the dearest wishes about CITES
|In Japan, it has passed 20 years after ratifying Washington Treat in 1980. After that, we have some trouble including Paph. delenatii trading illegally. And almost of all Paph. fans in Japan were worried about it. After the mater of Paph. delenatii, the news of trading illegally was not so often, but we were going to hear again in these days again. In AOS, they presented the statements about it in this spring, 2001 and appeal to keep the rules. In Japan, we hard about an ugly rumor about the trading illegally recently. We love orchids including Paphiopedilums and enjoy them by ourselves or with orchids' friends. It is no good to hear the ugly rumor or to be rolled in it. As one of fan and friends on Paphiopedilum, please take action a person with a lot of good sense. I ask you from the bottom of my heart.|
|The following column has been prepared by myself for New Orchids, orchid magazine in Japan, NO. 101, 2001. And it was translated by Miss Yoko Otsuki and was supervised by Dr. Mark Griffiths. They are the best of my friends in England. Thank you Yoko and Mark. AOS statements will be followed after my column.|
the Washington Treaty (CITES)
-An ideal opportunity for popularising Paphiopedilum
by Toshinori Tanaka
Paphiopedilum is currently enjoying an astonishing surge in popularity so much so that even complete novices to orchid growing often begin by plunging straight into the world of slipper orchids. But what exactly is at the root of this boom?
First, there is the renewal of interest in species and in hybrids that are close to species in terms of their ancestry and appearance. This phenomenon first became noticeable in the United States in the late 1960s, and in Japan in the mid 1970s. Our attention was drawn back to the rich variety of species and to hybrids that retain their idiosyncratic and natural charms ﾐ the primary and novelty Paphiopedilum crosses. Complex hybrids, for so long considered to be the ideal of Paphiopedilum beauty, were challenged by a new generation of plants that made them look cosmetic and overly uniform.
Then, around 1980, came reports of two new and strikingly distinctive species, Paphiopedilum armeniacum and P. micranthum, from Southern China. Their advent not only added to the list of species of Paphiopedilum, it brought a novel dimension to the genus ﾐ one which breeders were eager to harness in creating hybrids that exhibited the new speciesﾕ inflated lips and soft pink and yellow tones.
In November 1980, however, all commercial trade in Paphiopedilum
species was banned, except in the case of certain plants that
could be proved to have been raised in cultivation (and then
from parents that were themselves ﾔlegalﾕ). While new species
have been discovered since 1980, we may neither grow nor hybridise
them under the present regulations. The Washington Treaty was,
of course, a timely and well-intentioned measure to protect species
in the wild from the depredations of collectors. But it was also
a grave setback for orchid lovers; and sometimes for the orchids
too ﾐ how my heart ached when I saw a pile of contraband collected
plants that had been impounded and abandoned and for which I
could, legally, do nothing. I resolved at that moment to take
steps to avoid such pointless waste in future: it benefits neither
the plants nor the plant lovers. It also exposes a serious flaw
in the operation of a treaty which, for all its severity, seems
powerless to stem the illegal trade in Paphiopedilum species.
Sadly, scandalous tales of illegitimate orchid trafficking also
serve to blacken the name of the bona fide slipper orchid boom.
While the revival of interest in species and the fascination exerted by new discoveries both look like powerful ﾐ if discreditable - incentives for taking plants from the wild, it is happily the case that we no longer need to plunder Nature. As anyone who has seen numerous wild-collected specimens will confirm, outstanding individuals are rare in the field. Now that superb clones can be selected and artificially propagated in quantity, it is not only inefficient, it is also an absolute waste of time to engage in wholesale collecting of wild plants. This activity not only endangers the plants themselves, it also tends to yield material whose horticultural potential is low in any case.
We should, rather, take advantage of the Washington Treaty by seeing it as an opportunity to promote the artificial propagation of the finest examples of species, and as a spur to use these species in producing hybrids of excellence. In satisfying both demand and curiosity, these two endeavours should do as much to curtail illegal trade as any outright ban. In return, we orchid breeders may well be able to reintroduce artificially propagated examples of endangered species to the habitats from which their progenitors were originally taken.
It is forbidden by law to obtain a plant of a new Paphiopedilum species. It is a law we must respect while hoping that a version of the Treaty will one day emerge that conserves the plants in nature and gives horticulturists a chance to increase and develop them. No matter how patiently we wait for such changes in the law, the fact remains that Paphiopedilum lovers all over the world do crave new species. Surely the most immediate solution to this problem of demand is to create an official market in species? Within this market, species would be increased and released for sale by legally authorised institutions in their countries of origin. These institutions would only offer plants that have been propagated from selected wild individuals. I believe that day will come soon.
To enjoy a Paphiopedilum is not necessarily to own or to hunt down a rare or remarkable specimen. For me the real thrill is equally in aiming to produce a new hybrid on the basis of logical planning and experience; above all, the thrill lies in sharing my pleasure with other Paphiopedilum lovers. Let us enjoy Paphiopedilum calmly and intellectually, without being overly influenced by passing fads, debate and hearsay. I for one look forward to being able to admire the fruits of my own Paphiopedilum breeding some far-off day.
Contacts FWS: (703) 358-1949
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Special agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service have arrested six persons charged with crimes related
to the illegal importation of internationally protected cycads.
Cycads, which resemble palms or tree ferns, are a small group
of primitive-looking plants whose ancestors date back more than
200 million years. Certain species face threats in the wild from
habitat loss and over-collection.
- FWS -
|Toshinori Tanaka , The reporter takes full responsibility for the wording and content of this article.|