|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 333 July 30, email@example.com||Victoria, B.C.|
Out on the West coast of Vancouver Island, four essentials made for one of life's great afternoons: The presence of my sweetie, good red wine, a lonesome beach and the Pacific Ocean. We hiked down the West Coast Trail out of Bamfield for about five miles, used ropes to descend a muddy slope, and reveled in a seascape of rocks and surf, eagles and seals.
Pacific Rim National Park has other joys. Several friends have kayaked through the Broken Islands. Families experience the surf of Long Beach and tide pools of Florencia Bay. The town of Tofino rocks. Trekkers do the full 50-mile West Coast Trail, a route originally laid out to save lives of seafarers wrecked on the wild coast.
The person we could thank for the experience was a slightly stuffy politician from Victoria, who successfully campaigned for the national park after being elected to Canada's House of Commons in 1968.
The time to thank David Anderson is now.
After an up-and-down career -- the last 11 years in the federal Cabinet -- Anderson lost his position as Canada's environment minister when Prime Minister Paul Martin unveiled his new Cabinet on July 20, 2004. He is out of the Cabinet, but still in Parliament. "It's awful important when people try to do the right thing, you give them a bit of credit," John Fraser, a former Speaker of the House of Commons and political foe of Anderson, reflected.
Others were joyous that Anderson got the boot.
"New Cabinet Opens Door to Offshore Drilling," headlined The Province in Vancouver.
The British Columbia government is gung-ho to drill for oil in waters off the Queen Charlotte Islands. In order for the drilling platforms to go in, Canada's federal government will have to lift a 33-year moratorium on drilling off the West Coast. Anderson was a voice of restraint, in Fraser's words, "insisting that proper environmental and scientific studies be done in advance" and that oil companies pay for independent evaluation.
The new minister, Stephane Dion, is from Quebec and has little experience with environmental issues. A Nova Scotia lawmaker was named minister of fisheries and oceans.
Anderson was fisheries minister in the 1990s and helped pull off -- with Gov. Gary Locke -- settlement of the long-running Pacific salmon dispute between the United States and Canada. Both men traded risks. Despite an uproar from commercial and sport fishers, Anderson curtailed the catch of endangered chinook and coho salmon bound for Puget Sound rivers. In turn, Locke kept U.S. fishermen from catching sockeye salmon from the so-called "early Stuart" run, which migrates more than 850 miles upstream in the Fraser River system. Locke's action may have saved the run: Warm water conditions were causing record instream mortality.
Direct negotiations between a Canadian Cabinet member and a U.S. governor were unusual. "It was strange," recalled Locke. "Backstage, the White House was encouraging us while the State Department was saying, 'You can't do this.' Ultimately our ad- hoc agreements provided the impetus for a U.S.-Canada treaty." "David took a lot of heat on it. We had to run a gauntlet of jeers when we made the announcement up north. I enjoyed working with him."
Of course, Anderson could also be a knucklehead. He would hear no objection to Victoria dumping 11 million gallons of raw sewage each day into the Strait of Juan de Fuca: Even as the area closed to shellfishing grew, the environment minister held fast to Canadians' curious doctrine that the solution to pollution is dilution.
The minister was never a man to humor. A furious phone call from Victoria greeted me after a Channel 9 show in which one panelist joked that the Canadian government should deal with Victoria sewage in its upcoming Speech from the Throne. Similarly, Anderson was visibly angered at attention-seeking Greenpeacers, and protests from everybody-is-a-sellout-but-us environmentalists complaining that he wasn't moving fast enough on endangered species or air emissions.
It's always much easier to hurl spears in protest than to carry the shield of authority. South of the border, on the day Anderson was being bounced from the Cabinet, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regional boss John Iani announced his departure.
Iani will be remembered for standing up to a Canadian mining giant, Teck Cominco, whose smelter in Trail, B.C., has discharged pollutants downstream into our Lake Roosevelt.
