CHRIS  CHADWELL - lecturer, botanist, specialist gardener, plant photographer & conservationist

Freelance Lecturer with more than 30 years experience speaking to wide-variety of clubs and societies around the UK, 4 lecture tours in North America, one in New Zealand, plus presentations in India, France, Switzerland and Norway; Field-Botanist - leader of 24 botanical and plant hunting expeditions along the Himalaya; Co-Founder (in 1990) and Editor of the 'Himalayan Plant Association Journal'; Leading Specialist in Himalayan Plants Utilised in Tibetan Medicine; Proprietor of Chadwell Seeds (Established in 1984); Travel & Plant Photographer; Independent Research Scientist & now, through necessity, an Investigative journalist - as it has become apparent that he has greater knowledge and expertise about many aspects of the Himalaya, being far better informed than journalists employed by the media!  If you wish to discover the truth about the real issues rather than the fake ones with associated 'crocodile tears' about the plant life and environment of the Himalaya then read Chris' intelligent insights on this web-site - he really cares......


Chris beside the stunning SALVIA HIANS

Chris' NEW albeit very small CHADWELL SEEDS catalogue (September 2017) is now available upon request, as a pdf.   See: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/seed-catalogue-1


Dhaulagiri - the 'White Mountain', Nepal Himalaya

This web-site can be viewed and enjoyed at different levels (intensities). Use the Navigation Bar on the left to locate topics of interest. Why not, to start with, relax by savouring images taken during Chris' travels - whether of wild flowers, gardens, scenery or local people, in different parts of the world? Then, perhaps, delve more deeply into the serious matters he raises about plant conservation around the world (found at the bottom-half of this home-page and in more detail in the lower sections of the web-site).  The present situation, beyond the developed world, represents a con-trick - the truth is not being told.  IF after reading through the evidence Chris presents, it ADDS UP to you, please do consider encouraging and supporting Chris' long-term efforts - YES, HE IS FOR REAL. See: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/how-can-you-help-chris-chadwell

Chris with Lamas (Buddhist monks) at a Monastery in 'Little Tibet' (Ladakh)



'West Himalayan Blue-poppy' (MECONOPSIS  ACULEATA)




TALKS/DIGITAL PRESENTATIONS

Chris has proven to be a popular and versatile public-speaker, having delivered hundreds of entertaining and informative lectures around the UK.  His latest digital presentations appeal to garden clubs, specialist horticultural societies along with more general audiences such as National Trust Centres and U3A groups.  He has undertaken lecture tours and speaking engagements in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, France, Ireland and India.  Audiences now regularly remark that the images he shows at his lectures are amongst the best they have ever seen. 

Why not suggest him as a speaker to a club or society you belong to?  Chris lives not far from Slough, also near Windsor and Heathrow, travelling mostly by train via Reading or Paddington.

(See: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/topics-fees-expenses 

section of this web-site for details of the topics he offers and fees; then for dates of current bookings: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/speaking-engagements-2016-17) 

Title slide of Chris Chadwell's digital presentation about Kashmir

Title slide of Chris Chadwell's digital presentation about Plant Introductions at National Trust Properties



Chris Chadwell delivering the key-note speech at the Kohli Commemorative Event in Delhi in 2009

HIMALAYAN PLANT ASSOCIATION

Cremanthodium decaisnei

Why not join and learn more about the cultivation, study and conservation of Himalayan flora?  See:

 https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/latest-situation

WHAT IS THIS WEB-SITE REALLY ABOUT? 

TRYING TO BRING OUT THE BEST IN PEOPLE..... 


CHRIS IS 'A FRIEND OF THE PEOPLES OF THE HIMALAYA' AND THE WORLD'S FLORA.  THEY BOTH NEED A VOICE.  NATURE CONSERVATION REMAINS IN ITS INFANCY IN TOO MANY REGIONS OF THE WORLD. INTERNATIONAL CONSERVATION BODIES NEED TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS IN THEIR APPROACH. BOTH LOCAL PEOPLE AND RARE FLORA ARE BEING "LET DOWN".  THE PRESENT SITUATION IS UNSATISFACTORY AND CAN ONLY IMPROVE IF THIS IS FACED UP TO.... INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE NEEDS TO BE APPLIED.  SHAME ON THOSE WHO IGNORE WHAT CHRIS IS DRAWING ATTENTION TO...... 


