This Girl is on Fire!
Ms Linda Luvuno has spent the past two years investigating the influence of fire on wetlands vegetation structure and composition as part of her MSc study.
Now that she has graduated her aim is to be a Systems Ecologist.
Luvuno pursued her research on wetlands undergoing a regime shift from herbaceous vegetation to woodland and forest. The lack of fire is thought to be reason behind this shift.
The affected wetlands were home to critically endangered plant species which is losing habitat at an alarming rate.
Growing up in a rural township where grass patches were often burned around homes in order to provide cows with good grazing grass, Luvuno learned early in life about the consequences of proper management of natural resources. ‘When I first heard of climate change threatening our natural resources I wanted to join the “fight” and research its implications on our ecosystems.’
As a youngster Luvuno admired Mother Theresa’s compassion and commitment, and aspired to being a nurse as a child so that she too could one day help people. That was before she realised that contributing to a better society could be done in a variety of ways. ‘The consequence of environmental change mostly affects the poor and thus my research is one of the ways I plan to contribute to society.
‘I thought I was going to be a climatologist but conservation ecology and environmental management stole my heart during my third year of study. Ultimately, I want to be a Systems Ecologist, leading a research team and taking part in supervising and mentoring postgraduate students around topics such as regime shifts, resilience, adaptability, ecosystems services and biodiversity in ecosystem management.’
She plans on concentrating her research focus on water related issues and poverty alleviation while her dream is to also run an NPO similar to the American Big Brothers Big Sisters project and 4-H youth development programme.
Luvuno completed her Masters with the help of the Mondi Wetlands Programme.
- Swasti Maney