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  Tropical forest dreams and nightmares
From: "Jay Vannini" interbnk at terra.com.gt> on 2001.04.30 at 17:23:15(6333)
Ron: I also enjoy opening your e-mails on aroid-L - like Irish malt, they're
kinda weird but very tasty.

Having spent the last twenty-seven years romping around New World and Papuan
tropical forests, I hope that I haven't lost any of my original wide-eyed
wonder and enthusiasm for these wonderful ecosystems. Experience, however,
has brought perspective, and with it, a much more sober view of their
futures.

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From: plantnut plantnut at macconnect.com> on 2001.04.30 at 19:55:38(6335)
Jay,
Excellent commentary... The best I have seen on thisenue or any other....
Dewey

From: "Eduardo Goncalves" edggon at hotmail.com> on 2001.05.01 at 07:28:59(6338)
Dear Jay,

I agree completely with you! (except for the toooooooo formal "Mr.
Goncalves!!!!") :0)

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From: "Ron Iles" roniles at eircom.net> on 2001.05.01 at 13:33:37(6343)
Jay!

Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness. As Dr. Fisk said the commentary
was excellent and eloquent. The dream I still have however. Child-like
wonder and love of beauty, as you say, life-long. The picture painted by
your goodself and by Eduardo is in part dark but it obviously cannot be all
so. Our children of which I have none either ought to be left with a legacy
from evolution which is at least as rich as that left for us and if such as
we are involved, even richer. As Chief Seattle said "What will happen to
the Spirit of Man
when all the Great Beasts have gone". Indeed, the final answer is on the
horizin of our unfortunate children.

As a Biologist I had the privilege of living in Uganda for my first two
years research and it was in East Africa that I first experienced the blaze
and glory of the tropics which have energised my whole Being since. For
many of us the yearning to experience the glorious wow is lifelong. Sadly
for many or even most Nature is only good when things are SAFE and PRETTY,
controlled and tamed like on the other side of the tele, or in reality, the
feeble, ugly, inferior, dangerous, and so on destroyed. I went to many
habitats from 3000 to 14,000 feet and I still regret not having gone to the
places I missed when they were unspoiled.

So now relentlessly in pursuit of answers and planning for the dream not the
nightmare to become a gloriousl reality I ask Aroid L the following innocent
questions.

1. Natural hazards aside WHICH jungle areas are relatively safe for
ecotravellers where one can wonder, film, document, record and expect to
collect samples of one's beloved plants? In which areas, given permits, is
bureaucracy reasonably
co-operative, not antagonistic or hostile? For Spathiphyllum the #1 region,
Colombia is apparently one of the most dangerous and a no no no go area
tragically. I am hoping that aroiders and other collectors in
"Spathiphyllum" countries dangerous for ecotravellers already have the
indigenous species with collection data in cultivation so that they can
shared for security with environmentally very secure SPECIALIST reserve
collections, "Genera Arks". (Ref: the next Aroid L memo on Tropical Shade
Plant Arks)

It is the major question - WHERE are good places for teams of
environmentally and socially responsible tropical flora and fauna lovers and
growers to go?

2. Do you have experience to guide, lead, or share leadership or contribute
skills e.g. languages, filming, sound recording, first aid, cooking etc
2. WHEN is the best season?
3. WHO would like to be part of a team sensitive to each other?
4. WOULD four weeks be optimum?
5. Should we explore and collect for team members or also for others who
can't come but need our efforts on their behalf?
6. Are there existing Collecting Tour Organisers who could arrange a custom
package according to our detailed specs. I could volunteer to help with a
progressively honed survey in planning and accomplishment.

If this is a lead balloon I will have tried. It will then have to be DIY
for me I'll live my own wow dream and even after exhaustive preparation if
it turns out to be a nightmare or terminal, I'll still be an optimist and go
on trying!

I'm a newcomer, totally open, with everything to learn. What do you feel?
If you have a brilliant collecting trip is it open to others?

Cheers

Ron

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From: Neil Carroll zzamia at hargray.com> on 2001.05.01 at 14:36:07(6345)
OK Eduardo, so we have your extremely negative 'nightmare' and you
ellucidate all of the negatives. You even seem to have something against
human beings. Are we talking about people who need a place to live, food to
eat, and shelter over their heads....or just a bunch of plants as being
important. Yes, I know....no plants= no animals....but there is probably
enough plankton, seaweed and algae in the world to provide food and air for
animals.

