Prof Klaus Kellner

Short Biography : Prof Dr Klaus Kellner

Prof Dr Klaus Kellner is a C3 rated researcher (re-rated till end of 2022) by the National Research Foundation (NRF) in South Africa, in the field “Conservation and Management of Ecosystems and Biodiversity”.

He has been working at the North-West University since 1988, as lecturer, mentor, supervisor and researcher and has supervised and co-supervised many post-graduate studies. His fields of expertise include vegetation dynamics, land degradation and desertification, restoration/rehabilitation ecology, range condition assessment and the implementation of sustainable land management (SLM) practices in mainly the arid- and semi-arid lands. The impacts of climate, different land-use strategies, loss in biodiversity, vegetation regression and anthropogenic factors, are used to identify indicators for the construction of simulation models for long-term decision making. The effects of implementing restoration/rehabilitation strategies, especially after the impact of ecosystem disturbances and factors leading to land degradation ((e.g. bush encroachment (increase in density of woody species) has been controlled, alien and indigenous species invasions occur, anthropogenic and implementation of mismanagement practices)) are researched and sustainable management strategies proposed.

Prof Dr Kellner is currently and was the leader or Principle Investigator (PI) of several international projects carried out in Southern Africa. This includes the Desert Margins Program (DMP), the Kalahari Namib Project (KNP), PRACTICE (Prevention and Restoration Actions to Combat Desertification), IDESSA (An Integrative Decision Support System for Sustainable Rangeland Management in southern African Savannas) etc. He has contributed to three Chapters for IPBES deliverables (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) and represents South Africa at the UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) as the STC (Science and Technology Correspondent) in the CST (Committee on Science and Technology). He has represented South Africa at the CST of the UNCCD COP’s (Conference of Parties) for the last 20 years. He is also a member of the National Coordinating Body (NCB) for UNCCD matters at the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and leads research projects regarding land degradation, desertification, bush encroachment and sustainable land management (SLM) for the DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs) and DAFF (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) in South Africa (DAFF & DEA are now under DEFF – Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries). He serves on different National and International committees regarding land degradation, desertification and restoration/rehabilitation ecology and has done work for UNEP, SAFGRAD-AU (Semi-Arid Food Grain Research and Development of the African Union), several consultancies of the UNCC (United Nations Compensation Commission)  and many other committees of the UNCCD regarding his field of expertise.

Prof Dr Kellner served as Co-chair on the Advisory Group for the Provision of Scientific Advice (AGSA) on DLDD (Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought) matters for the UNCCD and was part of the SPI (Science and Policy Interface) committee for the UNCCD till September 2017. He also participated in the IPBES Land Degradation and Restoration report for Africa which was published in 2018 and the third edition of the World Atlas on Desertification which was published by the European Union in 2018. He also contributed as Expert (2017) of the IPBES Methodological Assessment Report on Scenarios and Models of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

He is an honorary member of the Land Rehabilitation Society of Southern Africa (LaRSSA) (since 2014), was the president and chairperson of the Trust and now only a member of the GSSA (Grassland Society of South Africa), the president of the Arid Zone Ecology Forum (AZEF) and is currently a member of the Society of Ecological Restoration (SER).

Prof Dr Kellner was appointed in 2018 as a member to serve on the South African Roster of Independent Experts (RoE) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

He has done many consultancies regarding advice about SLM and restoration at national and international level. In 2010 and 2015, he received the award as the “International Researcher of the year” from the North-West University for contributions in policy and advisory bodies, related societies and managerial level, international panels, subject related journals, conferences and organisations at national and global level. In 2007, he was selected as one of the top 10% and in 2009 and 2010 as one of the top 20% researchers at the North-West University in South Africa.

Prof Dr Kellner’s research outputs since 2008 include the author- or co-authorship of 13 chapters in books, 27 peer-reviewed scientific papers and 91 conference presentations.