Reintroducing South Africa’s most endangered tree into communities

Reintroducing an endangered tree in Southern Africa

Endemic to the forests of Southern Africa, the Pepper-bark tree (Warburgia salutaris) is an endangered species according to the IUCN Red List. The tree is highly prized by the indigenous people of Southern Africa as it is used to treat numerous common ailments. Accordingly, it has been heavily harvested in the wild.

With Sappi’s support, 60,000 Pepper Bark trees have been distributed to communities free of charge. 

The Sappi Shaw Forestry Research Centre has been instrumental in developing new methods to secure better germination and propagation of the Pepper-bark tree. Traditional healers and community representatives have attended workshops on planting, tending and sustainable harvesting from the trees. Due to the success of the programme, the South African government has asked Sappi to consider adopting further endangered species to re-establish with similiar methods.

Beyond South Africa in Swaziland, we provided trees to the eSwatini Traditional Healers Association and delivered seeds to Zimbabwe in partnership with Botanic Gardens Conservation International. 

Pepper-bark tree (Warburgia salutaris)