Search

Academic Staff

Prof David Cumming 

Professor David H. M. Cumming
PhD (Rhodes University)

Email

David graduated from Rhodes University with a BSc in Zoology and Entomology and a BSc (Hons) in Zoology and has worked in wildlife research and conservation in southern Africa since the early 1960s. After an initial spell in freshwater fisheries in Zimbabwe, he moved to wildlife and was posted to the remote Sengwa Gorge in the Zambezi Valley to work on game-tsetse fly relationships.  The planned 18-month posting lasted 12 years and provided the opportunity to complete a PhD on the ecology and behaviour of warthogs (the primary host of tsetse fly) and to establish the Sengwa Wildlife Research Area and Institute. From Sengwa, David moved to Harare in 1976 where he was Chief Ecologist and Head of the Branch of Terrestrial Ecology and later Deputy Director for Zimbabwe’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management. From there he moved, in 1988, to the post of Project Leader for WWF’s Multispecies Animal Production Systems Project. The project eventually grew into WWF’s Southern Africa Regional Programme during the 1990s.  Since 2002, David has been working as a consultant to conservation and development NGOs, as a Research Associate in the Tropical Resource Ecology Programme at the University of Zimbabwe, and, since 2006, as an honorary professor here at UCT. Current ecological research interests include large herbivore impacts on savanna systems and the interaction between elephants and termites and how they influence biodiversity and ecosystem processes in miombo woodlands. Large-scale conservation and the management, resilience, and sustainability of transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs) in southern Africa are also areas of interest. He is involved in the Wildlife Conservation Society’s AHEAD (Animal and Human Health for the Environment and Development) programme (http://wcs-ahead.org) and in advising on wildlife research and conservation issues in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in the region.

Current students

Luke Wilson (MSc Conservation Biology) A first assessment of the impact of artificial waterholes in Zambezi National Par, Zimbabwe on surrounding vegetation. (Co-supervisors: Timm Hoffman and Angela Ferguson)

Thandiwe Sibanda (MPhil) Investigating the factors that influence fluctuations in populations of key medium-sized herbivores on Cawston Ranch (in Dept. Forestry and Wildlife, National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo - Co-supervisor)

Graduated students

Doctoral

Grant Joseph (2012); Alexandre Caron (2011 - U.Pretoria, co-supervisor)

MSc Conservation Biology, UCT (Thesis component)

Zanne Labuschagne (2014); Ben Heermans (2010); Alison Skidmore (2010); Grant Joseph (2008); Glynis Humphrey (2008)

MSc Tropical Resource Ecology, Biological Sciences, University of Zimbabwe

Lenin Chari (2011); Milton Makumbe (2008); Justice Murengweni (2007); Hilton Ndagurwa (2007); Anthony Kaschula (2004)

Publications

De Vos, A., Cumming, G.S., Cumming, D.H.M, Ament, J.M., Baum, J., Clements, H., Grewar, J., Maciejewski, K. and Moore, C. 2016. Pathogens, disease, and the social-ecological resilience of protected areas. Ecology and Society 21: 20. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-07984-210120 

Seymour, C.L., Joseph, G.S., Makumbe, M., Cumming, G.S., Mahlangu, Z. and Cumming, D.H.M. 2016. Woody species composition in an African savanna: determined by centuries of termite activity but modulated by 50 years of ungulate herbivory. Journal of Vegetation Science 27: 824-833. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvs.12393

Joseph., G.S., Makumbe, M., Seymour, C.L., Cumming, G.S., Mahlangu, Z. and Cumming, D.H.M. 2015. Termite mounds mitigate against 50 years of herbivore-induced reduction of functional diversity of savannah woody plants. Landscape Ecology 30:2161-2174.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10980-015-0238-9 

Cumming, G.S., Allen, C.R., Ban, N., Biggs, D., Biggs, H.C., Cumming, D.H.M., De Vos, A., Epstein, G., Etienne, M., Maciejewski, K., Mathevet, R., Moore, C., Nenadovic, M. and Schoon, M. (2014) Understanding protected area resilience: a multi-scale, social-ecological approach. Ecological Applications, 25, 299–319.

Joseph, G.S., Seymour, C.L., Cumming, G.S., Cumming, D.H.M. and Mahlangu, Z. 2014. Termite mounds increase functional diversity of woody plants in African savannas. Ecosystems 17:808-819. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10021-014-9761-9.

Seymour, C.L., Milewski, A.V., Mills, A.J., Joseph, G.S., Cumming, G.S., Cumming, D.H.M. and Mahlangu, Z. 2014. Do the large termite mounds of Macrotermes concentrate micronutrients in addition to macronutrients in nutrient-poor African savannas? Soil Biology and Biochemistry 68:105-105. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2013.09.022

Joseph, G.S., Seymour, C., Cumming, G.S., Cumming, D.H M. and Mahlangu, Z. 2013. Termite mounds as islands: woody plant assemblages relative to termitarium size and soil properties. Journal of Vegetation Science 24-702-711. Doi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2012.01489.x

Joseph, G.S., Seymour, C., Cumming, G.S., Mahlangu, Z. and Cumming, D.H M. 2013. Escaping the flames: large termitaria as refugia from fire in miombo woodland. Landscape Ecology doi:10.1007/s10980-013-9897-6

 

Book Chapters

Cumming, D.H.M.  and Cumming, G.S. (2015) One Health - An Ecological and Conservation Perspective. Pages 38-52, In: Zinsstag, J., Schelling, E., Waltner-Toews, D., Whittaker, M. and Tanner, M.(eds.) One health: The theory and practice of integrated health approaches. CABI International.

