Plant Conservation Unit

PCU was established in 1993, originally as the Institute for Plant Conservation, and forms part of UCT’s Department of Biological Sciences.  The unit aims to be a world-class, African-centred research and postgraduate training unit that improves the ecological understanding of Africa's biomes, the pressures facing them and the opportunities for conservation that benefits both biodiversity and people. They ultimately try to understand plant conservation in the context of landscape change, using a wide range of disciplines including ecology, environmental history, palaeoecology, and social sciences.  PCU has several unique projects that contribute to their success. Not only do they have their own palaeoecology laboratory and fossil pollen reference collection, but their repeat photography database is the first of its kind in Africa. Additionally, since 1995 the PCU has maintained a long-term research site at Paulshoek, a communal area in Namaqualand, where they have maintained crucial partnerships with local, regional and international networks.]

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