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Department ofBotany

No. 179
June 1998

Editor: Jane Villa-Lobos


Wildfires in Mexico and Central America have been burning for months, devastating millions of acres of forest and grassland in the region and blanketing parts of the United States with smoke that has created health emergencies. The fires have been caused by a variety of sources, including the practice of slash- and-burn, when farmers, developers, and loggers clear the land. These fires have been exacerbated by the worst droughts and some of the highest temperatures of the century as a result of El Nino.

According to Mexico's environmental ministry, more than 700,000 acres of national forests, fragile jungle, grassland and farmland have been consumed by fire this year in Mexico. In Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, an estimated 2,146 square miles have burned. In the state of Michoacan, a forest that is part of the wintering ground of the monarch butterfly has been threatened as well as some of the Mayan ruins in Guatemala. Many birds, mammals and rare plants in some of Mexico's fragile ecosystems have also suffered. The fires have followed much the same pattern as those that devoured farmlands across South East Asia last year and sent smoke billowing into Japan, Singapore and Thailand.


On April 29 the president of Brazil announced plans for the creation and implementation of 25 million hectares (about the size of the United Kingdom) of new protected areas in the Amazon rain forest by the year 2000. Brazil is the first country to join the alliance between the World Bank and WWF for the protection of at least 10% of the world's forests by the year 2000 (see December 1997 Biological Conservation Newsletter).

Four new protected areas will be created, two in the Amazon region and two in the Atlantic Forest. These new areas total about seven times more than the area of parks and reserves created in Brazil since 1992. This will almost triple the area under protection in the Amazon rain forest.


On May 16 the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge in South Carolina was dedicated, making it the 514th refuge in the United States National Wildlife Refuge System. The refuge covers approximately 49,800 acres of wetland and upland forests that provide habitat for numerous wildlife species including the red- cockaded woodpecker, bald eagle and wood stork, all federally- listed and endangered species. The shortnose sturgeon, another endangered species, inhabits the area's waterways. In addition, the refuge provides valuable breeding habitat for wood ducks and wintering grounds for migratory waterfowl and is recognized as a key area in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.


On May 21, the U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, and representatives from eight other nations (Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Honduras, and Vanuatu) signed on to the Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation Program. The agreement allows depleted dolphin stocks to recover, prevents and minimizes bycatch of other marine life, conserves tuna stocks and tuna fishery, and promotes more effective tracking of tuna to differentiate between dolphin-safe and unsafe tuna. According to Roger McManus, president of the Center for Marine Conservation (CMC), "this is a significant step toward finally resolving a 25-year conflict about dolphins drowning in tuna nets. After years of hard work in bringing about this agreement, the Center for Marine Conservation will now focus its efforts on making sure the agreement is fully implemented and enforced."

The Center for Marine Conservation, established in 1972, is the leading non-profit organization dedicated to the protection, research, advocacy, and public education of marine conservation issues in the United States and worldwide. It seeks to protect ocean environments and conserve global marine diversity. For more information on CMC, visit its Web site at


In July, Blackwell Science Ltd., in association with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, is launching a new journal, Ecology Letters, a forum for the very rapid publication of original research in ecology. Manuscripts relating to the ecology of all taxa, in any biome and geographic area, will be considered, and priority will be given to those papers exploring or testing clearly stated hypotheses. The journal aims to publish concise papers that merit urgent publication by virtue of their originality and general interest and their contribution to new developments in ecology. Purely descriptive papers or those that merely extend observations firmly established in one species to another will not be accepted unless there are strong reasons for doing so.

Three types of articles will be published in Ecology Letters: 1) letters, exciting findings in fast-moving areas; 2) ideas, very short essays expressing novel ideas or correspondence with respect to previous work; and 3) reports, more lengthy research findings or reviews of subjects of general interest. For instructions for authors and subscription information, contact: Blackwell Science, Ltd., Osney Mead, Oxford OX2 0EL, England; Tel.: (44) 1865 206206; Fax: (44) 1865 206096; Internet:


The first Atlas of Australian Birds (1984) was a landmark event in the history of Australian ornithology. From 1977-81, over 3,000 birdwatchers collected a total of 3 million records for the first comprehensive survey of the distribution and relative abundance of every Australian bird species in a given period of time. In the first atlas project birdwatchers compiled species lists for every one-degree latitude/longitude grid block across the continent. This atlas remains the largest and most comprehensive wildlife database in Australia.

