Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Website Search Box

Department ofBotany

No. 105
January 1992

Editor: Jane Villa-Lobos


The Department of Agriculture has established two test sites in Ecuador for preserving wild relatives of food crops in their native habitats.

Botanist Calvin R. Sperling initiated the in situ experiment to study if wild plant reserves can be a companion to seed banks. U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service currently oversees a system of banks or repositories in the United States where genetic material of plants from around the world is stored.

Agricultural Research Service botanists Calvin Sperling and Jim Duke, in collaboration with staff of the Ecuadorian National Agricultural Institute and The Nature Conservancy, selected two test sites in the Ecuadorian highlands. They made a quick inventory of the wild relatives of agricultural crops present in two reserves, one in the south and one in the north of the country. Wild relatives of potatoes, blueberries, currants, gooseberries, blackberries and beans were found, as well as wild tomatoes and walnuts, which were growing nearby.

Saving a plant species in its native habitat also preserves other organisms which may prove to be ecologically important. Scientists believe it is better to conserve them in situ in ecosystem reserves than to collect and preserve only small samples of germplasm resources in seed banks. It may be as cost effective to collect what a researcher needs each time from the wild, at a reserve, as it is to maintain the total diversity of wild relatives in a gene bank.

In situ preservation is successful only if the inventoried area is kept undisturbed, monitored and managed. Countries such as Mexico have taken steps to preserve wild plants as a safeguard against losing its biodiversity. Mexico established an in situ reserve for Zea diploperennis , the only perennial wild relative of maize, in the Sierra de Manantlan. At this site, a sizeable acreage protects this recently discovered, rare endemic plant species along with its associated vegetation.

In situ reserves constitutes a biological insurance policy for germplasm resources within a natural ecosystem and provide an opportunity for scientists to study the ecological components and evolutionary processes. Information from these studies may benefit future generations.


In 1992 the National Academy of Sciences will jointly sponsor a three-week summer program in biodiversity with experts from the Russian republic. The program will involve an interdisciplinary team of ten American specialists and ten Russian specialists, all of whom have earned the Ph.D. degree or achieved equivalent accomplishments since January 1, 1984.

The focus of the program will be on anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity. The June 1992 summer session will consist of three weeks of joint research and consultations at two sites in California. The program will investigate how federal, state and local authorities are cooperatively working with scientific and public interest groups. In this regard, many factors bear on the preservation of biodiversity, and a wide range of topics in the natural and social sciences are relevant to the general theme. The 1993 session will have a similar orientation. It will be held at a Russian site with problems analogous to those of California: encroachment of urbanization, pollution and industry on flora and fauna.

To apply to this program please submit five copies of each of the following to the Office of Soviet and East European Affairs, National Research Council, 2102 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20418, Attn: Kathleen K. Trivers, (202) 334-3654 by February 7, 1992: curriculum vitae; list of publications; description of the relevance of participation in the program to present activities and long-term plans; two letters of recommendation; and a statement of intent to participate in the full three weeks of both the 1992 and 1993 programs. Notification date: March 9, 1992.


The Sophie Danforth Conservation Biology Fund has available grants of up to $1000. Projects that enhance biodiversity and maintain ecosystems receive the highest funding priority. Field studies, environmental education programs, and the development of techniques for propagation programs are also appropriate. Proposals for single-species preservation are inappropriate. Proposals are due 1 May, and grants will be awarded in July. Contact: Anne Savage, Director of Research, Roger Williams Park Zoo, Elmwood Avenue, Providence, RI 02905; Tel. (401) 785-9450.

The Catherine Beattie Fellowship was created to promote the conservation of rare and endangered flora in the United States through the programs of the Center for Plant Conservation, headquartered at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The research grant enables a horticulture student to conduct field research on the biology and management of rare plants in conjunction with the Center's Botanic Garden programs.

Preference is given to students whose projects focus on the endangered flora of the Carolinas and the southeastern United States. For further information, contact: Scholarship Committee, c/o Mrs. Monica Freeman, The Garden Club of America, 598 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022.


The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) is offering a three-week field course, Tropical Diversity, to be taught in Costa Rica, August 1-21, 1992. This course offers an intensive, total immersion experience that will require full-time dedication. The course will work at three different sites, carefully chosen to exemplify the wide range of tropical habitats. Academic credit (3 hours) will be granted through the University of Costa Rica.

