Barry Meyers-Rice (
Fri, 11 Nov 1994 11:10:31 -0700

>survival of the species. CITIES the way it is set up encourages the
>extinction of many plants.

Do you have a better solution? I suspect that CITES does more good than
it does bad. There is probably more biomass being shipped by people with
their own pockets in mind than there is by conservation-oriented people
who genuinely care for the welfare of the plants and animals involved.
While I consider myself a very ethical person w.r.t. conservation
issues, it is a sad fact that a large number of horticulturists, CPers
included, field collect inappropriately. I've run into people in the field
who were collecting plants with various justifications, usually questionable
or pathetic.

One of the ways I justify my collecting _Sarracenia_, an endangered genus,
is by the seed production I do each year, emphasizing the generation of
vigorous pure species seeds. But it's not clear to me whether distributing
plants to growers is helping to satisfy a market, or increasing interest
and therefore increasing pressure on the plants!

What absolutely infuriates me is when I encounter people collecting plants
on protected property, as in national monuments, Nature Conservancy land,
or National Parks. This is completely reprehensible behavior.

>I'll tell you what CITES listing did to one orchid. Paphiopedilum
>delenatii is listed, I think, in CITES 1. It is native to Vietnam and
>was thought to be extinct until recently. Well, when the Vietnamese
>government got wind of the potential value of P.delenatii they started
>gathering them and shipped (according to whose story you believe) either
>20,000 or 100,000 plants, through Hongkong, to Japan for an orchid
>festival. The Japanese government blinked, checked it out, and threw the
>whole batch out of the country, along with the folks that imported them.
>They were then shipped to Taiwan where their residue resides today, dying
>because of the difference in climate.
>So here, CITES probably did destroy a species single handed. I have heard

I would strongly argue that CITES did NOT destroy the species, rather the
Vietnamese government did. If parties acted as Japan did (in this case)
more often, Vietnam would not have had the incentive to act as they did.

This is all a very grey area. I do not claim to have answers, just thoughts
and a hell of a lot of frustration. There is a CITES discussion list if
there are those interested in this further. Send the message