Baobab Research Program
Our research programs are the foundation of our work. They aim to broaden our understanding of baobabs, inform our conservation actions and support long-term benefits to local people. We work collaboratively with universities supporting honors, masters and doctoral projects in a wide range of baobab research topics.
Baobab Research Program
Baobab products have been traded for hundreds of years throughout African and recently fruit derivatives, namely powder and oil, are sold on global markets. Thus, the understanding of their population size, recruitment, mortality, fruit production and general ecology is very important to ensure that the resource is sustainably used and that any threats to their populations can be dealt with quickly and appropriately.
Projects within the research program
The research projects aim to contribute to the growth of the scientific understanding of baobab ecology. Results are communicated to the broad audience through scientific publications, management recommendations and via social media posts and blogs. Results are shared with communities who harvesting baobab fruit and who are custodians of the trees. Ultimately research should contribute to the conservation of baobabs through better understanding of their ecology.
Baobab Population Research
The Baobab Foundation conducts and supports long-term research into the structure of baobab populations around Africa. Research sites include Musina Nature Reserve, Skelmwater Nature Reserve, Mapungubwe National Park, Niyani communal area and sites around other African countries. The Baobab Foundation, working collaboratively with researchers and students, continues to grow a database of baobab population structure in different landscapes.
Baobab Fruit Production Research
Data on annual fruit production of a population of baobabs in northern Vhembe District was started in 2006. The Baobab Foundation engages with communities living in the area to collect the data and share information on fluctuations in fruit production. Long-term data will indicate regional, annual and between-tree variation of fruit production.
Baobab Reproductive Biology Research
It is important to understand what pollinates baobab flowers and what may be influencing their movements and survival as any change in the pollinator behaviour will have implications for the survival of baobabs into the future. Baobab pollination research is co-ordinated by the Baobab Foundation and works in collaboration with the University of the Witwatersrand, University of Venda and Pwani University in Kenya.
Baobab Climate Change Project
Baobabs are resilient trees that will very likely outlive most other trees as the climate changes. However baobab mortality, survival and diseases are not well understood. This project investigates the possible impacts that climate change may have on current and future populations of baobabs across Africa.
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