Cumming, D.H.M., Osofsky, S.A., Atkinson, S.J. and Atkinson, M.W. (2015) Beyond Fences: Wildlife, Livestock and Land Use in Southern Africa. Pages 243-257, In:  Zinsstag, J., Schelling, E., Waltner-Toews, D., Whittaker, M. and Tanner, M . (eds) One health: The theory and practice of integrated health approaches. CABI International.

Cumming D.H.M. (2015) Wildlife, livestock, people and ‘pests’ in southern African transfrontier conservation areas: problems and prospects for multispecies systems. Invited Plenary Address, 10th European Vertebrate Pest Management Conference, 21-25 September, 2015, University of Seville, Seville, Spain. (Abstract)

Cumming D. H. M. (2013) Phacochoerus africanus  Common Warthog. Pages 54-60, In: Kingdon, J. and Hoffmann (eds.) The Mammals of Africa - Vol.6.  Hippopotamuses, Pigs, Deer, Giraffe and Bovids.  Bloomsbury Publishing, London, UK.

Andersson, J. A., Dzingirai, V. and Cumming, D. H. M. (2013) TFCAs and the invisible peoples. Chapter 2 in: Anderson J. A., de Garine-Wichatitsky, M., Cumming, D. H. M., Dzingirai, V. and Giller, K. E. (eds.) (2012) Transfrontier Conservation Areas: People Living on the Edge.  Earthscan, London

Andersson, J. A. and Cumming, D. H. M. (2013) Defining the edge: boundary formation and TFCAs in Southern Africa. Chapter 3 in: Anderson J. A., de Garine-Wichatitsky, M., Cumming, D. H. M., Dzingirai, V. and Giller, K. E. (eds.) (2012) Transfrontier Conservation Areas: People Living on the Edge.  Earthscan, London

Cumming, D. H. M., de Garine-Wichatitsky, M. and Dzingirai, V. (2013) Land- and natural resource-based livelihood opportunities in TFCAs. Chapter 9 in: Anderson J. A., de Garine-Wichatitsky, M., Cumming, D. H. M., Dzingirai, V. and Giller, K. E. (eds.) (2012) Transfrontier Conservation Areas: People Living on the Edge.  Earthscan, London.

Cumming, D. H. M., Anderson J. A., de Garine-Wichatitsky, M., Cumming, D. H. M., Dzingirai, V. and Giller, K. E. (2013) Whither TFCAs and people on the edge in Southern Africa? Chapter 10 in:  Anderson J. A., de Garine-Wichatitsky, M., Cumming, D. H. M., Dzingirai, V. and Giller, K. E. (eds.) Transfrontier Conservation Areas: Whither People Living on the Edge.  Earthscan, London.

Cumming, D. H. M. and M. W. Atkinson (2012) Land-use paradigms, Wildlife and Livestock: Southern African Challenges, Choices and Potential Ways Forward. pp. 101-112. In: Karesh W. (ed.) Animal Health and Biodiversity – Preparing for the Future, Compendium of the OIE Global Conference on Wildlife,  23-25 February 2011, Paris, OiE (World Organisation for Animal Health), Paris, France.

3. Recent Conferences and abstracts:

Cumming, D H M (2016) Maintaining and Restoring Ecosystem Integrity in the Face of Development. Invited keynote paper.  State of KAZA Symposium 2016. Victoria Falls Safari Lodge 31st October – 2nd November, 2106. Abstract.

Cumming, D H M (2016) Cattle and Wildlife: The Case for ‘Win-Win’ Outcomes for Rural Communities. Invited paper. State of KAZA Symposium 2016. Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, 31 October – 2 November, 2106. Abstract

Cumming, D H M (2016) Rural Development and Conservation In Southern Africa’s TFCAs: The Ecological and Socio-Economic Importance of Integrating Livestock Agriculture and Nature-Based Tourism.  Invited paper in a Workshop convened by AHEAD and FAO under the auspices of the KAZA TFCA Secretariat. Towards implementation of Commodity-Based Trade of Beef in KAZA: Opportunities for Integrating Livestock Agriculture and Wildlife Conservation.  Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, 3-4 November 2106. Abstract.

Taylor R D and Cumming D H M (2016) The Comparative Economic Advantages of Multi-Species Systems: What’s at Stake?  Invited paper in a Workshop convened by AHEAD and FAO under the auspices of the KAZA TFCA Secretariat. Towards implementation of Commodity-Based Trade of Beef in KAZA: Opportunities for Integrating Livestock Agriculture and Wildlife Conservation.  Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, 3-4 November 2106. Abstract.

Cumming, D. H. M (2016) Disease and protected area resilience: an exploration of future scenarios for southern Africa. Invited paper.  Mammal Research Institute 50th Anniversary Celebration, 12-16 September 2016, Mopani Camp, Kruger National Park, South Africa. Abstract.

Cumming D H M (2015) Reflections on Hominid Predation, Ecosystem Management, and Biodiversity Conservation. Invited Guest Lecture. Annual Meeting of the Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria. 

Cumming, D H M (2015) Wildlife, livestock, people and ‘pests’ in southern African transfrontier conservation areas: problems and prospects for multispecies systems. Invited Keynote Paper.   10th European Vertebrate Pest Management Conference, Seville, Spain, 21-25 September 2015. Abstract

Cumming D H M (2014) How useful is it to view TFCAs through a social-ecological systems lens?  Invited Keynote paper.  RP-PCP and
AHEAD-GLTFCA Annual Meeting, Management of protected areas and their peripheries in Southern Africa: has anything changed with the creation of TFCAs?” Painted Dog Conservation Centre, Dete, Hwange (Zimbabwe) 12-15 May 2014. Abstract.