Chris discussing plants used in Tibetan medicine with a Lama (Buddhist monk) in Ladakh

 Chris outside a trekking lodge in Nepal

The admirable sentiments above of India's first prime minister after Independence in 1947, inscribed below his statue in Manali, Himachal Pradesh, Northern India. The world would be a better place if every nation and individual citizen in the world, adopted such a philosophy. How many Indian or foreign tourists passing by this statue, actually read it or appreciate the significance of the words? Chris is a FRIEND of India's and wishes to see her become MIGHTY as Nehru intended 70 years ago.  Why not begin with a BETTER approach to studying Himalayan flora and its conservation? Why not actively take advantage of the hard-won expertise foreigners like Chris Chadwell have to offer?  We ALL need to collaborate internationally. Actively discouraging such contacts, which successive Indian governments have been guilty of, has been harmful.  Chris Chadwell has 'bent over backwards' for a period of more than 30 years attempting to help with studies on flora of the Indian Himalaya - yet absolutely no interest has been show.  What excuse can there be? 

This section of the Home Page ends with an image of a cute Nepali girl taken a few years ago (highly intelligent and full of enthusiasm for life - who was rightly unimpressed that whilst she could speak English, my Nepali was minimal) holding one of my business cards, whilst looking after her younger brother. Let us celebrate and help protect their charm and innocence.  She and the people of Nepal deserve better in the future   We can do "our bit" by making sure aid monies are spent more effectively than they have been in the past....   Why not find out more about the ways Chris and others try to "put something back" in the Himalaya?  Take a look at the different sections of this web-site and then help Chris or directly support charities he can recommend - which are genuine.  He can be trusted, as a person of integrity - the same, sadly, cannot be said for everyone 'pitching' to you on the internet....including some well-known figures and organisations, not-to-mention, ill-informed journalists you think you can trust! Beware of the 'politics' behind the dumbed-down, tabloid-style journalism will has infected even the main-stream media that we put too much trust in....... It is all-too-easy to be manipulated. Chris recollects from his time studying botany at the University of Southampton in the late 1970s, after being in a pair who got different results from the rest of the class in a plant ecology practical, the lecturer (who happened to be his tutor), with a smile observing that the problem was they had "minds of their own" - and they could keep them!  Naturally, Chris did not agree, considering that as they were by far the best at plant identification and recognition, their results may well have been 'different' to the other students.  In the present world, people with "minds of their own" are increasingly needed but being individuals, they NEED support and encouragement.  In the past, authors tended to COPY what had been written before.  In these days of 'high-tech' science, traditional skills requiring decades of hard-work and application to build-up, especially those such as "low-tech" field-studies, are being abandoned and dismissed.  Chris recollects a university computer course (very much in its infancy at that time with anything approximating to the internet unknown to all but a few) where it was rightly emphasised that no matter how sophisticated or advanced any analytical and statistical investigations undertaken subsequently were nor measurements taken with state-of-the-art equipment, "Rubbish In", "Rubbish Out".  To spell this out, if the records/data were unreliable and inconstant, statistically sound comparisons could not be made.  Nowadays, so-called scientists all-too-often draw conclusions they are not entitled to - which are then poorly understood and misinterpreted by journalists without the necessary training or intellect to share the findings correctly with the layman.

Chris also remembers an 'O' level Statistics course in the mid-1970s, where he learnt, "There are lies, there are damned lies and then there are Statistics"....

Namaste from the girl's younger brother - thanking all those who have made donations following the earthquakes in Nepal in 2015.

 BE 'STREET-WISE' AND SUPPORT THE BEST CHARITIES AND PROJECTS WHICH, AS THE BRITAIN-NEPAL MEDICAL TRUST STATES, HELPS EMPOWER THE PEOPLES OF THE HIMALAYA.....  

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PHOTOGRAPHS ON THIS WEB-SITE

Please note that I currently do not 'water-mark' the photos on this web-site (or restrict their down-loading), for aesthetic reasons nor do they carry an individual copyright notice. BUT they are MY photos (unless indicated otherwise and for those named photographers, they are shown 'on my behalf').   It is my expectation that EVERYONE viewing images on this site agrees to abide by this relaxed, old-fashioned approach. Permission MUST still be sought from me at: chrischadwell261@btinternet.com if you wish to utilise any of them in ANY way.   In most cases I shall agree. I always TRY and behave as a gentleman, treating people with respect and trust others will do likewise.  A decidedly old-fashioned and perhaps somewhat naïve approach but I always try to set an example which others should adopt.  