So do you have any solutions or just a lot of griping. Really, let's hear
what you would have us all do about the rainforests of the world. Any
solution which attacks humans is no solution. Just because humans have
superior intellect over all other organisms on the planet does not mean that
they are not a part of the plan nor are they sepparable from nature.

RON, there are many ways to obtain plants from around the world including
the New World. Obtaining plants in spite of the obstacles is the fun part of
plant collecting.

We really don't speak much on this topic with this list because Aroids, for
the most part are not listed as endangered and are therefore not covered by
CITES. If you were an orchid, cactus or cycad officianado this "what to do
about the rainforest" discussion would be much more in the forefront of this
list.

Don't forget folks......we love plants (aroids in particular) but MOST (by
far) of the people on the planet could care less. They are much more
concerned about feeding, clothing and sheltering their families. This is
what is important to humans........as it should be.

Neil

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From: "Ron Iles" roniles at eircom.net> on 2001.05.01 at 15:38:58(6347)
Addendum

South East Asia is artistically and culturally wonderful and even though
there are no indigenous Spaths in a Group or not I will go soon for the
sheer joy of it all, and also maybe do for other friends what they might do
for me in Spath areas.

Although I have also heard reports to the
contrary Costa Rica, Belize and maybe Panama(???) appear to be relatively
safe and maybe are setting examples for non destructive use of Rain Forest.
Optimistically if other countries also follow the examples too and similarly
prosper from wise jungle use then maybe most Countries will soon conform.
Nature Conservation in parts of what we arrogantly call the "Third World"
may yet show the wise First World the way they should have gone before.
Indeed major blame for human destruction of the natural environment
obviously lies not at the doors of Third World Countries but with the major
"role model" leaders in the FIRST WORLD with the greatest clout, noise and
greed and the least understanding of history and criminal lack of vision and
global care.

From: "Ron Iles" roniles at eircom.net> on 2001.05.01 at 19:43:56(6351)
Thanks Neil!

It is darn difficult to get boring all the same Spaths but we press on
regardless and positively wondering often what the hell I am wasting my time
for instead of staying with great Music. They are classically beautiful
because of their simplicity which may be why they are so incredibly popular
as house plants so as to be produced in zillions by tissue labs. But try
and find a source of more than a few that you can buy a few plants of?
Ridiculous Species, the ones I had so many of, another challenge. But
by God I'll press on as then, and there are so many amazingly good people in
Aroid L for starters. It seemed a good idea to suggest collecting as teams,
dividing labour. Most of the stuff on lists I don't specialise in, others
who don't have the lists might like, and there is obviously a case for many
secure refuges if material is lost by any one of us.

Whatever happens I may go to Costa Rica and possibly Panama on one trip and
Thailand, Bali with Borneo on another. Would like to see York Meredith in
NSW and John Banta and Helen Kennedy again and Queensland. The Solomon
islands has S. solomonense but a long and astronomially expensive way to go
for one species!!!! It will take time to plan to be sure of what I'm
wondering for. CR has wonderful field stations and national parks and the
huge export of butterflies, tilapia, and flowers etc, etc is world famous.
Surely taking out plants etc should not be a real world problem though
recently I have had a few discouragers. I have spent countless hours
surfing good jungle places. Lonely Planet has a tremendous amount of
advice. Viet Nam is beautiful, Cambodia and Laos, iffy, Myanmar, no, no,
no like maybe Colombia, good place to get lost forever. Venezuela next to
Colombia safe and VERY different apparently. Who knows? Brazil, Manaos,
Iquitos billions of fish and plants exported through the entire Amazon
watershed. In the 80's even got plants sent from Leticia on the Colombian
border and the supreme tiny S, "Cali" ="Mini" came from that place in
Colombia. Amazonas safe for collecting? Border areas with Colombia
excepted. Earlier I was going to look at CR as a warm civilised unspoiled
Country to live in but then I wondered about New Mexico. Selling this
mansion would preserve a lot of primary rain forest. Dunno about touring
Belize, Panama, Yucatan, Mexico, iffy, and no, no for residence? My friends
spend wonderful winters in Chieng Mai and Bali but Indonesia, dunno, maybe
iffy though Kebun Raya Botanic Gardens is a must. Nice people. Singapore
Botanic Gardens contacts delightful and SO civilised. Kota Kinabalu, some
Phillipine Islands, Malaya and W Sri Lanka. So many question marks but
need advice from practical experience before decision times. I thought a
team effort of like minded people who really care about living things
including those in the IAS and other tropical, aquatic and entomological
groups might be good? Bird Watchers are a different Breed maybe? Whether
or not I get this Peace Lily thing off the ground is related but not yet
central. They were just the first plants I ever kept and revered.

