Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Website Search Box

Department ofBotany

No. 125
September 1993

Editor: Jane Villa-Lobos


On August 3, two of the world's top field biologists, Theodore A. Parker III and Alwyn Gentry, were tragically killed in an airplane crash in Ecuador. Both scientists were founders of Conservation International's Rapid Assessment Program (RAP), and their deaths mark a major loss to the international conservation community. They were on a RAP reconnaissance trip, making an aerial survey of the coastal area of Ecuador when the small plane crashed into a mountain. Two others died in the crash, including Eduardo Aspiazu, president of the Guayaquil Chapter of the Nature Foundation. There were three survivors, including Mr. Parker's fiancee, Jacqueline Goerck.

Mr. Parker, a senior scientist for Conservation International, was widely regarded as the world's leading field ornithologist. He was known for his unique ability to identify nearly 4,000 bird species by their calls alone, and was an expert on all Neotropical biodiversity.

Dr. Gentry, senior curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden, was equally revered for his botanical knowledge of South America. His knowledge of woody tropical species was unsurpassed, and he had collected tens of thousands of herbarium specimens during his lifetime.

Parker and Gentry are considered irreplacable by the conservation community. "Ted and Al carried two-thirds of the unpublished knowledge of Neotropical biodiversity in their heads," said Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservation International. "Both men were conservation pioneers," reflected Peter Seligmann, Conservation International's chief executive officer and chairman of the board. "Together, they were an unmatchable reservoir of knowledge. Their deaths are an enormous setback for the world's wild places."

The RAP, started four years ago to inventory the biodiversity of previously unmapped areas in the tropics, was the perfect platform for Parker and Gentry's talents. RAPs blend traditional field techniques with the latest technology to survey a region's system of plants and animals. The scientists involved then make recommendations to land-use officials on how to protect them. Much of the program's attention in recent years has centered on tropical "hotspots" that are being threatened by encroachment or destruction. The two men often worked together on such missions.


In early 1994 the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) will publish the first global list of threatened plants. This is a culmination of 15 years of data gathering and analysis, and attempts to incorporate all Red Data Books and Red Data Lists as well as other published and unpublished information on threatened plants. Information on approximately 70,000 taxa is maintained in BG-BASE, a PC-based RDBMS application. This 1000+ page book will comprise around 36,000 taxa (ca. 15% of known vascular plants) that are threatened at either the country or world level and will include the scientific name, Red Data Book category at the world level, inclusion on CITES Appendix, distribution by country and Red Data Book category within each country. Data sources for nomenclature, distribution, and conservation information will also be included. Due to space constraints, synonymy, life form, common names, and presence in cultivation will be excluded.

In the late stages of this project, WCMC is attempting to fill the obvious gaps and would appreciate hearing from anyone who would be willing to help supply new or update existing information. There are, of course, many errors, inconsistencies, and gaps - inevitable in a data set of this size - but WCMC is attempting to correct as many as possible before going to press. If anyone is willing to supply either geographically or taxonomically based information in a very short time frame, or if there are any questions about this project, please contact Kerry Walter by e-mail ( or call 44 22 327 7314. Please state the region(s)/taxonomic group(s) for which you would be willing to provide data, and how quickly you could review or supply information.


In April 1993, 57 specialists convened for a three day workshop at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to discuss the concept and mechanics of an All Taxa Biological Inventory (ATBI). Participants had backgrounds in managing biotic surveys or information, and represented more-or-less the full range of terrestrial and freshwater taxa. For logistic reasons, the marine environment was excluded from discussion, although several representatives were present to provide cross linkage to similar processes underway among marine scientists. Most participants came from the United States, but Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Norway, England, and Australia were also represented. The workshop was organized by Dan Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs with funding from NSF.

An ATBI would be made a single large site, 50,000-100,000 hectares, including diverse habitats and would involve a complete inventory of all taxa to the maximum extent possible. The site would be subject to long term preservation, but would include disturbed habitats. Collections will be made within a grid system via sampling strategies that allow maximum information retrieval in the future. Modern information management, including global interactive access via Internet, is crucial.

