Article of interest from the Guardian

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Article of interest from the Guardian

Post  David Brunner on Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:17 pm

Below is a link to an article that appeared in the UK Guardian that may be of interest to IBC members. It discusses the impacts of collecting trees for bonsai from the wild on an endangered monkey in Vietnam. The monetary values cited for these collected trees seem striking, particularly given the species of tree in question.

David B.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/16/bonsai-tree-deforestation-vietnam-monkey?intcmp=122

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Re: Article of interest from the Guardian

Post  JimLewis on Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:01 pm

That's to be expected, I think in this day and age. Collecting has impacts. Sometimes those impacts occur to a species we can see, as in this instance, but most often the parts of the environment that are affected by collecting are small, hard-to-see organisms that -- small as they are -- play important (but poorly understood) roles in the world around them.

I developed a middle and high-school environmental ethics curriculum for Florida some years ago. Here are some thoughts I used as chapter headings. The first is quite well known:

When one tugs at a single thing in nature he finds it attached to the rest of the world. (John Muir)

The sun, the moon, and the stars would have disappeared long ago, had they happened to be within reach of predatory human hands. (Havelock Ellis)

In the relations of man with the animals, with the flowers, with the objects of creation, there is a great ethic, scarcely perceived as yet, which will at length break forth into light. (Victor Hugo)

I keep hoping for this, but see little evidence.


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Re: Article of interest from the Guardian

Post  Orion on Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:32 pm

Just another sad commentary on the environmental costs due to demand.

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Re: Article of interest from the Guardian

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:42 pm

Reading the article and the points made in the comments I think there may be some problems with the article.

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Re: Article of interest from the Guardian

Post  marcus watts on Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:21 am

We will see the taking of all true wild trees banned in our lifetimes...............
.............. especially as a small number of individuals think they can take as many trees as they like to sell on at stupidly inflated prices - These wild trees do not truely 'belong' to an individual but they still over collect fueled by greed and money, and how many commercial 'yamadori' sellers are replanting the collecting areas to replace the damage they do? i'd love to see photo evidence of trees replanted every year by the individuals who have taken older ones to sell. When you see a seller saying how great the sheep and deer nibbled foliage is doesnt it give you a clue the livestock actually need to eat the foliage to stay healthy?, thats why it's nibbled in the first place.

Money is the problem - many refined and semi refined import trees are available in the Uk for prices between £1000 and £12,000 (world wide prices are often much higher). A local collected tree, between 1 and 5 years old since collection is worth absolutely no more than £500 due to the years of work still needed to even get it close to worthy (the big scars can be hidden round the back, but they are still there). Why on earth these trees are priced £1000,£2000 and higher! , and more stupidly why people are paying it ! it amazes me.

There are trees and areas of trees that occassionally would be destroyed for other reasons, or partially failed / damaged commercial plantings - these should be our yamadori and they should only be collected under licence so revinue is generated for upkeep and protection of other wild areas. It boils down to the hobbyist being their own worst enemy and fuelling the over collection - we need to learn from taiwan and field plant trees and weather them over 20 - 30 years like their amazing junipers. (My only non nursery UK natives are forestry planted stunted trees, and some yews from drain clearing opperations where they block drainage ditches. )

Even if the article has a few inaccuracies it is talking about an industry that we know goes ahead - do you remember those shocking Euopean pictures of the destruction of pines on a mountain, many left for dead if they came out with no roots - it was a spanish or italian article i think..........

marcus

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Re: Article of interest from the Guardian

Post  fiona on Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:57 am

While I'm not at all suggesting these things don't happen (of course they do) like Billy I'd be a bit wary of the original article. The Gruniad - so-called over here because of its many misprints - is going the way of many former "quality" newspapers in that so much of the news comes in through agencies and is often unverified/unchecked, misunderstood, misrepresented, misquoted, - any combination thereof. The very fact that the plant name is incorrect smacks of the article having been topped and tailed by subbies looking to fill a gap in the paper.

That having been said, however misreported, it does highlight an underlying point which must be a concern to those of us who consider ourselves to be ethical and environmentally friendly. It's too easy to say it's someone else's problem and I know full well I could do more to ascertain the provenance of trees I'm interested in. Ironically, it makes me feel a whole lot better at buying imports from Japan as I can be a lot more certain they have been commercially grown rather than lifted or pillaged from the wilds of whatever country.

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Re: Article of interest from the Guardian

Post  Mark on Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:23 pm

Ah, but it makes such a perfect story. When will editors stop hiring budding Novelists as reporters? Probably never. Their stories are far more engaging than the truth.
Mark

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Re: Article of interest from the Guardian

Post  David Brunner on Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:56 am

Thank you all for your replies!

When I first read the article I was struck by its probable and demonstrable inaccuracies. However, as a conservationist myself (those on non-American shores may not understand or appreciate the distinction we make in the USA between “environmentalist” and “conservationist”) (if more on that is required or desired I will do so off line…) I was indeed struck by the plight of the monkeys. I really hope that it is not the collection from the wild of a less than optimal species for bonsai that is causing their continued decline.

I do understand that collecting for bonsai has impacts on ecosystem function. For that reason, I do not collect from the wild.

However, it seems improbable that wild collected bonsai values have risen to such a point as too cause the proposed outcome. But … then again I think about shark fin soup and bird nest soup and I am forced to reconsider.

Yours in bonsai!
David B.

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Re: Article of interest from the Guardian

Post  fiona on Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:11 am

David Brunner wrote: I really hope that it is not the collection from the wild of a less than optimal species for bonsai that is causing their continued decline.
I must admit this irony (so splendidly couched in a litotes by David) was what struck me when I read the article. One of the commenters pointed out that here in the UK, Ficus benjamina is a stalwart of the garden centres' houseplant section rather than being a bonsai species. It does rather beg the question of how are they grown to supply that demand.


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Re: Article of interest from the Guardian

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:02 pm

Ficus b. root quickly from large cuttings, I talking less than one month with a one inch diameter cutting, all of the trees you see are grown that way, some in greenhouses in colder climates or outdoors (but always in containers) by the acre in places like south Florida.

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