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Old 01-23-2014, 10:16 PM
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Default The Eden Exercise

Imagine you came over for a tour of my garden here in Southern California. How much value would you derive if all I had was lawn everywhere? Not much...right? Would you derive more value if there were a few palms? What if there were some epiphytes growing on the palms? How much more value would you derive if there were some chameleons crawling among the epiphytes growing on my palms?

What variety of plants and animals would my garden have to have in order for you to derive the maximum possible value?

Would you want to see Dendrophylax lindenii? You'd be out of luck because it can't grow outside here. However Dendrophylax funalis can grow outside here pretty decently. So should we hybridize/select towards your Eden?

My garden is several organisms away from my Eden. For example, it doesn't have any Chameleons. Can it have Chameleons...should it have Chameleons? Do you want there to be a Chameleon that can thrive in my garden? If so, would you only want to see just one variety of Chameleon thriving in my garden? Why not two varieties?

One of my orchid books describes a certain epiphytic species as being able to thrive where few other orchids can survive. How many epiphytic orchids should be able to thrive where few others can survive? How many epiphytic lizards should be able to thrive where few others can survive?

Right now I'm trying to hybridize/select for epiphytic orchids that can thrive in colder/drier climates. That way...if I visit your garden...no matter where it is...it can be that much closer to my Eden.

But if this strategy makes sense for epiphytic orchids...wouldn't it also make sense for epiphytic lizards?

The future is unknown...nobody has a crystal ball. If we want to ensure that the future has the maximum variety of orchids and chameleons...it would behoove us to try and create the maximum variety of orchids and chameleons today. Doing so will hedge our bets.... so no matter if the future is colder/warmer/wetter/drier... we'll have combinations that are as close as possible to those conditions.

Deng Xiaoping often said that he didn't care if a cat was black or white...what mattered was whether it caught mice. Would you care if a leafless orchid blooming on my tree wasn't exactly the same combination of inputs as the Ghost Orchid in the Florida swamps? Wouldn't you derive the same amount of value if it was superficially similar but more drought/temperature tolerant? Wouldn't you be less nervous knowing that these traits/characteristics/inputs weren't all in one basket?

It wouldn't be Dendrophylax lindenii...it wouldn't be the same species...but it would be a closely related superficially similar orchid thriving on a tree in Southern California. Whatever we called it...Dendrophylax SoCal, or Bob, or 424343429335235544332...it would have the certain combination of traits which made it well suited for this habitat. And having this orchid thriving here in Southern California would increase the chances that these traits are going to make the future that much more valuable and interesting. More like Avatar and less like Bladerunner.

So maybe think less about "species" and more about increasing the variety of awesome organisms suitable for different habitats.

Speaking of which...the flask I purchased on ebay of Psychilis macconnelliae x Myrmecophilia thompsoniana arrived today. Each seedling in the flask is unique...each one is a different combination of inputs. It doesn't really matter to me what they are called...what matters is how well suited they are to my conditions. Does it mean anything that this cross hasn't already happened in nature? Nope, not a thing. There's always room for improvement.
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Old 01-23-2014, 10:34 PM
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This would be your Eden and not necessarily someone elses, as property values are not judged by the garden/yard no matter whats planted in it, however it does make a difference in the sale.. Having said that, We all strive to make our own world what we want in it, and makes each of us happy as an individual.. The world is what WE make of it..

There are those who make unbelieveable vivariums that look absolutley stunning, and others who prefer a much more simple set up, so I ask is the one worth more than the other to the inhabitant? If planting those wonderful things makes YOU happy, then you should by all means do it without hesitation, and people like me will admire it having the knowledge to appreciate the Eden you've created, whilst others will look with different eyes and just see some flowers, and nothing more..

Passions are individual, but I admire your Zeal and vision... Please post pictures of Eden from your prespective so that I can applaud and fully appreciate the fruits of your imagination..
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Old 01-23-2014, 10:43 PM
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what did i walk into here
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:01 PM
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Given the potential moral/ethical implications you may find these threads interesting...

You feelings about transgenic pets and plants(Glowing frogs especially)...

This is for you, Dave
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:14 PM
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what did i walk into here
I ask myself that every time I log in.
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:20 PM
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what did i walk into here
I wondering if epiphyte knows what he's walking into!

Be ready for some heavy criticism.

