Re: Legaity of Collection - Legal quirk?!!!

From: Paul Temple (
Date: Sat Jul 17 1999 - 17:49:37 PDT

Date: Sun, 18 Jul 1999 00:49:37 +0000
From: Paul Temple <>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg2614$foo@default>
Subject: Re: Legaity of Collection - Legal quirk?!!!

Despite anything you might believe before you've read all this email,
this is a serious reply, on-subject, and botanical too.

Now guys and gals, I've been trying to get you all laughing in the
aisles for years but my sense of humous is either too subtle (unlikely)
or just not very funny! But I think I've got a chance this time. In
all seriousness, I am responding to the above topic with my
interpretation of the law. Mad can comment if I'm completely wrong.
The punch line is at the end but is meaningless unless you read the
whole thing in the order I present it. Don't worry though, it's not a
long email!

Oh yes, if any of you own an American "Green Card" and are gardeners,
you may be interested, especially if you own land which contains wild
plants that you occassionally cut for indoor flowers in your house!

So, remember that there are now biodiversity rules that effectively
apply in all signatory countries (Europe, USA, amoungst others)? OK.
So, now that you remember, this lengthy and complex convention was
written by very educated people. Along with various conservation aims
one aim was to stop people with no apparent rights from depriving people
with moral rights from the actual benefits those rights might acrue. So,
to speak in plain English, and as an example of the previous sentence,
we Europeans and Americans (as well as many others - Japanese,
Australians, etc.) can not go to Belize and collect seed or any other
part of any wild plant without formal permission from Belizian
authorities to do so. But Belizians can as the Biodiversity Rules do
not require someone to get permission to collect in their own country
except where specific plants or areas have additional protection (say in
a National Park or if National rules forbid even nationals and locals to
tamper with wild plants).

So, back in l'il ol' America, we return to the man who owns a plot of
land in which grow rare plants. And yes, it would seem that American
law allows the owner of the land to do almost what he likes to plants on
his land but anyone else must seek permission, not necessarily just from
the owner but possibly even from the State.

But (BUT!!!), according to the biodiversity conventions to which America
is a signatory and which America is therefore required to uphold, if the
landowner is not an American, that is to say, if the landowner legally
owns the land but is not entitled to American nationality, then the land
owner can not take any part of the plants without formal permission from
the appropriate authorities (those accountable for American flora).
This might seem strange but then a lot of very intelligent people wrote
the biodiversity conventions and we all know that if you put a lot of
intelligent people into a room to write a law, the law always comes out



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