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Department ofBotany

No. 147
August 1995

Editor: Jane Villa-Lobos


Herbal medicines are used for their symbolic and medicinal value by a high proportion of rural and urban people in developing countries. Industrial countries have also renewed their interest in traditional medicinal plants as a source of chemical leads for new pharmeceuticals. Harvest of medicinal plants, whether for export, sale, or local use, is highly species specific. Attendant losses of species have global implications, the most immediate of which is loss of self-sufficiency of the rural people using these plants.

Despite strong public interest in medicinal plants and development of guidelines for their conservation, as outlined by WHO,IUCN, and WWF, and Heywood and Synge's book, Conservation of Medicinal Plants, coordinated international action toward preservation and sustainable harvesting of medicinal plants has been limited.

In May 1994, in response to rising concerns from many independent experts about conservation issues relating to medicinal plants, the IUCN's Species Survival Commission Plant Conservation Subcommittee recommended that a Medicinal Plant Specialist Group (MPSG) be established. Tony Cunningham and Uwe Schippmann were subsequently appointed Co-Chairs of the MPSG. To date more than 30 individuals have been invited to join the group. Members are selected on the basis of strategic geographic location, professional interest, and their ability to network within their regions.

The Medicinal Plant Specialist Group is still in its formative stage. A draft concept and working program was prepared in May 1994 and sent to all prospective members; a first meeting of the MPSG is planned for late 1995 or early 1996. Details about the MPSG and the developments in medicinal plant conservation will be publicized via a MPSG newsletter which will be published on a regular basis and made available not only to members of the MPSG but also to a much broader interest group.

The MPSG will concentrate its efforts on vulnerable species for which demand exceeds supply from wild populations. The greatest conservation threats are faced by plant species that are slow to grow and reproduce and are highly habitat specific. The MPSG will simultaneously promote the need to address threats to medicinal plants at an early stage rather than focusing purely on taxa that are already in decline.

The MPSG has recognized the need for further integration of conservation issues into biodiversity prospecting debates, as discussed by A.B. Cunningham in Ethics, Ethnobotanical Research and Biodiversity. These issues include the establishment of benefit sharing through commercialization of natural resources as incentives for (1) habitat conservation infrastructure and (2) protection of medicinal plant populations in source countries.

The major tasks of the MPSG will be to assess the general status of medicinal plant conservation, define objectives, set priorities, and draw up an action plan which focuses on both taxonomic and geographic issues. The action plan will review the conservation needs of taxa and recommend conservation action sufficient to ensure the long-term survival of these species. Action planning will best enable the MPSG to fulfill its role as catalyst and advisor for other conservation groups. The first product of the MPSG will be national reports which review existing information on medicinal plants in local, regional, and international trade and short-listed species for special attention.

Any material and news on the conservation of medicinal plants would be gratefully received. Contact Dr. Uwe Schippman, Co-Chair, Medicinal Plant Specialist Group, Bundesamt fur Naturschutz, Konstantinstrasse 110,D-53179 Bonn, Germany.


The Center for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS) is a program within the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute that joins together--through formal memoranda-- a voluntary association of natural and social scientists and institutions around the world. The mission of CTFS is to promote and coordinate long-term biological and socio-economic research within tropical forests and forest-dependent communities, and translate this information into results relevant to forest management, conservation, and natural resource policies. To achieve its objectives, natural and social scientists associated with CTFS work with foreign collaborators in forestry departments and universities to develop a network of long-term forest research sites. The primary involvement of CTFS is to coordinate and standardize research at different sites. CTFS also provides technical assistance and training to the extent needed at each site.

A unifying research tool shared by all CTFS research sites is the forest dynamics plot. These are large (up to 52 ha), permanent forest demographic plots that are situated in natural forests. All trees with a diameter of one centimeter or greater are mapped and monitored. An initial census and periodic reconcensus yield long-term information on species growth, mortality, regeneration, distribution, and productivity in relation to topography, hydrology, soils, climate, and biotic factors. The plots, due to their large size, are capable of dealing with the high tree diversity of tropical forests.

The CTFS network of long-term forest research programs will soon be tracking over 2,000,000 individuals of approximately 2,000 tree species throughout the world's tropics. CTFS has initiated collaborative research programs in Pasoh Forest Reserve (peninsular Malaysia), Lambir Hills National Park (Sarawak, Malaysia), Sinharaja World Heritage Site (Sri Lanka), Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary (Thailand), Mudumalai Game Reserve (India), Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (Singapore), Barro Colorado Island (Panama), and Luquillo Experimental Forest (Puerto Rico, USA). This year, long-term research programs are in the process of being set up in Yasuni National Park (Ecuador), Korup National Park (Cameroon), Central Ituri Forest (Zaire), and Palanan Wilderness Area (Philippines).

