SABIF is the South African node of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)

SABIF aims to contribute to South Africa’s sustainable development by facilitating access to biodiversity and related information on the internet. The SABIF search portal has been improved to allow you to search both SABIF and SIBIS (SANBI’s Integrated Biodiversity Information System) data.

Access the SIBIS:SABIF portal

South Africa has a distinctive natural heritage and biological diversity (known species from a 2004 survey: ± 19 500 plants, ± 8 000 fungi and ± 60 000 animals), which pose several challenges and opportunities for conservation, sustainable use and stewardship. As a nation, we need to recognize, protect and manage this natural resource base by improving our knowledge and developing technology, designs, systems, approaches and strategies to contribute to a safer and healthier environment for all.

About us

SABIF is a network consisting of key national partners and stakeholders who provide data through the SABIF portal and the end-users of the data. These include museums, herbaria, universities, conservation agencies, government agencies and departments and non-governmental agencies.  SABIF has a Steering Committee which provides high-level advice on the strategic direction of the SABIF work programme.  SABIF falls within the Biodiversity Information Management Directorate at SANBI.  The daily functions of SABIF are coordinated by a Secretariat.

We aim to promote the sharing of data and information under a common set of standards by:

  1. Developing and maintaining metadatabases
  2. Establishing and maintaining a web portal
  3. Providing funding for data digitisation
  4. Providing funding for data provider interface
  5. Facilitating the development of application tools for data use
  6. Encouraging networking and co-ordination of activities

Our objectives enable us to:

  • Contribute to education, training and capacity development for promoting national access to data
  • Facilitate marketing and awareness-raising of the benefits and applications for end users
  • Advise on national and international initiatives

Our history

SABIF is the South African node of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) established by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in collaboration with the National Research Foundation, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research as well as members of the scientific community. With the establishment of SANBI, it was felt that the SABIF programme was more in line with the mission of SANBI. Thus 2006 saw the handover of SABIF from the NRF to SANBI. The DST funded SABIF since its establishment in 2003. With the handover of SABIF from NRF in 2006, DST continued its commitment to fund the SABIF under SANBI for 3 years, starting in the 2006-07 financial year and ending at the end of the 2010 financial year. In June 2005 the SABIF web portal was launched by the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Derek Hanekom

Since its inception, SABIF has five member data providers namely:

  1. The South African Institute of Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB)
  2. The Animal Demography Unit (University of Cape Town)
  3. Iziko Museums of Cape Town
  4. The Albany Museum
  5. The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)

The SABIF Secretariat, with the assistance of the Steering Committee intend to build the network of data providers and contributors to the programme, so that the SABIF can best serve the country’s needs.