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SAEON Science plans

gadi vegetation sampling

SAEON’s activities are distributed across four terrestrial nodes representing the major biomes of the country, and two marine nodes representing coastal and estuarine and off-shore marine environments respectively. The six nodes are each associated with different kinds of ecosystems, different biotas, with different issues and often serving different communities and industries. Thus, while there are some common themes across all nodes, the science done at each node differs.  To help provide strategic direction for SAEON science activities, each node has produced a science plan. The plans outline the major themes being addressed at a node, their relevance to the region and to the country in alignment with SAEON’s Core Science Framework

The plans are intended to:

  • Provide coherence to the science activities at a node
  • Stimulate forward thinking on key questions, resource requirements and societal relevance
  • Identify existing or potential opportunities for developing research and education platforms
  • Identifying cross-nodal opportunities.


Each plan introduces the node and its key environmental issues. Major research themes and the research questions associated with them are then listed. Methodologies are not discussed unless they are intrinsic to a theme. Progress in achieving node plans is reported annually. Plans will be revisited on a regular basis but not before three years and not longer than 5 years. The science plans are a new initiative and we welcome comment on the plans. 

The science plans can be downloaded here:

Arid Lands Node

Egagasini Offshore Marine Node

Elwandle Coastal Node

Fynbos Node

Grassland-Forest-Wetland Node

Ndlovu Savanna Node

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