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NEW PAPER ALERT: What Are the Grand Challenges for Plant Conservation in the 21st Century?
Mon, 23 Nov 2020 - 13:00

A new study by PCU researcher Lindsey Gillson and colleagues titled 'What are the grand challenges for plant conservation in the 21st century?' was published on 13 November 2020 in Frontiers in Conservation Science. A brief introduction can be found below. The full article is available here.

"Conserving plants in these turbulent and rapidly changing times is challenging, but nevertheless essential to the well-being of humans and all organisms on our planet. Plants supply our food, fiber, and medicines, regulate our climate, clean water and protect our soils, provide flood protection, underpin many cultures, and provide landscapes that restore and connect us to nature. Yet they face multiple interacting stressors and require urgent attention and decisive action that is effective, inclusive, and just."

The PCU team attends the first-ever AZEF virtual conference
Mon, 12 Oct 2020 - 10:00

There is no doubt that 2020 has been a year of firsts for many around the world. For instance, face-to-face meetings have transitioned rather abruptly to meeting online to maintain social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Arid Zone Ecology Forum (AZEF) annual conference has been no exception.

NEW PAPER ALERT: Patterns of plant species richness and growth form diversity in critical habitats of the Nama-Karoo Biome, South Africa
Thu, 17 Sep 2020 - 12:30

A new paper by Hana Petersen, Sam Jack, Simon Todd and Prof. Timm Hoffman, titled 'Patterns of plant species richness and growth form diversity in critical habitats of the Nama-Karoo Biome, South Africa' was published online in the South African Journal of Botany on 15 September 2020. The abstract can be found below. The full article is available here.

Trip report: a day in Darling
Mon, 14 Sep 2020 - 09:15

Springtime in the Cape is always a spectacular affair. With the drop in number of infections and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in South Africa coinciding with the start of spring, many are taking the opportunity to enjoy the dazzling floral displays. After a long 6 months of uncertainty, struggle and loss, the abundant beauty that South Africa’s natural spaces continues to provide year after year is something that we can always rely on. This year’s floral displays were particularly splendid, after the abundant rainfall, providing some reprieve after a long period of drought.

NEW POPULAR ARTICLE: "Trusting local knowledge: the case of fire management in a Namibian park"
Fri, 11 Sep 2020 - 11:00

A popular article by Dr Glynis Humphrey (PCU, UCT), A/Prof. Gina Ziervogel (ACDI, UCT) and A/Prof. Lindsey Gillson (PCU, UCT), titled 'Trusting local knowledge: the case of fire management in a Namibian park' was published in The Conversation yesterday, 10 September 2020. The article is publicly available here.

Prof. Timm Hoffman wins WWF Living Planet Award 2020
Wed, 02 Sep 2020 - 12:00

The Plant Conservation Unit at UCT would like to extend hearty congratulations to Prof. Timm Hoffman on winning the WWF Living Planet Award for 2020.

Prof. Timm Hoffman, Director of the Plant Conservation Unit, won the WWF Living Planet Award for 2020. The awards ceremony was a virtual event held on Tuesday 1 September 2020. The Living Planet Award is awarded annually to extraordinary South Africans who have contributed meaningfully to conservation and have inspired people to “live in harmony with nature.”

rePhotoSA: New digital jigsaw puzzles
Tue, 14 Jul 2020 - 13:30

Introducing REPHOTOSA DIGITAL JIGSAW PUZZLES! We are happy to provide a more interactive way of browsing the collections available on the rePhotoSA website, and which is more accessible to everyone in our diverse citizen science community. Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to engage your mind and use your observation skills without needing to travel or use a camera. They challenge us to really look at the landscape and quite literally piece it together to see the full picture. They also make a fun and engaging activity for kids!

NEW PAPER ALERT: Long-term changes in forest cover in a global biodiversity hotspot in southern Mozambique
Mon, 29 Jun 2020 - 13:30

A study by researchers Wataru Tokura (CB Masters 2015, UCT), Hermenegildo Matimele (CB Masters 2015, UCT), Julian Smit (Geomatics, UCT) and Timm Hoffman (PCU, UCT), titled 'Long-term changes in forest cover in a global biodiversity hotspot in southern Mozambique' was recently published in Bothalia. The full article is available here.

NEW PAPER ALERT: How changing fire management policies affect fire seasonality and livelihoods
Mon, 15 Jun 2020 - 14:45

A new study by PCU researchers Glynis Joy Humphrey, Lindsey Gillson and colleague Gina Ziervogel titled 'How changing fire management policies affect fire seasonality and livelihoods' was published on 10 June 2020 in Ambio. The full article is available here.

Barcoding 'Dhingila' in Namibia
Fri, 21 Feb 2020 - 13:00

In recent years there has been growing popularity of a group of medicinal plants in the Apocynaceae family locally known in Namibia as 'Dhingila'. The root of these plants is claimed to cure various ailments, including cancer. Concern over unsustainable harvesting practices has prompted the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism to take conservation action. PCU’s PhD Candidate Kirsti Nghidinwa and Dr Ezequiel Fabiano of the University of Namibia (UNAM) are leading the project in Namibia, with the much appreciated assistance of UNAM student Tanaka Muradzikwa who is manning the trap in Zambezi Region. There has been some confusion, however, regarding the botanical name of the plants, with some media articles citing an unrelated species that is also reported to “cure” cancer.

Call for papers for Quaternary Journal Special Issue
Fri, 21 Feb 2020 - 12:45

The Palaeo Lab at the Plant Conservation Unit is seeking papers for a Special Issue of Quaternary Journal. This is linked to a symposium that  co-organised by Dr Estelle Razanatsoa, A/Prof, Lindsey Gillson and Prof. Rob Marchant at the ATBC 2020 in Cartagena

Please see the website for more information:

Paleo team in Namibia
Palaeo team field work in Namibia
Mon, 04 Nov 2019 - 14:00

In late September, Glynis Humphrey (Postdoctoral Research Fellow), Conor Eastment (Masters student) and Adele Julier (Postdoctoral Research Fellow) travelled to Bwabwata National Park in northern Namibia to conduct fieldwork including repeat photography, ground-truthing for remote sensing and modern pollen trap deployment.