Grassland Society of Southern Africa – 2022 Congress


Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA) was founded in 1965 when a small committee was tasked with the formation of such an organisation. In 1966, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg, stakeholders with an interest in rangeland sciences, attended a meeting to discuss the formation of such a society. A total of 96 delegates were in attendance and included Neil Tainton, Peter Edwards, Pete Booysen, Pierre Theron, Rob Drewes, Derek Scotney, Winston Trollope and Abrey Venter. Every since that first meeting in 1966, a congress has been held every year.

Following this tradition of hosting an annual congress, GSSA will be hosting its 57th congress from 25 to 29 July 2022 at the Aldam Resort in the Free State.

This year’s congress promises to be the best yet! You can still register for virtual attendance until 18 July, so hurry up and book your spot!

Keynote speakers at the congress include:

  • Nkabeng Mzileni, regional ecologist, SANParks, who will speak about adaptive change for climate adaptation.
  • Professor Michiel Scholtz of the Agricultural Research Council, who will discuss an updated perspective on the contribution of extensive ruminant production to greenhouse gas emissions in South Africa.
  • Carolyn Palmer of the Institute for Water Research at Rhodes University, who will explain why transdisciplinarity is relevant for the future of grassland ecosystems.
  • Sigrun Ammann, pasture scientist at the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, who will elaborate on how pasture production in South Africa has evolved.
  • Paul Avenant, a production scientist from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, who will be speaking about rangeland science.
  • Anthony Egeru of Makere University who will revisit the topic of why pastoralists are invisible.

The programme kicks off with an exciting research skills workshop on Monday 25 July, focussing on remote sensing and cloud computing platforms. This workshop is only for in-person attendees. The day will close with the official congress opening.

Tuesday is jam-packed with sessions covering climate change, bush encroachment and alien invasive plants, advances in methodology, conservation and restoration, and a special session on rangelands and locusts. Also taking place on the Tuesday are two poster sessions. After the congress day, the society will have its annual general meeting.

On the Wednesday, delegates can look forward to a session on cultivated pastures, a special session on unlocking regenerative grazing, feed and nutrition, fire ecology, and two more poster sessions. The day will end with a fun bingo evening for congress delegates.

Thursday’s schedule will include sessions on rangeland ecology and management, a special session about the delineation of high potential rangeland, livestock and game management, and two final poster sessions. The day’s sessions will be followed by a gala dinner and awards ceremony.

Read more about the importance of good-quality grazing in cattle farming.

The last day will be a half-day and the congress will close with a workshop on policies and practice.

Be sure to keep an eye on the GSSA and Veeplaas Magazine Facebook pages for updates as the congress progresses. – Deidré Louw, Plaas Media

For more information about the society or the congress, send an email to or visit their website