The Rainforest Trust and the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) have purchased a three-hectare property near the Magombera Forest Reserve in central Tanzania where local NGO, Reforest Africa, will partner with TFCG to turn the site into a new botanical garden.

The organisations already worked together earlier this year to protect Magombera, which covers over 2 500 hectares home to elephants and the endangered Udzungwa Red Colobus monkey.

The new botanical garden aims to use native plant species for education, research and conservation. In particular, TFCG and Reforest Africa hope the property can be a seed bank for plant species at risk of extinction in the wild. They plan to have the garden up and running late next year and potentially expand it though future land purchases.

“The botanical garden is a unique initiative with many potential benefits for both biodiversity and people,” said Katie Pugh, Rainforest Trust’s Africa Conservation Officer. “Now that a tract of land has been purchased, we’re excited to watch it evolve.”

The area is also home to carnivores such as leopards and endangered African Wild Dogs. The reserve is also an important corridor between Udzungwa Mountains National Park and Selous Game Reserve, two expansive protected areas in central Tanzania. As deforestation has cleared over half of the Magombera forest landscape, the reserve is an important stronghold for the wildlife and communities who rely on an intact ecosystem.