Over the past 15 years, about 10 million hectares of native vegetation have been cleared in Australia and at least 150 species and races of birds are threatened with extinction. This land clearance and other changes have prompted the updated assessment of the status and distribution of birds, particularly threatened species, identification of areas of high biodiversity and conservation importance, and development of conservation strategies.

Workshops to define methodology and coordinate participation among birdwatchers were held earlier this year with additional data collection to begin soon, which will continue for five years. For more information, contact Birds Australia National Office, 415 Riversdale Rd., Hawthorn East, Victoria 3123, Australia. Tel.: 61 3 9882-2622; Fax: 61 3 9882 2677; Web site:

Coastally Restricted Forests, edited by Aimlee D. Laderman, is the first book to assemble and compare information on widely dispersed coastal forests of the Northern Hemisphere. Authorities on each system explore the properties of these unusual trees and their habitats, and formulate guidelines for their appropriate management and protection. The thirty-six contributing authors include natural resource managers and regulators, ecologists, lumbermen, geneticists, botanists, and paleontologists. The book draws from work on three continents, eight countries, and 23 states of the United States. One-half of the volume is devoted to the seven highly-prized commercially valuable Chamaecyparis species.

The book is available for $79 (plus $4 for shipping) from Oxford University Press, 2001 Evans Road, Cary, NC 27513; Tel.: 1-800-451-7556.


August 2-6. The American Institute of Biological Sciences' (AIBS) annual meeting will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland. This year's theme is "Managing Human-Impacted Systems." For more information, visit the AIBS Web site at:, or contact Marilyn Maury, AIBS Meetings Director, Tel.: (703) 834-0812; Fax: (703) 834-1160; E- Mail:


By Gene Rosenberg and Paula DePriest

In February and March, the Smithsonian Institutions's Botany Department premiered two World Wide Web sites, on algae and lichens. Both are accessible from the department's home page ( The new Web sites represent significant advances in the department's efforts to make information from the Smithsonian's plant collections and databases available to users around the world.

The algae site is located at The Smithsonian holds one of the largest collections of algae in the world, including over 183,000 pressed specimens, and 61,600 specimens on microscope slides, in boxes, or preserved in liquid. The collection includes algae from marine, estuarine, freshwater, terrestrial (including caves), and airborne habitats, with principal holdings of green, brown and red marine macroalgae, diatoms and cyanobacteria. The collection has a strong representation from the Gulf of California, Pacific Mexico, southern and central California and the Channel Islands, the Galapagos Islands, Aldabra Atoll, and the Caribbean (especially Florida, Belize, the Bahamas, and Panama).

The algae Web site currently allows searches and data retrieval for brown algae (Phaeophyta) in the Type Collection. Efforts are underway to expand direct access to all of the algal type holdings. Data for the main collection (including the complete Type Database) can be obtained from in-house staff. Research interest profiles and regularly updated lists of publications (including many abstracts) by the staff are included.

Basic information is also provided on the different algal groups, their economic uses, collecting and preserving algae, references for published marine floras, and hypertext links to other algal sites on the World Wide Web. The new Web site was developed by Robert Sims and other botany staff. Comments and suggestions may be sent to Sims or James Norris ( or

The new lichen Web site ( provides an introduction to the lichen collection and associated research at the U.S. National Herbarium. The lichen collection, estimated at 250,000 specimens, is the largest in North America and one of the ten largest in the world. The collection is worldwide in coverage, and especially rich in North America, emphasizing Parmeliaceae and Cladoniaceae.

The site was designed to provide electronic access to databases, keys, descriptions, maps and illustrations that will be produced in a five year NSF PEET project, Monographic Studies in the Cladoniaceae, centered at the Smithsonian. Currently, the site provides abstracts and descriptions of this and related projects, a biographical sketch and selected bibliography for Paula DePriest, and links to the Web sites of other researchers. A link to a sister site maintained by Samuel Hammer at Boston University will be added.

Currently, there are links to a number of existing electronic databases, including the type specimen register and type holdings from Bouly de Lesdain's Lichens du Mexique (1922). A database of species epithets in the parmelioid genera will be added in the near future. The site also provides links to checklists and keys to lichens of the Guianas produced by Harrie Sipman that reside on the Biological Diversity of the Guianas Program Web site ( The page "What is a lichen" answers basic questions about lichens. The Web site was designed by Ellen Farr from materials provided by Paul DePriest. Comments are welcome: contact


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Boubli, J. 1997. A study of the black uakari, Cacajao melanocephalus melanocephalus, in the Pico da Neblina National Park, Brazil. Neotropical Primates 5(4): 113-115.