After work burble ends. Thanks!

If anybuddy out there has the energy to exchange S. solomonense or whatever
for whatever, hurray!!! There are 90 Spath cultivars sadly most in US!

Dany Hervelle and Myles Challis will go bananas when they read that Adao
Pereira saw some many wonderful Marantas etc in CR!!!! I think it may be CR
first. Belize contacts don't answer. Many people who custom trips there
and its a small country.

Cheers

Ron

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From: "Ron Iles" roniles at eircom.net> on 2001.05.01 at 19:45:46(6353)
Neil! Do you remember the enormous foot which comes down in Monty Python
Programme and one hears the sound of a raspberry. There's a lot of it
about. I'd better not write about my idea for treating Amorphophallus
tuber erectile dysfunction! Anyway Spath growers don't need it. I'll go
away for a while I've had a field day today.

With chuckles

Ron Spath Sensations

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From: "Dany Hervelle" bs246466 at skynet.be> on 2001.05.02 at 15:50:02(6355)
Hello Ron ,Miguel and list

If a trip may seriously may be adjanced with this list,i think that it may
be great.

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From: StellrJ at aol.com on 2001.05.05 at 15:50:16(6377)
In a message dated Tue, 1 May 2001 4:34:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time, "Ron Iles" writes:

<< "What will happen to
the Spirit of Man
when all the Great Beasts have gone". Indeed, the final answer is on the
horizin of our unfortunate children.

Indeed. For me, the idea of any future at all for wilderness seems more and more a pipe dream. No matter which way I look at it, I can see no way to justify ever bringing children into a world such as this; much as I love children, I think it best that I never have any.

<

Don't I know it! In this lawyer-infested country (USA), it seems people have made Safety the ultimate aspiration -- never mind that they are quashing the human spirit in the process.

<<2. Do you have experience to guide, lead, or share leadership or contribute
skills e.g. languages, filming, sound recording, first aid, cooking etc.?

I can get by in Spanish, have training in Wildreness First Aid, and understand navigation by map and compass.

<<3. WHO would like to be part of a team sensitive to each other?
4. WOULD four weeks be optimum?

I would love to join up, but am too poor to contribute much to the funding. Four weeks would be plenty, PROVIDED all necessary arrangements were made in advance.

<<5. Should we explore and collect for team members or also for others who
can't come but need our efforts on their behalf?

Give us a list, we'll do what we can.

Jason Hernandez

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From: "Eduardo Goncalves" edggon at hotmail.com> on 2001.05.11 at 11:46:08(6425)
Dear Neil,

Just a few commentaries...

>OK Eduardo, so we have your extremely negative 'nightmare' and you
>ellucidate all of the negatives. You even seem to have something against
>human beings. Are we talking about people who need a place to live, food to
>eat, and shelter over their heads....or just a bunch of plants as being
>important. Yes, I know....no plants= no animals....but there is probably
>enough plankton, seaweed and algae in the world to provide food and air for
>animals.

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From: Cgdz33a at aol.com on 2001.05.11 at 13:49:08(6426)
For those interested in knowing just how serious the situation with tropical
forests is see this weeks Science vol 292 pp. 859-861, about the indonesian
rainforests. Rather depressing example of the problem

Eric C. Morgan

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From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 2001.05.12 at 14:33:47(6431)
Dear Eduardo,

Well said! I think that there is 'something' way above 'CITES' going on in
other countries, I hear that it has something to do with a World Bank offer
of a BIG cash 'loan' to a Country, and in return the Country in question
must agree to what on the surface appears to be a rather 'harmless' law, the
prohibition of the export/import of ANY plant or wildlife item. Goverments
in their ignorance and greed for the loan quickly sign on the dotted line,
and it is only later (as in the case of Brazil and other countries) does the
negative side show up, the complete isolation of a country to any outside
'interference' in their research, and without outside 'interference' by
foreign experts the research does suffer in a BIG way. It certainly sems
like a 'loose-loose' situation to the scientific community, but I am not
aware of all the aspects to this situation, and would welcome more
information from anyone more knowledgable than I am at these type of 'loans'
and 'deals' which have had such a negative impact on the world scientific
community, both the scientific and hobby 'sides'.

