Re: S. leucophylla... gone

Michael.Chamberland (23274MJC@MSU.EDU)
Sun, 22 Oct 95 19:15 EDT

> In a message dated 95-10-22 13:57:28 EDT, you write:
> >Why is it illegal for someone to collect endangered species, yet the
> >equivalent to a nuclear bomb can be dropped on acres of Sarracenia by a
> >corporation and not an eyelash is batted! ? Where is the Nature
> >Conservancy? where are federal and state government laws that protect
> >these species? I don't get it! Are these corporations above the law?
> The problem is that S. leucophylla is "only" a species protected by CITES
> Appendix II. This means that collection permits are not neccessary to
> collect plants and, worse, large corporations can do pretty much what they
> want. Since S. leucophylla is not protected by the Endangered Species Act,
> S. leucophylla is only considered 'another plant.' The only way for
> Sarracenia to be protected by law is to place them on the Endangered or
> Threatened list of the ESA. In this case it would be considered as
> endangered as S. orophilla and trade would be stopped, so would the sale of
> plants and seed in the US. The problem is that and an endangerd plant on
> CITES is not necessarily condisered endangerd by law here in the US.

I am not sure of the Federal status of S. leucophylla. It may be listed as
Threatened, and then would receive some degree of protection, but not
nearly as much as a Federal Endangered species.

In adition to Federal protection, plants are also under state protection.
A plant may be listed as State Endangered or State Threatened, as well as
lesser categories. Again, I'm not certain of S. leucophylla's status, but
I am sure it is protected by state laws. You would need a permit to collect
S. leucophylla on Federal or State owned land. However, these laws are
almost impossible to enforce unless very large scale collection is being
done. In many cases a collection permit is hard to obtain, often not because
the plant is being strictly protected, but because most people "just collect"
and don't apply for permits - the agencies don't know the procedure for
issuing the permit! :-) (this is mostly a problem when you want to
collect a common plant, getting a permit to collect rare plants is in
some ways easier because a protocol is in place!)

There is another set of regulations covering the collection/destruction of
wild plants growing on your own private property. The person who owns the
land is not totally free to do whatever he wants with the plants growing
on his land. In this case it is possible the law was broken. Maybe not,
I don't know the laws for that state. But in any case I think you would
almost have to catch the person in the act of clearing the land, or have
a videotape of it to enforce the law.

Many landowners are angry about restrictions placed on what they can do
with their land. In Texas, enormous tracts of desert and short-grass
prairie are privately owned by ranchers. These ranchers are very strict
about keeping people off their land, especially people interested in the
plants. They aren't trying to protect the plants... they are worried that
people will discover endangered cacti on thier land, and the government
will then take away their land or restict what they can do with it.

Strong lobbying forces are working the US Congress to reduce the regulations
on landowners. They are also attempting to weaken the laws which protect
wild organisms and their habitats (ie. the Endangered Species Act). This
is being done in the name of increasing personal freedom for Americans.

(My take on the issue is, so long as the population grows, so long as
technology increases the power of the individual, and so long as the
available resources decrease... me MUST have more regulation and reduced
personal freedom, in order to stave off anarchy. I don't think regulation
is really a desirable thing, but is nescessary until we address the problems
of population, technology, and consumption).

lly don't feel that small collections made by responsible hobbiests
> >is the problem. Mass collection for trade is bad, but by far, the worst
> >threat to Sarracenia stands in the south is habitat destruction by
> >developers and corporations.
> I think most of us would agree. However, and unfortunately, we don't have
> the political clout or financial resources to stop these large corporations.

Each little collection event probably does little or no harm. But if
lots of people know of the site, and it is being collected by someone
every week, then even the impact of careful collectors will add up.
CP may be collected not just by experienced CP collectors, but also by
kids, botany students, people just getting into CP, or people who pass
by and think that may look nice in the garden...

Whew! Time for me too to apologize for the soap box (soap opera? :-)

Michael Chamberland