Tropical Diversity is intended primarily for graduate students in the life and social sciences who seek an intensive introduction to tropical ecology. Applications are also welcome from faculty and postdocs, in particular those who wish to make a research shift toward the tropics or to enhance their teaching. Advanced undergraduates will also be considered provided that they have adequate course work in the life sciences and demonstrated independence and maturity.

The application deadline is April 15, 1992; selections will be announced by mid May. The course fee covers all costs except airfare to Costa Rica and personal expenses: $1,550 for students and faculty from OTS member institutions, $2,600 for others. Additional information and application forms may be requested from: Dr. Lucinda McDade, Organization for Tropical Studies, P. O. Box DM, Duke Station, Durham, NC 27706; Tel. (919) 684-5774; Fax (919) 684-5661.

The Ecology of the Rainforest: Tropical Biology and Conservation, sponsored by a consortium of colleges and universities and administered by the Council on International Educational Exchange, will be held June 18-August 6 at the Monteverde Institute, Monteverde, Costa Rica. The program provides students with credit (10 semester hours) for three courses: tropical biology, independent research in field biology and Spanish language/agroecology. Students attend lectures on a broad range of topics in tropical biology emphasizing the ecology of tropical ecosystems and the factors affecting conservation in the tropics.

Applicants must have 2 semesters of college-level biology or environmental studies and a 2.75 overall grade point average. Deadline for applications is March 15. For further information, contact: University Programs, Council on International Educational Exchange, 205 East 42nd St., New York, NY 10017; Tel. (212) 661-1414, ext. 1236.


February 6-9. The Second Global Structures Convocation, a working conference on international laws and institutions for sustainable development and a viable global community, will be held at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC. The convocation will search for gloabl structures needed to achieve a world community that is environmentally healthy, free from war, and economically sound. Registration fee: $100. For information, write: The Second Global Structures Convocation, 1000 16th Street, N.W., Suite 810, Washington, DC 20036.

February 6-11. The annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) will meet in Chicago, Illinois. Over 200 sessions are organized with symposia topics, such as crisis in health care, preserving world peace, industry and the changing workforce, climate and global change, environmental modeling and policy, ethics and research policies, and medicines and technologies of the future. For more information, write: AAAS Meeting Promotion Dept., 1333 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20005.


Anon. 1991. Hawaii faces extinction crisis. Pacific Daily News November 9.

Anon. 1991. Insects are worth saving. Canadian Biodiversity 1(3): 36-38. (IUCN resolution on conservation of insects and other invertebrates)

Abate, T. 1992. Which bird is the better indicator species for old-growth forest? BioScience 42(1): 8-9. (Northern spotted owl vs. marbled murrelet)

Akai, I. 1991. Protected area management and community development in Japan. TigerPaper 18(2): 11-14.

Akaka, M. 1991. Hawaii's extinction crisis demands action now. Honolulu Star-Bulletin November 28: A-13.

Ames, M. 1991. Saving some cetaceans may require breeding in captivity. BioScience 41(11): 746-749. (Chinese river dolphin)

Anderson, K. 1991. Wild plant management: cross-cultural examples of the small farmers of Juamave, Mexico, and the southern Miwok of the Yosemite region. Arid Lands Newsletter 31: 18-23.

Anderson, R. and Shafer, D. 1991. Holocene biogeography of spruce-fir forests in southeastern Arizona - implications for the endangered Mt. Graham red squirrel. Madrono 38(4): 287- 295.

Bishop. M. 1991. A new tune for an ancient harmony. The ICF Bugle 17(4): 2-3. (Black-necked cranes, Tibet)

Boersma, P. 1991. Status of wild and captive penguin populations. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 6(12): 381-382.

Borowsky, R. and Kallman, K. 1991. Loss of polymorphism in a declining population of Xiphophorus variatus. J. of Heredity 82(5): 387-390. (Poeciliid fish, Mexico)

Boucher, N. 1991. Smart as gods. Can we put the Everglades back together again? Wilderness 55(195): 10-21. (Florida)

Breen, C. 1990. Are intermittently flooded wetlands of arid environments important conservation sites? Madoqua 17(2): 61-65. (Namibia)

Bruemmer, F. 1992. And then there were none. Int. Wildlife 22(1): 20-23. (Gulf of St. Lawrence, once home of walruses)

Brush, G. 1991. The Chesapeake Bay. Geotimes 36(12): 21-23. (Preserving water quality in Maryland)

Burke, R. 1991. Relocations, repatriations, and translocations of amphibians and reptiles: taking a broader view. Herpetologica 47(3): 350-357. (Techniques for conservation)

Burnett, J., Dauphine, C., McCrindle, S. and Mosquin, T. 1991. On the Brink: Endangered Species in Canada . Environment Canada, Ottawa, Canada. 192 pp.

