CITES - conserving or destroying?

Discussion in 'Orchid Conservation' started by s1214215, Apr 17, 2011.

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  1. Apr 17, 2011 #1

    s1214215

    s1214215

    s1214215

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    I was trawling some blogs and sites and this one brought up something I have thought about for some time. Is CITES and how it is administered really conserving species, or is it actually facilitating illegal trafficking and destruction of plants by not facilitatiing (hindering) the propagation of species.

    http://www.c-we.com/cyp.haven/citesblp.htm

    Having widely travelled in various countries, I have seen plants trafficked over borders and CITES able to do nothing about it as local governments do not empower them to do so, or local officials are involved.

    I see trafficked plants all the time at markets near my home and the next week you see those plants on Ebay, sometimes offered with CITES certs and an usually at high prices.

    In addition, we have species ruled as not elligable for export, yet it is readily propagated in flasks world wide. Why, because a government department deems it was never legally exported?

    We can not stop internal trafficking, but why prevent the trade in plants that are propagated? Isnt that encouraging smuggling?

    Brett
     
  2. Apr 17, 2011 #2

    Gcroz

    Gcroz

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    I can sum it up from my standpoint, and I will speak to my opinions on the slipper orchid issue:

    1. CITES has a very noble purpose, but has been a complete failure in implementation.

    2. I understand that regardless of the implementation of CITES, collectors will disregard laws. I can say first hand that I have seen many "illegal" plants in private collections, and can also state that none of these were wild collected. They were the result of flaskings brought in from countries where their propagation isn't illegal. Some of these plants have even been legally imported, under all CITES and Federal regulations, only to later have some petty bureaucrat arbitrarily decide that they are in fact not allowed. This, to me, seems contrary to conservation ideals.

    3. The reality is that a variety of species (Vietnamese species come to mind) will exist only in private cultivation in the near future. It would be rational to conclude that it is better to encourage rapid dispersal of cheap, artificially propagated seedlings into global orchid trade as a means of reducing pressure on wild populations. This can only be achieved by a systematic reduction in red tape and the elimination of redundant bureaucratic fiefdoms and roadblocks. Allowing local populations to participate in the production of flasks and seedlings, as well as participate in the economic benefit, would help further reduce pressure on wild populations.

    I'm sure that many will disagree with me. I can say that CITES has caused economic challenges to commercial growers here that cannot compete with foreign growers who have access to species we are denied.

    "...but why prevent the trade in plants that are propagated?" I would say that the law is what it is, but there is also the problem of petty minded officials who are more concerned with their individual power than to see a reasonable change to existing regulations.
     
  3. Apr 17, 2011 #3

    Rick

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    I agree.

    CITES was originally designed for big slow growing and reproducing animals like rhinos, trees, and tigers.

    All the same attitudes went into the small, fast growing and easy to propagate animals and plants (fish frogs lizards orchids....).

    I worked in zoos for many years and saw several cooperative programs develop between CITES zoos and hobbyists that were successful in getting captive bred offspring to the general consumer from limited legalized imports of wild stock.

    In the US there are big ginseng (also CITES controlled) farms to reduce collection pressure on the forest and supply medicinal herbs to China.

    Cooperative agreements were reached for Phrag kovachii, and apparently P. vietnamense and helenae are out of the box.

    So I don't know why there is still such restriction in the orchid world.
     
  4. Apr 17, 2011 #4

    s1214215

    s1214215

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    Gcroz... I completely agree on all points.

    The sad thing is, here on the ground in Asian, we are seeing species decimated in the wild by a rampant trade that provides to a huge domestic trade. Now this runs counter to the myth that the Western world comsumes all. The Asian trade is voracious for collected plants. Want pics.. I can post.

    Largely Asia does not care toss for the West and what we think appropriate for conservation. Much is lip service.

    I have seen several new species found, now to be near extinct in the wild as locals once they know there is money in it are on to it. You cant stop a hungry peasant farmer pillaging the forests when the rice crops dont feed the family and selling at a cheap price to a big guy who sell wholesale to the city markets.

    Reality is CITES is not working as it controls nothing internally with regard to a country unless it wants to play ball - for what ever reason. CITES in Thailand has told me they cant touch a major player in the illegal plant trade, a politician.

    Yet on our end we cant even buy a flask of something that is several generations away from the wild form.. Why?

    Bureaurocrazy I say.

    Brett
     
  5. Apr 17, 2011 #5

    Gcroz

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    Precisely my point. I don't have a cure all idea for how to combat this, but one start is involving locals in conservation projects where they can benefit, financially, in a direct manner. IE cut the big guy out, or involve him in a way that he can also benefit financially, for example as an investor. If you set up a CITES legal propagation facility and control the legal output globally as a unique source for the plants, even the "big guy" could see a nice financial incentive. Unfortunately, you can't legislate morality, so any effort would have to be a monetary benefit to all participating for it to work.

    just my $0.02
     
  6. Apr 17, 2011 #6

    s1214215

    s1214215

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    Things have been done in the Philippines with the sea horse trade, not sure if it involved CITES though limited. Its possible, but it needs sensible action at our end in end product countries to encourage it.

