Academic Leader: Biophysical Sciences - Prof Pardon Muchaonyerwa

Disciplines: Geography Pmb, Soil Science, Hydrology, Agrometeorology


Associate Professor and Academic Leader (Biophysical Sciences)




BSc. Agric.Hons (Soil Science), PhD (Soil Science)



Office Block:

Office G7

Rabie Saunders Building

Agriculture Campus









+27 (0) 33 260 5764


+27 (0) 33 260 5426



Biographical sketch


I completed my PhD in 2002 (and graduated in 2003) at the University of Zimbabwe. My PhD originated from an upgrading (in 2000) of my MSc research that I started in 1998. After my successful oral defense and finalization of my thesis, I joined the University of Fort Hare as a Postdoc Research Fellow. I started my full-time teaching career at the University of Fort Hare in 2004 as a lecturer in Soil Science. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer (2006) and later to Associate Professor (2011). I then joined the University of KwaZulu-Natal as Associate Professor of Soil Science in July 2011.


I am a member of the Soil Science Society of South Africa (since 2005) and International Union of Soil Science (since 2007). I received the following awards between 1991 and 2003;

2011: Vice-Chancellor's Emerging Researcher Award, University of Fort Hare

2003: Claude-Harris Leon Foundation Fellowship for post-doctoral work at University of Fort Hare (2003-2004)

1998: European Union (E.U.) Research fellowship award which funded my PhD studies at the University of Zimbabwe (1998-2003)

1995: University Book Prize for best student, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zimbabwe

1991: Merit Scholarship for Advanced Level studies-Ministry of Education and Culture, Zimbabwe


Academic Profile


I hold a PhD and a BSc Agriculture Honours (Soil Science) both from the University of Zimbabwe.  Under the NRF rating system, I am a Y-rated researcher since 2009.


Professional Activities

  • Since 2008, I serve the NRF in the following capacities: Member of the  Agricultural Project Review Panel, Project Reviewer, Reviewer for rating scientists. I also review research projects for the Water Research Commision


  • Since 2004, I review articles for the following journals: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety; European Journal of Soil Science; Global Science Books; Pedosphere; International Journal of Biological and Chemical Sciences; Waste Management; African Journal of Agricultural Research; Geoderma; WaterSA; African Journal for Range and Forage Science; Biological Agriculture and Horticulture; Journal of Soils and Sediments; African Journal of Biotechnology; South African Journal of Plant and Soil.


  • I have consistently contributed to oral and poster presentations at national and international conferences. These presentations were made me or my students.

Community Activities

  • KZN Blind and Deaf Society- I assist in the management of tunnels and composting of waste for soil improvement (vegetable production).
  • Be A Scientist for One Week: I participate in the University effort of exposing high school pupils to science done at University.
  • High School Agriculture Projects- I asssist high school teachers to set up projects with their pupils.

Current Teaching / courses

  • I am the coordinator and contribute in the teaching of Introduction to Soils and the Environment (SSCI217); Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition (SSCI320); Environmental Soil Chemistry (SSCI373); Sustainable Soil Fertility Management (SSCI770). I also contribute in teaching Pedology (SSCI230) and supervise Soil Science Seminars (SSCI792) and Research Projects (SSCI793).
  • I contribute in the teaching of MSc and Honours students in Food Security.
  • I also supervise postgraduate students at MSc and PhD level. I am currently supervising 5 MSc and two PhD students. Of all my students 6 PhD and 10 MSc have completed their studies to date.

Research Interests / areas of specialty

My research interests are in Agricultural and Environmental Science, with particular focus on Pollutants in the soil environment, Soil fertility and productivity, Soil ecosystem function and health, Conservation agriculture, and Waste management.

Research Projects

  • Competitive Grant on Sewage sludge Management (Funded by UKZN) 2012-2013,
  • Effects of Bt maize of soil biology (Funded by DEAT (SA)/DN (Norway) through SANBI/GENOK): 2009-2010,
  • Opportunities and effects, on non-target soil dwelling organisms, of genetically modified maize (Bt maize) in the Eastern Cape (Funded by NRF and GMRDC):  2007-2011,
  • Nutrient Management Strategies Project  (Funded by NRF): 2005 –2010,
  • Conservation agriculture in maize based cropping systems in the Eastern Cape (Funded by NRF): 2007-2011,
  • Best management practices for smallholder farming in two irrigation schemes and surrounding areas in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal through participatory adaptive research (Funded by the WRC: 2005-2009,
  • Ecological Sanitation (ECOSAN) Project on the utilisation on human excreta in agriculture (Funded by  WRC): 2005- 2007.


Academic Service

I am the current academic coordinator of Soil Science, UKZN (01/2012-present).

I have been the Head of Department (HOD) Department of Agronomy, University of Fort Hare (UFH) from 2010- 2011. During the same period I was a member of Faculty Planning and Management Committee, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, and a member of Senate. I was also a member of Council, Fort Cox College of Agriculture and Forestry. I was the Coordinator of the Departmental self evaluation process, Department of Agronomy (UFH) between 2009-2010.


Since 2009, I have served as external examinar for the following Universities: North West University (MSc dissertations), University of Venda for Science and Technology (undergraduate and MSc examinations), University of Limpopo (undergraduate modules), University of Pretoria (MSc dissertations), University of KwaZulu Natal (MSc dissertation), Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania (MSc dissertations), University of Zimbabwe (MSc dissertations)


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