|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 187 March 21, firstname.lastname@example.org|
Dr. Janos Podani, Department of Plant Taxonomy and Ecology, L. Eotvos University, Budapest, Hungary will conduct a special three-day multivariate analysis workshop in Anchorage, Alaska, 29-31 May 1998. The course "Exploration of Multivariate Data Structures in Biology: How to Use the SYN-TAX package on the Mac or PC" will combine morning lectures with afternoon hands-on application to teach the basic concepts and advanced features of the updated SYN-TAX 5.1 computing package. Participants are encouraged to bring their own data sets.
Topics covered will be: (1) Classification. Hierarchical, non-hierarchical, and fuzzy approaches; (2) Ordination. Metric and non-metric multidimensional scaling. Principal components analysis; (3) Evaluation of classifications and ordinations. Comparisons, consensus, meta-analysis, and Monte Carlo tests; (4) Character ranking. Rearrangement of distance and data matrices to elucidate diagonal or block structures; and (5) Pattern analysis of species assemblages using digitized field data. The workshop will be held at Alaska Pacific University and will be limited to 20 participants.
Complete information and registration forms are available from the organizer (email@example.com; Stephen Talbot, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1011 East Tudor Road, Anchorage, Alaska 99503 USA; fax: (907) 786-3976; phone: (907) 786-3381)). Further information concerning the SYN-TAX package may be found on the Web homepage (http://ramet.elte.hu/~podani/).
Almost 25 years after the Club of Rome published their probably most famous report "Limits to growth", E. U. von Weizsaecker, A. B. Lovins & L. H. Lovins published a new report to the Club of Rome called "Factor Four." The first author is president of the Wuppertal Institute for climate and environmental research, a highly reputed independent foundation in Germany. The two others are head of the Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado and proposed most of the practical examples, some of which are realized in their Institute's building.
As the subtitle implies, the aim of the study is to show that it is possible to double global wealth by halving resource use. The book starts with 20 examples where energy productivity, 20 examples where material productivity and ten examples where transport productivity is quadrupled. Among those examples are low fuel consuming cars, low energy houses, energy efficient refrigerators, energy efficient produced beef and tomatoes, methods of irrigation, use of material efficient components or others of advanced, but usually already existing technologies.
The way to achieve this is described in the following chapters: authentic prices (that regard the real cost of a product, i.e. including environmental costs), start with most cost efficient things first, invest in efficiency whenever it is cheaper than exploitation, create markets for conserved resources, "green taxes" with "feebates" for inefficient structures and rebates to reward savers. One main idea to achieve this is to make saved resources ("nega"-resources like negawatts, negalitres, negakilometres etc.) cheaper than wasted resources.
The final chapters deal with new aspects of what to recognize under "civilization progress". A novel definition of "wealth" is presented and ways of restructuring our global economies are discussed.
Many of the ideas presented are startling and sensible, though not as comprehensive as the book pretends to be (e.g. solutions for the "big" industries are lacking). The authors provide means to change the economies but remain within free markets. But this is also one of the main reasons of critique, as the discussions in Germany following the release of the book showed, expressing that the current problems could not be solved by the means that caused them. On the other hand one may argue that only the means that caused a problem are able to solve them. However, up to now, there was no other system that remained as major means of economy (nor were some others given the chance to be proven). Nevertheless, it takes time, power and the will of the people who elect their governments to convert not only the local but time by time even the global economies. And especially now, as the summit in Kyoto showed a few weeks ago, the will of acting for a sustainable future and a climate friendly industry, is not very strong in European countries and even less in the USA (just talking of the countries with the major resource use). This leads to another important point: It is feared that the ideas of this book could be used to quadruple the wealth of the industrialized countries and neglect developing countries. Although this contrasts the authors intentions as could be read in the final chapters.
I first came across "Factor Four" in excerpts from a Czech newspaper posted on a web site. This book is a bestseller in Europe and it has been translated to Czech, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Swedish. English translation has been well received in Great Britain and Australia, but it has not been distributed in North America. I asked Ingolf Kuehn to write me this short overview of the original "Faktor vier" for BEN.