John
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:42 PM
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This would be your Eden and not necessarily someone elses, as property values are not judged by the garden/yard no matter whats planted in it, however it does make a difference in the sale.. Having said that, We all strive to make our own world what we want in it, and makes each of us happy as an individual.. The world is what WE make of it..
.
He is not trying to promote his or anyone else's idea of a perfect eden but I think the point he is trying to make is, should we be hybridizing plants and animals in order for them to be able to thrive in habitats and climates that they were not able to before.
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:46 PM
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He is not trying to promote his or anyone else's idea of a perfect eden but I think the point he is trying to make is, should we be hybridizing plants and animals in order for them to be able to thrive in habitats and climates that they were not able to before.
Right, but his explanation was much more fun to read.
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:58 PM
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He is not trying to promote his or anyone else's idea of a perfect eden but I think the point he is trying to make is, should we be hybridizing plants and animals in order for them to be able to thrive in habitats and climates that they were not able to before.
I was also making light of his comment, as I liked what he wrote.. We have been hybridizing animals and plants for years to change them to adjust to climates and situations different than what they're used to.. The list is long with both animals and plants.. There was another thread on here about genetics which touched on this a few days ago.. I have liked and admired many people on here quietly for quite some time, some more passionate than others... Its all good...

I think of all the Rose hybrids, or for example or dogs... Again, all in good fun, and for the record, I thought that the original comment was well written and thought out..
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:12 AM
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Ornamental plants I have no problem hybridizing. The culture surrounding horticulture and plant hybridization is already very strong, and you can asexually keep species orchids alive and dividing for decades.


I am NOT ok with the idea that you want to hybridize chameleons for drought tolerance to release into your yard. Southern California doesnt need any more invasive species. Plenty of Jacksons chameleons and anoles already around here.
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:36 AM
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Ornamental plants I have no problem hybridizing. The culture surrounding horticulture and plant hybridization is already very strong, and you can asexually keep species orchids alive and dividing for decades.


I am NOT ok with the idea that you want to hybridize chameleons for drought tolerance to release into your yard. Southern California doesnt need any more invasive species. Plenty of Jacksons chameleons and anoles already around here.
I totally agree Jason. I have little problem with culturing hybrid plants, although I still have a greater appreciation for the "wild type" varieties. Animal hybridizing on the other hand, I have a BIG problem with. Why keep something unnatural when there is an alternative thats just as cool without the help of humans?

Jason, I haven't heard of Jacksons being in SoCal before! Very interesting, even if sad.

John
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:48 AM
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Ornamental plants I have no problem hybridizing. The culture surrounding horticulture and plant hybridization is already very strong, and you can asexually keep species orchids alive and dividing for decades.


I am NOT ok with the idea that you want to hybridize chameleons for drought tolerance to release into your yard. Southern California doesnt need any more invasive species. Plenty of Jacksons chameleons and anoles already around here.
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I totally agree Jason. I have little problem with culturing hybrid plants, although I still have a greater appreciation for the "wild type" varieties. Animal hybridizing on the other hand, I have a BIG problem with. Why keep something unnatural when there is an alternative thats just as cool without the help of humans?

Jason, I haven't heard of Jacksons being in SoCal before! Very interesting, even if sad.

John
This is basically where I'm at also... The plant hobby has already embraced hybrids; plus the scope of that hobby both in number of people and number of species is huge compared to ours. Much harder to police then ours... and for that hobby the ship already sailed a long time ago.

Also it should be noted:
Hybridization and selection pressures on species of both plants and animals to adapt to certain conditions is tricky when those things are going to be outside... At that point you risk not only introducing an invasive species, but possibly creating one!


But we do create our own edens, and we'll have more and more power to do so. Glo fish, GFP axolotl, bioluminescent plants, technology in general (etc..etc...).

I hope we get to have our cake and eat it too... but we're going to have to be very careful, and we'll likely suffer some missteps along the way.

The future is here.
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Old 01-24-2014, 01:16 AM
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I am NOT ok with the idea that you want to hybridize chameleons for drought tolerance to release into your yard. Southern California doesnt need any more invasive species. Plenty of Jacksons chameleons and anoles already around here.
It's entirely possible that I'm wrong. It sure wouldn't be the first time and I doubt it will be the last.

Where do you draw the line though? And how do you justify exactly where you drew it?

Let's imagine that you went back into time when Hawaii was created. And you are immortal and all powerful. Hmmm...I guess God. You could snap your fingers at anytime and an invisible force field would prevent any additional organisms from invading Hawaii. When would you snap your fingers?