An ATBI must be a cooperative, synergistic effort, with all involved working closely together. Training of systematists, as well as land managers and others, will be built in. The inventory will include passing the species collected "through the filter of what we know" to add biological and phylogenetic information to the knowledge base. The overall lack of trained systematists and collection and research facilities for microbes and many invertebrates creates a need for a major infusion of effort into these fields. It is expected that people will emerge to meet the challenge.

A single ATBI would cost $50-$150 million. After two years of planning and gearing up, the inventory would take about five years. An ATBI site might include 100,000 to 150,000 species, yielding a unit cost of around $1,000 per species. After the inventory has been completed, it would continue to be used for monitoring, research, education and training. An ATBI would thus be an ongoing process. The products of an ATBI will include: complete inventory of a site, a step toward world taxonomic inventory, benchmarks and a "known universe" for research in ecological and environmental change; a platform for ecological studies; detailed knowledge of patterns in biodiversity of all taxa on a landscape scale; paper and electronic manuals of the biota that will be useful far beyond the local site; public exposure for the importance of systematics and conservation; and standards, protocols, and methodologies for sampling and monitoring.

During the conference, initial concern over the size and scale involved with establishing an ATBI disappeared as participants saw the power in the concept and the potential for international partnerships to develop needed resources. After the creation of the first ATBI site, it is expected that others will be started in countries all over the world. In order to be successful, an ATBI must be fully collaborative. The plan must be developed and managed by local constituents in cooperation with scientists and the various user communities.

This workshop focused on ascertaining the technical and scientific issues of feasibility to carry out an ATBI. Further workshops must focus on user needs and local involvement, including such areas as biodiversity prospecting, ecotourism, education, and science-based industries. An initial site must be identified, accompanied by a local and national commitment to support an ATBI. Funding must be solicited internationally. After the site and funds are located, the scientific and management team can coordinate detailed planning and action. For more information, see the article in Science vol. 260 (30 April 1993), or contact Scott Miller at Bishop Museum, Box 19,000-A, Honolulu, Hawaii 96817 or e-mail scottm@BISHOP.BISHOP.HAWAII.ORG.


The People and Plants Initiative is a joint operation by WWF International, UNESCO and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to contribute to the sustainable and equitable use of plant resources. The initiative seeks to support ethnobotanists from developing countries who work with local communities to study and record the use of plant resources, resolve conflicts between the conservation and over-exploitation of plant resources, promote sustainable methods of harvesting non-cultivated plants, and ensure that local communities benefit from the conservation and use of plant resources. The People and Plants Initiative provides the local ethnobotanist and the people with whom they work with training workshops on field methods for inventorying plant resources and assessing methods for the sustainable harvesting of plants, advice on specific conservation projects, scientific literature, training manuals and technical information, and the opportunity to interact with ethnobotanists working in other regions.

A series of five handbooks on plant conservation is being prepared to provide technical guidance on methods in ethnobotany and sustainable use of plant resources. Current People and Plants Initiative activities include projects in Malaysia, the Caribbean, Madagascar, Bolivia, Mexico, Uganda, Brazil, Cameroon, and a few international projects.

The need for this initiative is urgent for numerous reasons: 1) the sustainable and equitable use of plant resources for the benefit of local people is essential for biodiversity conservation in rural communities; 2) over-harvesting of non- cultivated plants often results from habitat loss, human population increase and trade in plant products; 3) local resource users often have a profound knowledge of plants and their management. This knowledge, much of which is unrecorded, is being lost with the transformation of ecosystems and local cultures; 4) identifying conflicts between harvesting and conservation of plant resources is the first step towards achieving sustainable plant use; 5) ethnobotanists can work on practical conservation issues with local communities; and 6) more of these key professionals are needed in developing countries. For more information contact the Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, United Kingdom; WWF-International, Biodiversity Unit-Conservation Policy Division, Avenue du Mont Blanc, 1196 Gland, Switzerland; or UNESCO, Man and the Biosphere Programme, Division of Ecological Sciences, 7, Place de Fontenoy - 75352 Paris, CEDEX 07 Sp - France.


