Post by Marcello Catalano on Oct 17, 2009 6:42:40 GMT -10
So, Phil Green said: "But if the native Neps were considered as a cash crop, by the 'regulated' regular harvesting and selling of seeds, then maybe there would be a reason for the locals (or governments) to save them. This would lead to far more seed originals than any captive breeding programme could ever hope to create. As well as saving the various species where they should be saved - in the wild, not captivity. As a conservation worker myself, I know first hand that most people (across the world) - especially governments, will only really care about and protect something that is of value to them. Let's find a way to make Neps truely valuable to the local people were they grow."
I think this would have happened with many cp if that was possible. Unfortunately ONE problem is that cp market is the worse market ever. Poachers know that they can make a bit of cash immediately, collecting the 10-50 big Nepenthes that grow in an area of 20 square meters and selling them at the market. But using that same area - once they dig up the Nepenthes - to grow crops, will bring more money especially because there's a sure market for crops. That's also why, I guess, Nepenthes nurseries will always have owners that are Nepenthes lovers and not business men. They prefer to make 50 dollars a month doing something they like, more than 500 doing something they don't like. That's why I'm poor too.
Talking about solutions: 1) the conservation through cultivation is one way. It has 1000 faces, including RF rants. A HUGE obstacle that many people don't see in this way of conservation (and that's the problem, they don't care) is to my opinion the loss of data. Let's say that a scientist finds the skeleton of a rare dinosaur. To preserve it, he sends it to a museum. Here the preservation of such beauty stays in the fact that we have a species that doesn't exist anymore, but that has been restored, classified, explained, labelled and now it "exists" again, and it will always exist, thanks to the proper job of the museum. Right now, with Nepenthes, we are at a stage where the skeleton of the dinosaur goes to the museum and here some kids say: "Hey, look at that! These bones are huuuge! Put them with the others!", and they put all the bones in a big garage together with another million bones of other animals.
2)Conservation in the wild. Not many species are protected in the wild. I can especially talk for Thailand, but recently Robert Tan told me the same for the Nepenthes paradise of Malaysia, where - he said - you can't expect anymore to just walk and see Nepenthes everywhere. The point is: these plants are useless to most people, so they are going to disappear soon. The species that are not going to disappear are those that live in "uncomfortable" places for humans, which are usually on the mountains (unless the mountain can be used for mining). All the lowland species, sooner or later, will be destroyed. Forget about asking governments, local authorities, WWF etc. They just don't give a s..t about Nepenthes. The only way I see to procede with conservation in the wild is doing like Meadoview, buying the land and protecting it. Talking with a Thai friend (Trong) he said that the Nepenthes colonies we saw, occupy relatively small and low-price pieces of land, that can cost 1000-3000 euros. Can you imagine? You might save a Nepenthes colony (a whole species maybe!) with such a ridiculous amount of money (think about the money you need to save sarracenias, buying land in the US!!!). One problem is that to buy the land in these Countries and preserve it for 2000 years, you must be a local. And we don't have tons of local people in south-east Asia with such good instruction, language skills, passion for Nepenthes etc to bring on these projects.
Post by rsivertsen on Oct 17, 2009 7:34:25 GMT -10
I hate to be the fly in the ointment, but a quick reality check will show that these attempts to buy up land where CPs grow are short term fixes, which are still better than none at all. Some S. leucophylla stands are still in private property, which are used by various nursery and florist retailers who use them in their floral bouquets, and get the locals to keep an eye on it and call police if poachers attempt to trespass on these lands.
However, it's rare that a single genus of plant is going to save a piece of real estate from development, regardless of how rare it is. Places that have a wide diversity of plant and animal life forms have a better chance of getting some protection as a tourist attraction. Exceptions are rare, but do exist, the redwood forests of California are a examples.
Furthermore, just because a piece of land may be purchased for a certain sum of money doesn't prevent the local authorities from either seizing it (Eminent Domain) or raising taxes so high that it's impossible to hold onto it, especially when a wealthy developer wants it.
Reality is what it is, not always pretty, and sometimes we are faced with only bad choices, and lesser of evils. Let's deal with it the best way we can. - Rich
I'm not suffering from insanity! I'm rather enjoying it, actually!
