Regional Initiatives
The Eastern Highlands Research Initiative: Final report-back on meetings held in Zimbabwe 21-30 April 2013
V. Ralph Clark
(Institut für Systematische Botanik, Universität Zürich, on behalf of the Eastern Highlands Initiative)

Possibly the largest multi-disciplinary montane research effort to date in southern Africa has been launched this year. Following several years of correspondence with Zimbabwean botanists through the Great Escarpment Biodiversity Programme, and Afromont's Regional Mountain Workshop held in Lesotho in August 2012, the 'Eastern Highlands Initiative' (EHI) came into being this year through a series of meetings with key research institutions and individuals in Zimbabwe in April 2013.

The aim of the EHI is focused research on the endemic-rich and economically important Eastern Highlands through a variety of scientific projects focusing on topics such as biodiversity gaps, the role of the Eastern Highlands in Afromontane biogeography and systematics, and the historical and current impact of human activities in the Eastern Highlands.

Top three priority action points emerging from the meetings:
  1. The massive alien invasive plant problem in the Nyanga region needs immediate addressing to avoid Eastern Highlands extinctions and reduced water production. 
  2. The involvement of Mozambique in the EHI both on an academic and governance level.
  3. The recapitilisation of Zimbabwe's existing and excellent internal academic capabilities.
With the second item already met, the EHI team is debating name options for the Initiative that reflect the trans-boundary nature of the research and the Eastern Highlands as a montane system of international importance.

The Eastern Highlands Initiative: final report on the meetings held in Zimbabwe 21-30 April 2013

Stakeholders of EHI