"Cut and burn it all down, but don`t you DARE collect any of these doomed
plants/animals!!!"

A little bit of enlightenment would certainly go a long way in some of these
'closed' countries.

Cheers to all,

Julius

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From: Regferns at aol.com on 2001.05.13 at 17:10:18(6433)
I have tried to stay out of this discussion, because I all too well know
what's happening in some of these countries. But, Julius' telling comments:
"Cut and burn it all down, but don't you DARE collect any of these doomed
plants/animals," says it all.

How very, very true. I have seen tree ferns (CITES 1) being sprayed with
herbicides or hacked down (and discarded) in some countries. I have also
seen whole forests destroyed in Indonesia; and orchids and other high
epiphytes are doomed--they lay baking in the scorching sun. But, is anyone
allowed to "rescue" these plants? A resounding "NO."

Just my two cents.

Reggie Whitehead
South Miami, FL

From: Betsy Feuerstein ecuador at midsouth.rr.com> on 2001.05.14 at 13:13:18(6445)
Reggie, I don't think you could have said it better. Let it die, but don't
you dare collect it and try to save it. This is true the world over. Then
there is the new World Bank idea, don't you dare ship anything out, it
is your cultural heritage. Countries like Colombia, are now restricted
to no exportation because someone says what is there is only yours. How
short sided when they are destroying it all and it won't be theirs or anyones
in the future. I often wonder if those who promulgate ideas have ever looked
into what is or is it all hot air to make it look good? I don't know, but
don't let anyone tell you that it is wrong to save a plant anyless than
it is right to save an animal or a person!
At some point, we will have to come to accept we are all on this Earth
together and we will all survive together or fall separate.... Always choices.....
Just had to add my two cents,
Betsy
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From: Cgdz33a at aol.com on 2001.05.14 at 16:53:57(6449)
While "saving" individual plants from destruction it does have a very serious
impact in some circumstances. There have been instances on Long Island where
developments have gone forward on sites with rare organisms (in this case
salamanders) because of wonderful scientists ability to collect and "save"
them. There are surely better examples than this on but it is an issue.
Congressman Don Young of Alaska (R), tried in 1997, 1998, and 2000, to amend
the Endangered Species act to essentially allow destruction of areas
protected by the act if these rare plants and animals could be kept in
botanic gardens and zoos. As absurd as that sounds, it will become a more
common belief worldwide, and the public just might buy it!

Eric C Morgan

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From: "Ron Iles" roniles at eircom.net> on 2001.05.14 at 20:34:46(6453)
Dear Betsy,

I was doing ANOTHER rant on Jungles
but I have had to change it in the draft folder daily! I was in
Fantasyland to a large extent. Are there not some Jungles
still substantially intact in Countries where the people are benign, not
Gringicidal maybe and allow sensitive samples to be transferred to Specialist
"Arks"?

Ron

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From: "Craig Allen" callen at fairchildgarden.org> on 2001.05.14 at 20:41:29(6456)
I work at a botanical garden and I am not under the false impression that
any botanical garden anywhere ever housed enough of a species that it could
be considered saved. With out some genetic diversity within a species it is
doomed. That can only really happen in a natural habitat. Even the species
our Garden works on saving are meant to be returned to the wild. Saving a
habitat is the real hope.

