|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 322 January 29, email@example.com||Victoria, B.C.|
We regret reporting that Bruce Douglas Ryan passed away last night (January 21, 2004), after battling cancer for the past two years. Somehow he has made his peace with the disease, and was amazingly cheerful up to the end. Bruce is survived by his parents, who are both in a nursing home near Seattle.
Bruce was born on September 13th, 1950, in Los Angeles and was educated in Florida and Washington. He received a B.A. degree at Washington State University in 1976, a M.S. degree from Western Washington University in 1981 and a Ph.D. from Arizona State University in 1989. Bruce was an enthusiastic member of the American Bryological and Lichenological Society, The International Association of Lichenology, The Northwest Lichen Guild and the California Lichen Society. Through extensive collecting and laboratory research, he became one of the major experts in the identification of lichens from the western U.S. and was a specialist in Lecanora subgenus Placodium. As the Associate Curator for the Arizona State University lichen herbarium, he was a major contributor to both Vol. I (published 2002) and Vol. II (nearing publication) of the Lichen Flora of the Greater Sonoran Desert Region.
The Victoria Native Plant Study Group (NPSG) has been in the forefront of the plant rescue movement. By negotiating with developers we save native plants, even some quite rare ones, from sure eradication under the blades and tracks of land clearing machinery. Since you must be a member of our organization to participate and as more people hear about the rather new concept of harvesting native plants from sites that are earmarked for immediate development, they join our group and we benefit from increased membership and the attendant annual fees. Sometimes these rescued plants are used in our gardens or sometimes they are donated to restoration projects throughout the Victoria area. Sometimes the seeds and cuttings are used to propagate more plants in nurseries and further the native plant gardening movement. These all seem to be activities that we can and should support.
But I wonder...
Spring 2002 and 2003 saw a huge plant rescue operation at what came to be known as the Langvista sites in Langford. Early spring 2002 found myself an eager participant in plant rescue activities. I was delighted to be able to save native plants from certain obliteration and provide my own property and a native plant garden I was attempting to create on my local municipal grounds with often expensive and hard to find native plant material. We all carefully followed the rules laid out by the developers and stayed well out of covenanted areas, glad to know some of the site's natural beauty and plant community was protected. I did give a moments pause to wonder where the many birds displaying territorial behaviour would be nesting this year. However there was a beautiful intact site across the road they could migrate to and I ignored the obvious, which was; that site would already have it's full complement of birds asserting their territories. Overall, I felt good about myself and my efforts.
Early 2003 myself and a friend bid on the contract to remove broom from the covenanted areas on this now developed site. Through this work we learned that the area across the road, the back side of Mill Hill Capital Regional District Park, was also about to be developed. I consulted with the developers and found they were amenable to further plant rescue operations at this new site. NPSG membership grew as word of the wealth of plant material at this site filtered through the native plant enthusiast community.
This site was so amazing, everyone commented on the abundance and diversity of plant material. There were a few blue-listed Isoetes nuttallii, literally thousands of Allium amplectens, only recently declassified as a blue-listed species, both species indicative of an uncommon vernal wetland ecosystem. Some of the plants collected include: Delphinium menziesii, Sisyrinchium douglasii (now Olsynium), Allium accuminatum and A. cernuum, Piperia spp., Spiranthes romanzoffiana, Calypso bulbosa, Erythronium oregonum, Camassia spp., Ranunculus occidentalis, Brodiaea coronaria, Triteleia hyacinthina, Fritillaria affinis, Saxifaga occidentalis and S. cespitosa, Lithophragma parviflorum, Eriophyllum lanatum, Lupinus bicolor, Clinopodium chamissoi, Lilium columbianum, Dodecatheon hendersonii and D. pulchellum, Trifolium willdenowii, Mimulus spp., Collinsia grandiflora var. pusilla, Plectris congesta, Grindelia intergrifolia, various native grasses, such as Danthonia californica, Elymus glaucus, Festuca roemeri, Bromus spp., and Stipa lemmonnii, ferns Aspidotis densa, Pentagramma triangularis, Cystopteris fragilis, Polystichum munitum and P. imbricans, many unidentified mosses, lichens and fungi and there were large numbers of virtually all these plants. Some sharp-eyed members harvested Aster curtus, designated red-listed in British Columbia.