Teck Cominco launched a public relations blitz that collected the usual industry allies -- local county commissioners and the three Republican members of Washington's congressional delegation. EPA has insisted, however, that under U.S. law it has final authority over the scope of contamination studies and the measures undertaken to clean up the lake. Iani has also shown courage standing up to local politicians who resisted cleanup of mine wastes in Idaho's Silver Valley.
It's a pretty fair record, in an administration that has repeatedly kowtowed to polluters.
Up north, the dominant new British Columbia voice in Canada's Cabinet belongs to Industry Minister David Emerson. He was until recently chief executive at Canfor, one of the province's major forest products firms. Early statements by Emerson indicate that the Canadian and B.C. governments will now push ahead to put drilling platforms off the Queen Charlottes. Hecate Strait is a notoriously stormy place. Several prominent scientists, noting clockwise tidal movement, warn that a blowout spill could foul beaches, islands and estuaries along many miles of the north coast.
David Anderson is without a seat at the Cabinet table. He still has a platform in Parliament. Hopefully, he will do something that was verboten as a government minister.
[For a short biography of David Anderson see BEN # 319]
Minister of the Environment
president of Privy Council, minister of federal-provincial relations (1996-2003). Co-ordinator of issues related to official languages (2001-03).
Education: BA and MA, PhD
Dion was born Oct. 28, 1955 in Quebec City. He was elected in the Montreal riding of Saint-Laurent-Cartierville in 1996, 1997 and 2000. Dion is a specialist in public administration, organization analysis and has published a number of books and articles. He taught political science at the Universite de Moncton in 1984 and the Universite de Montreal from 1984 to January 1996.
During the same period, Dion was also a senior research fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. [cf. ] Between 1987 and 1995, he published a number of books and articles on political science, public administration and management.
[Some of Stephane Dion's books:
The complexity of crop plant research is demonstrated by three examples of plants with different histories, values and perspectives in agriculture: the roses, an ancient leek and a tropical weed species. An awareness of human influence on diversity and our ability to cause global changes will hopefully induce more sensibility in managing the environment.
Growing numbers of plants and animals are distributed throughout the world by human activities. Within the plants, regarding their degree of hemeroby, we distinguish between cultivated plants or crops, weeds and wild plants. Primary crops have been derived from wild plants by selection, cultivation and direct domestication. Secondary crops developed from crop-mimetic weeds, i.e. from co-domesticated wild plants (convergent type). The non-convergently evolved weeds have largely disappeared from utilization (Scholz 1996). Secondary weeds are derived from populations of former crops (Spahillari et al. 1999). In some cases, all the abovementioned groups may be present within one single plant species. This illustrates that the indication of hemerobic or synanthropic organisms and the differentiation of levels of synanthropy, such as a-, oligo-, meso- and eu- hemeroby, are still difficult to distinguish. The longer the processes of co-evolution continue, the closer the connection becomes between plants, humans, and human culture.
Cultivated plant populations with dependence on human interest for permanent cultivation are named Ergasiophyta (Kowarik 1985, Sukopp 1995). These plants may have wild ancestors, wild, feral or weedy relatives, but themselves do nor have any native growing habitat, neither they are part of native living communities and natural vegetation except such areas influenced or created by man. The term Hemerophyta is introduced here to define the group of plants, grown, planted, promoted or sown by man. This group of plants contains weeds (segetalia, ruderalia), crops, forestry plants, ornamental, park and garden plants, gene bank accessions, material from botanic gardens. As long as they grow under human supervision, they are not considered to be wildgrowing. In contrast to Neobiota (see below), the term Neo- Hemerophyta should be limited to plants during their process of adaptation to new conditions and locations. Established populations, permanently used and annually grown crops would not retain the prefix "Neo" in the respective environment. Feral, or escaping populations are also not called Hemerophyta.
