattle and other grazing livestock. Moderate to severe bush encroachment is already affecting more than half of the area of the Shangani Holistic property, threatening the economic productivity of the largest beef producer in Zimbabwe.
This PhD project will study different techniques to manage problematic bush encroachment in holistically management rangelands in Africa, working in close partnership with Shangani Holistic in Zimbabwe. The student is expected to spend extensive periods on the Shangani highveld ranch working closely with the research manager and operations team there while undertaking their fieldwork. A foundational aspect of the project will be quantifying the status of shrub encroachment, and critically assessing causes of the historic transition in vegetation community composition in this setting. This will help assess the efficacy and prognosis of various management efforts. The focus on solutions should help achieve societally positive impact that benefits environmentally and economically sustainable livelihoods in Zimbabwe and the region more widely while developing African expertise and leadership in adaptive landscape management.
The successful applicant should want to promote ‘futures literacy’ in society. They will be a member of a large team of 20 scholars through the Oppenheimer Research Programme in African Landscape Systems, a £2.3M six-year programme of foundational and applied research activity led by the University of Exeter working with Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation and other partners across the Continent.
The University is one of the top-ranked research institutes in the world and a recognised leader in understanding the impacts of environmental change on landscapes. This scholarship includes the cost of a student visa and healthcare surcharge to study in the UK but please be aware that it does not include the travel costs to move to the UK.
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