The Second International Biodiversity Measuring and Monitoring Course will be directed by the Smithsonian Man and the Biosphere Program (SI/MAB) and is tentatively scheduled for May 2 - June 3, 1994 at the Smithsonian Conservation and Research Center, Front Royal, Virginia. This unique professional course will teach participants how to establish procedures for measuring and monitoring biodiversity, how to design sampling programs and analyze data in each field, how to develop the monitoring protocol, and how to implement the management strategies necessary for an area. Previously, 19 participants from 14 countries throughout the world interacted for five weeks with close to 60 outstanding instructors and speakers in the recently completed first course.

Course participants will work intensively with highly qualified researchers and instructors; learn methodology used by experts working in temperate and tropical ecosystems; learn about measuring biodiversity and develop a biodiversity monitoring program for a selected site; and qualify for future biodiversity and research programs in tropical rainforest Smithsonian research sites. Twenty participants will be accepted worldwide; the course will be in English, although most instructors are bilingual (English/Spanish). Instructors are well-known specialists from the Smithsonian Institution and other organizations.

Applications are being accepted from graduate students, senior undergraduates and professionals in the biological or environmental sciences. Total cost is $3200 (not including airfare). This covers food and lodging, local transportation, books and materials, and use of field and laboratory equipment. A limited number of fellowships will be available. Application deadline is December 12, 1993.

For further information and application forms, please write, call, or fax: Dr. Francisco Dallmeier, Director, Smithsonian/MAB, Biodiversity Program, Smithsonian Institution, 1100 Jefferson Drive, S.W., Suite 3123, Washington, DC 20560. Tel: (202) 357- 4693, Fax: (202) 786-2557.


The World Wildlife Fund International has published Ethics, Ethnobiological Research, and Biodiversity. This document, intended for policy makers in government, research institutes, botanical gardens, herbaria, universities, and industry outlines some of the dilemmas facing ethnobotanists, anthropologists, and phytochemists in developing new natural products from biological materials.

The bulk of the world's biological and cultural diversity occurs in developing countries rich in potential new natural products. However much of the technology and expertise required to develop new industrial products from biological materials is centered in the industrialized countries of the temperate zone. For researchers, industrial companies, corporations, and governments involved with recording indigenous knowledge and identifying potentially valuable biological resources, this raises ethical, legal, and political issues. Ethics, Ethnobiological Research, and Biodiversity discusses these issues and provides a recommended code of practice. The specific objectives of the paper are: 1)to present the background to the ethical and conservation issues that arise in the development of new natural products and to outline the need to create equitable partnerships and recognize the value of indigenous knowledge which will lead to the payment of fair compensation to source regions; 2)to facilitate international cooperation in the collection, conservation, use, and development of new natural products; 3)to ensure that any collecting for export and use outside of a country has the full approval of the competent authorities, and is carried out with the cooperation of the host country and representatives of the local communities involved; also to ensure that these collections comply with conservation and quarantine regulations in the countries of origin and destination; and 4)to outline the general principles that will facilitate development of national regulations by governments or agreements between organizations. For more information, contact WWF International, Avenue du Mont-Blanc, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland. Tel: 41 (22) 364 91 11, Fax: 41 (22) 364 53 58; or contact the WWF affiliate in your country.


The Wildlife Conservation Society (Bronx Zoo) seeks a talented environmental educator for full time position in its nationally prominent education department. Candidate must have graduate course work in environmental science, conservation biology, or science education with a strong background in ecology and over 4 years teaching in supervisory experience in environmental education. Knowledge of current conservation issues, creativity, strong public presentation and writing skills are required. Experience handling small live animals and ability to play a guitar are desirable. Competitive salary. Benefits include three weeks vacation, on-site parking, health and retirement plans. Send resume with salary requirements to: Annette Berkovits, Director of Education, The Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, New York 10460. Fax: (718) 733-4460.