CTFS received major support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 1991 in order to promote closer cooperation between participating programs. The CTFS Asia program has received significant support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the John Merck Fund and STRI. Significant in-kind support is also contributed by CTFS partners around the world.

For more information about CTFS, or to receive Inside CTFS or an updated bibliography of CTFS publications, please contact: Dr. Elizabeth Losos, Director, Center for Tropical Forest Science, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, 900 Jefferson Dr., Suite 2207, Washington, D.C. 20560; Tel.:(202) 633-8095; Fax: (202) 786-2819; E-mail:


Primate Conservation Incorporated (PCI) is a new non-profit organization established to fund field research in support of wild populations of primates. PCI will grant seed monies for graduate students and primatologists to study rare and endangered primates. Priority will be given to projects involving the least known and most endangered species in their natural habitat. The results of this original research will be directed to larger organizations which can in turn provide the resources necessary to implement conservation action plans to save primate species and their habitats. PCI is open to all appropriate projects but is presently particularly interested in funding studies of guenons, tarsiers and Douc langurs. For further information contact: Primate Conservation, Inc., Box 1707, East Hampton, NY 11937.


The Coastal Resources Center at the University of Rhode Island will be sponsoring a regional training program for the Asia and the Pacific region in 1995. The program, Integrated Coastal Management (Special emphasis on coral reefs) will be held October 23 - November 3,1995 at Silliman University in Dumaguete City, Philippines. The purpose of this course is to provide participants with practical skills to design and implement integrated management plans for coastal areas and environments. The course will also draw on global experience in integrated management planning and how it can be applied to critical coastal resources management issues, such as coral reef and mangrove habitat loss, water quality degradation, declining fish production, and rapid tourism development in nations of the Asia and Pacific regions. It is directed at resource management professionals and environmental planners in the Asia and Pacific regions, and will be offered in English. The course is being jointly organized by the Coastal Resources Center at the University of Rhode Island and the Silliman University Marine Laboratory. The course fee is US $2,500 and covers all costs of the course including food and lodging. This program is open to all applicants. For further information on this course contact: The Training Coordinator, Coastal Resources Center, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett Bay Campus, Narragansett, RI 02882; Fax: (401) 792-5436; Tel.:(401) 792-6224.


A "Preliminary Vegetation Map of Guyana" has been published by the Biological Diversity of the Guianas Program (Smithsonian Institution). The 12-color map is based on vegetation types which generally correspond to those of the Venezuela map produced by Otto Huber. Copies are free if shipped folded, or rolled copies can be obtained for $5 to cover the cost of the mailing tube. (Checks should be made payable to the Smithsonian Institution - BDG Program). Please send requests to Carol Kelloff, Biological Diversity of the Guianas Program, Smithsonian Institution, Department of Botany, NHB 166, Washington, DC 20560.


EE-Link, a source of information for K-12 environmental educators on the Internet providing instructional materials, curriculum directories, organizational contacts, and grant information, has created and compiled substantial information resources dealing with endangered species. The resources created include a directory about endangered species factsheets, a clickable map linking states to the listed species, two small image databases of endangered species, and a hypertext version of a curriculum plan for middle school students called "Birds: Our Environmental Indicators." Resources compiled include information on endangered species legislation, contact information for congressional representatives, and directories for lesson plans and projects. EE-Link's Endangered Species can be found on the WWW at:

EE-Link is a project of the National Consortium for Environmental Education and Training. For more information, call: (313) 998-6727, or e-mail:


Since non-native plants were first introduced to the United States centuries ago by our ancestors, a biological invasion has occurred. These biological invaders disrupt some ecosystems with such force that natural systems can no longer effectively compete. The aggressive melaleuca tree, for example, is destroying the delicate balance of Florida's Everglades by seizing natural habitat at a rate of 50 acres a day. Left alone, melaleuca will continue to overrun this precious habitat, leaving the Florida panther and other endangered species without a home.

The northern, eastern and western states have their own share of troublesome species. Migratory birds, foraging animals and native plants need immediate attention in order to return the ecosystems back into a natural balance.

Helping Nature Mend Itself is a publication describing how five unique habitat restoration projects, using integrated vegetation management techniques, succeeded in regaining nature's balance.

To join this national restoration effort and encourage rightful biodiversity, and receive a free copy of the video, A Natural Balance: Restoring Native Habitats: The Sequel, and the names of specialists who can help, contact: Mary Tolke, Sales Manager, Monsanto, 800 N. Lindbergh Blvd., N3J, St. Louis, MO 63167.