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Cox, M. 1998. A new approach to tiger conservation: integrating top-down and bottom-up strategies. End. Species UPDATE 15(1): 10-14.

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Dodd, Jr., C. and Cade, B. 1998. Movement patterns and the conservation of amphibians breeding in small, temporary wetlands. Conservation Biology 12(2): 331-339. (Florida)

Dorfman, R. 1998. Museum publishes book on biodiversity and conservation in the Philippines. In the Field May/June: 10.

Dorfman, R. (Ed). 1998. Vanishing Treasures of the Philippine Rain Forest. Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois. 96 pp.

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Drechsler, M., Burgman, M. and Menkhorst, P. 1998. Uncertainty in population dynamics and its consequences for the management of the orange-bellied parrot Neophema chrysogaster. Biol. Conservation 84(3): 269-282.

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Fensham, R. 1998. The grassy vegetation of the Darling Downs, south-eastern Queensland, Australia. Biol. Conservation 84(3): 301-310.

Fenton, M., et al. 1998. Bats and the loss of tree canopy in African woodlands. Conservation Biology 12(2): 399-407.

Garcia-Marin, J., Sanz, N. and Pla, C. 1998. Proportions of native and introduced brown trout in adjacent fished and unfished Spanish rivers. Conservation Biology 12(2): 313-319.

Macilwain, C. 1998. Bid to block Yellowstone enzymes deal. Nature 392: 117. (Firm to search for enzymes in park's hot springs)

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Mansur, E. and Gilmour, D. 1998. Sustainable forest management in the Southern Cone. Arborvitae 7: 7. (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay)

Marren, P. 1998. When the wind blew. Plant Talk 12: 26-28. (Ten years after the great storm hit SE England)

McGrady, M. 1998. Radio-tracking of Stellar's sea eagle yield surprises. Russian Conservation News 14: 29-30.

Melisch, R., Fomenko, P. and Hejada, B. 1997. The status of Panax ginseng in the Russian Far East and adjacent areas: a matter of conservation action. Medicinal Plant Conservation 4: 11-13.

Menner, A. 1998. New perspectives on the European bison in Russia. Russian Conservation News 14: 18.

Merrill, S., Cuthbert, F. and Oehlert, G. 1998. Residual patches and their contribution to forest-bird diversity on northern Minnesota aspen clearcuts. Conservation Biology 12(1): 190-199.

Michal, S. and Wyse Jackson, P. 1997. Developing an in- country capacity for biodiversity conservation in Haiti: the Haitian Botanical Foundation. Bot. Gardens Conservation News 2(9): 50-53.

Mikusinski, G. and Angelstam, P. 1998. Economic geography, forest distribution, and woodpecker diversity in central Europe. Conservation Biology 12(1): 200-208.

Mills, C. and Carlton, J. 1998. Rationale for a system of international reserves for the open ocean. Conservation Biology 12(1): 244-247.

Moraleva, N. 1998. Is the future of the Amur tiger really so bright? Russian Conservation News 14: 34-36.

Moran, K. 1997. Healing Forest Conservancy project in Nigeria on ethnobotanical research and benefit sharing. Medicinal Plant Conservation 4: 3-4.

Moreno Saiz, J., Castro Parga, I., Humphries, C. and Williams, P. 1997. Strengthening the national and natural park system of Iberia to conserve pteridophytes. Pp. 101-124. In Camus, J., Gibby, M., Johns, R., Eds, Proceedings of the Holttum Memorial Pteridophyte Symposium. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England.

Mukhina, E. 1998. Kyzyl Kum sheep: both protected and hunted in Uzbekistan. Russian Conservation News 14: 30-32.

Naeem, S. 1998. Species redundancy and ecosystem reliability. Conservation Biology 12(1): 39-45.

Naughton-Treves, L. 1998. Predicting patterns of crop damage by wildlife around Kibale National Park, Uganda. Conservation Biology 12(1): 156-168.

Ortega-Rubio, A., Castellanos-Vera, A. and Lluch-Cota, D. 1998. Sustainable development in a Mexican biosphere reserve: salt production in Vizcaino, Baja California (Mexico). Natural Areas J. 18(1): 63-72.

