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Bromeliad conservation corner: need for strategy and action.

The current BSI board of directors is willing to enhance the society's involvement in conservation of bromeliads and their habitats.

As the conservation status of Neotropical ecosystems and specific bromeliad populations is continuously worsening, more and more members are recognizing the importance of getting engaged in conservation. After my introductory article (J.BromeliadSoc. 56(1), Derek Butcher was the first to resume the discussion (J.Bromeliad .Soc. 56(3), 100-101). He mentioned several challenges related to bromeliad conservation, such as varying levels of awareness of the problem, the reproduction of species from seed (in order to reduce pressure from wild populations) or an improved management of ex-situ collections. He made an important claim when he said that orchid and cactus growers prefer botanical species and not man-made hybrids--a situation that he says is different in bromeliads.

Definitely, we need more bromeliad lovers to support conservation of the botanical species rather than man-made hybrids.

Below, on page 127, Renate Ehlers reports from Europe on typical problems of collections of well-documented plants representing clones from type collections or other original material from the native range of species. The continued maintenance of scientifically valuable collections depends on individuals: around the world, the institutionalization of special collections is poor. Knowledge attached to the collections is lost due to staff and owner changes. The situation is even worse when plant material is transferred from one grower or gardener to another because information regarding the origin and history of the material can be lost. We have observed this problem even when prestigious gardens were involved.

Although in specific cases some clones might persist ex situ, in private or in public collections--while the wild populations go extinct in the wild--this does not mean an effective long-term survival of the species. The threats related to genetic impoverishment and manipulation (through deliberate or unintentional hybridization) should not be underestimated. Whilst there is a clear need for action, and obvious opportunities, the operative capacity of societies maintained by voluntary and honorary members tends to be insufficient.

We are updating the BSI's conservation strategy in order to show the way towards a more effective contribution to biodiversity conservation. In this context it is crucial to realistically acknowledge the real organisational strengths and weaknesses, as well as the external opportunities and threats in order to come up with a viable and implementable proposal.

One of the important steps towards more active conservation engagement of the membership is the provision of more information on conservation issues. Therefore, we are going to establish a conservation corner on the BSI website. Here, information on the conservation status of bromeliads, relevant legislation concerning trade and species protection is going to be published. If you have any idea or contributions to the conservation corner, both in the web or in the journal, please let us know by writing to P. Ibisch, University of Applied Sciences, Alfred-Moeller Str. 1, Eberswalde, Brandenberg 16225, Germany or email conservation@bsi.org; webmaster@bsi.org.

We propose updating the BSI Conservation Code of Conduct as an important instrument for internal and external communication. We are suggesting some minor changes in order to update the document taking into account the development of international legislation (see page 131). We suggest that this document be sent to any new member after application. We also propose that any commercial bromeliad seller that publishes in the BSI Journal or participates in BSI events shall formally accept this Code of Conduct. Please provide your input for an update of the Code of Conduct that should be re-approved by the board of directors in the near future.

Pierre L. Ibisch (Conservation Chair) & Vera Porwollik, Eberswalde
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Title Annotation:Conservation
Author:Ibisch, Pierre L.; Vera Porwollik, Eberswalde
Publication:Journal of the Bromeliad Society
Date:May 1, 2007
Words:606
Previous Article:Aechmea sphaerocephala Baker--a species threatened by local extinction.
Next Article:Protective collection program for Bromeliads.

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