|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 173 October 8, email@example.com Victoria, B.C.|
Professor Nancy J. Turner of the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, BC, is the recipient of the 1997 Richard Evans Schultes Award. The Schultes Award is presented annually by The Healing Forest Conservancy to a scientist, practitioner, or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to ethnobotany or to indigenous peoples issues related to ethnobotany. "Advocate for indigenous peoples," "accomplished academic," "inspiring professor," read the flood of nominations for Nancy Turner. Specific recognition is given for her leadership in partnering with First Nations peoples to bring ethnobotanical knowledge to the forefront in discussions on management of the ancient, temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest with the government of Canada. Turner's impressive scholarly recognition by her peers on the temperate climate ethnobotany of the First Nations in British Columbia -- almost 30 books, monographs or chapters -- is surpassed only by the number of her many devoted students whom she has inspired to enter the field of ethnobotany.
The award honors the name of Richard Evans Schultes, the Harvard ethnobotanist widely recognized as one of the most distinguished figures in the field. For his work, Schultes received the annual Gold Medal of the World Wildlife Fund, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement and the Linnean Gold Medal. Schultes has published over 400 technical papers and nine books, including, with Robert Raffauf, The Healing Forest (1990) and Vine of the Soul (1992). The Healing Forest Conservancy is named after their 1990 book.
The International Nominating Committee for the award is chaired by Michael J. Balick, Ph.D., Philecology Curator of Economic Botany and Director of The New York Botanical Garden's Institute of Economic Botany. The award was announced in St. Louis, MO, at the annual meeting of the Society for Economic Botany, of which Schultes is a founding member.
To date, there have been four other recipients of the Schultes Award. The late Calvin R. Sperling, Ph.D., of the National Germplasm Resources Laboratory at the US Department of Agriculture was recognized in 1993 for his comprehensive work as a field ethnobotanist in the preservation of genetic resources and the ethnobotany of economic plants. The 1994 Schultes Award was presented to Professor Hernando Garcia Barriga of the Universidad de Colombia in recognition of his contributions to the field, including the publication of his three volume series Flora Medicinal de Colombia. The series is widely considered the definitive work on ethnobotany in Colombia. The Schultes Award for 1995 was presented to Janis B. Alcorn, Ph.D., Director for Asia and the Pacific for the Biodiversity Support Program at the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, DC. The award recognizes her outstanding contribution of strengthening indigenous peoples' participation in community-based conservation of biological diversity. For the 1996 Schultes Award, the Bribri and Cabecar people of the KekoeLdi Indian Reserve in Costa Rica were recognized for their strategy to maintain their culture by enforcing their territorial rights -- publishing a book about the Bribri and Cabecar use of medicinal plants and using book profits to purchase lands from non-Indian landholders within the boundaries of their reserve.
Each Schultes Award has featured a $5,000.00 cash prize donated by Shaman Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and The Leland Fikes Foundation, Inc. The Foundation, located in Dallas, supports local biomedical research and has a general interest in biodiversity as a part of the broad field of medicine. The Healing Forest Conservancy, which sponsors the Schultes Award, was founded by Shaman Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in South San Francisco, California, and focused on the discovery and development of pharmaceuticals through ethnobotany. The Conservancy, a non-profit foundation, is dedicated to the conservation of tropical forests, particularly medicinal plants and their sustainable use for human health. Its focus is to deliver compensation programs that strengthen the integrity of traditional cultures to native communities that have participated in Shaman's drug discovery process.
Nominations for the 1998 Richard Evans Schultes Award are open until May 1, 1998. The award seeks a balance in geographic location, gender and field of study for recipients. Nominations of indigenous people or organizations active in this area are especially welcome. Please submit nominations (of others, it is not self-nominating), along with a statement of the candidate's qualifications to:
Did you know that roughly 25% of Alberta's vascular plant species are considered rare in the province? One quarter of our plant species rare? This seems excessive, but look at the percentages in other jurisdictions: 22% of vascular plants in the United States are considered to be "of concern" (Falk 1992) and further, nearly 25% of the estimated 250,000 species in the world may be endangered (Schemske et al. 1994). The reasons a plant is rare vary, some may have never been numerous - they may have very specialized habitat requirements.