Post by Marcello Catalano on Oct 17, 2009 7:46:09 GMT -10
I know, that's especially true in South-east Asia. I made well present to Trong that just buying the land is not enough. How can we make sure that the land will be safe against the 100 dangers of corruption? I've seen several times (well, on tv, ok, it's not the bible, but...) how ESPECIALLY down there, money decides everything. Lands, properties, rights etc are in the hands of burocracy, and burocracy is in the hands of people with money. You can have all the rights over your land, but if someone pays the right people of the government, these will find some way to take the land out of your hands. A good thing is that many colonies live in lands that have a low cost right because they are not interesting - especially for people with money. The only people there are small farmers, and they will be very happy to sell a small piece of land for a decent amount of money... Of course it's a completely different problems when the plants are growing on the coast, where hotels and resorts are being built one after the other; in that case, business men can be quite bad...
Post by rsivertsen on Oct 17, 2009 8:14:56 GMT -10
These things happen all over, all the time, not just developing third world countries like South East Asia; here in north west New Jersey, I found one of my favorite stands of wild orchids from the Pink Lady Slipper (Cyprededium acaule), along with several wood orchids, and rare Botrecium ferns, even the climbing fern (Lygodium palmatum) among other things with a sign posted by the road saying "Future Home of Oakwood Village".
I went to the local municipality and informed the building inspectors that this development could NOT take proceed since all native orchids are protected by strict EPA regulations, and this site hosted several species in abundance. I hoped and trusted that they would do the right thing.
Yet within 10 months, I found the entire site leveled with some of those rare orchid flowers pressed deep into the tracks of heavy equipment. I regret not getting the EPA involved including the American Orchid Society (AOS) with legal and court actions to put a stop to the development.
Sad thing is that two weeks after I mentioned this to the building inspectors, a large chain link fence was put up around the property with large "NO TRESPASSING" signs posted all over it. I walked around for a while looking at the plants and soon a local police car pulled up and they told me to leave; making sure that I couldn't even rescue some of the plants had known they were about to be destroyed.
Today, there stands several unoccupied McMansion houses in this useless development where rare native orchids and ferns once thrived. - Rich
Last Edit: Oct 17, 2009 8:24:03 GMT -10 by rsivertsen
I'm not suffering from insanity! I'm rather enjoying it, actually!
Post by shawnintland on Oct 17, 2009 9:57:24 GMT -10
Well, its 2 am here in Thailand so I won't be going into much detail! I'm glad to see this new forum area, hope we can come up with 'workable' ideas here.
Cello,sorry but I just don't see buying up little bits of the margins of the paddy fields and covering them in razor wire as a workable alternative here. For one thing, people that are into poaching neps to sell in Chutajak market or other such venues are willing to risk land mines to make a few dollars, razor wire is just a minor distraction for them! I also have a problem with the idea that once the colonies are 'discovered' by an individual, they are then treated as an 'off-limits' area for anyone else that comes along. As neps enthusiasts, we all go trekking through the forests/swamps/mountains and I for one would absolutely hate to find myself literally entangled in someone else's good intentions, if you see what I mean.
I am working on a few different approaches, none of which I can say will "Save" any species, and some of which we all agree may even just make the problem worse in the end by making even more people aware of neps. I'm attempting to work out a program to put a potted Nep in every Thai classroom in the country. The idea being that we also supply a CD and a written (Thai) booklet explaining the value of these wonderful natural resources of the country to the children. Hopefully after having some first hand experience in growing one of these marvels it will stick in the kids' minds.
The development, whether by Farang (Foreigner) or Thai is going to continue, like it or not. The current economic downturn is probably the biggest blessing Nepenthes have or will receive for a long time to come. The beachfront hotel boom has at least slowed a bit the last few years. Unfortunately, that was following a huge spike in beachfront development just prior to and after the big Tsunami. A lot of oceanfront property on Andaman and Gulf islands went under the the blade of the bulldozer before everything ground to a halt.
