ISSN 1188-603X

No. 398 July 24, 2008 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2

A. PETER WHARTON (1951-2008)

From: Douglas Justice []

A. Peter Wharton, curator of the David C. Lam Asian Garden at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Botanical Garden, died on June 30th 2008. He had contracted melanoma, which went undiagnosed until this spring, when it had already spread into his vital organs and at which point treatment was ineffective.

Peter spent the greater part of his life developing the Asian Garden, a singularly beautiful garden filled with plants both subtle and spectacular, all skillfully arranged within the native Point Grey forest. Many would say that UBC's Asian Garden is the Botanical Garden's signature garden, and it is not hyperbole to say that Peter's garden is famous around the world.

The plants that grace the Asian Garden represent many things fundamental to Peter's vision and ethic. Most of the species represented are grown from seed collected in the wild, and many of those, Peter collected himself over the various expeditions he took to China, Korea and Vietnam. Some of the plants in the garden are rare or threatened in their native habitats, and Peter was a strong advocate for using the garden's collections to promote conservation. His expeditions were always collaborative ventures and the fruits of the relationships Peter fostered with plant explorers, scientists and garden professionals around the world are seen in many other gardens, in his writing and especially, of course, in the Asian Garden.

Peter graduated with a forestry degree from the University of North Wales, Bangor, U.K. in 1973, before training as an arborist at the Merrist Wood Agricultural College, Guildford, Surrey, U.K. He emigrated to Canada in 1975 and has spent 30 years working at UBC. Peter has led or participated in nine field expeditions to China, South Korea and northern Vietnam. Lately, his prime focus was the conservation of the uniquely bio-diverse forests of southern Yunnan and border areas of Vietnam and Burma. Peter was married with three children and lived in south Surrey, B.C.

Peter Wharton was a passionate and eloquent advocate for plants and their habitats, an enormously creative gardener and expert plantsman, a great teacher and a smart, generous individual. He'll be sorely missed. A celebration of Peter's life will be held at the Botanical Garden later this summer.


From: Stephen S. Talbot []

A Circumboreal Vegetation Mapping Workshop will be held in Helsinki, Finland, 3-6 November 2008. Further information may be found at The CBVM mission is to develop a global map of the circumboreal forest biome with a common legend.

The workshop aims at developing a strategy to map the circumboreal vegetation including most of the watersheds emptying into the Arctic Basin. To develop a common strategy within all countries containing portions of the boreal zone, selected subjects will be discussed during the workshop about the limits of the boreal zone, key environmental factors to be considered, climate, vegetation distribution, disturbance regimes and vegetation mapping methods. During this workshop, scientists from all 13 countries containing boreal vegetation are invited to participate in identifying the mapping strategy. Nordic vegetation mappers will also provide support in terms of experience and technical expertise to ensure a successful workshop. Nordic competence was previously demonstrated in the production of the Map of the Natural Vegetation of Europe and the Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map (CAVM). The CBVM project will strengthen personal and institutional networks as Nordic scientists cooperate in sharing their knowledge to produce a circumboreal vegetation map.

Papers related to the conference topics are invited for submission. Abstracts must be sent to before August 20, 2008.

For more information contact:

Stephen S. Talbot
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1011 East Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK 99503 USA
Tel: +1 907 786 3381 Fax: +1 907 786 3905


From: Laszlo Orloci []

This note is intended to inform you of significant developments in the conceptualization and analysis of vegetation dynamics. Over the past so many years we published papers on this topic under the umbrella title "Multi-scale trajectory analysis: a powerful conceptual tool for understanding change ". I completed recently an overview of concepts and detailed description of techniques in an essay with many numerical examples to firmly ground MTA in applied vegetation research. MTA is well suited for the pursuit of local and global studies of change because of its multivariate and multi-scale nature. Target disciplines include paleobotany, paleoecology, evolutionary biology, temporal or time-static pattern analysis, ecological edge detection, and any other discipline that draws conclusions from temporal or time-static serial observations. To download the essay and related published papers please go to URL and follow the links.

The model at the basis of trajectory analysis is conceptually simple. When applied to time series vegetation data, the projectile becomes surrogate for vegetation state, the trajectory for the evolving vegetation process, and the properties of the trajectory for the true process characteristics. Notwithstanding its simplicity, the model is well-defined under natural circumstances and easily adapted to serial data, irrespective of source. As a major advantage, compared to other models that isolate the elementary processes and probe dynamics for informative regularities on the elementary levels, the trajectory model allows multi-scale probing for regularities at highest process integrity.

A rich list of key references are included in the essay and volumes of supplementary information in a Web Based Appendices, also downloadable from URL Keywords include attractor migration, determinism, periodicity, phase structure, shape complexity (fractal dimension), parallelism, postdiction, prediction, pattern.

I hope you will find the Essay interesting. Do ask me if clarifications are required or guidance in implementations. Please use e-mail for communications (


From: Adolf Ceska []
Wilson, Barbara L., R. Brainerd, D. Lytjen, B. Newhouse, & N. Otting of the Carex Working Group. 2008.
Field guide to the Sedges of the Pacific Northwest. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, OR. 432 p. ISBN-13: 978-0-87071-197-8 [soft cover] Price: US$35.00

Ordering information: Available in book stores or by calling 1-800-426-3797

This is the best guide to sedges I have ever seen. It covers 153 species (or 163, if you count all the species, subspecies and varieties) in the genus Carex (and Kobresia) that occur in Oregon and Washington. A two-page layout gives all the relevant information for each species (subspecies, variety, resp.): Nomenclature, Synonymy, Section of the key, where the species pops up, Key Features, Description, Habitat and Distribution, Identification Tips, & Comments. The page opposite to the text page gives illustrations of plant habit, important details and a general view of each species' habitat. Almost all of more than 650 illustrations are colour photographs, When necessary, some line drawings were used, some from the classical Mackenzie's (1940) North American Cariceae, quite a few by Jeanne R. Janish from Hitchcock et al. 1968 Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest and from other various sources.

Nevertheless, the largest part of illustrations are the high quality photographs.

The distribution of each taxon in Oregon and Washington is illustrated with a small map where small yellow dots represent the sites of each treated taxon. Looking at those maps, I realized how much information is in the dot maps that is lost if you do a general range maps. From a dot map, you can read not only the species' distribution, but also its abundance, etc.

I found my name in the acknowledgement and I have to acknowledge that my help was minimal. In turn, I am finding an information new to me on every page of this superb guide.

The Guide is dedicated to Danna Lytjen, one of the co-authors who died before the Guide was published.

Now the criticism:

The title of this guide is wrong! In my definition, the Pacific Northwest includes not only Oregon and Washington, but also SE Alaska, British Columbia, western Montana, Idaho and (you can dispute the borders) northern California. This is the field guide to sedges of OREGON and WASHINGTON.

The title is a false advertisement. Never mind that I agree with the authors that it has relevance to the whole Pacific Northwest as we know it, but it is a subset of it. Mind you, this pinnacle of sedge studies is one of the most useful sedge guides wherever you go in the Pacific Northwest, but forget the sale gimmick, it is definitive only for the Oregon and Washington area.

This is a superb work. To paraphrase Shakespeare, the authors gave a gentle kiss to every sedge they treated in this guide. Congratulations!

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