UNFORTUNATELY, MY RELAXED APPROACH TO COPYRIGHT, HAS BEEN ABUSED A NUMBER OF TIMES - IN SOME CASES I WAS SHOCKED.  IF THIS CONTINUES, I SHALL BE FORCED TO ACT.  I MAY EVEN DECIDE TO DELETE THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE CONTENT ON THIS AND MY OTHER SITE AND STOP MY RESEARCH, STUDIES AND CONSERVATION PROJECTS.    I WAS TREATED ATROCIOUSLY BY AN ORGANISATION, FOLLOWED BY A SOCIETY, DURING 2016.  IN LIGHT OF THE DISHONESTY OF THOSE INVOLVED, I HAVE STOPPED FUND-RAISING DIRECTLY FOR 'THE BRITAIN-NEPAL MEDICAL TRUST'.  IF THE DETAILS WERE KNOWN, THIS WOULD BE CONSIDERED A PERFECTLY UNDERSTANDABLE RESPONSE.  INSTEAD, I AM ACTING AS A FREELANCE INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST, WORKING TO EXPOSE THE VAST AMOUNT OF INCORRECT AND DOWNRIGHT FRAUDULENT INFORMATION ABOUT HIMALAYAN FLORA PUBLISHED, ON-LINE, IN PRINTED JOURNALS AND BOOKS BY SCIENTISTS AND SO-CALLED 'CONSERVATION' ORGANISATIONS BOTH IN INDIA AND THE WEST......

 © Chris Chadwell 2017  

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NOW TO THE 'HEAVIER' TOPICS, WHICH NEED TO BE ADDRESSED.  KINDLY TAKE THE TIME TO READ THROUGH THE NOTES BELOW AND RELATED SECTIONS OF THIS WEB-SITE.  EXCUSE THE DEPTH GONE INTO BUT IT HAS TO BE RECOGNISED THAT SOME MATTERS CANNOT BE INTELLIGENTLY COVERED BY BULLET-POINTS ALONE. CONSERVATION MUST INVOLVE FACTS WHICH CAN BE RELIED UPON, OBTAINED BY COMPETENT AND TRUSTWORTHY SCIENTISTS - ITS NOT ABOUT 'SHINY' REPORTS WHICH ARE FREQUENTLY MISLEADING.  CHRIS HAS UNRIVALLED FIRST-HAND KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE. 


Chris Chadwell is Founder of 'Save the GENUINELY RARE Plants of the Indian Himalaya Project (2017)' - unless plants are correctly identified with their abundance (or not) being accurately assessed by extensive surveys in the mountains themselves, supposed claims of species being 'Endangered' are not just misleading but UTTERLY false, indeed fraudulent; such information cannot be 'discovered' sat in offices or even in herbaria in India. There has been little appetite for studying plants in the wild in India since Independence back in 1947.  When, very occasional so-called 'surveys' are undertaken, this often involves remarkably short excursions, mostly by vehicle, with the Indian 'botanists' only walking a short distance, employing assistants to actually collect the necessary pressed specimens - hand lenses (which are ESSENTIAL tools for field botanists), it seems, seldom used meaning it is impossible to familiarise themselves with living plants) and the resultant herbarium specimens of poor quality with practically no accompanying field notes.  Many habitats/locations are not explored AT ALL - such as steep slopes, between large boulders, cliffs, whilst treks lasting days (let alone weeks) rarely taking place.  In too many cases, 'floras' published consist of little more than completely out-of-date COPIES of records from Hooker's 'Flora of British India' published in the 19th century.  Perhaps a more accurate description of most of these floras would be 'Road-side 'Weeds' of the particular district covered'.... Any species which does not inhabit readily accessible location is INCORRECTLY described as 'inaccessible'.  How is it that a foreigner like Chris, on a tight budget, relying on nothing more than local buses, lifts on Public Carrier Trucks and on foot, botanized in Ladakh and Kashmir in the 1980s more than any Indian botanist?

  This unacceptable situation needs to be recognised both in India and by International bodies, who MUST NOT BLINDLY ACCEPT THE INFORMATION SUBMITTED to them.  Until major steps are taken to rectify this matter, the world's conservation bodies are abandoning plants to their fate!  Shame on those responsible for permitting this and failing to act.  Chris cares deeply about this scandal.  Does anyone else - beyond the 'crocodile' years which are shed because it is 'fashionable' to support conservation? He has raised such concerns before, yet was ignored. He is trying again. International bodies and leading figures need to be smarter and face the inconvenient truth - the flora of the North-West Himalaya, its environment and peoples are being failed.  And for the majority who have no interest in plants - let us not forget that without them, there are no animals or habitats for them to live in!  In the UK, thanks to the long-standing efforts of members of the 'Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland' (BSBI) the flora is better-known and studied than anywhere in the world.  In the Indian Himalaya, the flora remains poorly known. Chris' travels combined with his field skills of being to recognise many of the prominent species during his treks combined with records of other Westerners who have visited the region enable us to know with confidence, which of these are common and abundant but nobody knows which species are genuinely rare.  

