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David Carlyle Le Maitre

Principal Researcher Ecosystem services assessment and mapping, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

Le Maitre’s research focuses on the linkages between biodiversity, ecosystem services and land-use, centering on ecohydrology and water resources, the impacts of plant invasions and improving the efficacy of invasive plant species management.

Le Maitre has more than 30 years of research experience in the ecology of Cape fynbos vegetation, as well as fire ecology and management. His work focuses on assessing the hydrological and ecological impacts of invading alien plants and in the dynamics of invasion processes.

His area of interests lies in the impacts of invasions on river and wetland systems and the ecosystems services they generate, including river assimilatory capacity; and developing diagnostic tools to assess the impacts of land-use and land management practices on water quality regulation based on the landscape features and water flows.

While he focuses on management and policy, he recognises that his work addresses social-ecological systems and that the solutions to many of the environmental challenges lie in the social and economic domains rather than the ecological.

Le Maitre is a research associate at the Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University, and an associate professor extraordinary at the School of Public Management and Planning, at the same university.

Le Maitre holds a PhD in plant ecology, specialising in invasion ecology and hydrology from the University of Cape Town.

Expertise: Invasion ecology; Hydrology


  • –present
    Principal Researcher, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research


  • 1999 
    University of Cape Town, Ph.D. in Botany (Ecology)

Grants and Contracts

  • 2018
    Principal Researcher
    Funding Source:
    National Research Foundation