Prof. Timm Hoffman wins WWF Living Planet Award 2020

02 Sep 2020
02 Sep 2020

The Plant Conservation Unit at UCT would like to extend hearty congratulations to Prof. Timm Hoffman on winning the WWF Living Planet Award for 2020.

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Prof. Timm Hoffman, Director of the Plant Conservation Unit, won the WWF Living Planet Award for 2020. The awards ceremony was a virtual event held on Tuesday 1 September 2020. The Living Planet Award is awarded annually to extraordinary South Africans who have contributed meaningfully to conservation and have inspired people to “live in harmony with nature.”

Prof. Hoffman’s leadership and supervision are hailed by his students and colleagues, past and present. His support and compassion for his students, colleagues, friends, and family is unambiguously apparent in the workplace and beyond. Dr Morné du Plessis, CEO of WWF South Africa, said: “Timm is not only one of South Africa’s foremost arid zone ecologists but is also one of the humblest and most compassionate people you will ever meet. Through this award, we acknowledge an individual whose work exemplifies how conservation truly can benefit both people and nature.”

Prof. Hoffman, who has been a trustee of the Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust (LHSKT) since 2001 and is the current Leslie Hill Chair of Plant Conservation, has devoted himself to his research in the Succulent Karoo for many decades. The LHSKT is administered by WWF, and celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. 

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During his career, Prof. Hoffman has co-authored over 130 scientific articles, contributed to more than 30 books, supervised many students and his research has generated new insights into both the Fynbos and Succulent Karoo biomes. His research feeds into the complex interface between ecology, social justice, land-use history, and economic livelihoods. A significant proportion of his time and funds have also been spent on community projects in the village of Paulshoek in Namaqualand. There he has trained and employed local community members as part-time research assistants, and has supported several community development projects especially those concerning the local school. His long-time research assistant and UCT staff member, Ms Johanna ‘Marianna’ Lot, has also attended and participated in the Arid Zone Ecology Forum annual conference several times, with support from the Plant Conservation Unit.

Prof. Hoffman currently works as the Director of the Plant Conservation Unit in the Biological Sciences Department at the University of Cape Town, continuing his work documenting and assessing vegetation and land-use change in the ecologically and economically important arid zone of South Africa.


Read more about Prof. Hoffman, his contributions, and the award on the WWF website.

To download the full transcript for his acceptance speech, click here.

To watch Timm’s award and acceptance speech, click here.

To watch the WWF virtual awards ceremony in full, click here.

To watch an eNuus interview with Timm, click here.

To listen to an SAFM radio interview with Timm, click here.

To download and read an article (in Afrikaans) about Timm's award in the Landbouweekblad, click here.