International trade in rare plants

William Aley
Fri, 21 Dec 2007 18:44:38 PST
 From 1979 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of  
Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) has limited  the trade of endangered  
plants which is a function of individual countries. Currently there  
are about 25,000 species of plants which are within the CITES program.,
A country or the National Plant Protection Organization of that  
country will petition to the International committee to allow the  
placement of a plant species into the CITES program. It is the right  
of the sovereign country to control (or not) their natural resources.
For instance American Ginseng Panax quinquefolius  has a higher value  
on the international market than it's Asian cousin. US place native  
Ginseng on the CITES  appendix II list which allowed controlled  
harvesting and government control over exports from the Northern  
states.  For Wollemi Pine Australia opted to allow tissue culture to  
promote the distribution of  germplasm and avoid loss due to the  
narrow habitat range. Some plants are very rare and so endangered and  
they are on the CITES Appendix I list. It is up to the NPPO to  
maintain regulatory control and often smugglers have more resources  
than governments to police when other social economic pressures   
compete for resources.
The break down is as follows:

Appendix I includes species that may be threatened with extinction and  
which are or may be affected by international trade. International  
trade in wild specimens of these species is subject to strict  
regulation and is normally only permitted in exceptional  
circumstances. Trade in artificially propagated or captive-bred  
specimens is allowed, subject to license. This covers certain species  
of orchids and cacti.

Appendix II  includes species not considered to be under the same  
threat as those in Appendix I, but which may become so if trade is not  
regulated. International trade in these species is monitored through a  
licensing system to ensure that trade can be sustained without  
detriment to wild populations. Trade in wild, captive bred and  
artificially propagated specimens is allowed, subject to permit. This  
would be nursery grown orchids, cacti and carnivorous plants.

Appendix III contains species that are not necessarily threatened on a  
global level, but that are protected within individual countries where  
that state has sought the help of other CITES Parties to control  
international trade in that species. Examples include  mahogany from  
Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico and Bolivia

The EU has expanded this to replace the three Appendixes into four  
Annexes, there the lowest Annexes is for plants not listed in CITES  
but individual countries consider the species at risk.

In the US there is a balance between growers who want to promote and  
cash in on rarity and the conservation groups that want to preserve  
the species as is...…


Individuals can trade in endangered species when artificially  
propagated. Problem is that the rare status is often lost when mass  
produced- like  Phalenopsis and Cymbidium orchids now dying slowly at  
you local hardware store.

rare becomes common place and then falls into obscurity when it's  
cheap and over abundant.


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