Chris, is a trustworthy person of integrity, who has devoted his adult life (since 1980) to studying the flora of the Himalaya both in the wild and cultivation along with Himalayan species utilised in Tibetan Medicine - not just on a 'Not for Profit Basis' but at a loss, leaving him in a dire situation financially whilst others, in comfortable circumstances, encourage donations to FAKE conservation charities.....    Measures adopted both nationally and internationally in recent years including Protocols and Conventions, far from helping conserve the flora of developing countries, is in reality damaging it.  The world SHOULD be concerned by what Chris is exposing but instead, this inconvenient TRUTH is being ignored. His knowledge and expertise about North-West Himalayan flora is unrivalled in the Indian sub-continent, indeed any country and exceeds that of the major institutions in the UK - he should be respected and listened to. 

Yet, not the slightest interest has been shown in his proposal to turn parts of Ladakh's desert environment green or suggestion of how, at minimal cost, improvements could be made to soil stability in parts of Nepal have been - yet time and resources are devoted to numerous articles blaming foreigners, suggesting they are the ones 'damaging' Himalayan flora.  Funny old world.... 'Politics', as ever, money ... There is a lot of talk about conservation, with "crocodile tears" shed, yet famous individuals and organisations, who appear remarkably ill-informed and naïve as to the realities in the Himalaya, instead provide glowing recommendations which lead to large sums of money being donated and completely wasted by FAKE conservation charities! Chris is never consulted nor supported. I wonder why that is?  A few year's ago he asked, one of the most senior and experienced local figures in the 'transHimalaya' what they thought of a certain FAKE charity which produces nothing but reports.  Their response was, "Bull-shit" - spot-on!  Chris has the evidence to prove it.  Why are senior figures, national and international organisations "taken in"?  Why are they not street-wise?  Perhaps part of the problem is that the world relies too heavily on journalists without knowledge, training, expertise or integrity with tabloid-style, sensationalist output......  The media who employ such journalists do not deserve our trust.  Similarly, we are too willing to 'trust' famous figures, who should be taking their responsibilities more seriously to become better-informed.  I hope ignorance is the explanation and not worse....  The world is too reliant upon quick google searches and "swallows" whole everything it finds. 

Chris can assure everyone reading this, that much of the published content in the fields he has hands-on expertise in (whether traditional printed reports, article and books or on-line), is deliberately misleading, a significant proportion downright incorrect (i.e. false).  Surely this cannot be right?  Chris Chadwell must be mistaken...  SORRY, he most certainly is not. The world would be a better place if we collectively question more.  We all have a part to play in this respect.  A good start for those interested in plants both in the wild and cultivation, is to take the time to read relevant sections of this web-site.  You are most welcome to contact or challenge what he says but bear in mind that he really does have additional supporting evidence.  Why on earth would he taking the trouble to draw attention to such wrong-doing, if it were not true?  It has never been comfortable being a "whistle-blower".

Chris continues with his long-standing studies (begun in 1980) into Himalayan plants including those utilised in Tibetan Medicine; Currently preparing a series of photographic guides to genera in the Himalaya - starting with Primula, Androsace, Geranium, Iris, Clematis, Rhododendron, Saxifraga, Delphinium, Salvia (to be available as digital pdfs); he offers a free service to identify Himalayan flowers (available to both foreigners undertaking treks and local botanists or local amateur plant enthusiasts);  He has re-started his 'Digital Flora of the North-West Himalaya' (see: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/fowh/) - setting the standard & an example for others to follow (all round the world) as printed floras, regional and national, will increasingly become a thing of the past; advocate of digital photography as a means of revolutionising the identification of plants in the wild and cultivation (see: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/fowh/impatiens-1 which displays 46 images of the important characteristics of this 'Himalayan Balsam' close-up, showing just what a modest digital camera can do.  In time, these cameras can become an indispensable tool for field-botanists, as a hand-lens currently is, but with the huge advantage of providing a permanent record, which can then be scrutinised in detail on screen, then compared with other species.  IF this approach is adopted, the level of accuracy and reliability of plant identification will be transformed.  When Chris started taking a serious interest in photographing plants (in the mid-1980s), all one could afford to do was take one, perhaps two, general photos of each plant specimen he came across using slide film with the best close-ups he could secure using a macro-lens and tripod, not bringing results remotely close to what can be achieved, with practise and effort, from today's modestly-priced  compact digital cameras. 

