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Another Step Forward for GSPC

22 May 2006

Baobab tree

The mighty baobab, Adansonia digitata, is a tree that
can provide, food, water, shelter and relief from sickness.
Image ©PlantZAfrica

As signatory to the CBD (ratified on 2 November 1995), South Africa has committed itself to the implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and has been closely involved in the development of the GSPC targets, mainly through participation in international meetings and workshops leading up to the adoption of the GSPC by the CoP in The Hague, Netherlands, in 2002.

This has now culminated in the release of South Africa's response to the GSPC, which is available online as a series of PDF downloads

The institution that has done most work in relation to plant conservation in South Africa is SANBI and its predecessor, the National Botanical Institute (NBI), a parastatal organisation falling under the national Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT). Strongly supported by and in close partnership with the Botanical Society of South Africa, a national nongovernmental organisation established with Kirstenbosch in 1913, SANBI has contributed significantly towards an improved understanding and conservation of South Africa’s plant diversity.

South Africa is internationally renowned for its floristic diversity and high percentage of plant endemism. Some 21,721 plant taxa have so far been recorded as being indigenous to South Africa, including 862 bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) and 279 pteridophytes (ferns). More than half (13,192 taxa) of South Africa’s indigenous plants are considered endemic, being restricted entirely to the country and found nowhere else in the world.

GSPC South AfricaThe number of plant taxa recorded for South Africa is not static and continues to change, mainly as a result of new discoveries and taxonomic/systematic research. In the 10-year period between 1994 and 2004, more than 268 new species of South African plants were described by research staff attached to SANBI’s three herbaria in Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban. 

The South African response to the GSPC is now available for downloading via the SANBI web site: Conserving South Africa's plants: a South African response to the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. SANBI Biodiversity Series 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

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The site for information about plants native to southern Africa and related topics. A very rich site, with comprehensive databases on south African plants, their uses, how to grow them, with images, ecology, distribution, in fact everything you could want to know.

The Convention on Biological Diversity
Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity is dedicated to promoting sustainable development. The CBD is a global, comprehensive agreement addressing all aspects of biological diversity: genetic resources, species, and ecosystems.

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The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation
The GSPC is a plan to save the world's plant species. Botanic gardens are making a major contribution worldwide. Click the image to find out more.
A botanical wonderland that has intrigued scientists for years and delights all those who explore it, fynbos represents the smallest of the world's six Floral Kingdoms.