For over 100 of these species, the main cause of their decline is over-collecting in the wild. Of these, many are cactus and, yes, orchids. The Knowlton pincushion cactus (Peciocactus knowltonii), for example is known from only two populations. Its numbers have been reduced, primarily by collectors, from an estimated 100,000 in 1960 to perhaps fewer than 1,000 in the 1970's (Stafford 1989). A recent study of causes of rarity in the United States found that up to 20% of the species considered rare due to collecting.
So the collecting of wild plants is a documented problem elsewhere, is it a problem in Alberta? We do not have any comparative studies, but let's look at some populations. Yellow lady's-slipper is not considered rare in Alberta. But certainly populations have been lost, and not just to projects like the upgrading of highway 22 near Olds. I remember a couple of populations of yellow lady's-slipper in the White Mud ravine in Edmonton. What happened to those plants? Certainly at least in part the habitat has changed, with trees closing in on some of the meadows, making them less suitable habitat for the lady's-slipper. But I also remember seeing people picking them. And the population is gone. Is there a problem in Alberta?
Working with Natural Heritage Protection & Education, this is a question we have been asked numerous times. And we have concluded that plants SHOULD NOT be removed from their natural habitat due to the disturbance that results to the habitat that the plant was removed from the long term potential loss of that plant species from the site, which may, in turn, result in the loss of other species that may rely on that plant.
Native species should not be collected from the wild. If there is a species which a gardener wishes to propagate they should:
Only a small percentage of the seeds should be removed from any one area so that the area is not unduly affected. It is important to maintain functioning population in a natural setting, not just for the species of concern, but for the myriad of other species that may rely upon it.
Unfortunately, none of these strategies are likely to work for orchids, but, and this may be controversial, I feel that it is more important to maintain the integrity of our natural habitats than to grow native species in gardens. Generally, any native species grown in a garden should be from cuttings or seeds, not from plants removed from the wild. The one possible exception is if the bulldozers are moving in and the population doomed. Even then there are some things to consider. Especially if the population to be "rescued" is along a roadside, there may be a number of noxious weeds and soil contaminants that you are moving along with the desired plants.
So, to answer the question of whether to collect the species in the wild - don't do it! Even when buying native species from a nursery, the buyer should ensure that those plants have not been removed from the wild. This is one small part you can play in helping to maintain our natural habitats and the diversity that they encompass.
Now available from the Native Plant Society of Oregon:
Conservation and Management of Native Plants and Fungi: Proceedings of an Oregon Conference on the Conservation and Management of Native Vascular Plants, Bryophytes, and Fungi. Edited by: Thomas N. Kaye, Aaron Liston, Rhoda M. Love, Daniel L. Luoma, Robert J. Meinke, and Mark V. Wilson. With a foreword by Reed F. Noss, Oregon State University. Native Plant Society of Oregon. 296 pages; 113 illustrations, 11 black and white plates, 51 tables, 6 appendices. Price: $20 plus $5 shipping and handling ($2.50 shipping for each additional copy). Soft cover only. ISBN 0-9656852-0-9
The management of native plants faces many challenges today, and the attention of many conservationists has recently expanded to include bryophytes, lichens and fungi. This book addresses this subject through the perspective of professional land managers, conservationists, and academic scientists from Oregon and neighboring states. Forty papers comprise the volume, which is broken into four themes representing conservation, restoration, ecology, and systematics. The book is the first of its kind for the conservation community in the Pacific Northwest; it is based on a symposium held 15-17 November 1995 on the Oregon State University campus. Although most papers have a regional focus, the book is pertinent to all students and professionals in the fields of botany and conservation biology.
For more information and abstracts of all papers in the book, visit our web site at:
To order, send check or money order to:
Make check payable to: Native Plant Society of Oregon. All proceeds from the sale of this book go toward the conservation and education programs of the Native Plant Society of Oregon.
The International Association for Plant Taxonomy announces availability of the English text of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (Tokyo Code) on the WWW:
The appendices are currently being converted and will be published as they become available.
We would appreciate any information on errors which may have been introduced in the conversion process. -W. Berendsohn & B. Zimmer
Submissions, subscriptions, etc.: firstname.lastname@example.org. BEN is archived on gopher freenet.victoria.bc.ca. The URL is: gopher://vifa2.freenet.victoria.bc.ca/11/environment/Botany/ben. Also archived at http://www.ou.edu/cas/botany-micro/ben/