Human individuals, families and populations intercross, migrate and trade, hence the plants intercross with their relatives. Hybridization and introgressions from wild to cultivated plants and vice versa occur spontaneously. The selecting pressures in the respective populations are quite different. In native communities, the fitness of individuals with crop characters is reduced. In farms and gardens, plants with wild characters are weeded out and not used for seed production. Plants and seeds are distributed actively by man (crops) or passively (weeds, wild plants) and present in their strong dependence on human culture are special cases of invasive Neobiota. When the new crops are integrated into agriculture in the new environment or if they can escape and grow spontaneously at new localities, new populations, subspecies and even new species may be generated and distributed this way. The most synanthropic plants are potential adventitious organisms and thus - as far as the environmental conditions do not limit their further dispersal - even cosmopolitans, using man with his travel, culture and domesticated animals as vector for their own distribution (hemerochorous and anthropochorous organisms).
Among other categories, autochthonous (or indigenous, apophytes) and allochthonous (adventitious) plants are distinguished in plant geography. Unfortunately, the terminology is insufficient to clarify the situation of cultivated plants in detail as the following examples illustrate. Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) and garden beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) originate from the Americas (at the species level) and have their primary centers of diversity there. In gardens of Africans, Asians, Australians and Europeans, they are neophytic Ergasiophyta and have replaced other vegetables or reduced their respective growing areas since about 1500. At present they are Hemerophyta in all mentioned parts of the world. The farmers, gardeners and later on the plant breeders here have selected the plants quite differently. Thus, they developed new characters and new diversity in these so called secondary centers of diversity, without having counterparts in the primary centers. However, the question arises, whether it is justified to name infraspecific plant groups like these or e.g. allotetraploid crop species like rape (Brassica napus) homeless, Xenophyta, Anecophyta or Indigenophyta anthropogena (see Sukopp & Scholz 1997), since their places of origin are not exactly known and they do not occur in native vegetation? How does the locality of origin or creation influence the future growing area of a crop - including genetic modified organisms (transgenic cultigens) - or how might it determine the size of a potential growing territory of any wild plant? As the examples illustrate, the term "Neophyta" is defined for and occupied by "new" plants, established in vegetation after 1500. How long do Neobiota and Neocenoses (Kowarik 1985) remain "new"? In other words, which term should be applied to really new plants and plant communities or those with the potential to invade native or agricultural systems 500 years after 1492? In dimensions of annuals, this means 500 generations later.
To illustrate potentials, chances, our lack of knowledge and missing systematics in terminology even in crop plant research, three cases of plants are described below. The present status and perspectives in Germany are discussed here in brief for a genus of ornamental plants, for a traditional vegetable from the leek group, and for a tropical weed species.
The "queen of the flowers" is an excellent example for a taxonomically very complicated genus, containing wild plants, originating from the northern hemisphere and their nowadays widely spread cultivated descendants. Many of the 100-200 wild species intercross and have a remarkable infraspecific variation. The beautiful, sweet smelling flowers are a symbol for love and joie de vivre since ancient times. Roses are cultivated as ornamentals but they are also grown for practical uses: the thorny shrubs are planted in hedges against soil erosion, the fragrant flowers are collected to produce attar of roses, rosewater and perfumes, and the fruit is used for jam, tea, medicinal or pharmaceutical purposes. Young sprouts, leaves and buds are consumed as vegetables in some regions of the world.
To describe, to classify and to maintain the continuously evolving diversity of roses (infrageneric Neo-Hemerophyta) is a Sisyphian task. For more than 100 years, interested people have systematically collected wild and cultivated roses and have maintained old and new rose varieties in special rosaria and gardens for roses. One of the most famous collections is the European Rosarium in Sangerhausen, founded by the German Roses Society in 1903. Thousands of old and new roses grow side by side there, and each sown seed sample bears new diversity. But the material is strictly propagated vegetatively. Recent breeding aims in roses are e.g. to increase the content of vitamins in the fruit and to reach new colors (blue).
