International Collaboration

Vanier College Students Participate in Bush Encroachment Project

  • by Dr. Bogdan Cristescu February 18, 2023
Vanier College Students Participate in Bush Encroachment Project

This post was broadcasted from Cheetah Conservation Fund Canada.

A Partnership is Launched

We are happy to report that Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) and Vanier College, in Montreal, Canada, have set up a long-term collaboration in which Vanier College students will periodically travel from Canada to Namibia to gain on-the-ground African conservation experience.

A major part of their time at CCF will be helping to run a long-term monitoring project to determine the impacts of bush encroachment on the fauna and flora of southern African savannas.

Bush encroachment is the rapid expansion of native woody vegetation (bush) species to the potential detriment of open savanna areas and component species, such as the cheetah. (You can read CCF’s recent review of bush encroachment effects of carnivores here.)

Specifics about the Monitoring Project

The project is designed as an outdoors experiment during which animals and plants are monitored closely and over the long-term in 6 plots, each being 1 hectare in size. After an initial 2 years monitoring the ecological system in its current condition, targeted harvest of bush at various levels will occur in the plots.

The animal and plant communities and their adaptation to/colonization of harvested plots will be documented in another 2 years. The 6 plots will be purpose-delineated for this project and no activities will occur in them other than research monitoring and the planned harvest.

The first cohort of Vanier College students has arrived: Isabelle Belisle, Serena Duperron, Katya Picciani

First Vanier College Students Arrive with Supplies

The first group of Vanier College students – Isabelle, Serena and Katya – are already on site at CCF and helping set up the plots in the field, being engaged in marking their boundaries and preparing the sampling equipment.

Most of the equipment required for scientific monitoring is being provided in-kind by Vanier College and includes, among other items, camera traps for monitoring medium and large mammals day and night, zoom lens cameras for field teams to record animal observations, and a variety of specialized equipment for vegetation sampling.

Suitcases were packed with lots of supplies that the students will need during their internship.

We are excited to start recording the animal and plant communities and to share updates on progress.

Contact for enquiries: Dr. Bogdan Cristescu, CCF’s Assistant Director for Ecological Research (

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