Would you snap your fingers now? Hopefully not...Hawaii only has three species of orchids...and none of them are epiphytes. How many epiphytic orchids around the world are trying to aim their pods in Hawaii's direction? It's like the biggest and longest game of darts...millions and millions of orchids over millions of years trying to hit the bulls-eye. It's such a relatively small target though. And the orchids are entirely at the mercy of the wind. The only reason that so many ferns are there is because they got a head start. Plus, they don't depend on sexual reproduction like most orchids do.

Hawaii's somehow "best" when the wind is in charge of determining which species are introduced? What's so special about the wind?

Now let's imagine that you were Noah's wife. You see God (no longer you) tell your husband that he's going to destroy the world with a flood. God hands Noah a blank check and tells him that the animals are on their way.

Noah's like, "I'm going to build a big boat and put all the animals on it!" What do you say? "That's nice dear"? Personally, if I was Noah's wife I would have told him to hedge his bets by building several boats..."Maybe you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket dear". Of course we're also assuming that God isn't going to protect the boats from sinking. This seems like a reasonable assumption given that he didn't protect the Dodo and a few others from extinction.

If you have any evidence that the current allocation of plants and animals is perfect...then please share it. From my perspective...there are too many eggs in too few baskets. And there are too many baskets that could have a far greater variety of eggs in them. California is one such basket.

Of course there's plenty evidence that invasive species have caused problems. But you can't say that the introduction of a foreign organism will always be detrimental. Otherwise you're snapping your fingers at the beginning of Hawaii and snapping your fingers at Noah telling him that he better not let anybody off the boat. Well...I guess if you did the first the second wouldn't be necessary. Assuming of course that Hawaii was created after the Flood.
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Old 01-24-2014, 01:43 AM
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It's entirely possible that I'm wrong. It sure wouldn't be the first time and I doubt it will be the last.

Where do you draw the line though? And how do you justify exactly where you drew it?

Let's imagine that you went back into time when Hawaii was created. And you are immortal and all powerful. Hmmm...I guess God. You could snap your fingers at anytime and an invisible force field would prevent any additional organisms from invading Hawaii. When would you snap your fingers?

Would you snap your fingers now? Hopefully not...Hawaii only has three species of orchids...and none of them are epiphytes. How many epiphytic orchids around the world are trying to aim their pods in Hawaii's direction? It's like the biggest and longest game of darts...millions and millions of orchids over millions of years trying to hit the bulls-eye. It's such a relatively small target though. And the orchids are entirely at the mercy of the wind. The only reason that so many ferns are there is because they got a head start. Plus, they don't depend on sexual reproduction like most orchids do.

Hawaii's somehow "best" when the wind is in charge of determining which species are introduced? What's so special about the wind?

Now let's imagine that you were Noah's wife. You see God (no longer you) tell your husband that he's going to destroy the world with a flood. God hands Noah a blank check and tells him that the animals are on their way.

Noah's like, "I'm going to build a big boat and put all the animals on it!" What do you say? "That's nice dear"? Personally, if I was Noah's wife I would have told him to hedge his bets by building several boats..."Maybe you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket dear". Of course we're also assuming that God isn't going to protect the boats from sinking. This seems like a reasonable assumption given that he didn't protect the Dodo and a few others from extinction.

If you have any evidence that the current allocation of plants and animals is perfect...then please share it. From my perspective...there are too many eggs in too few baskets. And there are too many baskets that could have a far greater variety of eggs in them. California is one such basket.

Of course there's plenty evidence that invasive species have caused problems. But you can't say that the introduction of a foreign organism will always be detrimental. Otherwise you're snapping your fingers at the beginning of Hawaii and snapping your fingers at Noah telling him that he better not let anybody off the boat. Well...I guess if you did the first the second wouldn't be necessary. Assuming of course that Hawaii was created after the Flood.
I think when deciding how or even if we should wield our power it often kinda boils down to the rate of change in a natural way vs that from human intervention. When species of plants and animals spread they initially do it in small numbers, and do it relatively slowly in most cases, oh and it is only happening with a few at any given time usually. Where when humans are involved we dump a bunch of new plant and animal species in what is often a small area, with more of them faster then what might ever get there in nature, and chances are we are or have introduced a lot of new species in just a few years or decades... Decades is a very short period of time as far as nature is concerned. 1 new lizard species and 1 new plant species every 1000 years may not be a big deal to an ecosystem, but 10 in 100 years? ...hmm that might be trouble.

