Reference Number: RA/2020/004


SANBI is implementing a Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded Biodiversity and Land Use Project, which seeks to mitigate multiple threats to biodiversity by increasing the capabilities of authorities and land owners to regulate land use and manage biodiversity in threatened ecosystems at the municipal scale. Traditional medicine is widely used in South Africa; in both urban and rural communities. The harvesting and trading of medicinal plant species is having a significant impact on species being able to survive in the wild. SANBI is currently implementing a project to develop a management plan for 5 species of medicinal plants in Mpumalanga. This plan will seek to use the NEM:BA Biodiversity Management Plan for Species (BMP-S) to improve management of medicinal plant species in Mpumalanga.

In preparation of the BMP-S, assessments of the resource base and the impacts of resource extraction on these species is required. A research assistant is therefore required to undertake a resource and extraction impacts assessment of the following species:

  • Bowiea volubilis
  • Alepidea cordifolia
  • Warburgia salutaris
  • Dioscorea sylvatica

 Requirements and experience:

  • Qualifications: Mtech, MSc or PhD
  • Fieldwork experience, especially fieldwork in the northern parts of South Africa
  • Self-organised and able to plan and implement fieldwork independently (noting that a vehicle will be available)
  • Data capture experience
  • Competent in GIS software
  • Accuracy and attention to detail without constant supervision.
  • Good ability to identify plants

Job Description:

  1. Determine and map the current distribution of the four species listed above (within Mpumalanga only);
  2. Undertake field surveys, estimate and map the relative abundance/density of the species and population size structures within the Mpumalanga province;
  3. Determine what proportion of these species occur on privately owned land, on state land and in communal areas, and map this;
  4. Determine what proportion of these species’ population occur in conservation areas, and map this;
  5. Determine the extent of harvesting for traditional medicine of these species;
  6. Document observed impacts of harvesting on the resource base and associated ecological systems, and map this across the range;
  7. Estimate the number of individual plants harvested annually;
  8. Determine the degree of sustainability of current harvesting and utilisation; and the impact of current utilization levels on the integrity of the plant subpopulations across the province;
  9. Process and analyse the field data to provide a written report with maps.
  10. Design a monitoring programme to monitor and evaluate the trends in the resource base and harvesting impacts;

Information on position:

  1. Duration: flexible time; maximum of 1000 hours during a six-month period between early January 2020 to late June 2020.
  2. Located in SANBI’s Pretoria National Botanical Garden in Pretoria.
  3. Office space, a computer and the required software will be provided by SANBI.
  4. Payment is according to the SANBI hourly rates for Research Assistants, which vary depending on the RA’s highest qualification. Hourly rate is between R85.00-R95.00.
  5. Applicants must be registered on the SANBI Research Assistant Database on
  6. For more information, please contact Ms Alizwa Mbada on (021) 799 8409/8800.

Express interest in this Research Assistant position by emailing with a short letter of how you meet the above criteria. Attach all the relevant paperwork submitted as part of the Research Assistant Database registration.

SANBI reserves the right to not appoint this Research Assistant, as it is dependent on funding availability during 2020

Closes: Wednesday, 15 January 2020
Time: 12:00
Location: Pretoria

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