Know, grow, protect and enjoy South Africa's indigenous plants
Our Conservation Work
BotSoc champions biodiversity conservation in South Africa to protect our indigenous plant diversity and ecosystems.
Ex-situ plant collections
While the first step to plant conservation is always to protect the species in their natural habitat, sometimes this just isn’t possible. During times like this, ex-situ (or off-site) seed collections can help prevent otherwise likely extinctions.
Future ecological restoration work
BotSoc works with partners to help collect seeds for these collections, where they are stored under the right conditions to enable them to survive for a long time. These can then be used during propagation trials, and to build living collections that would be needed for future ecological restoration work.
Our BotSoc mentoring support
For instance, our BotSoc botanist Isabel Johnson (who works on BotSoc’s Stewardship Programme) also works with the BotSoc Kwazulu-Natal (KZN) Inland Branch and the KZN National Botanical Garden to collect seeds for ex-situ plant collections. This takes place via a mentoring programme that the branch runs for the national botanical garden staff.
Here experienced local botanists from the branch, including Isabel, organise collaborative collecting trips with the staff to find propagation material of threatened plants for this garden’s ex-situ plant collections. Excess seed is sent to the Royal Botanical Gardens Kew Millennium Seed Bank for long-term seed storage under specialised freezing conditions.
Between 2021 and 2022, six collecting trips were held, during which the botanists collected propagation material of 13 species in the KZN Midlands. A propagation group has also been started where BotSoc members assist with plant propagation in the KZN NBG collection’s nursery. This group allows for the transfer of vital plant knowledge – allowing younger generations to take over this work when the time comes – thereby ensuring continuity for plant conservation. The Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) volunteers, funded in part by the Botanical Society, also collect seeds for the Millennium Seed Bank where appropriate and with the right permission and supervision.
If we’re to be successful in protecting our indigenous plant species, we need to get the younger generation more involved in conservation. That’s why BotSoc is focusing on involving young graduates – so that they can learn from our experienced botanists like Isabel and can gain expertise in seed collection and other in-field botanical specialist skills. Please support BotSoc as we get these young conservationists involved in protecting plants.
Succulent plant crisis
Ex-situ plant collections
Latest Stewardship News
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