All these species begs the question, what did we miss? What other rare jewels were not apparent to our non-expert eyes? Mill Hill Park has recently been inventoried by Hans Roemer and he has found many more species and occurrences of rare plants than was previously thought to exist there. It is logical to consider the same would be true at this adjacent site.
This year brought a shift in my perceptions and I didn't feel quite so lucky to be involved in the "good works" of plant rescue, rather I felt increasingly sickened by the destruction and plunder of this hugely productive, rich, rare association of ecosystems. When someone declared they felt like "a kid in a candy store", I really started to wonder at the appropriateness of what we were doing. This was no candy store that could be restocked with old favourites. It took many thousands of years to produce the assemblage of plants and animals at this site. Nothing we attempt in our lifetimes could ever replace the astonishing environment that was lost.
When I consider the number of people who made many repeated trips to this site to rescue plants, I wonder what could have been accomplished had that same time and energy been directed towards saving the site. I have heard the developers were willing to sell the site to CRD Parks. What if we had worked with the District of Langford, CRD Parks, GOERT, NGOs, the provincial and the federal governments? Could we have preserved this immensely rich and biodiverse community for future generations? Garry oak ecosystems are considered one of the three most endangered ecosystems in Canada, only a tiny fraction remains, and through our ignorance and inactivity we let a piece of the best of the last remnants be destroyed. Perhaps if we had not been so focused on "rescuing" individual plants we could have rescued an entire ecosystem. What good are the plants that we saved really? They have become mere gardening material rather than part of a dynamic ecosystem, is that a worthwhile trade?
Since this spring I have not participated in further "plant rescue" opportunities. I feel ambivalent about the value and appropriateness of this activity. Should we focus our limited resources on plant rescue? Or would the enthusiastic members of the plant rescue corps harness the power of their combined energies to the preservation of endangered ecosystems? Does the immediate gratification of "owning" rescued plants outweigh the long and sometimes arduous struggle to protect and preserve our natural heritage? Does the diplomacy involved in securing plant rescue options on a site preclude the ability to fight for the preservation of the site? Is there even an organization that is working to prioritize the acquisition of the last relics of our Garry oak ecosystems? Perhaps if I could be sure that we had explored all possible avenues to protect and preserve every remaining significant Garry oak and associated ecosystem site, then "plant rescue" operations would be worthwhile endeavours. At the moment I find myself sitting on the fence of indecision, staring at the crossroads of choice and I ask myself this question: if there is only a limited time left, what would I want to leave as my legacy?
Peter F. Zika's annotated checklist of the vascular plants of Crater Lake National Park includes 682 documented species. Species are arranged by family. Accepted name, synonyms, common name, ecological information, park location(s), and miscellaneous notes are given for each species. - Frank A. Lang [firstname.lastname@example.org]
"In giving us T. D. A. Cockerell up close and personal, William A. Weber has delivered a very valuable and interesting look at a period when science and education on the American frontier were at their earliest stages, and dependent on the heart and vision of an intrepid few." Edward O. Wilson
A complete, updated checklist of the native and naturalized vascular plants found in Saskatchewan, including a subset of provincially and nationally rare plants, with their rarity ratings from a variety of sources. This is not an identification guide but a reference list with full botanical names, author-citations, synonyms, commmon names, and abundance estimates, for specialists such as botanists, enviornmentalists, and researchers.
The filmy ferns are a unique group of plants among pteridophytes characterised by sporangia aggregated on cylindrical receptacles enclosed in characteristically shaped indusia and the one cell thick, delicate lamina lacking stomata. This book is the first of its kind on these delicate plants of the Western Ghats, one among the biodiversity hotspots of the world. Owing to their delicate plant body these plants are confined to the deeply shaded pristine evergreen forests, usually in the spray zones of waterfalls, on rocks and boulders of streamlets or attached to the bark and buttresses of shrubs and trees near the perennial water sources. This book is the result of extensive field studies done by the authors in the dense and deep evergreen forests of the Western Ghats of Southern India. Well-illustrated detailed accounts of 28 South Indian filmy ferns are provided in this book with updated nomenclature (5 new combinations) and ecological notes.