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Fellows Directory

William Bond

William Bond

Professor William Bond FRS


Elected: 2021


William Bond is a South African ecologist and a world authority on the ecology, biogeography and evolution of open (non-forested) ecosystems. He has helped show the ancient origins of these systems contradicting the notion that they are the result of deforestation.

William has explored both physical and biotic controls on the distribution of these systems using a variety of tools, from remote sensing and global vegetation models, to field studies and glasshouse experiments. He has revolutionized the basic conceptual framework of global biogeography by showing how animals and fire interact with climate to shape the distribution and structure of terrestrial ecosystems. His work has policy implications challenging global plans to afforest large areas of open ecosystems for carbon capture.

William is an Emeritus Professor in Biological Sciences at the University of Cape Town. He served as Chief Scientist for the South African Environmental Observation Network from 2014-2018. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

Professional positions

Emeritus Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Organismal biology, evolution and ecology
    • Ecology (incl behavioural ecology), Environmental biology, Evolution, Plant sciences / botany


Fire ecology, plant-animal interactions, open ecosystems

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