SABONET - the Southern African Botanical Diversity Network - was started in 1996 and ended officially in June 2004. SABONET's primary objective was building a strong core of professional botanists, taxonomists, horticulturists, and plant diversity specialists within the ten countries of southern Africa. The ten southern African countries that participated in the SABONET Project were Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
From March 1996 to date,
Published 39 volumes in the SABONET Report Series
Published 24 issues of SABONET News, the network's newsletter
Sponsored the training of 26 students—at least one from each participating country, 13 male and 13 female—to obtain a total of 36 degrees (14 BSc Hons, 1 BTech and 21 MSc degrees)
Organised and participated in two regional expeditions—one to the Nyika Plateau and the other to southern Mozambique
Funded numerous national collecting trips within each of the ten countries
Computerised approximately 450,000 of the specimens housed in the participating herbaria and institutions in the ten countries
Conducted many workshops and training courses
Participated in several international workshops and conferences
SABONET also instituted a very successful internship programme that further encouraged co-operation amongst the ten participating countries and contributed to the continuing education of staff associated with the participating institutions. Click here for more information on SABONET's involvement in botanical and capacity building activities.
SABONET's primary objective of building a strong core of professional botanists, taxonomists, horticulturists, and plant diversity specialists within the ten countries of southern Africa, has been met. This core of people are competent to inventory, monitor, evaluate, and conserve the botanical diversity of the region in the face of specific developmental challenges. Given this success, the SABONET Project hoped to provide, with its exit strategy, a basis from which future projects and research may respond to the targets set by the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). SABONET's exit strategy included a regional Important Plant Area (IPA) Workshop that took place in May 2004.
SABONET (Southern African Botanical Diversity Network), formally called "Inventory, Evaluation and Monitoring of Botanical Diversity in Southern Africa: a Regional Capacity and Institution Building Network" is a GEF (Global Environment Facility) Project implemented by the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and executed by South Africa's National Botanical Institute (NBI), now SANBI. It was co-funded by USAID/IUCN-ROSA (United States Agency for International Development/The World Conservation Union's Regional Office for Southern Africa) through the NETCAB (Networking and Capacity Building Initiative for Southern Africa) Programme. Its official objective was to "Develop a strong core of professional botanists, taxonomists, horticulturists, and plant diversity specialists within the ten countries of southern Africa, competent to inventory, monitor, evaluate, and conserve the botanical diversity of the region in the face of specific developmental challenges, and to respond to the technical and scientific needs of the Convention on Biological Diversity".