Assessing plant conservation priorities in Angola

Utilising Kew’s botanical expertise to assess habitats proposed for conservation under Angola’s Protected Areas Expansion Strategy.

Lubango Escarpment, Angola

Angola is the poorest documented country in Southern Africa in terms of biodiversity. Geo-referenced plant collection data for southern Africa accessed through the Global Biodiversity Informatics Facility (GBIF) portal reveal a rectangle corresponding to the geographical outline of Angola with few datapoints, and an almost complete absence of records from the eastern half of the country. Nevertheless, approximately 12 key sites across the country have been identified as of high potential conservation value.

As Angola emerges from a long period of post-Independence conflict, there is a clear need for basic biological inventories targeted towards these key sites, to inform conservation policy, and to fill some of these data gaps.

Kew, with its unrivalled combination of plant diversity expertise and wealth of African plant collections, is uniquely placed to provide the botanical component of these multidisciplinary surveys, in collaboration with local botanists. In addition to herbarium collections, community usage of plants and plant products is documented to aid understanding of local livelihoods.


  • Fill major gaps in knowledge of plant diversity in this varied and biodiverse country through collection-based fieldwork and research.
  • Documentation of key sites and habitats to provide baseline evidence for their conservation.
  • Propose new protected areas, whether through Angola’s Protected Areas Expansion Strategy, or through phase II of Kew’s flagship Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs) programme.
  • Strengthen collaborations with Angolan institutions, offering training through collaborative fieldwork, joint publication of research finding, and deposit of authoritatively identified collections in Angolan and UK herbaria.
  • Reports to the Angolan Ministry of the Environment for each key site documenting habitat and species diversity, and threats to their conservation.
  • Publication of key findings in scientific journals.
  • Formal description of species new to science.
  • Evidence-based recommendations of Protected Area status. Several new RAMSAR sites and potential National Parks have been proposed or are being considered based on information revealed through these surveys.


  • Instituto Nacional da Biodiversidade e Areas de Conservação (INBAC), Ministério do Ambiente, Luanda
  • Lubango Herbarium, Instituto Superior de Ciências de Educação da Huíla (ISCED-Huíla)
  • Agostinho Neto University, Luanda

South Africa

  • The Wild Bird Trust, Parktown
  • Department of Botany, Rhodes University, Grahamstown

Bentham-Moxon Trust, UK

The Science and Technology Ministries of Angola and South Africa

National Geographic: Okavango Wilderness Project

Cheek, M., Lopez Poveda, L. & Darbyshire, I. (2015)

Ledermanniella lunda sp. nov. (Podostemaceae) of Lunda Norte, Angola

Kew Bulletin 70: 10. doi:10.1007/s12225-015-9559-8

Darbyshire, I., Goyder, D., Crawford, F. & Luís Gomes, A. (2014). [Unpublished]

Report on the rapid botanical survey of the Lagoa Carumbo Region, Lunda Norte Prov., Angola for the Angolan Ministry of the Environment, inc. Appendix 2: checklist to the flowering plants, gymnosperms and pteridophytes of Lunda Norte Prov, Angola [752 taxa]. In: Brian J. Huntley (ed.), Biodiversity rapid assessment of the Lagoa Carumbo area, Lunda Norte, Angola.

Annex 3, pp. 59-98.

Gonçalves, F.M.P. & Goyder, D.J. (2016)

A brief botanical survey into Kumbira forest, an isolated patch of Guineo-Congolian biome

Phytokeys 65: 1-14. DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.65.8679

Gonçalves, F.M.P., Tchamba, J. & Goyder, D.J. (2016)

Schistostephium crataegifolium(Compositae: Anthemideae), a new generic record for Angola

Bothalia 46(1) a2029 1-6. DOI: 10.4102/abc.v46i1.2029

Hind, D.J.N. & Goyder, D.J. (2014)

Stomatanthes tundavalaensis (Compositae: Eupatorieae: Eupatoriinae), a new species from Huíla Province, Angola, and a synopsis of the African species of Stomatanthes

Kew Bulletin 69 (9545): 1-9. doi:10.1007/s12225-014-9545-6