Protection of species known of 1 or a few small sites

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ragamala
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Re: Protection of species known of 1 or a few small sites

Post by ragamala » Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:25 pm

Kees wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 7:58 pm


So yes, maybe we should let it happen, accept that species disappear and fill our botanical and zoological gardens like museums with species that we don't allow a place in their original habitat.
No, we should not let it happen. We should not let the powerful political and commercial forces go unchallenged.

But we have to accept that saving one species is pissing in the wind. Act as your conscience dictates. But Ralph is right. In this type of particular situation ex-situ conservation is the answer. I don't believe there is an impediment to this. If there are only some 120 individuals of M. sergipensis in habitat, we might ask what happened to the 50 seedlings that formed part of Marcos Meiados seed-sowing experiment. Maybe Marcos and Nigel T. can advise us on how they dealt in practice with the material they had from habitat, and how they contributed to keeping this species alive.
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Kees
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Re: Protection of species known of 1 or a few small sites

Post by Kees » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:30 am

ragamala wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:25 pm
But we have to accept that saving one species is pissing in the wind.
Not quite. Wild Atlantic salmon have been protected for many years and are still being protected by paying fishermen not to catch them at sea and teach them to catch other fish.

http://asf.ca/asf-and-nasf-sign-12-year ... and-f.html


IIRC about 30 M. sergipensis were taken to a campus of the Sergipe University. So it looks like the species is safe but its ecosystem isn't.
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D^L
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Re: Protection of species known of 1 or a few small sites

Post by D^L » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:15 pm

I agree with a lot of the above. Trying to pay people to conserve a habitat in perpetuity is not feasible but if we can help foster a local solution and avoid a critical day when the pough arrives then we have at least kept it alive for a bit, who knows perhaps into a happier future. It only takes one afternoon with the plough and it is gone.
One thing I recall from Nigel Taylor, which I agree with, is that ex-situ conservation has to have a re-introduction strategy. A species without a habitat, separate to a few greenhouses, is "gone" as far as biodiversity is concerned.

If we want to do something other than offer strident opinions, I suggest contacting Taylor and seeing if he knows the current situation, or knows who to contact. You could work up a proposal and seek funding from the conservation committee - they welcome good things to fund.

Cheers
David Lambie
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Re: Protection of species known of 1 or a few small sites

Post by RICHAUD » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:22 pm

When we visited Brazil with Marlon Machado he was in "war" with a landowner who had an inselberg where Buiningia purpurea grew. And this owner wanted to sell this inselberg but Marlon prevented it for the rarity of the plant that was growing.on this inselberg
the owner had not hesitated to put a herbicide on the Buiningia to eliminate the "problem" which prevented him from selling his stones
Is it the same thing for this Melocactus ??
ragamala
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Re: Protection of species known of 1 or a few small sites

Post by ragamala » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:37 pm

D^L wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:15 pm
"A species without a habitat, separate to a few greenhouses, is "gone" as far as biodiversity is concerned.

If we want to do something other than offer strident opinions,....."


David Lambie
Holding strident opinions, vocalisation of those opinions and action based on them have been vital but in the main sadly missing over the last decades. A generations-worth of inaction and failure to realise the risks of climate change.

Forget biodiversity due to cactus culture by faddists, in the face of potential massive extinction of species a cactus here or there or a miniscule habitat here or there - is that the real issue?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... rms-report

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... diversity/

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... conference

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/ ... dex_en.htm

etc etc etc
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KarlR
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Re: Protection of species known of 1 or a few small sites

Post by KarlR » Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:05 pm

I don't really understand what point you're trying to make, ragamala, when you point out the problems the world faces by climate change. I mean, none of us can singlehandedly make huge changes to the climate. If all the members of the BCSS came together somehow to fight the really big fight of climate change as a whole, we'd still all be pissing in the wind and whatever we could manage wouldn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.

But this is a cactus and succulent society for people who care about those things. Protecting cactus species is something that should be (and is) central to the society and its members. Why should that effort be held against the effort of combating climate change? What does one have to do with the other?

Perhaps the farmer in question will be happy to protect this Melocactus species and perhaps he won't. In any case, ex situ conservation should be a matter of course as a precaution together with working towards in situ conservation.
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Re: Protection of species known of 1 or a few small sites

Post by ralphrmartin » Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:18 pm

D^L wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:15 pm
One thing I recall from Nigel Taylor, which I agree with, is that ex-situ conservation has to have a re-introduction strategy. A species without a habitat, separate to a few greenhouses, is "gone" as far as biodiversity is concerned.
Sorry, Dave, but I disagree. A clear counterexample is the Ginkgo tree, which is a much appreciated tree planted across the world. The few populations which are possibly wild are pretty genetically uniform anyway, and it wouldn't matter at all (except sentimentally) if they died out, either to preserving the genes, or to the species continued existence. On the other hand, the Gingko has never become naturalised anywhere, which argues that reintroduction of this tree is unlikely to be successful. However, given that it is only distantly related to any other living plant, it is very important to biodiversity that this plant should continue to exist.