Also effectively taking control of a species evolution to make it suit a particular ecosystem just because we like it, or even for a better reason is potentially very problematic for that ecosystem. If there isn't room for that species to slip in there without having a major impact on a bunch of other species and we don't have some way to manage that we could be in trouble... or at least some other species may be in trouble.

Add the speed at which we operate vs nature (though we are not separate from nature in reality), and the fact that multiple invasive or at least foreign species are being added by us in a short time frame + whatever species that is happening for without human intervention and you are putting a heavy burden on an ecosystem to adapt.

So we do a lot, we do it consecutively and we do it very fast, so that gives the ecosystem little time to adapt (+ whatever nature is doing on its own), and that potentially puts everything in danger... even us.

In the end short of rendering an ecosystem completely unable to sustain life, nature will eventually adapt and create and fill niches as needed given time, but even if life continues in the long term, the short term may see massive extinction events, entire food chains/webs disrupted or collapse, might even end up effecting geological and meteorological aspects of the ecosystem and in the end we are not seperate from the ecosystems we are in or around, so if the $#!+ hits the fan it will likely effect us to.

So probably best to proceed slowly and carefully, and generally stay out of nature's way as much as we can till we get pretty good at using the power we have unless it looks like we must absolutely intervene, but of course us being us, we have already had a detrimental impact and we will do stuff in an attempt to correct that (and maybe we should in many cases, or maybe not) and we will do other stuff to just make things "better" (maybe less of a good idea)... and often it will probably work, sometimes it will be a disaster for us and/or the ecosystem, and well who knows... In us nature has created an extremely powerful agent of change. It remains to be seen if nature screwed up giving us this kinda power

The next couple of hundred years seem like they may be where we determine whether or not our species is going to last... We live in interesting times
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Old 01-24-2014, 01:53 AM
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I totally agree Jason. I have little problem with culturing hybrid plants, although I still have a greater appreciation for the "wild type" varieties.
I used to have a greater appreciation for species orchids...a FAR greater appreciation. I was a hard core species snob.

But imagine I created a Dendrophylax hybrid that could naturalize here in Southern California. What's the difference? The hybrid would be an organism that survives in the wild. Why would it be inferior in any way? Wouldn't it be superior for its ability to thrive in a harsher environment?

How many orchid hybrids wouldn't be able to survive in the wild though? How many of them are "pansies"? If an orchid is a pansy then I would still have some snobbery for it. But the only way to know if an orchid is a pansy is to subject it to a "reasonable" amount of nature (every orchid would be a pansy in the North Pole).

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Why keep something unnatural when there is an alternative thats just as cool without the help of humans?
Here are some of the crosses that I've seen my Hummingbird try to create...

Bougainvillea x Geranium
Kalanchoe x Nematanthus
Echeveria x Aeschynanthus

Well...of course none of those would be here if it wasn't for humans. But the point is to illustrate the randomness of things that are created by nature.

One species of lizard gets swept away in a flood right into the territory of another species of lizard. They mate and create a hybrid...which is fitter than both species. Now you've got a new species. It's somehow "cooler" because it was created by a flood rather than by humans?

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Jason, I haven't heard of Jacksons being in SoCal before! Very interesting, even if sad.

John
Either he means that you can purchase plenty of Jacksons in Southern California or he means that they have naturalized in SoCal. I really don't think he means that they have naturalized here. If they have naturalized here I'd be interested to know exactly where it has occurred.

If they haven't already naturalized here then I'd very much enjoy hearing an argument for why they shouldn't.

What has definitely naturalized here are parrots...California Parrots. It makes me sad when they wake me up at the butt crack of dawn squawking right outside my window devouring all my figs. Naw, it doesn't make me sad. I don't think I'll ever get tired of seeing them. Are they beneficial though? From my perspective we're better off because it helps hedge our bets.
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:33 AM
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Yes.... There are specific areas.... LaJolla especially, where Jackson's chameleons have naturalized
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:21 AM
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I might need to make a trip back to my home state soon! Times are a changin'

How have the native species been affected by the introduced species? I would imagine that they have had a negative influence, if only a small one at this point.

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Old 01-24-2014, 08:00 AM
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Dendro Dave...nice effort...but I'm just not seeing it. When I was stationed in Panama so many years ago...I remember being in the "prone" position behind some tree in the jungle. I counted 8 different types of ants crawling on me at the same time. Heh, each time I tell that story the number of ants increases. Maybe in reality there was only one type of ant...and it wasn't even on me.