Palmer, J. 1997. Why conduct research in environmental education? Roots 15: 16-19.

Pazhenkov, A. 1998. Pearl of the Urals. Russian Conservation News 14: 27-28. (South Urals, home to rare animals)

Pearman, D., Preston, C., Roy, D. and Stewart, A. 1998. The use of B.S.B.I. Monitoring Scheme data to predict nationally scarce species in Britain. Watsonia 22(1): 21-28.

Pennisi, E. 1998. Lawsuit targets Yellowstone bug deal. Science 279: 1624. (Collecting microbes in Yellowstone National Park)

Pereria, T. 1997. Rio de Janeiro Botanic Garden's Conservation Unit and seed desiccation tolerance research. Bot. Gardens Conservation News 2(9): 36-37. (Brazil)

Pererva, V. 1998. Caucasian bison: another round of extermination. Russian Conservation News 14: 22. (Near extinction)

Peters, D. and Weste, G. 1997. The impact of Phytophthora cinnamomi on six rare native tree and shrub species in the Brisbane Ranges, Victoria. Australian J. Bot. 45(6): 975- 995.

Privitera, M. and Puglisi, M. 1997. Riella notarisii (Mont.) Mont. (Hepaticae, Riellaceae) rediscovered in Italy. Flora Mediterranea 7: 149-152. (Endangered in Europe)

Rabenold, K., Fauth, P., Goodner, B., Sadowski, J. and Parker, P. 1998. Response of avian communities to disturbance by an exotic insect in spruce-fir forests of the southern Appalachians. Conservation Biology 12(1): 177-189. (Balsam woolly adelgid insect, USA)

Rasoanaivo, P. 1997. Ravensara aromatica: a threatened, aromatic species of Madagascar. Medicinal Plant Conservation 4: 9.

Richardson, D. 1998. Forestry trees as invasive aliens. Conservation Biology 12(1): 18-26.

Robbins, C. 1997. Panax quinquefolius popularity prompts probe. Medicinal Plant Conservation 4: 13-15. (Chinese herb becoming one of the most popular herbs in western markets)

Rosenberg, P. and Dorre, G. 1998. European forest hotspots identified. Arborvitae 7: 11.

Rudomakha, A. 1998. Preserving wilderness intact in the Adygeya Republic. Russian Conservation News 14: 24-27.

Rumsey, F., Russell, S., Ji, J., Barrett, J. and Gibby, M. 1997. Genetic variation in the endangered filmy fern Trichomanes speciosum Willd. Pp. 161-166. In Camus, J., Gibby, M., Johns, R., Eds, Proceedings of the Holttum Memorial Pteridophyte Symposium. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England.

Safford, R. and Jones, C. 1998. Strategies for land-bird conservation on Mauritius. Conservation Biology 12(1): 169-176.

Schindler, D., Kitchell, J. and Ogutu-Ohwayo, R. 1998. Ecological consequences of alternative gill net fisheries for Nile perch in Lake Victoria. Conservation Biology 12(1): 56-64. (East Africa)

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Smith, M. 1998. The cactus cops. Plant Talk 12: 24- 25. (Cactus rustling in Arizona)

Souza Ferreira da Rocha, E., Luiz de Araujo, W. and Conceicao Pereira da Silva, D. 1997. Bombacaceae da Reserva Florestal "Vista Chinesa", Rio de Janeiro. Albertoa 4(22): 301-308. (Conservation status given)

Stevens, W. 1998. One in every 8 plant species is imperiled, a survey finds. New York Times April 9: A1, A24. (IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants)

Stewart-Cox, B. 1998. Sri Lanka's man of the trees. Plant Talk 12: 32-35. (Sam Popham's sanctuary of tropical trees)

Stewart, D. 1998. Prosimians find a home far from home. Nat. Wildlife 36(2): 30-35. (Duke University's Primate Center, North Carolina)

Supplee, C. 1998. 1 in 8 plants in global study threatened. Washington Post April 7: A1, A8. (IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants)

Tennesen, M. 1998. Expedition to the clouds. Int. Wildlife 28(2): 22-29. (Search for new species in the Vilcabamba range, Peru)

Tikhonova, V. and Smirov, I. 1997. The seed bank for native plants in cultivation at the Main Botanical Garden of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia. Bot. Gardens Conservation News 2(9): 42.

