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UCT Plant Conservation Unit gutted in fire but 350,000 unique specimens survived

21 April 2021 3:36 PM
Tags:
UCT
Cape Town fires
Plant Conservation Unit

Prof Tim Hoffman, Director of the Plant Conservation Unit describes the enormous loss.

As firefighters continue to monitor the mountain for flare-ups, the work of assessing the damage at UCT is now underway.

Significant cultural and academic losses at the Jagger Library and its African Studies collections but thankfully those in the basement appear to have survived, albeit with some water damage.

RELATED: Precious historical 19th century San archive saved in UCT library fire

However, another department severely impacted the fire is the Botany Department, says Pippa.

The fire ravaged the top level of the HW Pearson building which housed the university’s Plant Conservation Unit which was completely destroyed in the blaze, along with a number of irreplaceable photographic collections.

Pippa speaks to Prof Tim Hoffman, Director of the Plant Conservation Unit to find out more.

A lot of our focus is on the winter rainfall region, the succulent Karoo, and the Karoo, as well as long as long-term vegetation, environmental, and climate change.

Prof Tim Hoffman, Director - Plant Conservation Unit

We try and understand how has South Africa changed over the last several thousand years so that we can say something about where we are going in terms of the future.

Prof Tim Hoffman, Director - Plant Conservation Unit

Many research students have lost all their work, he says.

The palaeoecological lab survived serious damage from the fire, although the condition of the facility is still being assessed, he says.

Thank goodness the bolus collection of over 350,000 unique specimens, 30% of which are the original species collected, did not burn.

Prof Tim Hoffman, Director - Plant Conservation Unit

Listen to the interview below:




21 April 2021 3:36 PM
Tags:
UCT
Cape Town fires
Plant Conservation Unit

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