Research into remaining pristine ecosystems and environmental education in Africa is of great importance but not well supported by local governments which have limited resources. Over the last 30 years the Buffelskloof Herbarium, a privately funded research centre, has built up an impressive record of research and support for environmental students and scientists in Southern Africa and indeed worldwide. It has been found particularly valuable by students and scientists. It has contributed greatly to environmental research and education of African students and scientists in Africa. This is highly significant as indigenous conservators will be far more likely to be effective in convincing their governments of the importance of conservation. The remoteness of the surrounding reserve and its high rainfall ensure an abundance of wildlife in outstandingly rich high-altitude grasslands and forest. In addition to the diverse flora, the birds, antelope, small animals, reptiles and insects are of great interest. The reserve has been in existence for nearly 50 years and now has a healthy population of leopard, the top predator.
All of its 2,000 specimens are available in the field Herbarim while 200 or more high resolution scans, including previous types housed in BNRH and now housed in the C.E. Moss Herbarium, are available on the ALUKA database (USA) to scientists across the world. The Herbarium and reserve have been visited by many scientists from all over the world and hundreds of students both on field trips and as a base for research projects. In these circumstances it has been deemed imperative to set up the John Rae Trust to ensure the continued survival of the Herbarium as a source of support for scientists and of inspiration to African students, the conservators of the future.