Know, grow, protect and enjoy South Africa's indigenous plants
Conserving our natural heritage, for all, forever
The Botanical Society was formed more than a century ago to help develop and support the country’s national botanical gardens. BotSoc’s mission has since grown to supporting plant conservation across South Africa through its branches and by working with key partners.
Our Conservation Work
BotSoc champions biodiversity conservation in South Africa to protect our extraordinary plant diversity and ecosystems.
The BotSoc Conservation Programme was restarted at the beginning of 2020, and since then we’ve implemented numerous projects and programmes, guided by South Africa’s Plant Conservation Strategy.
We developed our BotSoc Conservation Strategy, which has five goals:
GOAL 1: Monitoring of key species and the identification of “Important Plant Areas”.
GOAL 2: Securing key sites for plant conservation.
GOAL 3: Reducing the ongoing loss of plant species and sites rich in botanical assets.
GOAL 4: Support branch mobilisation and increase capacity for member Involvement through enhanced access to information and services to know, grow, protect and enjoy South Africa’s indigenous plants.
GOAL 5: Secure BotSoc’s sustainability by working in collaboration with partners and donors through innovative resourcing.
One of our first calls to action was to provide support to activate our branches across South Africa to get even more involved in plant conservation. The two international bioblitzing events, the City Nature Challenge and the Great Southern Bioblitz offered the ideal platforms to excite our members and branches to observe nature, and enjoy collecting information on what they have seen. Each year, more and more BotSoc members join these events – with their findings feeding into conservation planning.
BotSoc also showcased our conservation programme and work at various national forums, including the Conservation Symposium and the Fynbos Forum.
Mapping our branches
Branches need to understand their geographic boundaries exactly, and these were reviewed with the new boundaries concluded in 2022. These boundaries are more accurately based on ecological and political spatial information, thereby steering branch conservation activities better.
The national conservation team, working with our SANBI and CREW partners, also compiled Branch Biodiversity Priority Reports. These reports highlight the botanical priorities in each branch area and provide additional resources to support on-the-ground conservation activities.
Speaking up for nature: EIAs
At the launch of our new conservation strategy, it became clear that there was little information available on how to provide Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) input in order to protect threatened plant species. As such, BotSoc contracted EIA specialist Luke Verburgt of Enviro-Insight to compile an online course for BotSoc members. This course material was initially introduced to representatives selected from each branch. Now the information is readily available to BotSoc members only.
Knowledge sharing for plant lovers
The BotSoc team has partnered with CREW and SANBI to host monthly plant conservation webinars. These are led by BotSoc’s Rupert Koopman, who chats to experts on a plant-related theme. Topics covered to date include ecological restoration, the succulent plant crisis, medicinal plants, good land management practices and much more. The webinars are held via Zoom, and are available here.
Branches at work
Across South Africa, our BotSoc branches are undertaking on-the-ground conservation projects, from alien clearing and ecological restoration to research and mentoring support. These are funded and supported both by branches and by our national BotSoc team.
We work with a number of key partners in order to collectively achieve our conservation goals. The Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) are key partners to the conservation team, and help us mobilise teams of citizen scientists. We also work closely with scientists from SANBI, as well as other government departments, conservation authorities and non-profit organisations.
Support our conservation programme as we work across the country to protect threatened plant species and reduce ongoing loss.
Succulent plant crisis
Ex-situ plant collections
CPUT Student Support
BotSoc support for the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Nature Conservation National Diploma has meant that no promising student has been prevented by lack of means from completing the diploma’s required, week-long practical training before entering the biodiversity sector.
The Cycad Project is part of the Department of Environmental Affairs’ national strategy and action plan for managing and conserving cycads within South Africa. The Botanical Society supports various components of the strategy from its educational reserves and through funds raised.
Latest Conservation News
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