Nature enthusiasts taking part in the iSpot walk at the Kirstenbosch Biodiversity Day celebrationsIn celebration of International Biodiversity Day yesterday – 22 May – Kirstenbosch opened its gates and its heart to members of the public who were able to take part in a variety of interesting and educational walks, talks and film shows.

I was privileged to attend the Biodiversity Breakfast and once again I experienced the passion and dedication of the custodians of this national treasure, who were all rejoicing at the news  that the Kirstenbosch exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show has been awarded a gold medal for the 33rd time (33/38!).


In his address at the Breakfast Professor John Donaldson, head of applied biodiversity research at the SA National Botanical Institute (SANBI) at Kirstenbosch paid tribute to various influential people in Kirstenbosch’s history and their contributions to the world-class scientific work that is being done at SANBI.

Dr Tanya Abrahamse , Chief Executive Officer of SANBI, spoke of the “rich legacy of scientific leadership” emerging from SANBI and its “firsts” in the science arena, amongst them for…

  • documenting South Africa’s flora
  • focusing on indigenous horticulture – collecting, growing, commercialising, re-introducing and popularising  our indigenous flora
  • the discovery of “smoke” as a powerful and widespread germinator
  • in the publication of vegetation maps
  • in creating citizen projects such as the protea atlas project.


Since 2004, SANBI hsd produced 2 700 articles, 1 115 peer reviewed scientific  papers, 807 papers in ISI rated journals, 81 books and more that 1000 popular articles.

 Artifical pollination of cycads - display at International Biodiversity Day celebrations at KirstenboschThree books were launched at the Biodiversity breakfast:

 SANBI: A Decade of Science 2004- 2013 (Contact Ferozah Conrad

“This booklet reflects on the Science at SANBI over the last ten years….SANBI has produced amazing scientists who do excellent research and this is clear from the high number of papers and books published and the international collaborative projects undertaken.”

 Biodiversity early warning systems: South African citizen scientists monitoring change: Phoebe Barnard and Marianne de Villiers (Contact Phoebe

“This booklet summarises some of South Africa’s most exciting citizen-science biodiversity projects, collectively forming a kind of ‘early warning system’ for biodiversity in times of rapid environmental change.”


LIFE: the State of South Africa’s Biodiversity 2012 (Contact Kristal Maze

”Based on South Africa’s world class biodiversity science, the report offers the information and inspiration we need in order to make better decisions about how we use, manage and invest in our biodiversity , across our land and waters, for the benefit of all South Africans.”


The 100 Years of Biodiversity Science display at Kirstenbosch yesterday:

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