Reaching Out

THOUGHTS UPON THE IMPORTANCE OF HERBARIA IN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

 “One thing that is also not often appreciated by botanists/biologists is that experimentation and observations are made at the physical level of individuals and populations, and that the hypotheses and classifications we induce from these are metaphysical.

 

If all herbaria (and museums) were destroyed what we would be left with is a lot of concepts that are no longer attached to reality and cannot be scientifically challenged (verified or falsified). This is what the eminent Philosopher Karl Popper called his three worlds. The physical, the abstracted, and the symbolic (the symbolic is were nomenclature sits). There was talk years ago about destroying herbarium specimen to save money -- this was, sadly, proposed by a scientist in an international journal; who obviously had no idea of the scientific process and the fact that physical entities underpin classificatory concepts. Hence the importance of voucher specimens for all biological experiments involving the use of scientifically named species.”

Ashley Nicholas Associate Professor of Botany, Durban Westville University

 

The importance of herbaria is often not understood by people who have to make decisions about the future and direction of herbaria.

WILD ENVIRONMENT 

 Take a look at the Wild Environment website. This website pays tribute to the incredibly diverse and beautiful Southern Cape environment, where so much wild nature remains to be discovered  and enjoyed. It celebrates the wild things and all the intricate patterns of the natural environment of the Southern Cape,

TWIN GARDEN IN THE UK   

The 1.77 hectare University of Bristol Botanic Garden is a twin garden of the Garden Route Botanical Garden. It is home to 4,500 species arranged in four core collections, to provide a unique teaching, research and conservation resource.

A group of enthusiasts and volunteers called Friends of the Garden support the Bristol Garden in a variety of ways. They help to raise funds and get involved in hands-on activities by working in the Garden and welcoming visitors. As friends they enjoy a number of privileges including free access and tours of the Garden, a winter lecture programme and an informative full colour quarterly newsletter.

Bristol Curator Nick Wray has visited the Garden Route Botanical Garden many times since it’s inception. He has offered much good advice, and a number of times brought Botanical Tour groups from England, which he leads, to visit the garden where we have entertained them. They have also given generous donations to the GRBG which have been of great value for various projects such as laying out the nursery area, etc. Mandy Fick and Yvette van Wijk plus some GRBG members have visited Bristol garden in return.

USEFUL LINKS 

  • International Organization for Plant Information (IOPI) http://www.bgbm.org/iopi/gpc/default.asp

  • World Conservation Union (IUCN): http://www.iucn.org/

  • Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA): http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/SouthernAfricaSummary10.aspx

  • United Nations Environment Programme: http://www.unep.org/

  • South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI): http://www.sanbi.org/ 

 

The next three sites can be accessed from the SANBI site or directly:

  • SIBIS http://sibis.sanbi.org/

  • iSpot South Africa - http://za.ispot.org.uk/

  • http://www.plantzafrica.com/

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