Introduction to my campaign - why is nobody listening?

'SAVE OUR PLANET'S RARE PLANTS CAMPAIGN'

In many parts of the world plant conservation projects are inadequate - completely FAILING to identify, let alone protect, rare and endangered plant species.  Some countries have few botanists, if any, who can RELIABLY identify plants - instead they often publish inaccurate information about plants which are not rare, let alone endangered!   Instead of taking steps to rectify the situation - which can only be achieved by actively ENCOURAGING International COLLABORATION - ever-increasing RULES & REGULATIONS are being introduced, FALSELY pretending to help protect 'Endangered' plants, whilst in reality, they DAMAGE the interests of plant conservation.  International bodies blindly go along with this....Meanwhile, the genuinely rare plants have been abandoned.... Something needs to done, as a matter of urgency.  It is a SCANDAL.  Too many CROCODILE TEARS are being shed.  If the "powers-that-be" cared, they would be supporting and encouraging me.  Instead, they do the opposite.  See: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/accumulated-wisdom


Even in the UK 'field' botanists who are ESSENTIAL to reliably identify plants in the wild and cultivation, are a dying breed...  HOW CAN PLANTS IN THE WILD OR IN GARDENS BE CONSERVED UNLESS EXTENSIVE AND THOROUGH SURVEYS HAVE BEEN UNDERTAKEN BY SKILLED FIELD BOTANISTS WHO CAN CORRECTLY IDENTIFY THEM (SUPPORTED BY PLANT TAXONOMISTS WORKING IN HIGH QUALITY HERBARIA)?  Plants are routinely dismissed in these days of 'high-tech' science.  They think traditional botanists are no longer required..... Plants are BARELY covered in 'A' level Biology courses in the UK..... And there are no longer 'Botany' degrees at British Universities!

 

The developed world has sat quietly by, accepting savage cuts in funding for herbarium and field botanists combined with a lack of training in plant identification skills.  Visit almost any herbarium in the UK or USA and you will find staff numbers have been decimated since I began taking a serious interest in the flora of the Himalaya in the 1980s.  In some herbaria/botanical gardens there are probably more evolutionary biologists than botanists these days.....


Had there been openings for a career as a field or herbarium botanist in the UK in the 1980s, I would have JUMPED at the chance - instead of becoming a 'Freelance' botanist, specialising in the flora of the Himalaya and Proprietor of Chadwell Seeds.  I have operated very much as a botanist but my botanical research has received no funding whatsoever!


Nowadays, few people can RELIABLY identify plants, EVEN IN THE UK - they do not know how to!  They do not know what a herbarium is for!   HOW CAN WE EXPECT THE GENERAL PUBLIC TO BE BOTHERED ABOUT THIS SITUATION, WHEN FEW GARDENERS, HORTICULTURALISTS,  BOTANISTS WHO DO NOT IDENTIFY PLANTS (most botanists have nothing to do with plant identification) OR OTHER SCIENTISTS, UNDERSTAND WHAT HERBARIA ARE FOR OR WHAT HERBARIUM BOTANISTS ACTUALLY DO?  THEIR ESSENTIAL ROLE IS NOT KNOWN!

 

I have started my own PRIVATE 'on-line digital herbarium for FLORA OF THE WESTERN HIMALAYA' - which, despite a shoe-string budget, sets an example for others to follow. I have, for some years now, been in a position (with input from others) to compile the BEST and most useful floras EVER - starting with Ladakh and then the Western Himalaya as a whole,  yet CANNOT get any funding. I shall continue to do what I can, in splendid isolation, STARVED of resources. This seems a crazy situation to me......

 

  I CARE ABOUT THE WORLD'S FLORA 

 

THIS REALLY IS A SERIOUS, INDEED DIRE SITUATION.

THIS CAMPAIGN MAY SEEM A 'LITTLE THING' TO MOST PEOPLE BUT IT IS IN REALITY IS A VERY BIG THING - BEING ABLE TO CONTINUE TO ENJOY THE PLANET'S PLANTS (NOT JUST THOSE CLASSIFIED AS 'RARE') MATTERS A GREAT DEAL.  WE NEED TO START TAKING BETTER CARE OF OUR PLANT LIFE. 

Unless there are COMPETENT field botanists in EVERY country capable of RELIABLY identifying plants in the wild and cultivation (who collaborate internationally), it is IMPOSSIBLE to conserve them!  How can rare and endangered species in the wild or cultivation be ACCURATELY recognised unless there are SKILLED FIELD BOTANISTS, SUPPORTED BY A NETWORK OF HERBARIA, FULL OF QUALITY PRESSED SPECIMENS (AND NOWADAYS DIGITAL PHOTOS) who can undertake extensive and thorough surveys of plants in the wild and our gardens, PRODUCING RECORDS WHICH WE CAN TRUST? 

This COSTS money and requires suitably trained and skilled botanists. IN MANY COUNTRIES THIS IS JUST NOT HAPPENING - AND EVEN IN THE UK, THE WORLD'S PREMIER BOTANICAL NATION, THE NUMBER OF FIELD AND HERBARIUM BOTANICAL POSTS HAVE BEEN SLASHED, WHILST THERE ARE HARDLY ANY FRESH GRADUATES WITH THE SKILLS REQUIRED.......


'WHAT CAN BE DONE TO IMPROVE THE SITUATION'?

IT IS ALL VERY WELL DRAWING ATTENTION TO PROBLEMS, ONE NEEDS SOLUTIONS. I CAN PROPOSE THEM AND SHALL BE DOING SP.

BUT I NEED YOUR SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT.  SO FAR NO SOCIETY OR INSTITUTION HAS CONTACTED ME ABOUT THE CONCERNS I AM RAISING.  WHY?

To be continued.......


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