Meanwhile I dug deeper to find more about the book, and yes, you can get it in North America. It is available directly through Rocky Mtn Institute for US$35.00, including shipping. You can order RMI publications by phoning (970) 927-3851 or faxing (970) 927-3420 your Visa or MasterCard number. Or you can send a check to RMI, 1739 Snowmass Creek Road - Snowmass, CO 81654.
I greatly recommend you visit the Rocky Mtn Institute's web site http://www.rmi.org/
I also got the following information from the publisher of an English edition, Earthscan Co., London:
"Factor Four was first published in German and we published a translated edition (although Amory Lovins wrote much of the material so it was straightforward to translate back). The authors kept the sales rights for North America because Amory and Hunter Lovins wanted to write, with Paul Hawken, an edition which was more orientated to North America ... to be called Natural Capitalism."
"We will also be publishing that book outside North America but it is unlikely to be ready before the end of this year, if not early next. In the meantime we can actually sell copies of Factor Four to you from the UK. If you want a copy we charge 15.99 sterling plus 30% airmail postage. Just email or fax your credit card details with a delivery address."
Address: Earthscan Publications Ltd., 120 Pentonville Rd., London, N1 9JN - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web site: http://www.earthscan.co.uk/
I bought the book (from RMI) few days ago. The book is very well produced and it is exciting and stimulating reading.
BEN readers already know that I don't like hard copies of check- lists. They are usually obsolete the minute they are printed and they cannot be updated easily. Although I criticized Kartesz (1994) in BEN # 73 for being published in a hard copy version, this book is now my favourite reference. I use it whenever I need to find the correct spelling or correct authority of scien- tific names of vascular plants. In my discussion of the useful- ness of Kartesz' list I argued that the list should have been put on a web site and periodically updated. Since then the Kartesz list has been made available on the following web site:
and a new, completely revised version is about to be released as an electronic file (see "Digital floristic synthesis ..." below).
According to the authors, "Plants of British Columbia" should "provide a complete, up-to-date, and synonymized checklist of all known vascular plants, bryophytes, and lichens found in British Columbia, Canada." In my opinion, however, the book falls short of this target.
In the section on vascular plants, the authors followed Kartesz (1994) even to the point of including many of the same errors and mistakes found in Kartesz. For instance, Carex enanderi is attributed to Holm (instead of Hulten) both in Kartesz and Plants of British Columbia, Isolepis setaceus (should be setacea) has a wrong gender in both publications. Qian & Klinka included all synonyms listed in Kartesz, even those that have never been applied to the British Columbian plants, and the list is cluttered with useless names (every synonym is listed in this book three times). For example, Myriophyllum magdalenense Fern. was described and known only from the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Quebec, and we do not have to take it into account in British Columbia. Myriophyllum verticillatum var. cheneyi Fassett is known only from six collections from eastern U.S. Why list this synonym for British Columbia? Utricularia biflora has been be treated as a synonym of Utricularia gibba (in Kartesz and Plants of British Columbia) or as a distinct species. Even if it's considered as a form of U. gibba, we don't have it in British Columbia.
Kartesz' list was compiled with help of many experts. Some experts had little experience with the flora of western North America and their taxonomic conclusions are either wrong or at least questionable. I am not convinced that Vaccinium alaskense is conspecific with V. ovalifolium. I was surprised to see that Qian and Klinka did treat V. alaskense as conspecific with V. ovalifolium when they accepted V. alaskense in their recent paper on forest vegetation. There are several other species groups (e.g., Poa secunda complex) where it would have been more useful not to follow Kartesz' taxonomy.
Although Dr. W.B. Schofield helped authors with the bryophyte list, their bryophyte list is based on a rather old version published in Schofield (1992). The lichen list in the Plants of British Columbia seems more recent. I traced it to the list of lichens in Meidinger, D. et al. (1997) where the list of lichens was based on the unpublished 1996 Catalogue of British Columbia by Goward, Ahti, Brodo & Miege. However, some species excluded in Goward et. al. (1994) were included in Qian & Klinka's lichen list.
In their nomenclature the authors claimed to follow the older "Berlin Code" of botanical nomenclature. In fact, they actually followed the newer "Tokyo Code" especially in citations of authorities of vascular plants and lichens (in the bryophytes the authors still used the "in" connector according to the Berlin Code and earlier codes, cf. BEN # 103 "In is out").
