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  This is me again!
From: "Eduardo Goncalves" edggon at hotmail.com> on 2001.11.08 at 05:01:13(7783)
Dear aroiders,

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

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