Lionel E. Taylor was appointed in the Forestry Department of the Cape Colony in 1902. The next year he moved to the Transvaal Colony and in October 1903 was appointed forester in the Department of Agriculture and put in charge of the government nursery at Irene. In 1906 he was chosen to study forestry at the newly established School of Forestry at Tokai, in the Cape Colony and after receiving his diploma was appointed assistant conservator of forests for the Transvaal in 1908. The next year he wrote his department's annual report as acting conservator of forests. He contributed three articles relating to forestry to the Transvaal Agricultural Journal during these years: "The proper season for felling trees" (1908/9, Vol. 7, p. 246), "Wattle growing for bark" (1909/10, Vol. 8, p. 235-241), and "The male bamboo" (1909/10, Vol. 8, p. 633).
Taylor was a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London and a member of the British Ornithologists' Union. In 1904 he became a foundation member of the South African Ornithologists' Union, representing Transvaal on its council in 1906, and again from 1910 to 1912. He published three papers in the Union's Journal: "Notes on certain birds hitherto unrecorded from the Transvaal" (1906, Vol. 2(1), p. 39), "The birds of Irene, near Pretoria, Transvaal" (1906, Vol. 2(2), p. 55), and "Notes from Cape Colony" (1909, Vol. 5(2), p. 81). In another paper, "The rise of ornithology in South Africa" (Transvaal Agricultural Journal, 1906, Vol. 4(14), p. 289) he described the foundation of the South African Ornithologists' Union during the second annual meeting of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science in Johannesburg in 1904, and summarised W.L. Sclater's* presidential address on the history of ornithology in South Africa.
In 1905 Taylor joined the South African Philosophical Society and remained a member when it became the Royal Society of South Africa in 1908. He was also an early member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science.
When the civil services of the South African colonies were reorganised following the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910 Taylor left the country and settled in British Columbia, Canada. However, his interest in succulunt plants brought him back to South Africa on several collecting trips. He visited Namaqualand in 1935, and in 1953 collected both live succulents and herbarium specimens in Namaqualand and Zimbabwe. His specimens went to the National Herbarium, Pretoria, and the Compton Herbarium, Cape Town.