Abstract Detail

Black Botanical Legacy: Fostering a Community of Equity in Botanical Sciences

Moroenyane, Itumeleng [1], Koopman, Rupert [2], Makunga, Nokwanda [3].

South African Botanical Perspectives in a Changing Landscape: a view from agriculture to conservation planning.

The exploitation of natural plant resources in biodiversity-rich countries is intricately associated with various indigenous knowledge systems and in South Africa, this has led to a connection of local people to greater appreciate and exploit the biodiversity that is largely unique for medicinal purposes and livelihood generation. Historically, agriculture in Africa has largely been influenced colonisation and traditional practices became less favoured for crop production. Ongoing global climate change has unpredictable consequences for agriculture, changing the prevalence of pathogens and the severity of the diseases they cause. To maintain food security, we must improve our ability to protect crop plants without damaging the environment with potentially toxic synthetic chemicals. In South Africa, small and medium-holder farmers are responsible for less than 30 % of total agricultural output and the majority are subsistence black farmers.[MNP[1] Changes in water availability and the increased prevalence of pests have led to intensification in the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers. We interviewed farmers to discern the pervasiveness of pesticide usage and changes in their agricultural practices. It was highlighted that access to inexpensive pesticides and fertilizer increased agricultural output, but it amplified land degradation and reliance on the product. Many recognized that current practices were not sustainable and wanted a way to incorporate a lot of traditional approaches that are associated with various indigenous knowledge systems. Agricultural cooperative spaces where farmers share knowledge/resources and pool resources to buy supplies in bulk have emerged as a vehicle for sharing traditional farming practices that promote maintenance of permanent soil cover, no tilling, and intercropping. The farming of indigenous medicinal plants is in its infancy in South Africa even though the cultivation of these plants may offer a conservation strategy. This paper also discusses those plant resources that are heavily exploited as phytomedicines that are currently collected from the wild. Study participants who regard themselves as bush doctors were surveyed about their perceptions regarding the use and conservation of ethnobotanicals. Bush doctors cited overharvesting and urban development as posing the greatest threats to medicinal plant populations. A total of 27 species (including exotics) were cultivated by the herbalists, highlighting potential species that can be focused on for agricultural cultivation initiatives. Most plant traders supported cultivation, favouring community-driven projects over commercial ones and organic farming was preferred over conventional methods. Lack of capital, land, and education was listed as the main factors limiting the cultivation of medicinal plants. Participants listed education of plant harvesters and cultivation as being the best conservation strategies. Conservation action incorporating both in situ and ex-situ strategies is thus needed. Local perspectives and knowledge may prove valuable to conservation planning, especially since inclusive strategies are likely to foster increased co-operation. Development of micro-enterprises by indigenous and rural communities should be facilitated as a way of taking the pressure off wild plant populations, especially in the biodiversity-rich area of the greater Cape Floristic Region. [MNP[1]Should we not mention that they are Black

1 - Institut National De La Recherche Scientifique , Armand-Frappier Santè Biotechnologie, 531 Boulevard Des Prairies, Laval, QC, H7V 1B7, Canada
2 - Botanical Society Of South Africa, 71 18th Avenue, Boston, Bellville, Cape Town, WC, 7530, South Africa
3 - Stellenbosch University, Department Of Botany And Zoology, Private Bag X1, Matieland, Stellenbosch, WC, 7600, South Africa

South Africa
Black Botanists Week.

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Number: S2003
Abstract ID:654
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright © 2000-2022, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved