Ok, I will jump in the discussion again. Yes, most of us agree that some
species are not strong "enough" to survive, with or without our "help". In a
conservational point of view, all species should be preserved. However, we
also know that sometimes we have to chose some "flags", in order to open
people?s eyes. When we make any efforts to preserve the golden-tamarin, we
are aware that we will also help to preserve all species occurring with it.
That?s why people are trying to convince you to save the giant panda, but
nobody is claiming something like "Please, help me to save all those acari
(or some collembola) that we even don?t know the name". We also need some
martyrs on this conservational business...
I also agree that all living stocks are proned to extinction (or will
change and became unrecognizable), and a "fittest one" will take its place
in nature. Dinossaurs are all extinct and nobody can put the blame on us!
Using the same viewpoint, everybody will be dead someday, so who cares if
someone is speeding up the time and killing a lot of people?
Let me tell you some things about its habitat. When the Europeans first
arrived in Brazil, the forests started to be cleared. That was to settle
villages and also to look for Brazil timber. Then came the first farmers,
that built very large pastures for the cattle. Then the cities started to
grow like weeds. After 500 years of massive destruction, it is almost
unbelievable that still there is some forest around! Luckly, eastern Brazil
is mostly montainous, so some areas are not so good for agriculture.
Espirito Santo state is pretty small and it is located between Rio de
Janeiro and Bahia states. Despite it is so small, some say it WAS the most
biodiverse areas in the Brazilian Coastal Forest. However, we are not so
sure about this because 90% of all natural vegetation of this state has been
completely cleared. I meaning that 10% of the original vegetation still
remains (most of them strongly disturbed), but I have also to confess that
probably most of the remaining areas are monotonous mangroves (not so
interesting, when we are considering biodiversity) and rocky outcrops. That
was in the past. Now, local people discovered that the outcrops can be sold
(most of them have good marble), and now they are also destroying the
outcrops. I am trying to say that we probably lost most of the diversity
already. Why are "we" doing this? Because we watch all those movies and we
also want to be cool, use cellular phones and have powerfull computers.
Everybody wants to get rich...
Together with P. spiritus-sancti that are many other interesting
species. Some of you must have seen Tsuh Yang?s message concering a giant
Taccarum. Yes, I am describing this new one and it is also from the same
area. You can see P. spiritus-sancti on the trees (if you are lucky enough)
and a giant Taccarum in the soil. From the same area there is an new
Rhodospatha (Tom Croat is describing this), many new Philodendron (I am
describing some) and an Asterostigma species (A. lombardii), described in
1999 (take a look at Aroideana 22). I am not considering all those
undescribed Anthurium, that is the biggest group of Eastern Brazilian
aroids. I have to confess that I went only once in that state. Wonder how
rich it was if we could study its flora BEFORE its destruction.
That is not the whole story. Yes, P. spiritus-sancti is not so
agressive than his neighbor P. hederaceum (a.k.a. P. scandes) that grows
nearby at the same forests. One of them can be seen in almost any mall in
the world - the other can be sold for almost 900 bucks a single young plant.
Obviously, P. spiritus-sancti will never be so common as P. hederaceum - it
rather a slow-grower and can not be divided so promply. I don?t know if P.
spiritus-sancti was more abundant in the past, when the forests were intact.
Nobody will never know, since all evidence has been permanently deleted.
There is just one thing I know: P. spiritus-sancti, an impressive Brazilian
species, is almost extinct in the wild, mostly probably of human
interference. I have no doubt that we noted it was disappearing only because
of its beauty, but I won?t close my eyes only because all species will
disappear anyway. I am already making some arrangements to TC this species,
in or outside Brazil. Maybe there will be no forest in the future to
reintroduce it, but at least we will have this plant in much more
collections, as a voucher of how rich WAS the tropical biota.
Very best wishes,
Eduardo G. Goncalves
Laboratorio de Fitoquimica
Depto. de Botanica - IB
Universidade de Sao Paulo
Caixa Postal 11461 - CEP 05422-970
Sao Paulo - SP - BRAZIL
Phone: 55 11 3818-7532
FAX : 55 11 3818-7547
>From: "Julius Boos"
>To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L
>Subject: Re: One Last Comment
>Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001 18:57:25 -0600 (CST)
>----- Original Message -----
>To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L
>Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2001 11:16 AM
>Subject: One Last Comment
>I am truly sorry that you have decided not to continue this discussion on
>our puplic forum---I now see that you are NOT aware of the situation
>reguarding the 'why' of the rarity of the plant (and MANY other plants and
>animals, insects, etc.) in the area of Brazil where it is found, and at one
>time was NOT endangered, so will try to fill you in (perhaps Eduardo can
>'jump in' and lend a hand with more accurate facts, I am NOT completely
>certain about the exact area involved, the exact 'why' of the land
>etc.) on some information---I will also comment on a few of your statements
>after each para.
> >>Something comes along and shakes things
>up (and I suppose this could be construed as "habitat loss" except that as
>that phrase is usually used in today's parlance it means the whole "parking
>lot" business - not "natural" climate changes, vulcanization, meteor
>strikes, ice ages, etc.) and a host of the more specialized species get the
>rug pulled out from under them. In fact, if the "trajectory" of all the
>species present at any one time could be known and plotted, one would find
>that some are on the ascendency, vigorous, robust, while others are in
>decline, weak and prone to succumb to shocks of various sorts. Naturally,
>some of the weak species are really cool from the parachial human
>perspective. A lot of the coolest plants that this list likes are in that
>category. But from the standpoint of the history of the world, whether
>people like a particular life form does not matter very much.<<
>Ted, is there any OTHER 'something' you can share with us that in recorded
>history has 'shook things up' and caused the extincytion of life forms
>BESIDE man and his machines, etc.?? The 'host of species' that have been
>affected and made to go extinct in recorded history and a little before
>recorded history have all been directly atributed to man`s
>activities---paleo man is now thought to have wiped out ALL the many
>of Moa (giant and not-so-giant ostrich-like birds ) of New Zealand which
>resulted in the extinction of the giant falcon that was their controlling
>predator---- imagine, a falcon large enough and capable of killing a moa,
>the macro-fauna of Australia, the macro-fauna of the Americas, (all camels,
>horses, mastodons and mammoths, giant ground sloths, etc.), the elephant
>birds of Madascar, etc. MUCH more recently the African black rhino has
>been reduced in only about 15 years to 1/10 OR LESS of it`s previous
>population size and is in grave danger of extinction, I guess by your logic
>it really needs some QUICK lessons in evolving or adaptiong to high power
>rifle bullets, and also to evolve the immeadiate loss of it`s horns??
>But I degress---you NEED to know that the reason that the Philodendron in
>question is in BIG trouble is because of the clearing by man of NEARLY all
>of the jungle along Brazil`s East coast, followed by perhaps some
>of the relict population, doomed anyway (unless WE help them) because even
>the pollenating scrab beetles can no longer exist in the tiny remenants and
>scraps of forest that are left. Surely you will not consider that THIS is
>a natural occurence that the plant would not or could not 'adapt' to???
>Perhaps NOW you may understand my 'pave paradise' reference, as for all
>intents and purposes man HAS made a giant parking lot out of what used to
>forest in E. Brazil!
> >>To be sure, people are now able to intervene in evolution in both good
>and bad. We can make parking lots and we can artificially propagate cool
>plants and animals and keep them going. From the comments I read about the
>Philodendron spiritus-sancti it is not clear why it is such a rare plant.<<
>See above. This plant is rare because MAN wiped out the jungle and ALL
>plants that used to grow there !!!!!
> >>Maybe it is because some preferred habitat is now a parking lot. Maybe
>is because the plant was being overwhelmed by more successful species and
>is hanging naturally on the edge of extinction. Someone brought up the
>Franklinia issue a day or so ago.The reason Franklinia was hanging by a
>thread when rescued had nothing to do with loss of habitat then. There is
>no lack of habitat for Franklinia to be reintroduced into the "wild"
>In the case of the Philodendron, it is the PARKING LOT syndrome, and WE can
>do something about it.
> >>The point is that species extinction is a really old thing and that for
>vast majority of extinctions human parking lot building had absolutely no
>role. That this is happening today is not a valid opposing argument.<<
>Mass extinctions happened over geologic time, BUT most extinctions that
>taken place since recorded history HAVE been because of man`s abuse of
>habitat! This is a fact, and I would LOVE to hear your opinion on this.
> >>I will now be silent on this topic unless people want to write me
>Come on Ted, this is so much fun, and all can learn a lot from it! Write
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