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.
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.
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.
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.”
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 https://atbc2020.org/.
Please see the website for more information: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/quaternary/special_issues/ATBC#info
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.
UCT PhD graduate Zander Venter (image below) and former Plant Conservation Unit (PCU) research assistant, Samantha Venter, attended the Geo for Good Summit in Sunnyvale California from 16 – 19 September 2019. This year, the summit combined the Earth Engine User Summit and Earth Outreach’s Geo for Good User Summit to "bring together the Earth Engine and Earth Outreach communities to one larger event where scientists, non-profits and change-makers can learn from each other and potentially collaborate on projects for positive impact for our planet and its inhabitants."
Several Namibian botanists recently visited Lubango in southern Angola to explore opportunities for collaboration with the Herbarium of Lubango and tertiary institutions, as part of the Bio-Bridge Initiative of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The co-ordinator of the project, Plant Conservation Unit PhD student Kirsti Nghidinwa, was part of the trip. Apart from institutional visits, the visitors welcomed the chance to botanise around Lubango. Despite the generally dry condition of the veld at that time of the year, Angola’s remarkable botanical diversity nevertheless had something in store for the southern neighbours, who filled up SD cards with photos of breath-taking scenery and plants.