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Anon. 1995. Final listing rules February/March. End. Species Bull. 20(3): 22. (12 California plants from serpentine areas)

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Boraiko, A. 1995. Bright hopes for Chile? Int. Wildlife 25(4): 36-43. (Environment)

Bouchet, P., Jaffre, T. and Veillon, J.-M. 1995. Plant extinction in New Caledonia: protection of sclerophyll forests urgently needed. Biodiversity and Conservation 4(4): 415- 428. (3250 vascular plant species, over 75% endemic; 2% of original area remains sclerophyll forests)

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Committee on Biological Diversity in Marine Systems. 1995. Understanding Marine Diversity. A Research Agenda for the Nation. National Academy Press, Washington, DC. 114 pp.

Conifer Specialist Group. 1994. Threats to conifers in New Caledonia. Species 23: 25-26.

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Dean, L. 1995. Lending a helping hand. End. Species Bull. 20(3): 14. (Wisconsin landowner contact program to protect endangered species on private lands)

Debuhr, L. 1995. Public understanding of biodiversity. BioScience Supp. 45(6): 43-44.

Detjen, J. 1995. The media's role in science education. BioScience Supp. 45(6): 58-63.

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Duivenvoorden, J. and Lips, J. 1995. A Land-Ecological Study of Soils, Vegetation, and Plant Diversity in Colombian Amazonia. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands. 438 pp. (Tropenbos Series No. 12)

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Ellis, S. 1995. Bobolink protection and mortality on suburban conservation lands. Bird Observer 23(2): 98-112. (USA)

Finn, V. 1995. Metropolitan - Bakersfield HCP. End. Species Bull. 20(3): 16-17. (Habitat conservation plan & urban development, California)

Franklin, J. 1995. Scientists in wonderland. BioScience Supp. 45(6): 74-78.

Gallardo, W., Siar, S. and Encena, V. 1995. Exploitation of the window-pane shell Placuna placenta in the Philippines. Biol. Conserv. 73(1): 33-38.

Greenhall, A. and Frantz, S. 1994. Bats: damage prevention and control methods. In Hygnstrom, S., Timm, R., and Larson, G. (Eds), Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage. University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension, Lincoln, Nebraska. Pp. D5-D24.

Gunderson, L., Light, S. and Holling, C. 1995. Lessons from the Everglades. BioScience Supp. 45(6): 66-73. (Florida)

Hanscom, T. and Toone, W. 1995. Economic independence and conservation in the tropics. WINGS 18(1): 3-5. (Birds)

Happold, D. 1995. The interactions between humans and mammals in Africa in relation to conservation: a review. Biodiversity and Conservation 4(4): 395-414.

Harris, G. 1995. Marine management on solid ground. Americas 47(3): 30. (Plan for Patagonia Coastal Zone, Argentina)

Harris, W. 1995. Policy and partnership. BioScience Supp. 45(6): 64-65.

Hawkins, D. 1995. Safe harbors. End. Species Bull. 20(3): 10-12. (Safe Harbor proposal balances species protection with needs of landowners)

Heath, R. 1995. Hell's highway. New Scientist 146(1180): 22-25. (Plan to turn Paraguay-Parana river system into a grand shipping canal)

Hemingson, J. 1995. What is the role of the Connecticut Botanical Society in conservation? Newsletter of Connecticut Botanical Society 23(1): 5-7, 10.

Hersch-Martinez, P. 1995. Commercialization of wild medicinal plants from southwest Puebla, Mexico. Econ. Bot. 49(2): 197-206.

Hirshfield, M. 1995. Draft management plan released for Florida Keys sanctuary. Marine Conservation News 7(2): 6.

Hoft, R. and Hoft, M. 1995. The differential effects of elephants on rain forest communities in the Shimba Hills, Kenya. Biol. Conserv. 73(1): 67-80.

Holsinger, K. 1995. Population biology for policy makers. BioScience Supp. 45(6): 10-20.

James, D. 1995. The threat of exotic grasses to the biodiversity of semiarid ecosystems. Aridlands Newsletter 37: 6-7.

Johns, R. 1995. Endemism in the Malesian flora. Curtis's Bot. Mag. 12(2): 95-110. (High species endemism; low family & generic endemism)

Johns, R. 1995. Malesia - an introduction. Curtis's Bot. Mag. 12(2): 52-62. (45,000 vascular plants; two major centres of diversity in Borneo and New Guinea)

Jones, A. and Vickery, P. 1995. Distribution and population status of grassland birds in Massachusetts. Bird Observer 23(2): 89-97. (USA)

Jones, C. 1995. Howler subgroups as homeostatic mechanisms in disturbed habitats. Neotropical Primates 3(1): 7-9. (La Pacifica, Costa Rica)

Kerr, A. 1995. Viewpoint: ecosystem management must include the most human of factors. BioScience 45(6): 378-392.

Kessler, P. and Sidiyasa, K. 1994. Trees of the Balikpapan-Samarinda Area, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands. 448 pp. (Tropenbos Series No. 7, manual of 280 selected species)

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Krakauer, J. 1995. The toll you pay to enter this Eden is sweat, pain and fear. Smithsonian 26(3): 60-71. (Arctic National Park, Alaska)

Kuzmin, S. 1994. Commercial collecting as a threat for amphibian and reptile species of the former Soviet Union. Species 23: 47-48.