I think we might both agree that tropical forests are vanishing at an alarming rate. So we're losing biodiversity. Yet, we disagree that biodiversity losses in some areas should be offset by biodiversity gains in other areas.

Here in Southern California...I have one tree with an incredible amount of biodiversity. Here's a photo of one section...


Sinningia cardinalis and Hoya serpens by epiphyte78, on Flickr

There's no other tree in Southern California that has more diversity. And I'd certainly love to be proved wrong.

Should my tree be the exception? Or should it be the rule? If it should be a rule...should it only apply to trees in people's yards?

If this degree of biodiversity is valuable in terms of plants...then why wouldn't it also be valuable in terms of animals? Why should there only be one species of ant on my tree? Is that really the optimal amount of animal biodiversity? Any more than that and the tree will explode?

I imagine the Titanic sinking...there's throngs of people drowning...and you've got a large nearly empty boat right next to it. "Sorry, yes, we do have plenty of room...but we wouldn't want to upset the passengers we already have." Because one of your preexisting passengers is somehow worth 1000 people drowning in the ocean?

If something is so rare...then don't protect it by trying to keep it one basket. Protect it by disseminating it far and wide.

Check out this photo of an Aloe growing in its native habitat. If you like Aloes then maybe the photo might be kinda interesting. But if you zoom in you'll see a miniature Angraecum growing directly on the Aloe. How cool is that? Doesn't the epiphyte add value?

How should the Angraecum be protected? I don't think preventing it from invading other suitable areas would be a good way of protecting it. In fact, I think that's the most harmful thing you could do. It's especially harmful because at first glance it might seem helpful.

The best way to protect that miniature orchid would be to facilitate its invasion into other suitable habitats. Seeing it on Aloes shouldn't be the exception...it should be the rule. Just like seeing tree Aloes in the California wilderness should be the rule rather than the exception.

But maybe I'm just getting carried away. I stuck a bunch of plants on my tree and now I want to stick a bunch of plants and animals everywhere. I'm like Christopher Walken in the SNL sketch..."more cowbell!". I just can't imagine visiting somebody's garden and saying, "woah, you went overboard with the biodiversity. This cloud of morpho butterflies is preventing me from seeing anything else." Even in the heart of the Panamanian jungle I was lucky to see a morpho butterfly. Same thing with orchids.

We have enough varieties of butterflies and orchids here in Southern California? That can't be true. It sure doesn't sound true.
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Old 01-24-2014, 01:37 PM
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How should the Angraecum be protected? I don't think preventing it from invading other suitable areas would be a good way of protecting it. In fact, I think that's the most harmful thing you could do. It's especially harmful because at first glance it might seem helpful.

The best way to protect that miniature orchid would be to facilitate its invasion into other suitable habitats. Seeing it on Aloes shouldn't be the exception...it should be the rule. Just like seeing tree Aloes in the California wilderness should be the rule rather than the exception.

But maybe I'm just getting carried away. I stuck a bunch of plants on my tree and now I want to stick a bunch of plants and animals everywhere. I'm like Christopher Walken in the SNL sketch..."more cowbell!". I just can't imagine visiting somebody's garden and saying, "woah, you went overboard with the biodiversity. This cloud of morpho butterflies is preventing me from seeing anything else." Even in the heart of the Panamanian jungle I was lucky to see a morpho butterfly. Same thing with orchids.

We have enough varieties of butterflies and orchids here in Southern California? That can't be true. It sure doesn't sound true.
Sorry Epiphyte, I really don't see where you are going with this.

If you are so dissatisfied with the native flora and fauna around here, why not move to some place that naturally better suits your tastes?

You also keep using the term "invasion" in a positive light. How is a non-native, hybridized plant invading a local ecosystem a good thing?
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Old 01-24-2014, 01:45 PM
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The best way to protect that miniature orchid would be to facilitate its invasion into other suitable habitats. Seeing it on Aloes shouldn't be the exception...it should be the rule. Just like seeing tree Aloes in the California wilderness should be the rule rather than the exception.
The problem with this thinking is that those plants would be displacing native vegetation. They would be using water and nutrients, hell, just a space in the sun that should be used by native flora. I'm sorry, but as someone who is constantly battling invasive species, and having to, on an every day basis, educate people on the importance of going native, I simply cannot get behind your argument. Sure, my yard has a lot of non-native plants in it, but the vast majority are from a 500 mile radius from here, and the exotic stuff is carefully selected as to minimize invasive potential.
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:11 PM
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Sorry Epiphyte, I really don't see where you are going with this.

