The Karoo Research Centre is a collaboration between the KhoiSan Karoo Conservancy and the Biodiversity and Development Institute (BDI). It is based at New Holme Nature Lodge, the main accommodation lodge in the conservancy, located in the Northern Cape Province between Hanover and Colesberg and 8 km off the N1.
In contrast to atlas projects such as the Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP2) and the butterfly atlas (LepiMAP) which focus on patterns at a broad scale, our initial objective for the Karoo Research Centre is fine-scale biodiversity monitoring.
We launched the Karoo Research Centre in February 2022 and are currently developing the fieldwork protocols that will serve as the basis of our research. We aim to create protocols with enough structure to deliver critical insights into changes in Karoo biodiversity, but which also remain straightforward and accessible for implementation by citizen scientists throughout the Karoo.
By good fortune, we started our monitoring at a peak in seasonal wetness in the Karoo. By February 2022, the KhoiSan Karoo Conservancy had already received its normal average rainfall for the summer season. The Seekoei River was flowing strongly and the New Holme Dam had been overflowing for weeks. This region was enjoying more water than it had in decades.
Once we have obtained sufficient results to establish our credentials, the Karoo Research Centre will receive a formal launch. In the meantime, come and spend a night or two here, and experience the excitement of establishing a new initiative for yourself! We are almost exactly halfway between Johannesburg and Cape Town.