If you love bromeliads contribute to their well-being and survival. You can get involved in conservation of bromeliads and their habitats through action and non-action!
Read and follow our BSI Code of Conduct for Growers and Collectors!
Sometimes it is better not to act! For example, you should not promote the destruction of natural populations of bromeliads through the consumption of plants which have been extracted from the wild without caring for its threat or protection status. If you are looking for new plants for your collection we would advise you to cooperate only with reputable growers and providers. If you think a bromeliad may be illegal or is rare in the wild, refrain from buying it unless you can be assured that it was artificially propagated from legal parent plants.
Bromeliads are a family of plants that contain many of the most ornamental and interesting types of plants available to the decorator/hobbyist.> Having a value as a commodity their trade needs to be regulated in order to reduce the negative impacts e.g. due harvesting wild specimens. If you find a bromeliad growing in the wild and you wish to take it for your collection, you normally need a license or permit. In this context it is very important to acknowledge that there is much more legislation out there than only CITES, the rather well known convention regulating the trade of endangered species (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, 1975). This is an international treaty, ratified by 169 parties (2006) providing guidelines for international trade of about 30,000 threatened animal and plant species all over the world. Only, seven Tillandsia species are included in Appendix II of the agreement’s database which covers species that are not currently threatened with extinction, but for which trade must be controlled in order to avoid over-utilisation, which might threaten their survival in their natural habitats. Be sure to mind the conditions provided by the countries of import and export. Many countries, in the course of the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (UN, Rio de Janeiro, CBD, 19 (UN, Rio de Janeiro, CBD, 1992), have launched legal provisions related to the collection and use of genetic resources. Anyway, the countries of origin have the sovereign rights over their biological resources.
Bromeliad growers and collectors can assist in conservation through their bromeliad tions. By providing a wide variety of genes and a vital status you can contribute your part to the world wide markets of bromeliad species and in so doing take pressure off of wild species.
BSI actively encourages its members to rt in the BSI Seed Fund . You can have the satisfaction of growing a specimen even from uncommon and rare plants. This program offers access to a wider genetic and species diversity for every member of the BSI, thus reducing the pressure on wild and possibly endangered species being taken from their natural habitats.
If you are no longer able to care for your collection please contact your local bromeliad society being able to contact relevant new owners of your beloved plants.
You can contact your local conservation authorities to find out about programs that target bromeliads and/or include efforts to preserve or restore bromeliad habitats. Local affiliated Bromeliad societies can establish a liaison with natural resource agencies and native plant societies to set up volunteer programs to assist in Bromeliad conservation projects.
You can also support efforts to save the habitat of bromeliads by supporting one of the various international conservation organizations that work in the countries of origin of the bromeliads, both through financial contributions or direct involvement (e.g., The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, WWF, Wildlife Conservation Society, see Useful Links). Check out what kind of projects support the conservation of threatened bromeliad-rich ecosystems such as the tropical Andes or the Atlantic rain forests of Brazil. Often, the big international conservation organisations work together with local partner institutions that can be directly supported as well. Often, the large organisations cannot focus on specific sites – unless they are covered by their area of intervention – or specific taxa. But anyway they are doing a very important job by trying to improve the legal and political framework of conservation and attacking the underlying causes of the conservation threats on a regional or national scale. When you decide to donate substantial amounts ask the conservation organisations to explain at which bromeliad-rich sites they are implementing action on the ground.
All conservation players rely on current and precise data. As many bromeliad aficionados travel around to visit bromeliads in their habitats they can provide first-hand reports on conservation problems observed. Document your observations regarding threats or problems, take pictures, write articles, or simply send your observations to the conservation chair of BSI! Your contributions might be published in our Journal or in our online Conservation Discussion and Documentation Corner.
The most difficult and indirect, yet ultimately crucial approach to conserving our natural resources is to reduce our own consumption habits, especially in developed countries. Have you ever checked out your ecological foot-print ? It is a calculator correlating your average consump? It is a calculator correlating your average consumption with the potential use of land area needed to cover it. Remember, we and the bromeliads only have one world!
Vera Porwollik & Pierre L. Ibisch (BSI Conservation Chair)
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