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Glynis Joy Humphrey

Postdoctoral Fellow, Plant Conservation Unit (PCU), University of Cape Town

Glynis’s main research interests are in fire history, ecology and people and the use of interdisciplinary research in addressing savanna-woodland fire management in southern Africa. Her current post-doctoral research builds upon her PhD thesis in Bwabwata National Park in north-east Namibia and investigates the extent of vegetation change over decadal - centennial time periods with the use of historical aerial photographs and Landsat imagery. This research is part of a wider multi-disciplinary project investigating long-term vegetation and fire dynamics that includes several other students using repeat photography and palaeo-ecological datasets in collaboration with Associate Professor Lindsey Gillson and the University of Witwatersrand (WITS).

Glynis has a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science from Rhodes University, and an M.Sc. in Conservation Biology from the Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, and a PhD from the Plant Conservation Unit at the University of Cape Town. Between her studies (MSc and PhD) she was based in ecological positions in Botswana, Namibia, and Tanzania. These academic and work experiences molded her professional career interests in social-ecological systems. Her research interests are founded in understanding the complex interactions between people, conservation policies and ecology in savanna environments under the threat of global environmental change.

Key research interests:

People and biodiversity conservation in African developing countries, climate change, fire and savanna –woodland ecology; history, social-ecological interactions between climate, land use, people (indigenous groups, NGOs and Government); remote sensing; GIS; rural livelihood sustainability; conservation policies; interdisciplinary synthesis i.e. pyrogeography; modelling social-ecological-fire regime coupling scenarios; applied management, and science communication.


  • –present
    Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Cape Town


  • 2018 
    University of Cape Town, PhD