South African National Biodiversity Institute (Cape Town office)

Rhodes Drive
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Cape Town

South African National Biodiversity Institute (Cape Town office)

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The South African National Biodiversity Institute was established on 1 September 2004 through the signing into force of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 by President Thabo Mbeki.

The Act expanded the mandate of SANBI's forerunner, the National Botanical Institute to include responsibilities relating to the full diversity of South Africa's fauna and flora, and built on the internationally respected programmes in conservation, research, education and visitor services developed over the past century by the National Botanical Institute.

South Africa is diverse not simply in terms of our people and culture, but also in terms of our biological resources and ecology. In fact, South Africa is the third most biologically diverse country in the world, after Indonesia and Brazil. South Africa occupies about 2% of the world's land area, but is home to nearly 1 0% of the world's plants and 7% of the reptiles, birds and mammals. We have three globally recognised biodiversity hotspots; the Cape Floristic Region, which falls entirely within our boundaries: the Succulent Karoo, shared with our neighbour Namibia, and Maputaland- Pondoland, shared with Mozambique and Swaziland. Our seas straddle three oceans, the Atlantic, the Indian and the Southern Ocean, and include an exceptional range of habitats, from cool-water kelp forests to tropical reefs. The southern African coast is home to almost 15% of known coastal marine species, providing a rich source of nutrition and supporting livelihoods of coastal communities.

People are ultimately fully dependent on living, functioning ecosystems and the services they provide. Loss of biodiversity leads to ecosystem degradation and subsequent loss of important services, which tends to harm the rural poor more directly-poor people have limited assets and are more dependent on common property resources for their livelihoods, whilst the wealthy are buffered against loss of ecosystem services by being able to purchase basic necessities and scarce commodities. Our path towards sustainable development, poverty reduction and enhanced human well-being for all, is therefore dependent on how effectively we conserve biodiversity.

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