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PC13 Inf 5 - English

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PC13 Inf 5 - English

     PC13 Inf. 5

    (English only/Únicamente en inglés/Seulement en anglais)

    CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES

    OF WILD FAUNA AND FLORA

    ____________

    Thirteenth meeting of the Plants Committee

    Geneva (Switzerland), 12-15 August 2003

    ARTIFICIALLY PROPAGATED TILLANDSIA XEROGRAPHYCA

    FROM GUATEMALA AND THE PHILIPPINES

    This information document has been submitted by the Scientific Authority of the Netherlands.

Note on import of

    2750 artificially propagated (A) Tillandsia xerographica from Guatemala and

    1000 artificially propagated (A) Tillandsia xerographica from the Philippines.

    Applications

    1. 03/235, 25-3-2003: Application for import in the Netherlands of 400 live plants of Tillandsia xerographica (A)

    from Agro Inversiones S.A., Guatemala.

    2. 03/300, 11-4-2003: Application for import in the Netherlands of 500 live plants of Tillandsia xerographica (A)

    from Insular Botanicals International Inc., Barangay Kilib, Luvban, Quezon, Philippines.

    3. 03/308, 22-4-2003: Application for import in the Netherlands of 500 live plants of Tillandsia xerographica (A)

    from Insular Botanicals International Inc., Barangay Kilib, Luvban, Quezon, Philippines.

    4. 03/421, 22-5-2003: Application for import in the Netherlands of 350 live plants of Tillandsia xerographica (A)

    from Agro Inversiones S.A., Guatemala.

    5. 03/488, 18-6-2003: Application for import in the Netherlands of 2000 live plants of Tillandsia xerographica

    (A) from Ventura Loyo, Guatemala.

    Distribution

    Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico (see ref. 9).

    Status in the wild

    Tillandsia xerographica is collected from the wild in Guatemala in huge numbers. The populations in

    Guatemala and El Salvador are totally depleted by Guatemalan commercial collectors (Rauh, pers. comm.;

    Vollmer, in lit. in 3.b).. Many plants are collected from forest reserves. Tillandsia harvest causes substantial

    damage to tropical forests. The very attractive, slow growing form of Tillandsia xerographica from Guatemala is the most popular example for extreme threat by trade. It is offered in trade in large quantities, frequently in quite

    big, flowering specimens. The Mexican form of Tillandsia xerographica is not as attractive as the Guatemalan one. As a consequence in southern Mexico some populations still exist (Hromadnik, pers.comm. in 3.b).

    PC13 Inf. 5 p. 1

The species Tillandsia xerographica is in danger of becoming extinct in the wild (3b)

    Trade

    In 1986-1988 the Netherlands imported 5230 kg. of different Tillandsia species from Guatemala. Total export of

    Guatemala in those years was 39,080 kg. of different Tillandsia species. One Guatemalan nursery was

    exporting 30-40,000 plants of Tillandsia xerographica annually (3.b). A seized shipment in the Netherlands in

    1999 of 8000 live plants of Tillandsia xerographica from Guatemala contained very heterogeneous mature

    plants with several wild characteristics, such as dirt, pieces of bark from host tree, spiders and ants nests,

    irregular shapes, insect damage, etc. The plants had been rigorously cleaned and leaves had been cut away. It

    appeared that wild plants and vegetatively propagated plants can be well distinguished from artificially

    propagated plants (5, 8).

    Size and morphology of seized shipments in Switzerland suggested wild origin (11).

    Artificial propagation

    Tillandsia xerographica takes 12-18 years to mature and seed is produced. Because of the slow grow rate,

    exclusive artificial propagation seems unlikely. 95% of plants in trade were estimated in 1991 as wild collected

    and 5% as from vegetative propagation (3.a). One nursery in the Netherlands made an attempt in 1991 to

    produce plants from seeds (8). Confiscated Tillandsia xerographica appeared easy to cultivate in Switzerland,

    although very slow growing. It flowers and produces offsets easily and losses are low, if certain climatic

    conditions are offered (11).

    Tillandsia experts who visited nurseries in Guatemala (8) report different types of production:

    1. Tillandsias are collected from the wild and directly exported. These plants are of wild origin (W).

    2. Tillandsias are collected from the wild and put in nurseries. Plants that are not flowering or have not

    flowered recently are cleaned and cleared of dead and damaged leaves. These plants are most probably

    at least 20 years old. These plants can be recognized by their very thick stems of about 20 to 30 mm

    diameter. These plants are exported and should be considered as from wild origin (W). 3. Tillandsias are collected from the wild and put in nurseries. Plants that have flowered are tied to vertical

    racks and form a shoot, which grows to a mature plant within 1 or 2 years, feeding exclusively on the

    mother plant. After some time the mother plant deteriorates and dies off. These plants can be recognized

    by having some scales at the base of the plant (prophylles), that rapidly grow into big leaves. When this

    shoot is taken from the mother plant, it could be regarded as a cutting, as defined in paragraph a) of the

    definition of artificially propagated plants in resolution Conf. 11.11.

     Usually one wild plant forms only one shoot and produces thus one cutting. One plant from the wild means

    one plant for export. This process is thus as detrimental to the survival of the species as direct wild export

    under 1) and 2) above. Therefore these plants cannot be considered to fulfil criterion b) of resolution Conf.

