Saving Endangered Plants

J.E. Shields
Tue, 06 Sep 2011 09:28:58 PDT
Hi all,

I visited the CPC at Mobot once and talked for quite some time with Ms. 
Kennedy.  Ms. Kennedy was quite polite, perhaps because of my past 
associations with conservation efforts for bulbs (IUCN bulb committee, v.p. 
and director of conservation for I.B.S., all at least 10 years ago).  I did 
not approach her as a nurseryman.  We had a good chat and she was able to 
tell me about at least a couple successful re-introductions into the 
wild.  I had been skeptical of it up until that point, because it usually 
just hasn't worked.  So C.P.C. is doing some reasonable things, and has had 
at least a couple preliminary successes.

Some of my best friends work for botanic gardens (Hi, Boyce!) but I have 
also encountered Obsessive Compulsive behavior, perhaps colored by 
self-interest, among botanical garden folks.  There is a strong tendency to 
want to monopolize the whole subject.  However, when I tried to find 
refuges in botanical gardens for rare bulb species being salvaged from 
development sites in Sprain, I got short shrift.  We had all the proper 
papers, and they included my signature promising not to let the bulbs get 
into commercial channels.  I eventually did get them all placed with 
reasonably secure institutions, but no one would or could guarantee me that 
they would not have been destroyed or lost in the future.  I'm not really 
confident that any of them are still alive.

It's tough world out there, and I am absolutely convinced that anything 
humanity does not actively preserve will not survive the next century or 
so.  I fear it will be ex situ preservation or no conservation at 
all.  Tony makes a strong argument for propagation and distribution through 

Jim Shields

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Lat. 40° 02.8' N, Long. 086° 06.6' W

More information about the pbs mailing list