Craig Allen

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From: Betsy Feuerstein ecuador at midsouth.rr.com> on 2001.05.16 at 08:12:52(6469)
>From what planet have you been looking down from? I know of NO country
that has large tracts of untouched jungles, rainforests, forests, in general.
Either the territory is so uninviting that man nor beast comes or it has
been molested royally. Yes, you can find the jungle. It may have few if
any of the first primal growth, but still old enough to have regenerated
to be of interest or it may be next to a bouldered stream and difficult
to get to or it may be beyond the edge of the road meaning some of us have
hours of trudging through, over, and on top of God knows what is under
us and if it will hold us, just to get to the illusive remaining jungle.
Even at the top of mountain ranges man has invaded for cattle ranges. Trees
are not considered a valuable assets, but a range for cattle, that is temporary
gold. Reality is, most of the world does not see the big picture and when
it comes to feeding the family, the bank account in the bank or under the
bed, there is a priority that most of the world holds near and dear. I
know of no road in Ecuador, my tramping grounds, that is untouched, because
once there is a road, either in construction or afterwards accessibility,
the process of destruction continues at a huge pace. I can remember when
we could go to one area of Ecuador and collect hundreds of Anth Peltigerum
in a very short time in the downed trees, but now the downed trees are
rotting obstacles and farms and to get to the forest is difficult and the
apples in our eyes are just not there to be found. Change...... that is
all there is, change. Either we adjust or we do not and we suffer. I choose
to not suffer and just know gratitude for the past days and hold a hope
that my grandkids will someday know the joys of walking in the forest,
temporate or tropical, and know the joy of that peace and that wonder.
It is all in how you look at it. You get suffering if you do not accept
some aspects of the change. You get joy in the perhaps lessor realms, if
you just stay in the moment and enjoy and appreciate and stay in that gratitude
of Grace.
Enjoy........ it is far more fun!
Betsy
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From: Don Martinson llmen at execpc.com> on 2001.05.16 at 08:17:23(6471)
Title: Re: Tropical forest dreams and
nightmares

Dear
Betsy,

I was doing ANOTHER
rant on Jungles but I have had to change it in the draft folder
daily! I was in Fantasyland to a large
extent. Are there not some Jungles still
substantially intact in Countries where the people are benign, not
Gringicidal maybe and allow sensitive samples to be transferred to
Specialist "Arks"?

Ron

As many of you are aware, the country of Costa Rica is doing a
much better job than most in protecting their unique
ecosystems. In conjunction with Duke University and others,
they have formed the non-profit OTS, Organization for Tropical
Studies.

Rather than relate all the information here, I'd like to refer
interested parties to their websites:

OTS North American Office:
http://www.ots.duke.edu

or

Las Cruces/Wilson Botanical Gardens, San Vito, Costa Rica:
http://www.ots.ac.cr

--
Don Martinson

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From: Jmh98law at aol.com on 2001.05.16 at 21:37:31(6478)
Betsy, you wrote:

Change...... that is all there is, change. Either we adjust or we do not and
we suffer. I choose to not suffer and just know gratitude for the past days
and hold a hope that my grandkids will someday know the joys of walking in
the forest, temporate or tropical, and know the joy of that peace and that
wonder. It is all in how you look at it. You get suffering if you do not
accept some aspects of the change. You get joy in the perhaps lessor
realms, if you just stay in the moment and enjoy and appreciate and stay in
that gratitude of Grace. Enjoy........ it is far more fun!

And I thought that you would enjoy this wonderful quotation . . . some days
the "happy in small ways" seems like enough . . .

Jeanne Hannah

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From: StellrJ at aol.com on 2001.05.18 at 07:41:17(6515)
In a message dated Wed, 16 May 2001 11:14:54 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Betsy Feuerstein writes:

<< I know of NO country that has large tracts of untouched jungles, rainforests, forests, in general.

Do not be fooled by those world globes that show vegetation as it would naturally be, not as it presently is. Remember, those globes show eastern North America as deciduous forest, when, in fact, we know it is mainly a unique form of grassland we call "lawn." But, does your above comment mean that even the great boreal forests of Canada's Northwest Territories -- which are simply left out of even the most comprehensive highway atlases I have seen -- are also fragmented? If so, then there is no hope in the long run.

<

Inaccessibility is the last, best hope for nature. Even "ecotourism" brings development to the very areas it strives to preserve. In the new millennium, only the inacessible will survive unspoiled.

<< Change...... that is all there is, change. Either we adjust or we do not and we suffer. I choose to not suffer and just know gratitude for the past days and hold a hope that my grandkids will someday know the joys of walking in the forest, temporate or tropical, and know the joy of that peace and that wonder.

Grandkids will not -- not in the sense that we still can. There may be preserves here and there, but these will be akin to museums -- collections of relics to remind us of a bygone past. No doubt they will be micromanaged to preserve what remants remain in them. Wilderness? Forget it! Such a world would undoubtedly be livable, in the sense that human needs could be met; but to a personality like mine, it would not be worth living in.

On the other hand, I do maintain a fantasy that, many generations from now, after some catastrophe on a global scale has greatly reduced the human population, and the survivors coalesced into small areas, then nature will reclaim its lost lands. Extinct species will never return, of course, but new types of ecosystems will rise, phoenix-like, from the ashes, and species hanging on the verge of extinciton will rebound in the absence of human pressures.

Jason Hernandez

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