White listing; can we do something positive?

Michael Mace mikemace@att.net
Tue, 10 Feb 2009 00:09:02 PST
Dylan wrote:

>> I'd like to see that link if you find it.

The change.gov website has been pulled down, but fortunately the PDFs are
still online. Here is the Nature Conservancy's advice to the new President:


The relevant section is about 40% of the way down, on the page that
references the Department of Agriculture:

"Currently, USDA Departmental approval is pending on a rule that would
create a new category of
regulated plants whose importation is Not Authorized until a Pest Risk
Assessment has been completed and
adequate pest risk mitigation measures are put in place (NAPPRA Rule).
Initially the types of plants not authorized for import will be limited to
plant species that are not currently being imported, or are not being
imported in significant volumes. However, as the Quarantine 37 regulation
revisions unfold, we urge USDA to expand its scope such that all imported
plants are first assessed for their invasive potential, and that effective
measures are adapted to minimize the risk that imported plants of all types
might carry invasive insects and diseases."

There are more details here:


The GPN article implies that the proposed whitelist in the US would be
applied to live plants/bulbs rather than seeds.  Can anybody please confirm
this?  Although I'm concerned about a whitelist for live plants,
implementing it for seeds would be especially harmful to our hobby.

Now, before I set off another round of complaining about government
regulations, I'd like to ask a question:  Are there things we could do, as
an organized group, to help convince our governments that we can be part of
the solution rather than part of the problem?  There are two ideas I'd like
to toss on the table:

--Create a code of conduct for growing non-native species.  I bet we could
come up with some commonplace guidelines to reduce the
already-incredibly-small chance that something invasive could escape from a
plant collector's garden.  For example, plants with seeds that can spread on
the wind ought to be grown a certain distance away from open land.

--Use something like a wiki to compile data on the invasiveness of the
things we grow.  I think we all know of some bulbs that spread themselves a
little too enthusiastically in our collections.  Everyone's growing
conditions are different, but I bet if we all pooled our experiences we
could classify a lot of species according to their relative aggressiveness
in various climates.  This would help the regulatory agencies determine
species that need to be watched carefully, or maybe kept out of broad
commerce.  So, in exchange for the right to keep importing small lots of
seeds, we'd help to them focus their work more effectively.

It's a shared effort we could all contribute to worldwide.  In addition to
heading off unfortunate regulations in the US, maybe we could help get
governments in places like Australia to cooperate a bit more with their
plant enthusiasts.

What do you think?

San Jose, CA (zone 9, min temp 20F)

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