Dr David Le Maitre

CSIR principal researcher

Le Maitre investigates the impacts of ecosystem change on socioeconomic benefits, focusing especially on invasive alien plant species ecology and impacts, landscape hydrology and wildfire risks in the context of climate change.

Full Profile

David Le Maitre holds a PhD in Plant Ecology from the University of Cape Town. He joined the CSIR in 1990 and plays a leading role in the modelling of the impacts of alien plant invasions, particularly their hydrological impacts; landscape hydrology, the movement of water through a landscape and how those flows are affected by ecosystem changes; identification, delineation and management of Strategic Water Source Areas, which supply >50% of all river water; he also has expertise in fire ecology and fire risk, including wildfire preparedness and the impacts of climate change on fire risks. He has authored and co-authored numerous peer-reviewed papers and many client reports on various topics, most recently on the Strategic Water Source Areas of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, and the Knysna wildfires in 2017.

Expertise: Ecosystem services, invasive alien species, landscape hydrology, fire ecology

Academic qualifications: 
  • PhD in Botany (Plant Ecology), University of Cape Town, 1999
  • MSc in Botany (Plant Ecology), University of Cape Town, 1985
  • BSc in Forest Science - Nature Conservation, University of Stellenbosch, 1979

Contact Person

Dr David Le Maitre