Conservation through Propagation was Provenance Data for collection material?

Paul Licht
Sun, 25 Dec 2011 13:05:14 PST
I think your interpretation of what we do may be a bit strict. As I've 
said, we do have outlets for sharing rare material, especially through 
our propagation-plant sale program. We don't freely exchange like PBS, 
because the desperately need financial support and this is one of the 
unique offerings we have to raise funds. For the record, I get about 1/3 
of my budget from the university (down from ca. 60% when I started 8 yrs 
ago); thus, we must 'hustle' constantly to survive. With regard to true 
reciprocal exchanges, we can 'trade' these propagated materials. For 
example, we're now propagating Dierama grandiflorum/ Brunsvigias, 
Pycella ignea and Aristea capitata plus some rare Arum (these are all at 
least somewhat unusual) in reasonably large quantities. Unfortunately, 
we do not typically have enough of freshly collected rare material  
(i.e., with provenance) to 'share', even if it were legal and we wanted 
to.  We rarely have our own collecting trips now because of funding 
(except local native species) and we ourselves depend on collectors or 
index semina from around the world, so our supplies are often very limited.

I don't want to have to defend all botanical gardens. Their goals (or at 
least ours) are focused on issues that may conflict with private 
collectors, but our limited resources simply prevent us from being all 
things to all groups.  I can really emphasize since I am personally a 
somewhat avid collector and often covet material in the Garden.

Paul Licht, Director
Univ. California Botanical Garden
200 Centennial Drive
Berkeley, CA 94720

On 12/25/2011 12:43 PM, Michael Homick wrote:
> On Sun, Dec 25, 2011 at 7:51 AM, Paul Licht<>  wrote:
>> If you have valuable plants with provenance that you are willing to
>> share, we would love to work with you.
>> Paul
> This seems like a one way offer for the plant material to move.
> Is the reciprocal phrase also true.....
> .....If We have valuable plants with provenance that you are willing to
> grow, we would love to work with you.
> ..... Probably not.
> I do understand restrictions imposed on Botanical Gardens that make it
> impossible for them to disseminate non native material without compensation
> being remitted to country of origin, but it makes it frustrating when they
> have rare plants and it is only ever available to other researchers and non
> private Botanical Gardens that they classify as worthy.
> I also understand how plant material grown from seed to flowering and then
> seed again in a garden whether mine or a botanical garden has started the
> process of selection away from its natural environmental conditions. Only
> those "tolerant" of my growing conditions will produce the next generation,
> others die off. But even so the plant genetics is not lost totally as it
> would be if left to fade away over the next 50 years in its natural
> settings with no intervention of cloning existing material and making it
> publicly available.
> For example the latest government report on Lilium occidentale gives it
> about 35-50 years remaining in its natural habitat, but laws make it
> illegal to grow, propagate or disseminate any plants, seeds, tissue
> cultures etc. From what I have heard, there isn't even any effort to
> pollinate isolated plants in a locality with each other to aid seed
> development.
> It seems to me more could be done in a pro active mode rather that monitor
> populations from year to year and report on the steady decline of the
> population until extinct.
> I understand I am talking about two different things above with Botanical
> Gardens as one and natural plant population decline a second. But Botanical
> Gardens could be the intermediary between government restrictions on native
> population collecting and commercial growers, collectors and plant
> societies making the material available. This would take collecting
> pressure off native plant areas. For example Orchids that were selling for
> $5000 each years ago now are available for $5-10, Similarly for plants like
> Nepenthes rajah, 20 years ago priceless, today medium sized plants for less
> that $20-30.
> Michael
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