As I wander out in the longleaf pine savannah, I know that I'm treading on dozens if not hundreds of VFT's. You just can't walk in that area without stepping on them, hidden in the tall grass. Can it possibly be harmful if, instead of trampling on one, I "liberate" it and take it home and place it in my bog garden where it will get lots of attention?
And therein lies another collateral damage of wild collecting: trampling of individuals. Arguably though, in as disruptive as this is, trampling does not assure death. Generally it's a setback to the plant but there's a chance of recovery.
I guess it comes down to good judgement - everyone who has posted so far has been making valid points, even though they are often on opposite scales of the spectrum. I ecpect, in some situations, that it is best to review each case individually, and decide from there. In my opinion a 'one-size fits all' rule doesn't apply to this. Personally, things I would consider when doing this would be: "Is it at all possible to get the plant from somewhere else, other than the wild?" "Does the land I'm taking the plant from belong to anybody?" "If I take the plant because its a interesting new form, can I be trusted to keep it alive and spread it to other Cp growers selflessly so that no others have to be taken?" "Are there enough thousands of plants that one will not be missed?" "Are these the sorts of plants that will reproduce freely and quickly, to fill in any gaps?" "Could I take a cutting, or a few seeds instead?"
In most cases I probably wouldn't take any plants, because I wouldn't feel like it was an OK thing to do. But I can see how, in some situations, it might be OK.
Indeed, good judgment is essential in making the decision of removing a specimen from the wild. If François hadn't harvested seed from those plants in Bokor Hill, they may never have got into cultivation, and would have gone extinct as that entire site is now fenced off, in private hands about to be bulldozed into oblivion for development.
If more judicious and responsible people had harvested seed of N. clippeata before the site burned down, perhaps it would not be on the brink of extinction as it is now, already extinct in the wild.
In a perfect world, .... however in this very REAL world, where wealthy developers can snap up large tracts of land and legally destroy all the rare plants that grow no where else. Sometimes these things can happen very fast, and in secret as well. The time it takes to file the paperwork of getting all the permits and all, it may be too late if those unpleasant realities are already underway. Plants found in protected forests are another matter, and proper protocols should be followed before removing anything from those places.
Still, real life happens. One area in the NJ Pine Barrens, in a protected state forest had a curious small population of D. hybrida, loaded with hundreds of plants. Over the years, succession has taken its toll, and now there's only less than three or four plants left scattered about and they may very well get overgrown soon too. Fortunately, they're common enough in cultivation.
Another site had a few S. purpurea plants that had orange colored flowers. I asked the Park officials for a permit to collect seed, and perhaps one specimen of those plants, but within a few months, before the approval process was complete, the entire site was burned to the ground in a terrible fire, and all those plants were destroyed. - Rich
Last Edit: May 30, 2009 19:24:27 GMT by rsivertsen
... not suffering from insanity, but rather enjoying it actually!
So when I'm up north on a wilderness fishing trip and I happen upon a "clump" of S. purpurea that is acres in size, who would I ask for permission?
Whoever owns or is responsible for the land.
To take something from someone else's property without permission is theft.
You would think that this is a simple matter, but very often the owners, or managers of the land are corporations, investors, sports clubs, recreational societies, and so on, with no one person to contact, and ask permission; it's all committee driven.
I've encountered these things myself, a few times and many of these are closed societies, secretive legal entities, and generally don't even return calls, mails, or any other forms of contact. Once again, "Planet Reality" is not quite as simple as one might guess. When construction and development threatens some of these plants, the proper legal permissions and protocols very often would not be granted in time to rescue the population of plants that are threatened. In a perfect world, .... but this is reality. Deal with it.
... not suffering from insanity, but rather enjoying it actually!
When construction and development threatens some of these plants, the proper legal permissions and protocols very often would not be granted in time to rescue the population of plants that are threatened.
In cases such as this, then yes, there maybe a moral case (if not legal) for collecting. But if the site is not threatened - as in the case of this question, then it is theft, pure and simple.
I realize that this thread is now almost a month old, but it's still near the top of the page, so I guess it's ok to reply to it. I agree with the people who were saying that it's an exaggeration to say that without restrictions there would be no CPs left in the wild. The hobby just isn't that popular. But that being said I don't think that people should have a "I'm only one man" attitude and take as many as they want assuming that one person can't possibly make a difference. I mean, etymology hobbyists commonly collect and pin insects and no one gets upset about the destruction of the species. And about getting the permission of a landowner, I think that's one of those grey areas. Yes, technically it's stealing, but a lot of things are technically stealing that you would never get in trouble for. Today I let someone borrow a pen and they purposely made off with it. They stole it just as proudly as they pleased, but it's not as if I could or would call the police because my pen was stolen. If you're crossing a ditch on Wal-Mart's property and you come across an abundance of plants growing and you want one, take one! Don't write a letter to Wal-Mart asking if you can have one. They'll be extinct before the people at Wal-Mart even figure out what you're talking about. I guess the bottom line for me would be: Ask if it makes sense. Like if you're fishing on your friend Bob's land and you see a plant you want, sure! Ask Bob if you can take one. If you're walking across a corporation's property you're just going to waste your time and theirs trying to find someone to ask. And you probably won't ever get an answer. Or you'll get a letter back telling you you're being sued for trespassing. Ha. And you would have been better off to just take the plant in the first place and not draw attention to yourself.
Very well said theauto. This world is not as simple as to reduce these things down to simple minded black and white issues, sometimes there are only various shades of grey; yet "common sense" is really not so common. My rule of thumb is: if there is a single point of contact, with whom I can ask, I will make the effort to try, but if I have to approach some institutionalized, or cooperate entity for permission, then all bets are off! but that's just me; one of the best sites for some aquatic Utricularia near me grows in a roadside ditch by some military outpost, the Picatinny Arsenal. - Rich
I know it's been months since I made that first post in this thread, but I've been obligated to focus my attentions elsewhere.
I certainly won't dispute that there are legitimate ethical questions about taking whole plants or propagation material in the wild.
I'm wondering though, isn't it somewhat iffy to rely exclusively on plants bought from commercial growers? As I understand it, many of these are clones of clones of clones. Wouldn't it be advantageous to take a few plants, seeds or cuttings out of the wild -- only if the species is in no danger of extinction or overcollecting -- just to add to the gene pool of the plants in private collections? Wouldn't it also hedge against the possibility of some subspecies or variants being devastated in the wild by natural or man-made disasters?
1. there are a lot of good growers that maintain "pure" plants. They were legally collected by people who know the rules and gotten permission/permits. These plants are divided an raised an can be found in many collections as so called "named location plants". If have several, so do a lot of people I know. Meadowview also provides them in the US on there sales events and most societies also have sales including these plants.
2. Yes, there are thinks to be said about "saving the gene-pool". Since many good intentions ended in disasters I suggested we leave it to those who professionally know what to do. They generally also know the rules about permits etc.
3. If you want to debate the ethics, come next year to the ICPS-conference. It is themed on ex-situ conservation and there will be a debate on this subject along with lectures and a great show.
While I would never steal something just because I wanted it, if a developer was going to bulldoze a site that contained CP and I was in the area, I would have to try and save some of those plants. IMHO I don't think the developer is really going to care. That being said, a thief is a thief, and sometimes, they get shot. In my book, no CP is worth being shot. Also it's not very wise to incriminate yourself on a publicly read forum.
The bog is on the highway with a sign announcing it's existence. I'm positive many people have taken from it, and yet it flourishes. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, only true. I stated I was playing "The Morning Star's" advocate.
Gotta go, the cops are at my door.
Happy growing, Jack "Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead, American Anthropologist