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Abstract Detail

Orchid Biology: Darwin`s Contrivances 150 Years Later

Theiss, Kathryn [1], Holsinger, Kent [2].

Malagasy orchids in horticulture: What effect is this having on native populations?

Across the globe, plant and animal species face multiple threats to survival. These threats often arise from human modification of the environment and the impacts on particular species are unintended byproducts. In other cases, targeted human exploitation further endangers species. While studies often consider the impact of international trade on local populations, they rarely consider the impact of trade within countries. Orchids are popular in the horticultural trade and are the basis of a multi-million dollar industry around the world. The international trade in orchids is regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), but the regulation of domestic orchid trade is at the discretion of each country's government. Our research focuses on how collection of living specimens from the wild affects the persistence of orchids in Madagascar, which has a large number of endemic orchid species. We examined both the domestic and international orchid industry to assess their relative impacts on wild orchid populations. Our survey of domestic roadside plant vendors found that while native epiphytic orchids dominated, and there were also non-native orchids for sale. There was inconsistent understanding of the regulations surrounding orchid harvest among plant vendors. As a result, regulatory authorities may underestimate collection impacts. Madagascar was a large exporter of endemic angraecoid orchids, supplying more than 100,000 live orchids over the past 35 years. However, this affects a relatively small number of the 1000+ native species. The complete lack of demographic studies on native Malagasy orchids makes estimating the impacts of harvest, and therefore meeting the CITES guidelines, difficult. We hope that our study will help identify highly traded species that would benefit from further study and inform the Malagasy government in order to improve local trade policies.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Willamette University, Biology Department, 900 State Street, Salem, OR, 97301, USA
2 - University Of Connecticut, Department Of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 75 N. Eagleville Road, U-3043, STORRS, CT, 06269-3043, USA


Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: C6
Location: Franklin B/Hyatt
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Time: 1:45 PM
Number: C6002
Abstract ID:576

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