The richness of the environment, the heavily subsidised accommodation and on-site lab and library facilities make the Centre an ideal location for extended stays and serious research. The Research Centre has been used by a number of students as the main centre of research for MSc degrees. Their theses are most impressive; these students are the leaders of the future.
Masters and Honours projects have included work on birds and the spread of trees, forest classification, grassland regeneration after afforestation, and the presence of phytoliths in Iron Age settlements.
Hermenegildo Matimele is a Mozambican who has been mentored by Herbarium staff over many years. His MSc thesis An Assessment of the Distribution and Conservation Status of Endemic and Near Endemic Plant Species in Maputaland Mozambique was based on research work carried out with the help of the Buffelskloof Herbarium which is a short drive from the Mozambican border. He now heads up Mozambique’s Red Data List programme.
This PhD project, led by Samantha Jamison of Pretoria University, is looking at the remarkable clumps of trees which spring up in the natural grasslands in the Eastern Escarpment. Several other students are now involved looking, for example, at the role of fungi in the evolution of these clumps of trees.