I am hoping to put together an effort to grow enormous quantities of genetically pure neps for re-introduction to various locations in Thailand. Hopefully, with the help of the many Thai CP growers, we can start a program which other countries can follow up on. Its not the best situation we can dream up, but perhaps it can make a difference in some species' existence. I also plan on seeking an endorsement from the Royal Family. While hard for non-Thais to grasp, this is probably one of the most effective methods of keeping anything we reintroduce from ending up right back in Chutajak!
I am really hoping to hear suggestions from many others here. Believe me, there are people here willing to try to make a difference, putting their time, money and effort into it!
Post by Marcello Catalano on Oct 17, 2009 10:25:06 GMT -10
"I am hoping to put together an effort to grow enormous quantities of genetically pure neps for re-introduction to various locations in Thailand. Hopefully, with the help of the many Thai CP growers, we can start a program which other countries can follow up on. Its not the best situation we can dream up, but perhaps it can make a difference in some species' existence. I also plan on seeking an endorsement from the Royal Family. While hard for non-Thais to grasp, this is probably one of the most effective methods of keeping anything we reintroduce from ending up right back in Chutajak!"
To re-introduce, you must be sure that the plants won't be poached the following day: with endorsement do you mean that if the King says "please don't touch the Nepenthes", the poachers won't touch the plants ? I think if they are so desperate, that won't work either. But if you say the contrary (I know what the King means in Thailand, but...), we can work on that. Sorry, but putting a plant in every class I think is nice to hear but completely useless. After 25 years trying to put together cp growers in Italy, I just know these things end nowhere, like shows and leaflets. Maybe one or two of those kids will start growing nepenthes a few years later, that's all. Bulldozers are much faster and effective.
p.s. I would be quite happy to see that a barbed wire is stopping me (if well used, it will stop chatuchak people too), if I knew that it's stopping poachers too. When I realized that some colonies I found couldn't be reached by humans, I was only happy about that.
...and by the way, talking about bombs and mines, they work! Whole mountains can't be touched by humans feet and are under control by the local police, because Cambodian people covered the land with mines 40 years ago - and the nep colonies there are the safest ones! Shame that I couldn't do the same nowadays if I had a private property in Thailand... could I?
Later on, I'll try to remember to post another little trick we might use to preserve populations in the wild, I don't want to mix the topics...
Post by rainforest on Oct 17, 2009 13:10:44 GMT -10
The best place for keeping genetically pure strains in good hands will be the hands of the growers themselves. Replacing plants back into the wild will alter them as they would be captively grown any way. Whether they are kept in a collection or in the wild, the plants still under goes mutational development.
Conservation is such a meaningless word these days. Define CONSERVATION. It means so many different views to so many different people. To BE/AW, CONSERVATION would mean, collect seeds, grow them out, make tc clones and make $$$$, for others, it might mean put a giant electric fence surrounding these rich habitats and keep out especially man from entering, and others would say, save a little, gain a little. You decide.
Meanwhile, habitat is being destroyed, plants are black marketed and you and I just want to own one before it is extinct. I still am a believer that what you have in captivity should be maintained and propagated even to the hypothesis of inbredism (many species of plants, animals, etc. are only perpetuated through artificial propagation, yet we don't see them being extinct inbred species), careful horticultural practices have kept many species from extinction even while the gene pool remains limited and left to a few.
You need a little of everything for it to work properly. If we left things only to tc clones, this would be the worst example of inbredism and no gene pool. The next would be to propagate from existing in captive stock to perpetuate gene mixing from what plants we do have in captivity. This is where seed original plants are invaluably needed. The newer collected species (i.e. jacquelineae, lingulata, Jamban, flava, that spp from the Philippines, etc.) have made their way into cultivation mostly by way of tc starts. More emphasis on seed originals should have been emphasized as these will end up as did so many other limited species are today.
Not a single emphasis has been made on the concession to propagate species to species from captive stock. This is an area which is missing from this so called "conservation" efforts.
Post by rainforest on Oct 17, 2009 13:17:54 GMT -10
Nepenthes cannot be considered a cash crop as once they are pulled out if habitat, many start to die. Without effort on these native's time, nepenthes do not have a mechanism where plants can grow or live until being sold. Unlike orchids and many epiphytes, nepenthes cannot rely on just being kept moist until ready to plant/sell. The best measure for nepenthes to be "saved" will be to loosen laws regarding their collection (and dissemination) if suspect plants were planning to be destroyed by development.