    11.11. The cultivated parental stock used for artificial propagation is not established in such a manner that

    it is not detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild; and also the nursery cannot be considered to

    be managed in such a way that long-term maintenance of this cultivated stock is guaranteed. Therefore

    these plants are not artificially propagated in conformity with the CITES definition and should be

    considered as of wild origin (W).

    4. Tillandsias are collected from the wild and put in nurseries. Plants that have flowered are tied to vertical

    racks and form a shoot, which grows to a mature plant within 1 or 2 years, feeding exclusively on the

    mother plant. Under certain conditions of disturbance - treatment with chemicals - some plants may form

    more than one shoot, sometimes even 4 or 5. These shoots can be removed from the mother plant at an

    early stage to grow by itself till mature tradeable size. In the wild plants only have one shoot. These

    multiple shoots have to share the nutrients of the mother plant, and grow therefore 4 times slower than

    single shoots. These shoots are less interesting for the nursery, because it will take many more years (5 to

    10) before they produce plants in a tradeable size for export. It is clear that this method is not preferred by

    nurseries.

     For this method, one plant from the wild may produce 2, maybe 3 plants for export. This process is less

    detrimental than the method under 3) above, but these plants cannot be considered to fulfil criterion b) of

    resolution Conf. 11.11, because the growers do not maintain a stock of mother plants. The mother plants

    die off. Actually these so-called mother plants are not true mother plants, but genetically unchanged

    vegetatively reproduced shoots. The cultivated parental stock used for artificial propagation is not

    PC13 Inf. 5 p. 2

    established in such a manner that it is not detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild; and the

    nursery cannot be considered to be managed in such a way that long-term maintenance of this cultivated

    stock is guaranteed. They always need many new plants from the wild every year. Therefore these plants

    are not artificially propagated in conformity with the CITES definition and should be considered as of wild

    origin (W).

    5. Plants can be produced from seed, but it will take 10 to 15 years to produce half mature plants. These truly

    artificially propagated plants can be recognized by a very regular leaf size sequence from basis to top and

    the stem being never thicker than 2 cm. at most. Half mature plants are not to be found in large amounts in

    the wild and are therefore not interesting for the trade. These artificially propagated plants look healthy and

    undamaged (9).

    During at visit of nurseries in Guatemala all propagation from seed was present in only one square meter in one

    nursery; all other plants in the nurseries were mature plants from the wild (5). This could be because the

    growers may have chosen the best plants that produce many seeds, but still one would expect other phases to

    be present like young and half-mature plants.

    Based on this information it is to be assumed that most trade in artificially propagated plants of Tillandsia

    xerographica from Guatemala involves a mix of types as described above, with the larger part being from type

    1, 2 and 3. Most of this trade should thus be regarded as trade in wild plants.

    Additional comment

    99.9% of all so called cultivated plants die within a year after sale (3.a). This means that this species is a

    candidate for listing under article 4.6.c of Council Regulation 338/97.

    Consultation of several botanists in Europe generated support to suspend international trade in Tillandsia

    xerographica completely.

    Conclusion

    No positive advice can be given at the moment. No import permits should be issued for artificially propagated

    (A) Tillandsia xerographica from any country for the time being. Detailed information is required about the propagation methods and procedures in relation to the definition in

    resolution 11.11. Management authorities and scientific authorities of exporting countries Guatemala and the

    Philippines are to be consulted.

    SRG should be informed.

    References

    1. CC91/100, Consequences of the Tillandsia trend (in Dutch only), 1991, Report of course biology and policy

    1, Ronald Hollander et al.

    2. CC91/278, Draft proposal to list Tillandsia spp. in Appendix II of CITES.

    3. a. Prop. 8.80, 1992. Proposal to include Tillandsia spp. in Ap. II of CITES (Austria).

    b. Prop. 8.80, 1992. Proposal to include Tillandsia spp. in Ap. II of CITES (Germany).

    4. Read, Mike, 1989, Bromeliads threatened by trade, Kew Magazine 2.

    5. CC00/94, Report 1550/00-0001 of the Inspection Service, AID: The case Tillandsia xerographica, (in Dutch

    only) G.M. Vijfvinkel, 2000.

    6. CC00/1048, 2000, Report of inspector G. Vijfvinkel on import in the Netherlands of 8000 live plants of

    Tillandsia xerographica from Guatemala in 1999 (in Dutch only). 7. CC00/1049, 2000, Comments of botanical experts on import of Tillandsia xerographica from Guatemala.

    8. CC03/213, 2003, Information from Eric Gouda on artificial propagation of Tillandsia xerographica in

    Guatemala.

    CC03/214, 2003, Advice of NL SA to NL MA to submit all applications for advice.

    PC13 Inf. 5 p. 3

9. CITES Identification Manual Flora, 1993.

    10. Gouda, Eric, 2003, Personal communication.

    11. Lüthy, Jonas, 2003, Personal communication (CC03/395).

    12. WCMC species database, 2003.

    13. Communication from Guatemala SA to Netherlands MA of 16 April 2003 that new control procedures are

    implemented to surpass problems of the past. Chris Schürmann

    NL SA

    18 July 2003.

    PC13 Inf. 5 p. 4

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