The Hwange LTSER hosts a long-term interdisciplinary research project to understand the dynamics of a savanna socio-ecosystem, Hwange National Park (~ 15000 km²) and its periphery, located on the north-western border of Zimbabwe. This system, characterized by important environmental and societal changes, is part of the largest transboundary conservation area in the world, KAZA TFCA (Kavango-Zambezi Trans-Frontier Conservation Area).
Benefiting from more than 15 years of experience and awarded the “Zone Atelier” label by the INEE (Institute for Ecology and Environment of the CNRS) in 2011, the research program conducted in Hwange (initially known as the HERD program) focuses on the interactions between natural ecosystem and society. In order to contribute to a better conservation-development interface, our research contributes to two main objectives:
1. In a context of global change and erosion of biodiversity, we aim at understanding the responses of a savanna ecosystem, particularly its exceptional diversity of large mammals, to climate change and anthropogenic pressure for a better management / conservation of natural communities, and ultimately for a better ecosystem functioning.
2. In a socio-ecosystem comprising a protected area and subject to climatic uncertainties and major societal changes, we seek to understand how conservation areas can provide and sustain services to the entire socio-ecosystem, and hence allow a better coexistence between the protected area and its periphery.