A cash crop is one where the items can just be sold openly on the market. Wood, paper gum, rubber, etc. are openly traded/sold.
The best measure for nepenthes to be "saved" will be to loosen laws regarding their collection (and dissemination) if suspect plants were planning to be destroyed by development.
Hey Mike, I think that I alluded to this in an earlier post; sometimes real life offers us only a selection of bad choices, some worse than others; how do we decide the lesser of the evils? Do we risk getting arrested and fined for trespassing, or theft, or collecting protected plants, despite the fact that these plants, sometimes their entire populations and gene pools are about to be destroyed forever, risking our jobs, careers and jeopardizing our families and our own financial future?
Most times, when these decisions are made, it's already too late to salvage any plants, gene pool and all. They are already doomed to extinction forever.
Planet Reality can deliver some pretty harsh scenarios; question is what's the best way to deal with these issues.
A neighbor's kid recently had a very difficult and thought provoking question on ethics and morals in his high school class. The hypothetical scenario: Suppose you are at the controls of a local commuter train system, with various switch track controls at your command, and you suddenly notice that a train has lost all control of its brakes and is traveling downward at very high speeds about to crash into another train loaded with hundreds of passengers, potentially killing and/or seriously harming most of them, and faced the decision of switching tracks of this out of control train, so that it collides with an other train that has fewer passengers, what would you do? Now, suppose you found out that this train, with the fewer passengers, just happened to be carrying most of your family and friends on board! What would you do? Real life can be pretty harsh sometimes!
Last Edit: Oct 17, 2009 14:39:41 GMT -10 by rsivertsen
I'm not suffering from insanity! I'm rather enjoying it, actually!
Post by shawnintland on Oct 17, 2009 14:37:27 GMT -10
Where to start? Cello, I'm sad that you have reached a point where you see efforts to educate children as "totally useless"! I understand your words are perhaps just 'talking' in your second language but I find that attitude too fatalistic - when I was a kid (oh oh, here we go...walked to and from school in the snow, up hill both ways!) No, but we started a recycling program in our grade school to convince our parents (the non-believers) that it could be done. Three years later, in the 1970's, it became mandatory for EVERY home in the community to separate their glass, newspaper, plastic, etc. People moaned and groaned about having to do it. Now, some 40 years later, across the country it isn't even questioned, either you recycle or they don't take your trash! Kids CAN change the world; we better at least hope so! If we can reach 10 kids, 100 kids or 1,000 kids it will have been worth it. Besides, all those plants grown to be given away are the basis of more knowledge gained for me so I'm very happy to do it!
"When I realized that some colonies I found couldn't be reached by humans, I was only happy about that." Sorry, I must misunderstand - how did you 'find' them if they can't be reached by humans, unless you mean growing on cliff faces like some unreachable neps in Borneo? I will skip the debate over the morals of subjecting wild animals and non-poaching 'hikers' to the dangers of razor wire overgrown with a few years' grasses, let alone sowing any more landmines! :>)
A group of my friends here in Thailand started a local version of the "Global Mala", kind of like the old "Earth Day" events but with an emphasis on changing awareness and behavior on the small island we all live on. Over the past 3 years it has grown enormously and the effects are very real and beneficial. The Thai Hotel Association has embraced the idea and through their efforts real change has happened. The same has happened with our diving industry, the politicians, schools and most importantly the local people who live here, both Thai and Farang. (See www.samuimala.org/) It's not 'perfect' but it has made a difference!
