The Fynbos Conservation Awards recognise individuals’ outstanding contribution or achievement amongst their peers in the broad biodiversity conservation community. The 2014 awards presentation event also launched two much anticipated publications: Fynbos Ecology, Evolution and Conservation of a Megadiverse Region, and Fynbos - Ecology and Management.
The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), responsible for convening the CAPE (Cape Action for People and the Environment) Partnership Programme, hosted this celebratory event on the 21st of October 2014 at Moyo Restaurant at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Biodiversity conservation partners, including representatives from government, NGO partners, as well as tertiary institutions from across the Cape Floristic Region, gathered for the celebrations.
Eugene Marinus, the curator of SANBI’s Hantam National Botanical Garden, was a Fynbos Conservation Award winner, recognised for his dedicated contribution to transformation and capacity development in the sector.
Marinus has been the curator at SANBI’s Hantam National Botanical Garden for more than six years. His lifelong passion for conservation is rooted in his membership at the Eco Club in Betty’s Bay as a young learner. Marinus worked as part of the Conservation Farming project in the Nieuwoudtville area and greatly contributed towards knowledge about the local biodiversity. Since his appointment as curator he has succeeded in building positive relationships with all land users in the district and has been tirelessly willing to not only give conservation advice and share his experience, but also to help out when people have been in need – well beyond the call of duty.
Marinus also has a strong passion for capacity development and transformation of the conservation sector. With strong involvement in the Nieuwoudtville Eco Club he has generously shared his insights and learning with local learners over the past decade and has made a lasting contribution to capacity development. Marinus is currently mentoring six Groen Sebenza pioneers at the Hantam National Botanical Garden and is putting in great effort to enable these young individuals from the local community to succeed in the conservation sector.
Marinus is an inspiration and a sincere and truly passionate individual, who has demonstrated that conservation and capacity development can be an amazing combination for the sustainable transformation of the conservation sector.
Other Fynbos Conservation Awards winners for 2014 were:
1. Dr Odette Curtis; for her passion, dedication and innovative approach towards the conservation of critically endangered biodiversity.
2. Matthew Norval; for his dedicated and innovative contribution towards conservation.
Professor Jeremy Midgley, with the University of Cape Town’s Department of Biological Studies, delivered the keynote address to launch the two Fynbos books.
The Fynbos Ecology, Evolution and Conservation of a Megadiverse Region book, with contributions from 70 authors, provides the first synthesis in twenty years of the evolution, ecology and conservation of Fynbos. The book’s scope is expanded to cover the Greater Cape Floristic Region, and the Succulent Karoo, where this contributes to further scientific understanding of this floristically diverse system.
The publication, Fynbos - Ecology and Management, collates vast amounts of research done over the years into accessible and practical guidelines and principles about management of South Africa's species rich Cape Floristic Region. "It is a guide that will help people who visit, live, manage or own land in the Fynbos Biome to appreciate and manage its extraordinary natural richness," says Prof. Karen Esler of the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology at Stellenbosch University. Like its predecessor, Karoo veld - Ecology and Management, the Fynbos book is a pleasant read that draws on the practical knowledge of experts and translates the science around many issues into guidelines and workable solutions: from the management of fire and invasive plants, insects and other animals to land restoration and working in a Fynbos wetland area. More than 30 affiliates of the Fynbos Forum contributed to the book. They represent a range of stakeholders who are involved in the study, conservation and management of the Cape Floristic Region.