Nadia Wessels

PhD Candidate, Agricultural Sciences

Supervisors: Dr. Nadia Sitas

Field of research

  • Ecosystem services and ecological infrastructure
  • Social-ecological systems
  • Planning for biodiversity


Nadia completed her Honours degree in BSc Town and Regional Planning in 1993. In 2010 Nadia was awarded an MPhil in Environmental Management with distinction from Stellenbosch University.

She is currently a contract lecturer in the Department: Building and Human Settlement Development at Nelson Mandela University. Prior to that she was employed as a town and regional planner, and has worked in various local and metropolitan municipalities in planning and environmental related work.

She has a keen interest in (ecologically) sustainable planning, with an emphasis on the protection of natural open space systems, which is the subject of her post-graduate research. Her PhD in Conservation Ecology, supervised by Prof Karen Esler and co-supervised by Drs Nadia Sitas and Patrick O’Farrell (CSIR), investigates the role of (natural) open space in ecosystem service provision in local governments.

The proposed research aims to determine how to make natural urban open space systems more aligned to community and local government needs. Specific emphasis is given to communities abutting (natural) open space systems who are likely to experience (positive and negative) impacts and influences of the open space system.