Saving Endangered Plants

Tim Harvey
Tue, 06 Sep 2011 10:41:18 PDT
Sadly, there is similar elitism when it comes to botany in general. I have seen comments recently that suggest only people from botanical intitutions should be allowed to discover and describe new species. A simple analysis of the literature shows that the 'amateurs' have contributed significantly more to understanding the plants in many families than the so-called professionals. This applies to the cultivar world also - try establishing an ICRF as an individual! Access to herbarium sheet images from Aluka used to be free. Now a JSTOR subscription is required, and a lot of the information is in the public domain.
The trend in rules and regulations are making it more and more difficult for individuals to contribute. I believe this is brought about by the insecurity of the 'professionals', given a demonstrably poor record of performance dating back to the 1700s. These institutions should instead be working more and more with nurserymen and non-institutional people. There is a huge pool of knowledge and skill, and most importantly, manpower, that is being ignored.



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