Further background information about Chris Chadwell



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

HIMALAYAN PLANT ASSOCIATION

Cremanthodium decaisnei

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

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


Chris is currently working on digital guides to the flowers of the North-West Himalaya, specifically: FLOWERS OF KASHMIR; FLOWERS OF LADAKH ('Little Tibet'); FLOWERS OF LAHAUL & SPITI (borderlands of Western Tibet); FLOWERS OF HIMACHAL PRADESH (covering Kulu Valley plus Shimla and surrounding districts) - these will be available as CDs.  They are designed as follow-ups and improvements upon 'Flowers of the Himalaya' (Polunin & Stainton).  Each species will be illustrated by between 1-10 (typically 6) images which thanks to the wonders of digital photography, are much larger than and showing much more detail than was possible in the days of slide film and printed books, when it was only economic to publish a single, relatively small photo per species.  Only the most distinctive plants can reliably be identified by matching single images - multiple images provide a better understanding, resulting in greater confidence in resulting identifications.  For serious students of Himalayan flora, see: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/fowh/ - which explains the necessity of examining plants more closely; on this site, up-to 30+ images are provided per species. 


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 which 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 in the late 1970s (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 with the data, "Rubbish In", "Rubbish Out".  To spell this out, if the records/data were unreliable and incorrect, 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 who read what they write printed or on-line.


DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY OF PLANTS


Chris is a strong advocate of digital photography, which has the potential to revolutionise the study (and conservation) of the world's flora but only if both the botanical world including senior plant taxonomists and those interested in plants appreciate the necessity of examining specimens more closely. In the past it was only feasible and economic to take 1 or 2 slides per plant, whilst books would have been too large and prohibitively expensive if more than one image per plant was printed; at that time, plant identification was primarily based upon close examination of dried pressed specimens in herbaria, not photographs. The 'penny' dropped for Chris a few years back as to just what digital photographs could provide, in place of the collection of herbarium specimens, which is increasingly being discouraged, often prohibited (which he considers mistaken) but he has been frustrated to-date, as his efforts to draw attention to this have been thwarted both by the botanical establishment in the West and those amateurs in the Indian sub-continent taking an interest in the flora of the Himalaya.  PLEASE READ, STUDY & DIGEST more about this topic within this web-site - which is applicable to plants all over the world.  At present, the flora of the Himalaya (which occupies a vast area), Chris' speciality, has been poorly studied - too much of the published records since Indian Independence, whether in traditional printed floras/check-lists/guides or nowadays informally on-line, are littered with misidentifications, based too often upon Hooker's 'Flora of British India' published way back in the 19th Century - woefully out-of-date.  Other problems include discouragement of International collaboration by successive Indian Governments plus the lack of actual studies in the mountains; few Indian botanists spend much time studying plants in the wild with little appetite for exploring on steep slopes, amongst boulders, on cliffs, let alone trekking.  It is ridiculous to claim that species such as Meconopsis aculeatea, Primula reptans nor Saxifraga jacquemontiana  are in any way 'Endangered', when few Indian botanists have ever ventured to places where they grow abundantly (which I have seen repeatedly with my own eyes). Unless a flora is examined (and photographed) in close-up detail in the wild, its a abundance or rarity cannot be ascertained.  At this time, false records as to the supposed rarity (at times, claimed to be 'Critically Endangered', which means about to become extinct) of Indian flora have been submitted to International bodies.  This serious situation needs to be addressed. What about the species which are genuinely endangered, left to their own devices!  Chris cares deeply about the flora, environment and peoples of the Himalaya - those in senior positions, whether, politicians, professional botanists, conservationists, ill-informed journalists, media and others cry 'crocodile' tears but could not care less.  IF they did, his un-rivalled experience and expertise would be put to good use.  Instead, he is attacked.  Funny old world.


PHOTOGRAPHS ON THIS WEB-SITE

COPYRIGHT ABUSE/STOLEN IMAGES - sadly, I am increasingly locating examples of my photographic images being used without permission or acknowledgement (see bottom of this page for further comments). So much for my innocent objective of 'sharing' my knowledge!  What a world of cheats, which include a UK charity (which also makes FALSE scientific claims), a North American commercial seller of seed and a Kashmir travel company; one of the culprits tells me that they have seen my images "all over the place" - so much for my expectation of 'Gentlemanly behaviour"...... Looks like I will be forced to water-marking my images in future.  Given that I have been subjected to ill-treatment by a journalist working for a major organisation who was "economical with the truth" and when I complained to a senior figure, she lied to cover his back.... but the big decision I have is whether to "blow the whistle on a very, very BIG name" who has extravagantly endorsed a plant conservation charity in India which is a complete fraud - they must, at best, be awfully gullible but I continue to hesitate because I am not going to be too popular if I do!  This person must be powerful, such that considerable harm may befall me, should I pursue this path... in the past I asked my MP and a Bishop to intervene when I raised concerns on an unrelated matter - needless to say, they declined to help...... 

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.  

 © Chris Chadwell 2018  



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