The book is "based on an extensive review of literature." Unfor- tunately, the authors listed only a few of their sources. The authors ignored Hickman (1993), which is an important landmark in taxonomy of vascular plants of California and which brought numerous changes to the nomenclature of those plants that extend from California to British Columbia (e.g., in Hickman, Bois- duvalia is treated within the genus Epilobium - the new names should have been mentioned at least as synonyms, if authors disagreed with this change).
The book is structured much like Kartesz (1994). In part 1, vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens are first listed by families. The second part lists all the names again and gives a valid name to each synonym. Common names are given when avail- able and the list of common names and their scientific equiv- alents is attached. The authors indicated introduced species. I do not agree with authors in calling Myriophyllum verticillatum or Melampyrum lineare introduced species. Conversely, species such as Campylopus introflexus, Hieracium lachenalii, and Typha angustifolia should have been listed as introduced but were not. In defense of the authors, I must say that in spite of British Columbia's short history, it is often difficult to decide which species are native and which are introduced. I have to confess that when in doubt I check Hickman (1993).
The Appendix with 1,090 "Excluded names" is the Achilles heel of the book. Beside the plants that have been erroneously reported in British Columbia, there are many names that can be considered misapplied synonyms (e.g., Eleocharis ovata auct. = E. obtusa), and names that have been shunned in recent taxonomical treat- ments (e.g., Agrostis thurberiana). The "Excluded names" also contain many species that do actually occur in British Columbia. Few examples: Ammania concinna (=A. robusta), Carex haydenii, Carex torreyana, Cyperus erythrorhizos, Floerkea proser- pinacoides, Fraxinus latifolia, Heteranthera dubia, Microseris lindleyi, Scirpus cyperinus, etc. Many of these excluded species could have been included had the authors visited the UBC her- barium and the herbarium of the Royal British Columbia Museum. Actually, these are the very places where the authors should have spent some time before they started to work on their book.
The UBC Press did their best to produce this publication, al- though the price is far too high.
From the laboratory of the Biota of North America Program of the North Carolina Botanical Garden, in collaboration with the Jepson Herbarium of the University of California at Berkeley, comes the most comprehensive floristic synthesis ever assembled for the North American vascular flora. The work builds upon Dr. John T. Kartesz's 1994 Timber Press publication A Synonymized Checklist of the Vascular Flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland, and it includes a complete revision of all of the 1994 nomenclature of the Synonymized Checklist, and links nearly 500,000 records of plant distributions, at state or equivalent levels, to each accepted name.
Four individual digital products are described below, which will be available on 3.5 inch diskettes, for use on IBM-compatible systems running either Windows 95 or 3.1.
LEXICON. Product # 1. The nomenclature and taxonomy of the digital Lexicon follow Dr. John Kartesz's 1994, 2-volume Synonymized Checklist and the PLANTS database of the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), plus revisions. Specific summaries of common names, in addition to accepted scientific names and/or synonymized checklists, for any plant or plant group, can be easily displayed and printed. The Lexicon can be used to transfer scientific names directly to an open Microsoft Word or WordPerfect document by simply clicking on the name. Price per unit-US$99.00
FLORISTIC ATLAS. Product #2. For each of the more than 30,000 accepted taxa, the Floristic Atlas displays a state level dis- tribution map of each, allowing the maps to be printed in publication-quality format (in black and white, or color), or saved as Windows bitmap images, by a simple mouse-click. Price per unit-US$295.00.
BIOLOGICAL ATTRIBUTES. Product # 3. As a third product, a fully- populated summary of 45 biological attributes, which includes morphological and other specialized data, is also available for each accepted taxon. These biological attributes are viewed to be the most botanically useful or interesting to a broad audience, and those considered to have national or international importance, regarding rarity, nativity, weediness, insectivory, habit (tree, shrub, vine, etc.), habitat, trophic levels, dura- tion, medicinal value, forage and range values, toxicity, etc. Price per unit-US$195.00
TAXONOMIC TOOLBOX. Product # 4. The fourth product, referred to as the Taxonomic Toolbox, pools data from the previous three products into a unified system and offers combined capabilities, including the boolean operations found in both products 2 and 3. The price is 16% less than if purchased individually. Price per unit-US$495.00
Submissions, subscriptions, etc.: email@example.com. BEN is archived at http://www.ou.edu/cas/botany-micro/ben/