This is an excerpt from a previous post regarding conservation and a new, exciting idea which needs to be its own topic. This project will need a lot of support and work to accomplish but I believe it would be very worthwhile. We need to know where people stand on this issue. I hope all will weigh in with their thoughts on a National Collection and maybe our esteemed members Tamlin and Bugweed can elaborate. - PAK
Hi Finch, Bugweed, and hopefully the thousands of readers looking at this post:
Conservation can be seen in different ways.
Most of what we see as conservation depends on conserving the actual habitat where there plants grow, but there is also another strategy which aims at the conservation of biodiversity through Stewardship.
This is what we do as "good growers" of these plants. Mike King in the UK is a sterling example of what a dedicated grower can achieve, if they are willing to. Mike has a fantastic collection of Sarracenia, which he maintains at his personal expense. In such a collection, meticulously maintained and identified, lies the hope of the future.
This, too, is conservation.
I read the listserve debate, and Barry's lose/lose proposal. As it now stands, it's true. If we field collect, we place the plants in jeapordy. If we don't field collect, we have the horror of watching these plants get plowed under.
I personally feel that there is just no way that our officials are going to act. In this, they are no more guilty than we are for not raising a collective hue and cry DEMANDING that something be done. There are just too few of us to have clout. Sadly, money will always be the bottom line in these matters of habitat conservation.
What is needed is for there to be a NEW REVOLUTION of the People. We need a new Botanical Constitution: of the people and for the people.
Imagine for a moment, a National Collection of, say Sarracenia species (since these populations are being hit the hardest).
This collection could attempt to conserve biodiverse forms of these plants, much as Mike is doing in the UK.
If enough Sarracenia Growers banded together to form a National Collection, and sought to actively reproduce, increase and most importantly to share this material, this would at least offer some hope to the future.
Such conserved (and diverse) material would then be available for future (and hopefully more wise) CPers, both for their delight, and hopefully for eventual reintroduction. The problem with nurseries producing and selling from TC, is the diversity is shrinking even as the number of plants are increasing. We need that precious variability, and it is being lost to attrition.
If there could be a fusion between dedicated growers, and the scientific community who know where these populations are located, a sensitive one time collection from habitat could be made. This is in essence "putting it in the bank". This would be a true investment.
With the formation of such a dedicated body, there is a chance that it might find financial backing, grow, and become a resource of incomparable value. This is a win/win scenario. Even if the plants are lost in habitat, at least there is some chance that the genetic diversity will not fall to that sad fact.
This is conservation too, but it would require a fusion of many diverse elements in CP society.
Barry as argued against publicizing location data for these populations, in favor of allowing the plants to continue their tentative existence undisturbed. I too, favor this approach, but not until we have the material "in the bank". After this, there is no need for folk to make further collections. The material can be reproduced and distributed.
Benefits to the "little guy" would be immense. After all, these are OUR plants, and we should have every right to protect them as out conscience dictates. The fact remains that these populations simply can't take the impact of repeated collections. We can't all of us go out with this idea, and try to form our own "NAtional Collection". This is what is going on now. People WANT to steward these plants, and it is right and proper that they do.
We need to UNITE, and work with each other to do this work. Ego and profit motivation needs be set aside for the greater good. One for all, and all for One. The days when one could feel good about being the guy with the biggest collection should end, and this as soon as possible. If the plants are to survive, they must do so through the mechanisms of love and sharing.
I suggest as well, that when we talk about making a field collection, taking plants from their habitats, that this is an issue of personal LIBERTY, and as such, we also need a CONSTITUTION which will apply, without exclusivity, to ALL.
Nor is this "Ntional Collection" limited to only the U.S. We have the tools now in place to launch a concerted world wide effort on behalf of these plants we all love so dearly. These plants do not belong to the U.S. They belong to the world. Let there be no exclusivity: when it comes to the love of these plants, we are all a NATION.
We have now come to the plants darkest hour. We need a luminary to come forth, a leader. What is Don Schnell doing these days? He could be the George Washington of such a work, lend prestige to such a UNION. I can think of many other NAMES who's support could make such a work possible: folk that have been growing (and loving) these plants for all their long lives. The Great Wise Ones - and you know who you are! Let them sign the CONSTITUTION. I am only one small voice, and although I try to make a difference, I am not eternal. Nor is Don Schnell. We need to inspire another generation to take up this cause, but first WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING to inspire them, instead of crying into our pitcher plants, and flopping out hands about uselessly in the air!
The ICPS has been drifting in this direction as well as evidenced by their distribution program of several rare Sarracenia species last year. We have the resources of international forums, and CP Societies all easily reachable by internet communication. The tools are present. The need is evident. The skills are in place. We are UNITED in our common love for these species.
All that lacks is the spark.
SO, all you Sarracenia Growers with the BIG LISTS of meticulously recoreded and maintained collection data, THIS is what you have been saving that data for! Here is a purpose and a vindication for that rare plant you dug up that time....remember? You said it was to "preserve it". Now I am asking that you back that up with action. Are you willing to send a division to a central place where decicated growers will increase it a hundred times over, and will actively seek placement for it in world collections?
You scientific professionals out there, that have been studying population dynamics, genetic studies, physiology, statistics: you know where our TREASURE lies. Are you willing to collect some of this material, and "put it in the bank", just for once, or will you wait with heavy sighs as you feel the rumble of the dozers? They will come you know, and then for what purpose will your research be for once their subject is extinct?
You growers out there, yearning for these plants: are you willing to study and learn to grow these plants and become a Steward for your children's children? For this is for you: one out of many. Will you say "thank you" by taking up the work?
From what I have seen, I believe you certainly will. Although others have begun this WORK, it will be the little guy that will make all the DIFFERENCE.
You Nursery Growers, commercial dealers, and plant-sale-fund-raiser folk: will you too come aboard, and will you surrender your part of the TREASURE even if it cuts your own profit margins, in the name of the love you bear for these plants? You can hold back the rare plants for supply/demand profiteering, but only consider that right now, while you are still in your skin, you can make a difference in how far these plants are spread. There would be no competition in your lifetime by surrendering your rarest plant....it will take generations of work before there will be enough plants circulating to do that. Once you are Gone, that rare plant may be forgotten and lost. Will you continue to share as you have so often in the past?
I hope you will. All of you. Because I believe in the center of me, that this is the only real chance to conserve what millions of years of Cosmic Artwork has produced: a miracle of unsurpassed beauty and awe.
Please: All in favor say "AYE"
Give me your thought's. Help me make this Forum into the tool it can be. Let this be our Convention Hall, where we draft a "CP CONSTITUTION". Lets define the right's of the PEOPLE, and provide for our posterity by UNITING and forming a WORLD NATIONAL COLLECTION while we still have opportunity to still act, before the curtain falls on our individual (and aging) selves, or on the plants we all love.
Maybe we can't hold back the habitat attrition, but this much at least is possible, and this too is Conservation. Let's make the plants darkest hour into our finest hour!
My thanks to Bugweed who inspired this concept, and to the many others I have spoken with that share it.