This plant is a relic crop with quite doubtful nomenclature and classification. It is frequently confused or mixed with potato onion and shallots (Tittel 1986). Originating from the Southern Mediterranean area (Israel/Palestine?), it is an extremely rare allochthonous crop in Germany. Probably introduced by the crusaders, it is perhaps extinct in the area of origin and has a very disjunct distribution today. One of the isolated locations where this species can be found is in Germany. The plants found in Germany are morphologically quite uniform. They are grown in vineyard terraces around the city of Stuttgart only. For several hundred years it was not mentioned and perhaps forgotten by scientists (Gladis 1996, Gladis and Bross-Burkhardt 2000). The ‘shallot-leek’ perhaps might be related to or be developed through influence with common onion (Allium cepa). It strongly differs from onion by its specific aroma, its perennial growth in dwarf bunches developing from very small, frequently dividing subterranean bulbs and by having two growing seasons per year. Adapted to summer drought and to frost, the leaves die in June and late autumn. During winter, they start to grow again. The foliage is used to prepare special dishes and these are consumed in spring only. Dispersal by escaping to the wild and even to the cultivated environment is not possible. The plant does bears neither seeds nor bulbils; it is just vegetatively propagated by dividing the slow growing bunches. Since it can not compete with other crops and weeds , is completely dependent on careful cultivation in special climatic and soil conditions, has never been a market crop, and is constantly losing growing area, it has become a highly endangered species. Losing the status of an hemerophytic species, it will be extinct very soon.
The scientific comparison of all available and related material is of great interest in order to find out whether plants that are principally vegetatively propagated are able to adapt to specific climate conditions, to modify their habit,and if genetic distances within and between populations have developed within the last thousand years. Initial research work on this leek group has yielded interesting results (Friesen and Klaas 1998) and should be continued.
Ladizinsky (1987) demonstrated that the patterns of pulse domestication are completely different from the evolution of cereals in the same region. In analogy, different domestication patterns should be estimated for selection of e.g. vegetables, spices and ornamentals too. There exist few cases of rare and endangered annual weeds in Europe, which are frequently used and grown as ornamentals now: the corn cockle and a related wild species (Agrostemma githago, A. brachylobum), the cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), and the cut and drying flower Bupleurum rotundifolium should be mentioned here. Changes in fashion require frequent changes in ornamentals. Breeders on the one hand have to follow these changes, on the other hand they are free to influence next season’s fashion by providing new and attractive colours, flower forms and habits.
Striga hermonthica and related species (Scrophulariaceae) are common and dangerous weeds e.g. in dry and semi dry areas in Africa. The plants are obligatory parasites on roots of Sorghum, cereals, millets and grasses, grown in excessively utilized, poor and eroded soil and are supported by cultivation measures. They are comparable to secondary parasites. International research programs on these weeds try to reduce infection rates, to find native antagonists, to interrupt reproductive cycles and to stop seed distribution (Kroschel et al. 1999).
Quite new is the aspect of attractiveness of this plant. The danger of infection of European fields may be excluded by the extremely high germination temperature. Together with tropical grasses, Striga hermonthica might be developed as a fascinating new ornamental in urban areas. Plant breeders will include this species into their breeding programs (Kroschel & Gladis 2000). In Europe, the cultivation of this weed has not yet left the experimental phase.
The situation of mankind and that of plant genetic resources in past and present justify the fear of ongoing marginalization of neglected and underutilized crops (Hammer and Heller 1998). Many of the less important cultivated plants will be extinct in the near future if they are not maintained ex situ - in gene banks and in botanical gardens. Unfortunately, financial support for research on the described subject strongly depends on the applied technology, not on the package of questions.
The tendency toward uniform arable land, culture and crop plants consumed by mankind will increase during advanced globalization. Human influence on plant and animal diversity and his ability to cause global changes in climatic conditions, in soil and in water chemistry will hopefully induce a greater sense of responsibility in managing the environment and will lead to consideration of alternative economic models. Therefore, it is necessary to reassert the moral objective of stewardship and to incorporate ecological science into policy. In addition to that Roughgarden (1995) demands:
We do not know enough about our own systems of economics and values to make any prognoses regarding sustainable use and maintenance of biodiversity on earth. If economists take costs into account in setting environmental or other objectives, they should also look at the costs for benefits lost forever. Hemerophyta are the most suitable, preconditioned plant group for research and use. Each further loss in their diversity will be more difficult to compensate than the previous.
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