Regarding the King's word - You would be surprised how far that goes! But there is not a lot of time left; the King is in his eighties now. It is a combination of the peoples’attitude towards the King's wishes and the cooperation this engenders. Look into the Queen's Royal Thai Orchid program to see what can be achieved! I'm sure there was graft involving rare orchids disappearing from military bases where they were reintroduced, but at the same time countless numbers of these plants were successfully reintroduced, whether they were 'man-raised', TC'ed, or not. Also, don't forget, a HUGE portion of Thailand is known as "King's Land", land not titled to anyone belongs to Him. It is also His to do with as he pleases...if the King were to decide that a local Thai citizen is worthy of it, he can title land (such as uninhabited islands) to that individual to oversee. Having someone 'on-site' (with the very public backing of the Royalty) at all times could be one of the main deterrents to poaching of wild colonies. Training individuals to act as custodians and helping to train them in sustainable seed and cutting propagation as a means of stable income could lead to a family custodianship of individual colonies. Hey, as long as we are trying to achieve something here, let’s go for it!
I've been running these ideas through my head for a number of years now Cello, trying to come up with ways to make a difference. I refuse to believe all is lost and that the best we can do is take pictures and describe them before they are gone! Please, let's try focus on what can work, not on what can not!
Hi, I really don't happy to see many people destroy the nepenthes land, BE/AW collect seeds I think is fine but there is many people taking a whole plants then sell it for grower. in vietnam last 5 or 6 years I saw many nepenthes near a resort but now it missing the resort getting bigger and the movement of growing nepenthes make many people come to nepenthes habitat and take a whole plants then sell it. Went I asking one person about where his nepenthes come from he just say " I can't tell " those people don't grow nepenthes because the beauty they grow because $$$. The point I think is we can change people thinking about nepenthes many people think it poison, useless and they think is a kind of fern ... If we can change the mind of people then nepenthes will be save or we can grow nepenthes then that nepenthes make seeds we can collect it then return to the habitat is that ok ? - Minh
Last Edit: Oct 17, 2009 14:39:09 GMT -10 by tranminh
Post by Marcello Catalano on Oct 17, 2009 15:04:27 GMT -10
I "found" the colonies because specimens of those plants were collected 80 years ago, those places were forgotten, then 80 years later I re-found those places but I was told by the army: "sorry, now it's full of bombs, you can't go there". I'm talking about all the mountains at the border with Cambodia, the Banthad, the Dongrak etc... Not to mention the border with Malaysia
I'm pretty sure that animals wouldn't be touched by barbed wire, as long as this is of the large kind, bent in circles, the one used by the army, well visible but unconfortable to go through if it covers 20 square meters. Hikers are not so stupid to go around in a private property covered by barbed wire.
So far I'm only convinced by the "King's idea", sorry. But we can work on that. Still, I see the possibility of the Royal Family declaring a piece of land as untouchable because there is Nepenthes in it as a veeery far possibility, that - if it works - will only last until someone with power or someone with other problems will easily show how that land might be used in a better way than preserving a plant, for example building a school, a farm or something. But I like the idea of putting someone to guard the land we buy, who would be allowed to make money reproducing the Nepenthes, planting them back in the colony and selling another part of them! Who can be a better guardian than another "poacher"? !
Nothing is lost yet, and I don't believe we can only take pictures and describe. That's a step, after or before which the plants must be introduced in cultivation and saved in the wild, the two points I cleared in the first post. Two points with the difficulties that I explained in that same post. We should focus on the problem, deleting things that won't work and keeping those that will work (of course respecting other people's opinion). Otherwise, if from my point of view your first idea won't work, I could be the one telling you "do not focus on something that will not work"
About the first point of my post (conservation through cultivation) things are being done, at least for my little point of view (Thailand): seeds have been collected and sent all over the world, and species are being described. What we still need is the second part, which is bringing some order among the "kids that will throw the bones in the garage"
A part from Thailand, there's the rest of South -East Asia too eh! Anybody has thoughts about Indonesia, Malaysia, Borneo...?....
Minh, thanks for partecipating to this, we need people like you, who live there. What we are all discussing about is what you said: collect seeds, grow plants and put them back in the forest. We are trying to see HOW we can do it It's not easy...
I doesn't have any nepenthes produce flower yet but return seeds to the forest is easy but that plants grow then people keep taking a whole plants so it can be useless. You can buy a nepenthes thorelli with 5 - 6 years old only 15$ or less. So nepenthes are disappear and to stop those people, we can tell other grower don't buy plants that from jungle. That just my idea. - Minh