October 25-28. The First International Workshop on the Conservation of the Pampas Deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus) will meet in Rocha, Uruguay. Due to the critical situation of this species, the workshop aims to bring together experts to exchange ideas and experiences in the conservation of endangered species. For more information, contact Lic. Susana Gonzales, Division Citogenetica U.A., Instituto de Investigaciones Biologicas Clemente Estable, Av. Italia 3310, C.P. 11600, Montevideo, Uruguay. Tel: 471616, Fax: 475548.

October 25-November 26. Plant Conservation Techniques Course, sponsored by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, will review the options open to the plant conservationist by assessing the techniques available - from protected area management to botanic gardens, seed banking and cryopreservation. The course aims to enhance the student's awareness of the issues and methods used in plant conservation, enable the student to explore how issues and methods are related to each other, encourage students to think of their own, more specialized, studies and experiences in a broader context encompassing social, ecological and evolutionary factors, and to develop problem solving skills and applied practical skills of value in conservation. For more information, contact Education and Marketing Department, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, United Kingdom. Tel: 44 81 332 5623 or 332 5626, Fax: 44 81 332 5610.


Alcorn, J. 1993. Indigenous peoples and conservation. Conservation Biology 7(2): 424-426.

Anon. 1993. 1993 is watershed year for biodiversity conservation in Indonesia. Biodiversity Conservation Strategy Update 5(1): 4, 7.

Anon. 1993. Ally in the rainforest works to protect one of El Salvador's last untouched refuges. The Canopy Spring: 6. (Fundacion Ecologica Salvadorean's efforts to save Bosque El Imposible)

Anon. 1993. Calakmul: beauty & biodiversity. Kambul 3(2): 3-4. (Yucatan, Mexico)

Anon. 1993. Exotic trade threatens rare Indonesia parrot. Focus 15(4): 5. (Red-and-blue lory)

Anon. 1993. Historic management agreement reached with Baltimore Gas & Electric Company. The Nature Conservancy of Maryland 17(2): 3. (Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, home to several endangered beetles)

Anon. 1993. Illegal fur trade threatens species in India and Nepal. Focus 15(3): 1, 6.

Anon. 1993. Interior Department action may halt trade of tiger bone and rhino horn. Focus 15(4): 1, 4.

Anon. 1992. New hope for endangered Mauritian tree. Species 19: 7. (Dombeya mauritiana)

Anon. 1993. New management plan may hold the key to the panda's future. Focus 15(3): 5.

Anon. 1993. Norway resumes whaling. Focus 15(4): 6.

Anon. 1993. Proposed Chilean national biodiveristy plan released. Biodiversity Conservation Strategy Update 5(1): 2.

Anon. 1993. WWF and Hoopa Valley tribe form conservation partnership. Focus 15(3): 1, 7. (Hoopa Valley Reservation in northern California, an area of high biological diversity)

Anon. 1993. WWF special report: protecting species of special concern. Focus 15(3): 4-5.

Barnes, J. 1993. Driving roads through land rights: the Colombian Plan Pacifico. The Ecologist 23(4): 135-140.

Behler, J. and Klemens, M. 1993. Turtle troubles. Wildlife Conservation 96(5): 13. (250 species of the world's tortoises and freshwater turtles are in danger)

Behra, O. 1993. The export of reptiles and amphibians from Madagascar. Traffic Bull. 13(3): 115-116.

Bowker, M. 1993. In the shadow of the volcano. Wildlife Conservation 96(5): 38-43. (Restoration, Mount St. Helens, Washington)

Brautigam, A. and Humphreys, T. 1992. The status of North Moluccan parrots: a summary of the findings of the IUCN field assessment. Species 19: 26-28.

Bronaugh, W. 1993. Farming the flying flowers. Wildlife Conservation 96(5): 54-63. (Butterfly conservation, Costa Rica)

Chambers, F. (Ed.) 1993. Climate Change and Human Impact on the Landscape. Chapman & Hall, England. 303 pp.