An even better counterexample to reintroduction is given by a succulent: Brighamia insignis. Its pollinator is extinct. Reintroduction clearly cannot work in such a case.

Indeed, reintroduction is often unlikely to be a solution. If a plant is rare in the first place, there are typically underlying reasons, e.g. specialised environmental requirements, it is a poor competitor, etc (even attractiveness to human collectors). In such cases, reintroducing it is only going to leave it vulnerable for the same reasons as before. Yes, there have been some successful reintroductions, but they do not invalidate the general point, and like paying people off, are not necessarily a long term solution.

We need to face up to the fact horticulture may be the best, and indeed only future for some species.
Ralph Martin
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Members visiting the Llyn Peninsula are welcome to come and see my collection.

My Field Number Database is now hosted by the BCSS: see
http://www.fieldnos.bcss.org.uk
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D^L
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Re: Protection of species known of 1 or a few small sites

Post by D^L » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:27 am

Ralph, I’m not sure if we agree or disagree.

Is it good that there are plants in cultivation? Yes - an easy agreement.

Is this as good as having a species in a self-sustaining habitat and part of its ecosystem? I do not doubt that we agree, no. I think it is a debate about the value we place on ex-situ plants.

I just think that having ex-situ populations is nice, but what really matters is a population in its ecosystem. With this in mind I think the Brighamia is essentially extinct in habitat due to lack of a suitable habitat (i.e. one that supports the relevant, now assumed extinct, moth). Any remaining plants are dependent on the whims of the nursery trade. Right now is it popular and much propagated. This may continue but whether, in 10 years, it will be unfashionable and largely disappear is unclear. Without an effective habitat it is unsustainable.

Ginkgo also has a strong life in cultivation, partly because it can handle polluted environments well. Great and a huge boon to happiness and enjoyment of the city. But better if there were are self-sustaining populations as well.

So I think this is about where you spend the effort. I worry that ex-situ conservation gives an unwarranted feeling that the species is conserved and risks us avoiding doing more. I think the plant is not conserved if it is not in a sustainable ecosystem. Ex-situ is great but, unless we plan to reintroduce (which has its own issues) I think this is about us “enjoying the plants” rather than “conservation”. I love enjoying the plants but I don’t want to confuse it with conservation.
Cheers
David
ragamala
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Re: Protection of species known of 1 or a few small sites

Post by ragamala » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:09 pm

KarlR wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:05 pm
I mean, none of us can singlehandedly make huge changes to the climate.
It is exactly this negative view that has led us to the situation into which even darling of the BBC and promoter of all's ok with the beautiful world David Attenborough has given his stark warning yesterday. We are all guilty perhaps of not recognising soon enough that climate change needed strong words and stronger action, and perhaps as individuals we may feel we have not done enough. But this is better than having buried our heads in the sand, better than just saying I am powerless. Nobody is powerless in a true democracy. If you suggest we are not in that privileged position I may agree with you. But we all can act as our conscience dictates.

My penny's worth is this. That individual and group effort put into fighting climate change is effort better spent than worrying about one insignificant habitat or species. See the bigger picture.

I do not feel powerless. I have worked on this for decades. I actively rejoined the fray against this government in it's crazy promotion of energy policies which are totally contrary to what it says about CC. I may feel frustrated by lack of success, but I have always done as much as I have been capable of at the time.

Sir David Attenborough: Climate change 'our greatest threat'
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46398057

David Attenborough: collapse of civilisation is on the horizon
https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... ate-summit
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KarlR
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Re: Protection of species known of 1 or a few small sites

Post by KarlR » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:14 pm

I don't want to drag this towards a political debate, ragamala, so I am not going to delve into the issue of climate change and how to deal with that. That would be to hijack and derail this thread.

I do, however, vehemently disagree with the stance that it is pointless to consider one single habitat or species on account of your nebulous "bigger picture". This is a forum for cactus and succulent enthusiasts run by a cactus and succulent society. One of the society's goals is to help conserve species in habitat. For you to then suggest that it is pointless to consider how to protect a certain cactus species in habitat because overall our planet is facing greater problems comes across as a bit arrogant and foolish to me. And, incidentally, I'm quite sure that Sir David Attenborough would agree with me on that.
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