skip to primary navigationskip to content

Professor Bob Scholes Fellow

Professor Bob Scholes, Fellow

Bob was a Professor of Systems Ecology at the University of the Witwatersrand. He was a systems ecologist with a particular interest in the savannas of Africa. He trained under Prof Brian Walker at the University of the Witwatersrand and Prof Pedro Sanchez at North Carolina State University and had over three decades of field experience in many parts of Africa and the world. He was among the top 1 per cent of environmental scientists worldwide based on citation frequency, publishing widely in the fields of savanna ecology, global change, and earth observation.


5 May 2021 – CISL is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Professor Bob Scholes, a renowned environmental scientist and dear friend to many of CISL’s staff and our wider community. We send condolences to his family, friends and colleagues, and those who knew him well.

Bob has led several high-profile studies (e.g. the Assessment of Elephant Management, Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change, Strategic Assessment of Shale Gas Development) and large research campaigns (e.g. SAFARI 2000, Southern African Millennium Assessment). He has been a member of the steering committee of several International Council of Scientific Unions research programmes.

Bob was an author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 3rd, 4th and 5th assessments and was co-chair of the Conditions Working Group of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and was co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services assessment of Land Degradation.

Bob has been a member of the steering committees of several global earth observation bodies: Global Climate Observing System; Global Terrestrial Observing System (chair), Group on Earth Observation (GEO) Implementation Planning Task Team, GEO Biodiversity Observation Network (chair). He has been on the boards of the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, the South African National Parks and South African National Space Agency.

Bob was a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the CSIR, Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, Member of the South African Academy, a Research Associate of the CSIR, an NRF A-rated scientist, and a winner of the National Science and Technology Forum Lifetime Contribution to Science Award.