Chepesiuk, R. 1993. The greening of America. Wildlife Conservation 96(4): 54-59. (Audubon Co-operative Sanctuary Program)

Corry, S. 1993. The rainforest harvest: who reaps the benefit? The Ecologist 23(4): 148-153.

Cowan, P. 1993. Wildlife management and conservation. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 20(1): 1-12.

Crump, A. 1993. Dictionary of Environment and Development. People, Places, Ideas and Organizations. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 272 pp.

Daniel, J. 1993. A chance to do it right: the national parks of Alaska. Wilderness 56(201): 11-25, 30-33.

Dold, C. 1993. The great white whales. Wildlife Conservation 96(4): 44-53. (toxic pollution and other threats)

East, R. 1992. Conservation status of antelopes in Asia and the Middle East, Part 1. Species 19: 23-25.

Ecological Society of America. 1993. Program and abstracts of the 78th Annual ESA meeting, "Ecological Global Sustainability". Bull. Ecological Soc. of America (Suppl.) 74(2): 1-520.

Ehrlich, P. 1993. Is the extinction crisis real? Wildlife Conservation 96(5): 66-67.

Ertter, B. 1993. What is snow-wreath doing in California? Fremontia 22(3): 4-7.

Giannecchini, J. 1993. Ecotourism: new partners, new relationships. Conservation Biology 7(2): 429-432.

Greenwood, J. 1993. The ecology and conservation management of geese. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 8(9): 307-308.

Haugen, C., Durst, P. and Freed, E. 1993. Directory of Selected Tropical Forestry Journals and Newsletters. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. 127 pp.

Hunter, M. and Yonzon, P. 1993. Altitudinal distributions of birds, mammals, people, forests, and parks in Nepal. Conservation Biology 7(2): 420-423.

Johnson, A., Ford, W. and Hale, P. 1993. The effects of clearcutting on herbaceous understories are still not fully known. Conservation Biology 7(2): 433-435.

Keeler-Wolf, T. 1993. Conserving California's rare plant communities. Fremontia 22(3): 14-22.

Kennedy, M. 1992. Australasian marsupials and monotremes. An action plan for their conservation. Species 19: 38-40.

Kohl, J. 1993. No reserve is an island. Wildlife Conservation 96(5): 74-75, 82. (La Selva, Costa Rica)

Kunin, W. and Gaston, K. 1993. The biology of rarity: patterns, causes, and consequences. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 8(8): 298-301.

Lansky, M. 1993. Beyond the Beauty Strip: Saving What's Left of Our Forest. Tilbury House, Gardiner, Maine. 454 pp.

Lieberman, S. 1993. 1992 CITES amendments strengthen protection for wildlife and plants. End. Species Tech. Bull. 18(1): 7-9.

Losos, E. 1993. The future of the US endangered species act. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 8(9): 332-336.

Lyra, P. 1993. The tragedy of the Amazon - and the promise of Paragominas. Focus 15(4): 3. (WWF's project to develop alternative methods for selectively logging trees in Paragominas state, Brazil)

Mace, G., Collar, N., Cooke, J., Gaston, K., Ginsberg, J., Williams, N., Maunder, M. and Milner-Gulland, E. 1992. The development of new criteria for listing species on the IUCN Red List. Species 19: 16-22.

McKibben, B. 1993. The Adirondacks. Nature Conservancy 74(2): 24-28.

McNeely, J. 1993. Biodiversity action plan for Vietnam. Biodiversity Conservation Strategy Update 5(1): 3.

McNeely, J. 1993. The real price of pollution. Zoogoer 22(3): 18-22.

Meadows, R. 1993. Farming on the fly. Zoogoer 22(3): 6-11.

Meadows, R. 1993. Watching out for gray whales. Zoogoer 22(3): 12-17.

Mulliken, T. and Nash, S. 1993. The recent trade in Philippine corals. Traffic Bull. 13(3): 97-105.