    I was talking to someone today who said there was someone in Vietnam propagating Vietnamese species trying to start a legal trade with conservation in mind. Sadly he rubbed someone the wrong way in the Vietnamese government and well he did time.
     
  7. Apr 19, 2011 #7

    Howzat

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    Brett (S1214215).
    Thanks for bringing the CITES subject up this forum.
    Most people I know think that CITES are actually hindering the propagation of species. It also distributes the one they consider OK to a select number of people, which may not be the best propagator, and it just grossly unfair.
    I said in your other thread (Vietnamense) in Orchid Culture, that CITES needs to be remodelled, get rid off the clever lawyer and botanists on CITES board who live in the fairyland. These people are behind the current CITES culture which are impractical, unfair, ridiculously difficult for ordinary people to comprehend. CITES maybe good idea, but the writing of it made it hard to administer. The result is, rather than conserving it (it is too difficult to conserve in the wild, but it will come later when conservation of the species in the hobbiest collection has been successful), CITES is hindering the propagation of species in the collectors hand.
     
  8. Apr 19, 2011 #8

    s1214215

    s1214215

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    By the way, I forgot to say the at the guy in Vietanam was propagating Viet Paphs

    Brett
     
  9. Apr 19, 2011 #9

    s1214215

    s1214215

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    Howzat

    I have to agree.. To many experts live in ivory towers, and have not set foot on the ground, or lived in the places their rules affect. They have no idea of the impact on locals, or that they rules accerbate problems in concerveration.

    The only way we can deal with this is that people send messages to bureaucrats and politicians telling them what they think.. Perhaps it is time that we orchidists make an online petition in our own countries to sent to local representatives to show our voter displeasure (as that matters most to them) and to express how we feel about the failures of CITES

    Brett
     
  10. Apr 19, 2011 #10

    valenzino

    valenzino

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    CITES is only an economical/political entity....
    is to control trade and not to save plants and animals unfortunately...
    ...born to "Moralize",create job,offices,produce votes for politics,and give a form o power to someone...
    Is like european comunity...exists only on papers or when is usefull to some politics etc...to show power or to have something they want...
    At the end the only word to say is always MONEY.
     
  11. Apr 19, 2011 #11

    valenzino

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    Have to be sent only to Geneve central CITES,by everyone and without stopping for years....maybe at that point someone will listen....
     
  12. Apr 20, 2011 #12

    Howzat

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    You got to be joking. They are fortified with machine guns aiming at you. Don't you read "Orchid Fever"?? They raided nurseries in Europe with a military precision and personnel armed with machine guns????
     
  13. Apr 20, 2011 #13

    valenzino

    valenzino

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    Hahahahah!...as I live on the border near Switzerland,I can watch them :ninja:

    ...and have liveing material to experiment my new anti cheese/clock/chocolate spray to deactivate their ultra trained machine guns personnel :evil: and to finish burocrats a document written in incorrect swiss german in disorder with wrong bottom page numeration!!!! :crazy:
     
  14. Apr 20, 2011 #14

    Marc

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    Are you referring to the book by Eric Hansen? I guess I need to see if I know someone who has it, sounds like a book worth reading.

    Any more you can tell about raids that took place in Europe?
     
  15. Apr 20, 2011 #15

    Howzat

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    Yes, thjat is the book. Dr. Braem featured well in that book. He may be able to tell you more than most people can. He had been charged over "smugling" a dead speciment of orchid that was sent to him from Austria for research purposes. That Cribb and his coleage de Vogel raided Bosha greenhouse with the aid of armed men.
    To be truthfull, since I read the book 10 years ago, I have negative perception of CITES.
    I think this is a good book, and I think the best place to find one is to go to your local library or your bookstore. Good Luck.
     
  16. Apr 20, 2011 #16

    Marc

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    Bosha = Bosha Popow from Wolfsburg?
     
  17. Apr 20, 2011 #17

    Howzat

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    Bosha Popow from the town of Fallersleben, that is according to the book.
    Dr.Braem is on board ST, so you can ask him in more details of Orchids raid in Europe.
     
  18. Apr 21, 2011 #18

    JeanLux

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    Fallersleben is neighbor (suburb?) of Wolfsburg!

    Hansen's book is worth reading, some really interesting stories (K. Wubben also plays a role in the Popow chapter) :)!!!! Jean
     
  19. Apr 21, 2011 #19

    NYEric

    NYEric

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    One of my thrills in orchid growing is having met people in the book Orchid Fever here on STF and in person.
     
  20. Apr 21, 2011 #20

    Rick

    Rick

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    Wasn't Xavier's story also one of the chapters in that book.
     

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