Canadian Environmental Network. 1991. The Green List. Canadian Environmental Network, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 424 pp. (Guide to Canadian environmental organizations and agencies)

Cherfas, J. 1991. Disappearing mushrooms: another mass extinction? Science 254(5037): 1458. (Europe)

Dickson, J. 1990. Conservation and the botany of Bings: observation from the Glasgow area. Bot. Soc. Edinburgh Trans. 45(5): 493-500. (Scotland)

Duellman, W. and Koechlin, J. 1991. The Reserva Cuzco Amazonico, Peru: biological investigations, conservation, and ecotourism. Occ. Papers Mus. Nat. Hist. Univ. Kansas 142: 1-38.

Ehrlich, P. 1991. Canaries in the global mine. Living Bird 10(4): 10-13. (Decline of songbirds)

Finlayson, M. and Moser, M. 1991. Wetlands. Facts on File, Inc., New York, NY. 224 pp.

Gamez, R. 1991. Biodiversity conservation through facilitation of its sustainable use: Costa Rica's National Biodiversity Institute. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 6(12): 377-378.

Hall, R. 1991. Hawai'i is being invaded by illegal alien animals and plants. 'Elepaio 51(11): 69.

Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy. 1991. Hawaii's Extinction Crisis: A Call to Action. A Report on the Status of Hawaii's Natural Heritage. Honolulu, Hawaii. 16 pp.

Hawkes, M. 1991. Seaweeds of British Columbia: biodiversity, ecology and conservation status. Canadian Biodiversity 1(3): 4-11.

Henry, P. 1992. Swan lake. Int. Wildlife 22(1): 12- 19. (Cygnets making a comeback in Finland)

Herkert, J. 1991. Endangered and Threatened Species of Illinois: Status and Distribution, Volume 1 - Plants. Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board, Springfield, Illinois. 158 pp.

Heyns, P. 1990. Guidelines for the utilization of water resources and protection of wetlands in Namibia. Madoqua 17(2): 249-251.

Hildyard, N. 1991. Sustaining the hunger machine: a critique of FAO's SARD Strategy. The Ecologist 21(6): 239-243. (Agenda for action for Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development)

Hunter, M. 1991. Conservation strategies for the giant and red panda. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 6(12): 379-380.

Irish, J. 1990. Conservation aspects of karst waters in Namibia. Madoqua 17(2): 141-146. (Namibia)

Johnson, D. (ed.) 1991. Palms for Human Needs in Asia. Palm Utilization and Conservation in India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. A.A. Balkema Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 264 pp.

Kanamine, L. 1991. "Silent extinction" befalls Hawaii's flora, fauna. USA Today November 7: 5A.

Keating, D. 1991. Florida's barrier reef seen doomed by 2000. Washington Post December 29: A3. (Florida Keys)

Keatinge, T. 1990. Scotland's threatened mires and mosses: policies to protect the peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland. Bot. Soc. Edinburgh Trans. 45(5): 417-426.

Kong, N. 1991. The management of protected areas in Malaysia. TigerPaper 18(2): 21-26.

Laven, R. et al. 1991. Population structure of the recently rediscovered Hawaiian shrub Tetramolopium arenarium. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 78(4): 1073-1080. (Previously considered extinct)

Les, D. et al. 1991. Genetic consequences of rarity in Aster furcatus (Asteraceae), a threatened, self- incompatible plant. Evolution 45(7): 1641-1650.

Lipske, M. 1992. How a monkey saved the jungle. Int. Wildlife 22(1): 38-43. (Black howler monkey, Belize)

Loftin, K. 1991. Restoring the Kissimmee River. Geotimes 36(12): 14-18. (Florida)

McAllister, D. 1991. Estimating the pharmaceutical values of forests, Canadian and tropical. Canadian Biodiversity = F1 1(3): 16-25.

Maehr, D., Land, E. and Roof, J. 1991. Florida panthers. Research & Exploration 7(4): 414-431.

Mardon, D. 1990. Conservation of montane willow scrub in Scotland. Bot. Soc. Edinburgh Trans. 45(5): 427-436.

McGoodwin, J. 1990. Crisis in the World's Fisheries: People, Problems, and Politics. Stanford Univeristy Press, Stanford, California. 235 pp.

