Conservation by Propagation

James Waddick
Tue, 06 Sep 2011 14:00:38 PDT
Dear Friends,
	Tony, Tom and others have spoken clearly for the role of 
cultivated propagation and distribution of rare plants, yet it seems 
all the cards are stacked against both the nurseries and the 

	Growing any rare plants in  commerce has GOT TO reduce the 
pressure on wild collection. This is just so obvious and a no brainer 
to make ones head split at disagreement. Almost the ONLY people who 
demand wild material from a known location are the very botanical 
gardens who will prevent their distribution.

	I hate to bemoan the acts of all botanic gardens as there are 
certainly good conservators, likewise their are nurseries who 
knowingly dig and sell illegal plants. Both of these are to more or 
less extent ruled by federal and international regulations that are 
often meaningless or misguided.

	I recommend both 'Orchid Fever' by Eric Hansen and The Orchid 
Thief' by Susan Orleans to get different sides of a similar story of 
thievery, black market sales, wealthy immoral plant collectors and 
crazed protectors. The bottom line is that it is extremely difficult 
to tell a rare, wild collect plant from a validly, legally grown rare 
plant of the same species.  One need only see 'Nursery Grown" 
Trilliums selling for a dollar or two. This is economically 
impossible. Plants are often wild collected en masse, stuck in the 
ground for a season and given new legal papers. A fraud at best.

	On another hand the extremely onerous regulations make it 
almost a game and challenge for well meaning individuals to import a 
plant or bulb "in disguise".  EBay has sure made this even more 
attractive. Add to this an impossible job of inspecting and 
regulating mail and packages coming into the US and illegal plants 
surely arrive multiple times per day into the US. Perhaps other 
countries are more able to inspect and filter illegal plants. I doubt 

	I won't even start on CITES regulations which are nearly 
insane in their logic or national ownership of plant materials which 
prevents distribution of any plant pending its confirmed value ( See 
how the Chinese dealt with yellow camellias for example).

	I have worked on both sides of the conservation table - for 
years for an international conservation organization which only 
begrudgingly interacted with a couple expert individuals, but mostly 
avoided the entire topic of 'home grown.

	I can't bring this to a point or even suggest a lesson to be 
learned other than my topic.

	If all involved in conservation could support, allow and 
encourage 'Conservation by Propagation' it seems that both individual 
gardeners would have access to rare and unusual plants and wild 
plants would have some chance for recovery and preservation. It seems 
you can't have one without the other.

	I have used amazing self control in these remarks and it 
pains me. I can rant real good!!	Best	Jim
Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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