Many of South Africa's indigenous plants are used locally as foods and medicines, and so can be economically important. But increasing commercialisation of these plants raises the risk of them being over-harvested.
In response to this, reports Emmanuel Koro, female leaders of traditional communities are implementing a project to better manage indigenous knowledge systems and to promote the sustainable exploitation of local plants.
The Management of Indigenous Knowledge Systems Project aims to help rural communities protect their knowledge from being exploited; to document knowledge currently only shared orally; and to use local knowledge to set up sustainable community-led businesses.
The traditional leaders are also calling on the South African government to strengthen enforcement of the recently introduced biodiversity act.