Trist, P. 1998. The distribution and status of Corynephorus canescens (L.) P. Beauv. (Poaceae) in Britain and the Channel Islands with particular reference to its conservation. Watsonia 22(1): 41-47.

Tyler, T., Liss, W., Ganio, L., Larson, G., Hoffman, R., Deimling, E. and Lominicky, G. 1998. Interaction between introduced trout and larval salamanders (Ambystoma macrodactylum) in high-elevation lakes. Conservation Biology 12(1): 94-105. (Washington)

Unwin, G. and Hunt, M. 1997. Conservation and management of soft tree fern Dicksonia antarctica in relation to commercial forestry and horticulture. Pp. 125-138. In Camus, J., Gibby, M., Johns, R., Eds, Proceedings of the Holttum Memorial Pteridophyte Symposium. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England.

Van Wyk, B. E. and Smith, G. 1996. Guide to the Aloes of South Africa. Briza Publications, Pretoria, South Africa. 302 pp. (Conservation status given)

Vanderborght, I. 1997. Seed conservation at the National Botanic Garden of Belgium. Bot. Gardens Conservation News 2(9): 43-44.

Verissimo, A., Souza Junior, C., Stone, S. and Uhl, C. 1998. Zoning of timber extraction in the Brazilian Amazon. Conservation Biology 12(1): 128-136. (State of Para produces 65% of Brazil's roundwood)

Vicens, M. 1997. The Soller Botanic Garden Seed Bank. Bot. Gardens Conservation News 2(9): 41. (Balearic Islands)

Vogel, J. 1997. Conservation status and distribution of two serpentine restricted Asplenium species in central Europe. In Camus, J., Gibby, M., Johns, R., Eds, Proceedings of the Holttum Memorial Pteridophyte Symposium. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England. 187-190.

Wall, M. 1997. The seed program at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. Bot. Gardens Conservation News 2(9): 27-28. (USA)

Wechsler, D. 1998. Dark times for Cuba's sabal palms. Int. Wildlife 28(2): 38-43. (Palms of the Zapata Swamp cut by locals)

Wilkie, D., Curran, B., Tshombe, R. and Morelli, G. 1998. Modeling the sustainability of subsistence farming and hunting in the Ituri Forest in Zaire. Conservation Biology 12(1): 137-147.

Wilkinson, D. 1998. Relationship between species richness and rarity in Welsh aquatic floras. Watsonia 22(1): 29-32.

Williams, L. 1998. Bryanski Les Zapovednik: more than just a nature reserve. Russian Conservation News 14: 10-12.

Williams, P., Gaston, K. and Humphries, C. 1997. Mapping biodiversity value worldwide: combining higher-taxon richness from different groups. Proceedings of the Royal Soc. of London 264(1378): 141-148.

Williams, S. and Pearson, R. 1997. Historical rainforest contractions, localized extinctions and patterns of vertebrate endemism in the rainforests of Australia's wet tropics. Proceedings of the Royal Soc. of London 264(1382): 709- 716.

Willison, J. 1997. Botanic gardens and education for sustainability. Roots 15: 20-22.

Woodier, O. 1998. How to protect our imperiled pollinators. Nat. Wildlife 36(2): 36-41. (Decline of bees and other pollinators in US)

World Business Council for Sustainable Development. 1997. Business and Biodiversity. IUCN Publications Unit, Cambridge, England. 64 pp.

Worthington, L. 1997-1998. Capitol Hill briefed on how biodiversity loss could translate into a "medical catastrophe". DIVERSITY 13(4): 11-14.

Worthington, L. 1997-1998. Conservation International unveils visually spectacular "megadiversity" megabook. DIVERSITY 13(4): 31-32.

Wright, R. and Tanimoto, P. 1998. Using GIS to prioritize land conservation actions: integrating factors of habitat diversity, land ownership, and development risk. Natural Areas J. 18(1): 38-44.

Yates, C. and Hobbs, R. 1997. Temperate eucalypt woodlands: a review of their status, processes threatening their persistence and techniques for restoration. Australian J. Bot. 45(6): 949-973.

Zacharias, M. and Howes, D. 1998. An analysis of marine protected areas in British Columbia, Canada, using a marine ecological classification. Natural Areas J. 18(1): 4-13.

Zapovednik, B. 1998. Returning the bison to Bryanski Les Zapovednik. Russian Conservation News 14: 19. (Rare)

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