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HomeAFRICAN RESEARCHER OF THE MONTH - FEMALENovember 2023: Dr. Petra Holden – African Female Researcher of the Month

November 2023: Dr. Petra Holden – African Female Researcher of the Month

African Researchers Award
November 2023: Dr. Petra Holden – African Female Researcher of the Month

Dr. Petra Holden, a transdisciplinary conservation scientist based at the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI) at the University of Cape Town (UCT), has been awarded the AXA XL Climate Water Nexus Award for her research on equitable nature-based solutions for a sustainable climate future. The award, resulting from a collaboration between the AXA Research Fund and AXA XL, recognizes innovative, transdisciplinary research that highlights the link between freshwater, ecosystem services, and climate change.

Dr. Holden’s research focuses on southern African ecosystems, specifically examining landscapes critical for clean water provision, biodiversity, and local and indigenous livelihoods. Her work involves comparing findings from southern Africa to cases around the globe, identifying similarities, contrasts, and knowledge gaps related to nature-based solutions. The research aims to understand and analyze local and regional enablers that facilitate equitable and sustainable nature-based solutions for water security, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and climate change adaptation.

One significant aspect of Dr. Holden’s research is its impact on the successful implementation of nature-based solutions, accounting for social equity processes and the sustainability of ecosystem services within a changing climate. Her findings emphasize the importance of policy and practice engaging with mechanisms to scale and finance equitable and sustainable nature-based solutions that address both local and global challenges.

The prize, awarded to Dr. Holden, will contribute to supporting her research, particularly in understanding the changes required to support equitable and sustainable nature-based solutions at local levels. Dr. Holden aims to broaden and deepen the understanding of various types of knowledge, including experiential, local, and indigenous knowledge, to enhance the impact of her research on practice and policy.

One notable application of Dr. Holden’s research involves catchment restoration in the mountains of the southwestern Cape, demonstrating how managing alien tree infestation could have lessened the impact of climate change on low river flows during the Cape Town “Day Zero” drought. The study highlights the role of nature-based solutions, such as catchment restoration, in addressing the impacts of climate change on water resources.

This recognition builds on Dr. Holden’s previous accomplishments, including receiving the Frontiers Planet Prize in 2023 for her work on nature-based solutions. Her contributions extend to providing science advisory support to policy and practice, serving on international advisory panels for gender-inclusive nature-based solutions, and advising the South African National Biodiversity Institute on accessing international climate finance for nature-based solution projects and programs.

In summary, Dr. Petra Holden’s research is making valuable contributions to the field of transdisciplinary conservation science, with a focus on nature-based solutions that promote social equity, water security, ecosystem services, biodiversity, and climate change adaptation. Her recognition through awards like the AXA XL Climate Water Nexus Award and the Frontiers Planet Prize underscores the importance and impact of her work on addressing planetary environmental challenges.

Cite this article as (APA format):

African Researchers Magazine (2023). November 2023: Dr. Petra Holden – African Female Researcher of the Month. Retrieved from https://www.africanresearchers.org/november-2023-dr-petra-holden-african-female-researcher-of-the-month/

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