US In Situ Expeditions


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... and no GPS data will be allowed to be taken by anyone.

 

Mason,

Given how ubiquitous GPS devices are, is this realistic? If you allow photos, for example, many cameras can tag the pics with location. (This could be the reason a poacher even signs up for the trip). If you don't allow photos, who would want to go?

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Participants will be required to turn off all location data services on their cameras, phones, etc. What's to stop them from turning it back on? Hopefully they will actually care about the safety of these plants, but even if their conscience doesn't stop them then there will be the trip leader keeping a watchful eye on members. Group size will also be limited so that the leader will be able to easily manage and keep an eye on group members. Also, many of these sites are owned by the government or owned by organizations that actively monitor them to keep unwanted visitors from removing any plants. The sites that are privately owned are even better protected thanks to the landowners who often live on the property or nearby and likely have the means to protect their property if need be (yes with things such as guns). Yes, there are flaws in these measures, but I personally believe people have the right to see these incredible plants in the wild. With that said if I believe anyone I am leading around has taken location data or plant material I will not hesitate to confront them and remove them from the rest of the expedition after confiscating the plant material and deleting the location data.

 

My question to those questioning the safety of the plants is what makes these trips any different from any of the trips led to places in Borneo, Papua, Australia, etc. It is expected that you not break any local laws or rules during those trips and they take even fewer precautions to stop people from taking plant material yet no one openly expresses issues with those trips. Just a point to consider.

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My question to those questioning the safety of the plants is what makes these trips any different from any of the trips led to places in Borneo, Papua, Australia, etc.

Accessibility, I would suspect.

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All of these types of trips have the potential to cause serious damage. Plants go missing all the time, even in remote areas like parts of asia. Many of these plants are taken by 'tourists' and many by locals.

It's only very well protected areas that are relatively unaffected and this is were either there are very few visitors or the visitors are monitored 24/7 by rangers, usually both.

In some reserves, with conscientious rangers, the rangers will not take large groups to see the best plants/areas because its too difficult to watch what they're up too.

I've been to forests in asia where every orchid has been stripped out, the trees are bare, i've also been to places that are pristine, the difference is like the difference between an ocean and a desert.

The positive side of tourists going to asia is that the tourists help pay the rangers wages.

In asia you can balance the negative effects that some plants will inevitably go missing by the positive side that without the visitors you wouldn't perhaps have as many rangers to protect the plants in the first place.

Now in the US i suspect you don't have rangers there watching all the time, once the trip is over the plants are again unprotected and anyone is free to go back there and do what they will.

Maybe there is some way around that and thats for you to find, my point is if your going to do something make sure it's in the best interest of the plants, not in the best interest of the obsessive plant collectors.

Edited by manders
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  • 2 weeks later...

Even just visiting plants and making a big deal about them can inspire locals to start harvesting them in a misguided attempt at profit.  So, one of the ways to avoid this can be to focus on the general wild life in the area and not just on the plants when discussing things with locals...

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