If you are so dissatisfied with the native flora and fauna around here, why not move to some place that naturally better suits your tastes?
The logic is not to keep all your eggs in one basket. This way a local extinction will not be a total extinction. For example, right now Sobennikoffia is only in Madagascar. The more habitats outside Madagascar it is introduced to...the greater the chances of its survival.

Think about the Dodo. If it had been introduced to other locations...then there's a greater chance that it would be extant.

Of course the more common something is...the less need there is to introduce it to other locations.

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You also keep using the term "invasion" in a positive light. How is a non-native, hybridized plant invading a local ecosystem a good thing?
It's a good thing if it increases the biodiversity and it's a bad thing if it decreases the biodiversity. But plants are always invading new territories...epiphytes are prime examples...so are cactus. If it was the case that plants and animals invading new territories was generally a bad thing...then the trend would be a decrease in diversity.

Creating a hybrid epiphyte that could naturalize in Southern California would certainly be a good thing because it would increase our diversity. Plus, it would be a facilitation cascade.

Clearly there aren't very many epiphytes in Southern California. But even in Panama there was plenty of room for introduced epiphytes. There were way way way too many trees without any epiphytes on them.

With tropical forests vanishing...it's essential that we maximize the biodiversity of the remaining forests. If we get less bang for our buck from location A...it's necessary that we get more bang for our buck from location B. If a tree is cut down in one area...it's necessary that a tree be planted in another area. If a tree is cut down in one area...then epiphytes should be attached to a tree in another area. This isn't just important for biodiversity...and hedging bets...and facilitation cascades...it's also important for carbon sequestration. If Brazil is sequestering less and less carbon...then other countries need to sequester more and more carbon. This can be accomplished with the introduction of foreign and rare epiphytes.
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:36 PM
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The problem with this thinking is that those plants would be displacing native vegetation. They would be using water and nutrients, hell, just a space in the sun that should be used by native flora. I'm sorry, but as someone who is constantly battling invasive species, and having to, on an every day basis, educate people on the importance of going native, I simply cannot get behind your argument. Sure, my yard has a lot of non-native plants in it, but the vast majority are from a 500 mile radius from here, and the exotic stuff is carefully selected as to minimize invasive potential.
If a foreign plant or animal decreases biodiversity...then I would certainly be against its introduction. Like I said though, it can't be the rule that an introduced organism will decrease biodiversity. Otherwise we'd see a decrease in biodiversity every time a bird, collecting material for its nest, carried some strands of Spanish Moss into new territory. Same thing when the wind carries Pleopeltis polypodioides and Epidendrum conopseum into new territories...The Race to Canada.

We should help more epiphytes reach Canada sooner rather than later. This can be accomplished by hybridizing and by the introduction of more participants. It certainly can't be the case that they are all going to want to occupy the same exact location on a tree. Otherwise that Angraecum wouldn't be the only epiphyte on that Aloe. If you've run across other photos of epiphytes growing on Aloes...then please feel free to share them.
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:41 PM
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The logic is not to keep all your eggs in one basket. This way a local extinction will not be a total extinction. For example, right now Sobennikoffia is only in Madagascar. The more habitats outside Madagascar it is introduced to...the greater the chances of its survival.

Think about the Dodo. If it had been introduced to other locations...then there's a greater chance that it would be extant.

Of course the more common something is...the less need there is to introduce it to other locations.



It's a good thing if it increases the biodiversity and it's a bad thing if it decreases the biodiversity. But plants are always invading new territories...epiphytes are prime examples...so are cactus. If it was the case that plants and animals invading new territories was generally a bad thing...then the trend would be a decrease in diversity.

Creating a hybrid epiphyte that could naturalize in Southern California would certainly be a good thing because it would increase our diversity. Plus, it would be a facilitation cascade.

Clearly there aren't very many epiphytes in Southern California. But even in Panama there was plenty of room for introduced epiphytes. There were way way way too many trees without any epiphytes on them.

