Weather data
A large number of automatic weather stations has been implemented in the frame of the BIOTA AFRICA project by the Namibian National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) and the Group "Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology" (BEE) of the University of Hamburg. The website offers hourly updates of data and graphs of a large number of weather parameters.


BIOTA Southern Africa - DS&T Project 1



DS&T 01


The ecological status of Aloe pillansii in Southern Africa and its role as an indicator of climate change impacts in the region

Project leader(s)

Prof. M. Timm Hoffman, Director
Leslie Hill Institute for Plant Conservation, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch, 7701, South Africa

Project description

  • All living and recently dead Aloe pillansii individuals will be GPSed in southern Africa and the height and health status assessed. A large database already exists for more then 900 living plants in South Africa but this work needs to be extended. Once the data set has been consolidated it will be used to construct age class distributions for each population in the region so as to assess its demographic structure and population health status.

  • The climatic environments of each sub-population will be determined through a combination of field-based automated temperature recorders and agrometeorological atlas data for the region. Ordination analysis will be used to separate the sub-populations along the main environmental gradients and the health status of each sub-population will be related to this ordination.

  • Flower, fruit and seed production will be determined for each of the sub-populations. Secondly, seed predation within the capsule and as well as after dispersal will be assessed. Thirdly, the germination success of seeds from each of the sub-populations will be measured under laboratory conditions every three months for a period of two years.

  • A few Aloe pillansii populations occur in close proximity to communities in the Richtersveld. Local schools and village committees will be approached to help in the development of a monitoring programme for the species. A monitoring programme for more remote populations will also need to be put in place in collaboration with members from the conservation communities.

SADC and International Links

Since Aloe pillansii grows in the Richtersveld and southern Namibia the research will be a partnership between the University of Cape Town, the Northern Cape Department of Tourism, Environment and Conservation and the National Botanical Research Institute of Namibia. The distribution range of the species also straddles the Richtersveld Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (TFCA) and researchers and managers from the South African National Parks and Namibian conservation agencies will also be involved. The work is well supported by BIOTA who plan to carry out genetic sampling of material from several populations of Aloe pillansii to establish the biogeographic affinities of remote and isolated populations. The long-term monitoring component of this project links directly to SAEON and to the regional ELTOSA network as well as to the broader ILTER network. Direct partnerships will include those between the Leslie Hill Institute for Plant Conservation, Witwatersrand University, the Northern Cape Department of Tourism, Environment and Conservation, South African National Parks and the National Botanical Research Institute of Namibia and members from the communities of Khubus and Eksteenfontein.