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Sockhom

Back on Broken Mountain: an update on N. bokorensis

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Hello,

This thread is to be compared with the following one I wrote two years ago:

http://icps.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=...amp;thread=1216

It's been two years now that I first saw Nepenthes bokorensis on Phnom Bokor. Having returned in Cambodia a few weeks ago, I couldn't miss the chance to return to see that species in the wild. It is quite special to me as you can quite understand, I think.

I was quite worried of the species conservation status. A few months after I first visit Phnom Bokor, a well known private company, Sokimex, started works on the hill. despite Phnom Bokor being part of a National park (the Bokor NP also called Preah Monivong NP), the Cambodia governement had leased the hill for 99 years to the Sokimex society whose intention is to build a vast touristic resort including international hotels, casino, restaurant, gulf course, landing area for helicopters... the first step being the construction of a large road leading to the top of the flat plateau.

Most of the N. bokorensis I saw in 2007 grow on the road side. "Road" isn't an accurate word as it was rather a large jungle trail enabling one car to pass at the time...

Bulldozers wreak havoc here and carved plants, animals and trees...

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I couldn't barely imagine what's been lost. Bokor Hill has hardly been surveyed by botanists and other biologist and there are, arguably, many species to be described there...

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I would say that 80% of the populations I found have been wiped out.

By chance or by irony, I found the very first plants of N. bokorensis that I encountered in july 2007. It was gorgeous as ever.

They are growing in a spot where works have not been undertaken...yet.

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I reached the top of the Bokor plateau which is often surrounded by clouds. On the way, I saw that the Drosera peltata populations I admired two years ago had also disappeared...

I found four Utricularia species (the subject of another thread) up there and I had the chance to have a glimpse of Bokor Hill's "bright future" ;-( :

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Fran├žois.

Edited by Sockhom

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Sad to see what the future holds :sun_bespectacled: Hopefully at least some will survive on the hillside - it would be so sad if they only survive in cultivation.

Good job you were able to collect seeds. We'll all have to make sure some species seed is produced once all our plants start to flower.

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A poignant and rather sobering report Francois.

Let's keep our fingers crossed!

Cheers

Andy

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Hi Francois,

incredible report! Are there no NGOs in Cambodia that would take action in such a case of very obvious urgency? They are developing this area inside a Natoinal Park, that is ridiculous! Seems like a NP is not much worth in Cambodia. Can't the worlds Nepenthes community do something to promote action against the wipe-out out of this unique species and the loss of habitat for many other organisms? Why are locals not interested in keeping their very own natural heritage? Conservation is about hearts, and it means when people realize how beautiful and fantastic nature is, they would not destroy it for money.

greetings, Mathias

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Francois, wonderful pictures and report. You can see why it so easy to be bleak when we read of man destroying this beautiful and life giving habitat on Earth. I'm sure there are plenty of great things being done to safe guard these plant species such as cultivation, but to me seeing them in their natural environment must be the most wonderful thing. What a shame it is coming to this ....

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Hi Francois,

incredible report! Are there no NGOs in Cambodia that would take action in such a case of very obvious urgency? They are developing this area inside a Natoinal Park, that is ridiculous! Seems like a NP is not much worth in Cambodia. Can't the worlds Nepenthes community do something to promote action against the wipe-out out of this unique species and the loss of habitat for many other organisms? Why are locals not interested in keeping their very own natural heritage? Conservation is about hearts, and it means when people realize how beautiful and fantastic nature is, they would not destroy it for money.

greetings, Mathias

Hi Mathias,

I tried to be stay cool you know, but I had a storm in my mind and heart...

NGOs cannot do a thing in Cambodia when it comes to money. In (almost) any other country it would have been impossible to build such a vast resort in ... a national park! But not in Cambodia.

Some NGOs work there (CI, FFI, WWF). They run several projects (elephant, dolphin, crocodile...) and did some surveys of flora and fauna but they have no power on the greedy Cambodian governement and its friendly investors.

Bokor national park was a serious candidate to be a "World Heritage Site" (such as Mulu NP in sarawak, Borneo) but the incapacity of the Cambodian governement to prevent the loggings and poachings has made this impossible.

What we can now do is taking care of the seedlings in cultivation.

I'm currently trying to do my best. I got some contacts with NGO in Cambodia now and should do some lectures to Cambodian students in the near future. I'm working on a book too. So we'll see. But it will be a long way.

Cheers,

Fran├žois.

Edited by Sockhom

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yeah, that's a very sad reality we have to deal with these days, and not just in developing third world countries either! I found a large stand of Pink Lady Slipper orchids (Cypripedium acaule), growing with several species of Botrychium ferns, and Lygodium palmatum a few miles from my house, and noticed a small sign by the road saying "Future site of Oakwood Village" another "McMansion" development. I went to the local municipality and told the authorities that this development could not proceed there because all native orchids are protected by strict EPA regulations. They said they would handle it. A year later, bull dozers plowed the whole site under. I regret not getting the American Orchid Society (AOS) involved, and should have expected some corruption and pay-offs. Reality is what it is, and makes it all that more important to harvest some seed of any new species found to get them into cultivation as soon as possible before "development" wipes them off the planet. - Rich

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Those developers they always want more, more, more! Pure maffia, thats what they are!

Here in Holland I visited 2 weeks ago an interresting area where rare plants are to be found. There also some developers want to built some hotels. But fortunately we get European regulations here about protecting habitats where rare and protected animals and/or plants are to be found.

But even here its not an absolute garantee that such an are will be spaired for the future.

Developers, kill them all...

Alexander

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Beautiful Plants and it's a real shame that so much of this "true" wilderness is being bulldozed and destroyed in order to get a few tourists.

I wonder how many other sites there are like this - not only in Cambodia, but the islands around Borneo and so on.

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