With tropical forests vanishing...it's essential that we maximize the biodiversity of the remaining forests. If we get less bang for our buck from location A...it's necessary that we get more bang for our buck from location B. If a tree is cut down in one area...it's necessary that a tree be planted in another area. If a tree is cut down in one area...then epiphytes should be attached to a tree in another area. This isn't just important for biodiversity...and hedging bets...and facilitation cascades...it's also important for carbon sequestration. If Brazil is sequestering less and less carbon...then other countries need to sequester more and more carbon. This can be accomplished with the introduction of foreign and rare epiphytes.
Yeah, guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one. We are on totally different pages on this issue.
You don't seem to appreciate the impact that invasive species can have, even with the best intentions. Please don't start hybridizing and attempting to introduce species to established environments.
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:57 PM
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Yeah, guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one. We are on totally different pages on this issue.
You don't seem to appreciate the impact that invasive species can have, even with the best intentions. Please don't start hybridizing and attempting to introduce species to established environments.
Unless I'm presented with convincing arguments and evidence...then I will continue hybridizing to create a wider variety of epiphytes that can thrive where few other plants can survive. And I'll encourage others to do the same. Of course you're welcome to try and persuade others that doing so is a mistake. Free discussion is pretty wonderful like that.

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But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. - J.S. Mill, On Liberty
The way I see it is that the bus has one passenger...but you're trying to convince me that all the seats are taken...all the niches are filled...every microhabitat is occupied...there's absolutely no room for improvement. But there's always room for improvement...even if you don't see where that room is.
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:59 PM
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Dendro Dave...nice effort...but I'm just not seeing it. When I was stationed in Panama so many years ago...I remember being in the "prone" position behind some tree in the jungle. I counted 8 different types of ants crawling on me at the same time. Heh, each time I tell that story the number of ants increases. Maybe in reality there was only one type of ant...and it wasn't even on me.

I think we might both agree that tropical forests are vanishing at an alarming rate. So we're losing biodiversity. Yet, we disagree that biodiversity losses in some areas should be offset by biodiversity gains in other areas.

Here in Southern California...I have one tree with an incredible amount of biodiversity. Here's a photo of one section...


Sinningia cardinalis and Hoya serpens by epiphyte78, on Flickr

There's no other tree in Southern California that has more diversity. And I'd certainly love to be proved wrong.

Should my tree be the exception? Or should it be the rule? If it should be a rule...should it only apply to trees in people's yards?

If this degree of biodiversity is valuable in terms of plants...then why wouldn't it also be valuable in terms of animals? Why should there only be one species of ant on my tree? Is that really the optimal amount of animal biodiversity? Any more than that and the tree will explode?

I imagine the Titanic sinking...there's throngs of people drowning...and you've got a large nearly empty boat right next to it. "Sorry, yes, we do have plenty of room...but we wouldn't want to upset the passengers we already have." Because one of your preexisting passengers is somehow worth 1000 people drowning in the ocean?

If something is so rare...then don't protect it by trying to keep it one basket. Protect it by disseminating it far and wide.

Check out this photo of an Aloe growing in its native habitat. If you like Aloes then maybe the photo might be kinda interesting. But if you zoom in you'll see a miniature Angraecum growing directly on the Aloe. How cool is that? Doesn't the epiphyte add value?

How should the Angraecum be protected? I don't think preventing it from invading other suitable areas would be a good way of protecting it. In fact, I think that's the most harmful thing you could do. It's especially harmful because at first glance it might seem helpful.

The best way to protect that miniature orchid would be to facilitate its invasion into other suitable habitats. Seeing it on Aloes shouldn't be the exception...it should be the rule. Just like seeing tree Aloes in the California wilderness should be the rule rather than the exception.

But maybe I'm just getting carried away. I stuck a bunch of plants on my tree and now I want to stick a bunch of plants and animals everywhere. I'm like Christopher Walken in the SNL sketch..."more cowbell!". I just can't imagine visiting somebody's garden and saying, "woah, you went overboard with the biodiversity. This cloud of morpho butterflies is preventing me from seeing anything else." Even in the heart of the Panamanian jungle I was lucky to see a morpho butterfly. Same thing with orchids.

We have enough varieties of butterflies and orchids here in Southern California? That can't be true. It sure doesn't sound true.
Epiphytes etc. is right... You're underestimating the complexity of the issue. It's rare if not impossible to add a plant without taking away something from another plant and/or animal. Same goes for adding an animal to an ecosystem. Chances are that is going to effect many other plants and animals in some way. And don't forget bacteria, fungi and viruses... Those things exist in, on, and around other plants and animals and may have a negative impact on native flora and fauna if introduced.