Mlot, C. 1991. Extinction by global warming? BioScience 41(11): 754. (Uncompahgre fritillary butterfly, Colorado)

Payne, L. 1991. Networking. Living Bird 10(4): 24-29. (Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network to protect shorebird habitat)

Payne, R. 1991. Potential economic and political impacts of ecotourism: a research note. Texas Journal of Political Studies 13(1): 65-77.

Planterose, B. and Planterose, E. 1990. Restoring our native woodlands: a case study on the RSPB Reserve of Isle Martin. Bot. Soc. Edinburgh Trans. 45(5): 501-508. (Scotland)

Raven, J. 1990. The coastal fringe: habitats threatened through global warming. Bot. Soc. Edinburgh Trans. 45(5): 437-462. (Scotland)

Reimchen, T. 1991. Biodiversity studies and forest management in British Columbia. Canadian Biodiversity 1(3): 34-35.

Robbins, J. 1992. Can Earth survive the big mac attack? E Magazine 3(1): 38-43, 60-61. (Reduction in meat consumption may save the environment)

Rodgers, W. 1991. Protected area networks, conservation adequacy and management directions: information from India. TigerPaper 18(2): 5-10.

Rotmans, J. and Swart, R. 1991. Modelling tropical deforestation and its consequences for global climate. Ecological Modelling 58: 217-247.

Sachs, W. 1991. Environment and development: the story of a dangerous liaison. The Ecologist 21(6): 252-257.

Santiapillai, C. 1991. Management of elephants in the Xishuangbanna Nature Reserve, P.R. China. TigerPaper 18(2): 1-5.

Schrader, H. 1990. Approach of the Ministry of Wildlife, Conservation and Tourism to wetlands in Namibia. Madoqua 17(2): 253-254.

Scott, M. 1990. Losses and gains to the Scottish flora. Bot. Soc. Edinburgh Trans. 45(5): 403-416.

Stewart, N. 1990. Red data books for cryptogamic plants. Bot. Soc. Edinburgh Trans. 45(5): 473-482.

Swafford, D. 1991. Rx for a sick reef. Sea Frontier 37(6): 38-43. (Florida Keys)

Swanson, R. 1991. Pesticides and endangered species: a product labeling program to minimize exposure and risk to protected species. Canadian Biodiversity 1(3): 12-15.

Synder, G. 1991. Will orchids survive? The current situation in Costa Rica. Am. Orchid Soc. Bull. 60(12): 1166-1175.

TenBruggencate, J. 1991. Doomsday for Hawaii wildlife. Honolulu Advertiser November 7.

TenBruggencate, J. 1991. The Kauai 'o'o -- a glimpse of a vanished breed. Honolulu Sunday Star-Bulletin & Advertiser November 17.

Upreti, B. 1991. Status of national parks and protected areas in Nepal. TigerPaper 18(2): 27-32.

Wagner, P. 1991. Progress is destroying Hawaii's island paradise. Honolulu Star-Bulletin November 8.

Watling, R. 1990. On the way towards a red data book on British fungi. Bot. Soc. Edinburgh Trans. 45(5): 463-472.

Wilcock, C. 1990. Botanical sanctuaries for Scotland's flora. Bot. Soc. Edinburgh Trans. 45(5): 509-517.

Williams, A. 1990. Numbers and conservation importance of coastal birds at the Cape Cross lagoons, Namibia. Madoqua 17(2): 239-243.

Williams, A. 1990. Wetland birds and conservation in Namibia: an overview. Madoqua 17(2): 245-248.

Williams, M. (ed.) 1991. Wetlands: A Threatened Landscape. Basil Blackwell, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts. 419 pp.

Wilson, E. 1991. Rainforest canopy. The high frontier. Nat. Geographic 180(6): 78-107.

Winkelman, M. 1991. Native California plants: potential treatment for diabetes. Arid Lands Newsletter 31: 14-17.

Wolkomir, R. and Wolkomir, J. 1992. Caught in the crossfire. Int. Wildlife 22(1): 4-11. (Effects of Persian Gulf War on wildlife)

Woo, B.-W. 1991. Status of management of the protected areas in the Republic of Korea. TigerPaper 18(2): 14-20.

Wood, D. 1991. Hawaiian Islands face extensive ecological peril. The Christian Science Monitor November 7.

Zika, P. 1991. Discovery of Juncus vaseyi (Juncaceae) in Vermont. Rhodora 93(876): 395-397. (Threatened by human activity)

[ TOP ]