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Prof Vera de Cauwer

Associate Professor

Phone : +264 61 207
Email :


PhD Bioscience Engineering (KULeuven)
M.Sc.: Bioscience Engin. (UG)
M.Sc.: Tropical Forestry (ENGREF)
Ed. Degree (UG)

Research interests:
My interests lie in natural resources management, biogeography, plant ecology with a focus on woody plant synecology, and tree breeding. I specialise in the use of tools that assist ecosystem management; especially GIS and spatial modelling that allow integrating geographical datasets, such as satellite images and topography, with ground truth. As a forester, I am very interested in the population dynamics, biomass and wood production potential of woody species. My doctoral studies focused on Kiaat/Mukwa (Pterocarpus angolensis), the major timber tree of Namibia. I see the sustainable harvest of natural resources as a way of conserving those resources with support of local people. However, there is an urgent need to select and breed indigenous plant species of southern Africa to complement natural populations. We started with germination, nursery and in vitro experiments for a few Namibian tree species and plan to build on these early experiences. Most of my research is done in Namibia and southern Angola, but the relevance and applicability of the findings also extend to other countries in southern Africa.

Key publications:
De Cauwer, V., Chaka, M., Chimwamurombe, P.M., George, D., Ham, H., Heita, H., Makoi, T., Mashungwa, G., Reinhold-Hurek, B., Tshwenyane, S., 2018. Artificial and assisted natural regeneration of socio-economically important southern African tree species. Biodivers. Ecol. 6, 324–331.

De Cauwer, V., Knox, N., Kobue-Lekalake, R., Lepetu, J.P., Ompelege, M., Naidoo, S., Nott, A., Parduhn, D., Sichone, P., Tshwenyane, S., Elizabeth, Y., Revermann, R., 2018. Woodland resources and management in southern Africa. Biodivers. Ecol. 6, 296–308.

Sichone, P., De Cauwer, V., Chisingui, A.V., Gonçalves, F.M.P., Finckh, M., Revermann, R., 2018. Patterns of above-ground biomass and its environmental drivers: an analysis based on plot-based surveys in the dry tropical forests and woodlands of southern Africa. Biodivers. Ecol. 6, 309–316.

De Cauwer, V., Fichtler, E., Beeckman, H., Graz, F.P., Mertens, J., Van Holsbeeck, S., Muys, B., 2017. Predicting site productivity of the timber tree Pterocarpus angolensis. South. For. J. For. Sci. 1–10.

De Cauwer, V., 2016. Autecological aspects of the African timber tree Pterocarpus angolensis in support of its sustainable management (PhD). KULeuven, Leuven, Belgium & Windhoek, Namibia.

De Cauwer, V., Geldenhuys, C.J., Aerts, R., Kabajani, M., Muys, B., 2016. Patterns of forest composition and their long term environmental drivers in the tropical dry forest transition zone of southern Africa. For. Ecosyst. 3, 23.

Van Holsbeeck, S., De Cauwer, V., De Ridder, M., Fichtler, E., Beeckman, H., Mertens, J., 2016. Annual diameter growth of Pterocarpus angolensis (Kiaat) and other woodland species in Namibia. For. Ecol. Manag. 373, 1–8.

De Cauwer, V., Younan, R., 2015. Seed germination of Namibian woodland tree species. Dinteria 35, 43–52.

De Cauwer, V., Muys, B., Revermann, R., Trabucco, A., 2014. Potential, realised, future distribution and environmental suitability for Pterocarpus angolensis DC in southern Africa. For. Ecol. Manag. 315, 211–226.

De Cauwer, V., 2023. Status quo of sustainable forest management in Namibia. First. Windhoek, Namibia: Hanns Seidel Foundation and Desert Research Foundation.

De Cauwer, V., Becker, R.W., Gomes, A., Lages, F., Swanepoel, W., and Van Jaarsveld, E., 2023. The mountain top flora and vegetation of the remote Ovahimba Highlands in the Kaokoveld Centre of Endemism: a reconnaissance. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, 1–14.

De Cauwer, V., Beeckman, H., Kleinn, C., Moses, M., Nott, A., Seifert, T., and Muys, B., 2020. Improving the knowledge base for tropical dry forest management in southern Africa: Regional volume models for Pterocarpus angolensis. Forest Ecology and Management, 477, 118485.


More information is available via my ResearchGate profile.

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