The Southern African Associaton of Geomorphologists (SAAG) is an association of Environmental Scientists working in the field of Geomorphology (landscape processes and management) and in the various sub-fields of the Discipline, ranging from soil erosion to fluvial studies/river rehabilitation, slope stability, cryogenic processes (the effect of snow and/or ice on processes), coastal processes and coastal protection, and many more. The first conference took place in 1988 in Mthatha, South Africa, and the Association was formally constituted in 1991, with regular conferences taking place every two years. The Association is affiliated to the world body, the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG).

We would like to offer stakeholders in Geomorphology (landform process studies) and land rehabilitation the opportunity to share their successes and failures in Southern Africa, (and further afield), through presentations at our biennial conference. It promises to be a very good learning opportunity for taking the discipline forward in both its theoretical and applied context in Southern Africa. It will enable practitioners, academics and the wider industry to verify current best practice and identify needs for future research. The conference will focus on academic papers on the one hand, while ensuring that sound scientific, practical solutions are presented for the benefit of all stakeholders present. We are particularly pleased to confirm that the conference is being held in conjunction with the Erosion Focus Group of LaRSSA (the Land Rehabilitation Society of Southern Africa), and The Vetiver Network International (TVNI). Both of these organisations bring valuable practical aspects to the solution of landscape and landform problems, in line with the theme of the conference of Southern African Geomorphology: Pure and Applied.

Something about our keynote speaker….

Kate Rowntree is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Geography at Rhodes University, where she has worked since 1986. From leave replacement posts in 1986 and 1987, she worked her way up to full Professor in 2004. Previously, Kate had spent six years in Kenya, lecturing at Kenyatta University, two years at Sunderland Polytechnic in England, and one year at The Queen’s University of Belfast.  She completed her PhD in sediment modelling through the Department of Civil Engineering at Strathclyde University; her undergraduate and Masters degrees were obtained from the University of Bristol. Physical geography research at Bristol University had a strong emphasis on field data collection, a tradition which she continues to encourage among her own students.

From her research in Kenya, Kate produced a number of papers on soil erosion and rainfall erosivity, but after coming to South Africa she established herself more strongly in the field of fluvial geomorphology. Since the early ‘90s she and her postgraduate students have been active in promoting geomorphology as a key component of river and catchment management. The WRC in particular has been generous in their support of this research. Collaboration with river ecologists has reinforced the importance of recognizing the response of ecological processes to geomorphological drivers. The negative ecological effects of fine sediment inputs are now widely recognized and Kate’s research is contributing to our understanding of the links between sediment processes at the catchment and instream scales. In 2009 the NRF funded a sediment tracing laboratory that has supported this research.

Research is never an individual endeavor and Kate would like to acknowledge her PhD students who have contributed to the advancement of fluvial geomorphology in South Africa. She and Dr Bennie van der Waal continue to work closely together on a catchment rehabilitation project in the Tsitsa, funded by the DEA, advising on rehabilitation plans and supervising research by Masters students.

…..and something about our post-conference course facilitators

Heinz Beckedahl is an Associate Professor of Physical Geography in the Department of Geography, Environmental Science and Planning at the University of Swaziland, after retiring from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he served for more than 26 years, and where he is still and honorary research associate. His research interest lies in Applied Geomorphology and in geomorphic processes, with a special interest in rehabilitation and the prevention and management of land degradation. Prof Beckedahl is an established researcher with more than 65 publications to his name, including 3 books. He has supervised in excess of 45 Masters and more than 15 PhD students to completion, four of whom were registered at highly respected universities in Germany. He has served (and continues to serve) on several national and international committees relevant to his field of interest.

Roley Nöffke is a director of Hydromulch, South Africa, and a director of The Vetiver Network International with responsibility for South Africa. He is also a Vice President of the International Erosion Control Association with global responsibilities. Roley has a construction company that works in many parts of Africa, in the course of which he introduces vetiver. He has sponsored a number of vetiver workshops, and is currently putting together an important collection of vetiver ecotypes from around the world.

Paul Truong, a director of TVNI (The Vetiver Network International) for Asia and Oceania, has been involved in soil conservation research and extension, including the rehabilitation and reclamation of degraded and salt affected lands in the last 40 years. For the last 30 years he has concentrated on the research, development and  application of the Vetiver System (VS) for soil erosion control in general and rehabilitation of degraded lands in Australia in different climates. He has conducted numerous vetiver research projects throughout Queensland, and has used vetiver grass as the main species in several projects. His pioneering work on the hydraulics of vetiver hedges in overland flow provided for the first time a basic understanding on hedge hydraulics needed for the application of the vetiver hedge system in erosion and sediment control on the flood plains of Queensland. His particular interest in environmental protection has led him to his pioneering R&D on the capacity and applicability of VS to treat and to safely dispose polluted wastewater such as sewage effluent, landfill leachate and industrial wastewater. Paul Truong has received three major World Bank Research Awards, one in 1991 for his pioneering research on the salt tolerance of vetiver grass and one in 1993 for its tolerance to low soil pH and aluminium and manganese toxicities. In January 2000 he was awarded the King of Thailand Vetiver Award for his research on the application of VS in environmental protection.

Organising Committee:
Prof. Heinz Beckedahl UNISWA (Chair), LaRSSA & SAAG
Dr Jay Le Roux UFS, SAAG
Roley Nöffke Hydromulch, LaRSSA & TVNI
Dr Sizwe Mabaso, UNISWA
Dr Wisdom Dlamini, UNISWA
Ian van Zuydam, UNISWA
Mthobisi Masilela, UNISWA
Prof. Paul Sumner UP, SAAG
Glaudin Kruger, Kruger & Associates


SAAG  2017 Conference Secretariat
Kruger & Associates
Tel 00 27 28 316 2905