Editor's note

We continue the tradition of having guest authors writing articles for us on their field of expertise but with the added objective of a local focus and I am thrilled that we have managed to persuade Dr Leigh Richards, Curator of Mammals at the Durban Natural Science Museum to make some time in her busy schedule to write about the small mammals of our area. It is important that we do look at all the elements of our ecosystems and it is far too easy to dismiss or ignore the smaller creatures. I am sure that once you have read Leigh’s article you will have a different perspective!

Another illustrious guest writer is Richard Boon known to our readers not only for his many years of dedicated environmental work at the municipality’s Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department and his highly regarded book on the Trees of Eastern South Africa but also for his previous articles for this magazine. Richard has retired to Melbourne, Australia but graciously agreed to write for us on DMOSS, a subject close to his heart and one that he fought hard to ensure that the concept was translated into practice.

Our Eco-impi interview for this edition is with an icon of horticulture in KZN, Geoff Nichols. Geoff is an incredible source of information not only on our indigenous species but flora in general. Not only is he knowledgeable – arguably the best horticulturist in the province – but he is also incredibly passionate and pragmatic about our biodiversity. I hope that the interview brings home some of the highlights of his contribution to protecting our environment.

I would like to welcome Dave Rimmer to the panel of regular authors as he takes over the role that Peter Spence filled as our author on birds. Dave has a wealth of knowledge on the subject and runs regular birding tours. As a bonus he is a pretty good photographer so I am sure his articles will delight our readers.

Robin Lamplough continues with his series of articles on historically important individuals and in this issue, he covers none other than one of the most important KZN botanists in John Medley Wood who must have the record for the number of local species named after him!

Arend Hoogervorst in his opinion column keeps us on our toes again with those awkward questions that make us feel uncomfortable, but which need to be asked! From this issue we will be trying to bring you information on the impact of climate change on the fauna and flora of our area. This is a very complex issue and our regular writers Steve Woodhall (butterflies) and Pat McKrill (reptiles) have grappled with this topic in this issue. It is quite a challenge for them given the paucity of research on the subject as it relates to local conditions. The subject of climate change is a very topical one and I hope that in the coming issues we will be able to shed some light on how it impacts on us locally.

I hope you enjoy this edition and as always, your feedback will be most welcome and appreciated.

Paolo Candotti