Cactus threatened by extinction

Reno, NV(Zone 6b)

It took some effort to get there but I did read the article.

I'm not surprised by it. Until someone takes a stand to protect anything: plants, animals, rocks.... Nothing will be done and the cactus will disappear from our American deserts. The sad part is that cactus grow only in the Americas. Only a very small percentage of them grow within the U.S. No one can tell other countries what they should or should not do. Especially when we can't even control what our own citizens do. Our only defense is to refuse to traffic in plants we suspect were collected. Never buy a collected plant (although there are some great deals out there). Buy only from nurseries that are raising their cactus from seed or cuttings.

I can think of a lot of illegally collected plants, animals and rocks within our own country. We better start at home.


Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

Here's a link that works.

All seriousness aside, I laughed at the line at the top of the article. As if the cactus is a species (more like thousands of them) or mainly found in the American southwest (throughout the Americas).

I would imagine that if the scientists looked closely, they would find that lots of other succulents are in the same situation. To add to Daisy's comments, it's smart to steer clear of people who are selling wild collected plants. There's not much discretion in what other countries can or cannot do... the details are spelled out in the CITES treaty and certain species are protected, period. Whether or not the rules are enforced is another matter, of course.

One thing that I believe makes a difference is to propagate these plants (in a greenhouse or home setting) and put more of them in the world that way. It creates a disincentive for collection if the plants are available through normal channels. I have been growing a few native succulents from seed and they are not particularly difficult. The main barrier is time... but a cactus in a greenhouse can grow more in four or five years than it would grow in a decade in the wild.

The other thing is education. People with only a casual acquaintance may not understand the impact of collection on plants in the wild, but once they become aware they usually change their behavior. The approach doesn't have to be heavy on policing. We try to do this sort of thing in our neighborhood park, putting plants out there in view so people get to know them, and making it easy for people to see the process we use to grow them, so there's a positive message about conservation and not just a lot of finger wagging.

Reno, NV(Zone 6b)

I was disappointed by the lack of details and blanket statements In the Christian Science Monitor but I was also on a mission. I hate that our world is being destroyed and exploited by those who are in it all for themselves. My grandfather waged his own private war back in 1951 to preserve the petrified trees in Northern Nevada. He succeeded but too late to have made a real difference.

I think the original "cactus" article was in Nature Magazine in August:

I haven't read the entire article yet as I have to be out the door in the next 10 minutes.

Baja, are you suggesting that we re-populate the desert with home grown cactus and succulents? What an idea! But what will the experts think? We could be re-populating the desert with viruses and hybrids. 8')


Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

Yeah, that would get interesting fast. No, I was talking about making the plants available (wherever people get their plants, from a nursery or a bot garden or a neighbor) so there's an obvious alternative to digging wild plants up. Just getting them out there in the human world.

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