Langmead, C. 1995. A Passion for Plants: The Life and Vision of Ghillean Prance. Lion Publishing, England. 201 pp.

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Lott, D. and McCoy, M. 1995. Asian rhinos Rhinoceros unicornis on the run? Impact of tourist visits on one population. Biol. Conserv. 73(1): 23-26.

Lovejoy, T. 1995. Will expectedly the top blow off? BioScience Supp. 45(6): 3-6.

Lubchenco, J. 1995. The role of science in formulating a biodiversity strategy. BioScience Supp. 45(6): 7-9.

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McSweeney, K. 1995. The cohune palm (Orbignya cohune, Arecaceae) in Belize: a survey of uses. Econ. Bot. 49(2): 162-171.

Mendelsohn, R. and Balick, M. 1995. The value of undiscovered pharmaceuticals in tropical forests. Econ. Bot. 49(2): 223-228.

Mesibov, R., Taylor, R. and Brereton, R. 1995. Relative efficiency of pitfall trapping and hand-collecting from plots for sampling of millipedes. Biodiversity and Conservation 4(4): 429-439.

Mooney, H. and Gabriel, C. 1995. Toward a national strategy on biological diversity. BioScience Supp. 45(6): 1-2.

Moreno, S. and Villafuerte, R. 1995. Traditional management of scrubland for the conservation of rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus and their predators in Donana National Park, Spain. Biol. Conserv. 73(1): 81-85.

Motluk, A. 1995. Paralysis stalls progress on whaling. New Scientist 146(180): 4.

Mueller, L. 1995. The lilies of Schluters' Woods. End. Species Bull. 20(3): 15. (Minnesota dwarf trout lily)

Mulvaney, K. 1995. The whaling debate. BBC Wildlife 13(6): 66-69.

Nabhan, G. 1995. Do we really care only about endangered species, or are we ready to pledge allegiance to all levels of biodiversity? Aridlands Newsletter 37: 2-5.

Neldner, V., Crossley, D. and Cofinas, M. 1995. Using geographic information systems (GIS) to determine the adequacy of sampling in vegetation surveys. Biol. Conserv. 73(1): 1- 18.

Nierenberg, W. (Ed). 1995. Encyclopedia of Environmental Biology. Academic Press, Orlando, Florida. 2000 pp. (Three- volume set)

Nunes, A. 1995. Status, distribution and viability of wild populations of Ateles belzebuth marginatus. Neotropical Primates 3(1): 17-18. (Brazil)

Ohanian, B. 1995. Living a dream on the Islands of Puget Sound. Nat. Geographic 187(6): 106-130.

Penick, J. 1995. New goals for biology education. BioScience Supp. 45(6): 52-57.

Puertas, P., Encarnacion, F. and Aquino, R. 1995. Analisis poblacional del pichico pecho anaranjado, Saguinus labiatus en el sur oriente peruano. Neotropical Primates 3(1): 4-7.

Pulliam, H. 1995. The birth of a federal research agency. BioScience Supp. 45(6): 91-95. (National Biological Service, USA)

Pywell, R., Webb, N. and Putwain, P. 1995. A comparison of techniques for restoring heathland on abandoned farmland. J. Appl. Ecology 32(2): 400-411.

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Reid, T. and Murphy, D. 1995. Providing a regional context for local conservation action. BioScience Supp. 45(6): 84- 90.

Reid, W. 1995. Reversing the loss of biodiversity: an overview of international measures. Aridlands Newsletter 37: 16-21.

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Simpson, B. 1995. Nepentes and conservation. Curtis's Bot. Mag. 12(2): 111-119.

Sittenfeld, A. and Artuso, A. 1995. A framework for biodiversity prospecting: the INBio experience. Aridlands Newsletter 37: 8-11.

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Stanford, R. 1995. Living with wildlife in Texas Hill Country. End. Species Bull. 20(3): 13. (Home to endangered species: Bone Cave harvestman & Coffin Cave mold beetle)

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Stuart, S. 1994. IUCN's report on CITES Ninth Conference of the Parties. Species 23: 34-42.

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Timmermann, B. and Hutchinson, B. 1995. Biodiversity prospecting in the drylands of Chile, Argentina, and Mexico. Aridlands Newsletter 37: 12-15.

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Wickens, G. 1995. Llareta (Azorella compacta, Umbelliferae): a review. Econ. Bot. 49(2): 207-212. (Endangered through cutting for fuel)

Wilder, J. 1995. Crazy tomatoes and purple tomatoes: a chef's perspective on biodiversity. Aridlands Newsletter 37: 3.

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