Convention on Biological Diversity

Boyce Tankersley
Fri, 09 Sep 2011 12:48:39 PDT
Hi Tom:

You make some valid points and I appreciate you sharing your perspective
with me.  At botanical and horticultural society meetings I have made and
responded to many of the concerns you have expressed.

With respect to *Index semina*, in CBG's case, we are pursuing a
conservative approach recommended by our scientific staff with expertise in
these areas (seed biology and invasive species).  The challenge that we (and
others) have not overcome yet is identifying the complex characteristics
that lead to invasions - before they happen (we are pretty good - after the
fact).  The predictive models are simply not that accurate (and we have only
focused on our regional climatic conditions).  I shudder to think of trying
to develop a model that could evaluate invasiveness with a high degree of
accuracy for all climatic conditions.

At the same time, staff with responsibility for building and maintaining
genetic diversity within our collections continue to collect plants.  The
plants we bring back are evaluated for a number of years before they make it
into the general collections in an effort to avoid bringing invasive plants
into the USA. The role of botanic gardens and arboreta as biological arks
can not be overstated.  *Ex situ* collections are the 'last best hope' when
all else fails.

CBG's approach to the CBD has been developed over many years based upon
experiences overseas and is a reflection of the current state of affairs -
if we want to collect in these countries we have to obey their laws.  Their
laws, in most cases, are based on one or more interpretations of the CBD.
 So the voluntary aspect (USA hasn't signed) is not really voluntary once we
start to work beyond the USA. I believe there are meetings where scientists
and governments discuss changes/improvements to the CBD so there is hope
that some of the less effective aspects will be modified.

Each botanic garden or arboretum, within the confines of national and
international law, is free to adopt the approach(s) that best fits what they
think is important.  Perspectives within the botanic garden community differ
widely as you can imagine with 450 institutions in the USA and 2,300

It has been heartening to read the comments related to the importance so
many on the Pacific Bulb Society listserve place on conservation of rare and
endangered bulbs and the efforts taken at your own expense to do whatever
you can. After reading through the posts, I think we all realize none of us
really have all of the answers yet, but with so many enthusiastic, dedicated
and intelligent people working towards the same goal there is hope.

Many thanks,

Boyce Tankersley
Director of Living Plant Documentation
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022


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