Nabhan, G. and Fleming, T. 1992. The conservation of mutualisms. Species 19: 32-34. (Succulents and their pollinators)

Nash, S. 1993. Concern about trade in red-and-blue lories. Traffic Bull. 13(3): 93-96.

Nobbe, G. 1993. No panhandlers, please. Wildlife Cons. 96(5): 12. (Reintroduction of black bears to Tennessee and Kentucky Cumberland Plateau)

Parker, T., Holst, B., Emmons, L. and Myer, J. 1993. A Biological Assessment of the Columbia River Forest Reserve, Toledo District, Belize. Conservation International, Washington, DC. 81 pp.

Polisar, J. 1993. River turtle protected. Wildlife Conservation 96(5): 6. (Central American river turtle, Belize)

Reading, R., Myronuik, P., Backhouse, G. and Clark, T. 1992. Eastern barred bandicoot reintroductions in Victoria, Australia. Species 19: 29-31.

Reid, W., Laird, S., Meyer, C., Gamez. R., Sittenfeld, A., Janzen, D., Gollin, M. and Juma, C. 1993. Biodiversity Prospecting: Using Genetic Resources for Sustainable Development. World Resources Institute, Washington, DC. 341 pp.

Ricciuti, E. 1993. Rhinos at risk. Wildlife Conservation 96(5): 22-31.

Richter, A., Humphrey, S., Cope, J. and Brack, V. 1993. Modified cave entrances: thermal effect on body mass and resulting decline of endangered Indiana bats Myotis sodalis. Conservation Biology 7(2): 407-415.

Sawkins, M. and McGough, H. 1993. The genus Trillium in trade. Traffic Bull. 13(3): 117-121.

Schneider, K. 1993. Loggers listen to what Michigan forests say. The New York Times (National) July 25: 20.

Schreiber, M., Powell, R., Parmerlee, J., Lathrop, A. and Smith, D. 1993. Natural history of a small population of Leiocephalus schreibersii (Sauria: Tropiduridae) from altered habitat in the Dominican Republic. Florida Scientist 56(2): 82-90.

Seidensticker, J. and McDougal, C. 1993. Tiger predatory behaviour, ecology and conservation. Sym. zool. Soc. Lond. 65: 105-125.

Shankland, A. 1993. Brazil's BR-364: a road to nowhere? The Ecologist 23(4): 141-147.

Sheeline, L. 1993. Pacific fruit bats in trade. Are CITES controls working? Traffic USA 12(1): 1-4.

Shevock, J. 1993. How rare is the Shasta snow-wreath? Fremontia 22(3): 7-10.

Simons, M. 1993. Mining is ravaging the Indian Ocean's coral reefs. The New York Times (International) August 8: 3.

Skinner, M. and Erterr, B. 1993. Whither rare plants in The Jepson Manual? Fremontia 22(3): 23-27.

Stewart, M., Austin, D. and Bourne, G. 1993. Habitat structure and the dispersion of gopher tortoises on a nature preserve. Florida Scientist 56(2): 70-81.

Stolzenburg, W. 1993. Magic mesas. Venezuela's tepuys. Nature Conservancy 43(4): 10-15.

Taylor, D. 1993. A new discovery in California. Fremontia 22(3): 3-4. (Shasta snow-wreath: a new genus in California)

Tennesen, M. 1993. The governor, the secretary, and the tiny bird. Wildlife Conservation 96(5): 7. (California protects gnatcatcher)

Toro, T. 1993. A cold war legacy. Wildlife Conservation 96(4): 66-71. (Former East German military bases are now reserves for birds and other wildlife)

Tudge, C. 1993. A pachyderm paradox. Wildlife Conservation 96(5): 8-9. (Asian elephant numerous, but threatened by poaching)

Vaughan, R. and Mudd, N. 1993. Protecting Alabama wildlands. Wild Earth 3(2): 64-68.

Yoon, C. 1993. Rain forests seen as shaped by the human hand. The New York Times (Science Times) July 27: C1, C10.

[ TOP ]