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Over-exploitation of medicinal plants for traditional healing practices endangers pristine conservation areas. In South Africa, the Mpumalanga Parks Board (MPB) attempted through a medicinal-plants project to promote nature conservation and benefit traditional healers. The project was well planned and implemented, infrastructure was created, and a model farm was established to propagate medicinal plants. Yet, although the project was aimed at community development, very little materialised. This article outlines the need for medicinal-plant propagation in South Africa and uses the project to illustrate shortcomings in attempts to link nature conservation with sustainable livelihoods and community development.

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