The botanical and indeed horticultural worlds are yet to appreciate the potential of such cameras, if used carefully and methodically to largely replace collection of specimens for drying, pressing and storing in the world's herbaria, which traditionally are the place where reliable identifications ('determinations') were performed.  Especially as collection of such invaluable reference specimens is increasingly frowned upon or actually prohibited (which is a mistake). More not less FIELD studies and skills are needed in these days of high-tech 'laboratory' science.  It does not matter how large digital data-bases are or advanced the computer analyses which can be performed with the records/data, if those records are incorrect.  "Rubbish in, Rubbish Out". FEW PEOPLE REALISE THAT IT WAS USUALLY THE CASE THAT CHARACTERISTICS OBSERVABLE WITH THE NAKED EYE, HAND LENS OR BINOCULAR MICROSCOPE ON DRIED PRESSED SPECIMENS IN HERBARIA WHICH WERE USED TO DECIDE WHICH SPECIES A PLANT BELONGED TO - NOT CHARACTERISTICS SEEN ON FRESH, LIVING SPECIMENS!  RESTRICTIONS ON THE COLLECTION OF SEED OF PLANTS IN THE WILD, FAR FROM HELPING 'PROTECT' SPECIES IN THE WILD, ARE DAMAGING THEIR CONSERVATION.  WHY ON EARTH WOULD I SAY THIS, IF IT WERE NOT TRUE....  YET THE WORLD CONGRATULATES ITSELF ON THE SIGNING AND IMPLEMENTATION OF CONVENTIONS AND PROTOCOLS WHICH MAKE NO SENSE, MASKING WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON - THOSE 'CROCODILE' TEARS AGAIN.  MODEST, INTELLIGENT COLLECTION OF SEED IN THE WILD, IS NOT WHAT PUTS PLANTS AT RISK.  LET US ERRONEOUSLY BLAME FOREIGNERS, RATHER THAN ADDRESSING THE REAL CAUSES OF DAMAGE TO HABITATS AND PLANT SPECIES.  Read the relevant sections of this web-site to find out the truth.

It is not easy being an outspoken critic of floras littered with misidentifications and incorrect data, not-to-mention fraudulent claims, along with associated hypocrisy within botanical science and conservation in too many parts of the world but it is a path he feels compelled to follow - even though it inevitably leads to unpopularity in some quarters but it wold be morally wrong of him to just standby, knowing what he does ..... Learn the truth, whilst discovering a fresh, scientifically sound approach to identification of North-West Himalayan flora and understanding of the ONLY way of discovering if plant species are GENUINELY endangered in the wild (which could be utilised world-wide), see: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/fowh/.  Major changes are required, as it is IMPOSSIBLE to conserve plants in the wild or cultivation unless they are RELIABLY identified in the first place (other than in the UK and a few other developed countries, this is not happening) with extensive, accurate surveys undertaken by experienced and skilled field botanists. Making FALSE claims about supposed 'rarity' - especially over-use of 'critically' endangered, 'endemic' and 'new-to-science', when these species are no such thing, should not be accepted.  Those in senior positions in too many countries are in denial, attempting to prevent exposure of what has been going on. International organisations need to examine closely their activities.  BLINDLY accepting such bogus submissions pollute science causing serious damage.  Such deleterious hoaxes waste a lot of time and resources - which are strictly limited - whilst plant species which really are rare and endangered are ABANDONED to their fate!  This is a scandalous situation.  Why is it being tolerated?  Relying upon reference sources which are between 100-150 years out-of-date plus wild guesses from so-called botanists who rarely leave their offices, is not just unsound but worse...  International collaboration is essential and MUST be encouraged at a governmental level in every developing country, instead of being actively discouraged, which has been the situation for decades in some....  How can inexperienced 'scientists' with no relevant training decide they have, on their first ever visit discovered a species NEW-TO-SCIENCE, in a location widely visited before, beside a track, without consulting specialists in the West!  These individuals often do not understand variation within and between species, being completely out-of-their depth. They often only collect a  SINGLE, poor quality pressed specimen, declining as they should, to gather duplicate (or at least triplicate) material, enabling specimens to be held in both a regional and national herbarium, along with material to be sent abroad to enable specialists to be consulted.  Now, the Indian Government is looking to not just discourage but ban specimens being sent abroad.  This action is crazy - totally unscientific, setting back the proper study of Indian flora even further than it presently is.  Sure beats spending time and effort properly studying a genus... 

Why, though is it left to people like Chris Chadwell, with no resources and at best operating on a shoe-string budget, to draw attention to such a serious problem - to be the whistle-blower?  Should not this be the responsibility of those in senior positions at major institutions (who are well-paid, with a comfortable pension to look forward to, living in substantial detached houses in a 'nice' village or area of town, whilst he struggles to pay his basic bills in a dire situation financially?