For example let's say you find an orchid from over seas you like and that might survive where you live, so you import a bunch of them and they come in with some orchid disease or are harboring a bacteria, virus, or fungi that will kill other plants or animals... Now you've exposed all those native plants and animals to not only this new plant, but to all the new germs and stuff associated with this plant. Maybe they kill your favorite native plants, or kill the pollenator of some of your favorite native plants... Now was introducing that cool new plant worth it?

Viruses may mutate, bacteria adapt, fungi do whatever fungi do... and all of a sudden the eco system around your house is thrown into turmoil. Now multiply what you did x a bunch of other people doing it all over the world, and you've thrown the global environment into chaos.... Who lives on this earth? ...We do, and you've just thrown it into chaos. Crops start dying, animals start dying, weather patterns change, geological events like massive erosion due to lack of plant roots start happening, and in the end people will be effect.

That's a worst case scenario, but things like that are very likely to happen to some degree in many places. You're suggesting we play a very short sighted and dangerous game, with very little understanding how the rules of that game actually work.
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:31 PM
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Buffelgrass

Tamarix spp.
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:47 PM
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Unless I'm presented with convincing arguments and evidence...then I will continue hybridizing to create a wider variety of epiphytes that can thrive where few other plants can survive. And I'll encourage others to do the same. Of course you're welcome to try and persuade others that doing so is a mistake. Free discussion is pretty wonderful like that.
Not long ago the Everglades were free of Nile monitors, Iguanas, or Burmese pythons, yet the niche existed for them. Now they are present. Good thing, or bad thing?
Intorduced pants can pose the same risk to native flora/fauna/foodwebs.
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:35 PM
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The simple fact is that bucket biology is bullshit.

I understand wanting nice epiphytes for your backyard and trees. Great, fine, I understand that.

Trying to " save the rainforest" with hybrid plants spread throughout non indigenous habitats is just about the saddest idea Ive heard today.

Dont ever think you can do batter than nature and milleniums of natural selection. Nature should be left natural. No introduced plants, no introduced animals PERIOD. It NEVER works out to the benefit of anything.

Sure, the Jacksons chameleons in La Jolla arent likely hurting anything, nor are they likely to be a detriment to anything in Hawaii, nor are the day geckos.

HOWEVER- just because you CAN... doesnt mean you SHOULD. You could accidentally introduce a virus, pathogenic mite, worm etc that could spread to native reptile populations and wreak havoc in a very short amount of time. You could introduce a non native plant that native pollinators perfer over the native species, and if thery bloom concurrently, the native plants wont be as effectively pollinated and cause ecosystem shift.

I urge you to take some ecology/ environmental science/ terrestrial ecology classes at your local university if youre having trouble grasping these concepts
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:48 PM
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The problem with this thinking is that those plants would be displacing native vegetation. They would be using water and nutrients, hell, just a space in the sun that should be used by native flora. I'm sorry, but as someone who is constantly battling invasive species, and having to, on an every day basis, educate people on the importance of going native, I simply cannot get behind your argument. Sure, my yard has a lot of non-native plants in it, but the vast majority are from a 500 mile radius from here, and the exotic stuff is carefully selected as to minimize invasive potential.
Invasive species have been proven harmful time and time again.. There are reasons plants and animals grow in certain areas and not others. I understand your sentiment, and Zeal, as when I first responded to your post. You cannot possibly know the impact of such until its too late, as for example the python problem in Florida, which is now out of control or the Jumping Carp problem when has decimated the southern rivers having killed many native species, or the musscle problem in the great lakes, or the lampray problem... Monsanto already fooling around with changing plants, and examples go on and on...

Rats, Termites, Cockroach all not naitive, but invasive. Can you imagine the plants around millions of years ago? Before humans? Many of which went extinct naturally which is what makes our world.. We have made too many alterations as far as I am concerned, and the many who have voiced reasonable explanations to your post... You have diversified a tree, but you don't really know for sure what the long term is for that tree, and if you have altered that trees life span, as you are experimenting, and asking others to participate in this folly... Isn't it better to observe speicies in the natural habitat? To me thats what makes the world a wonderful place, and trust me when I say, I have seen much of it... You have so much wonderful flora in Ca which cannot grow or thrive elsewhere, and it seems not enough for you... Its the same reason we do NOT mix darts, to preserve thier natural lines.. If you basterdize a plant, its not the same plant it was in nature, even if the conditions are right otherwise many Super smart scientists would have thought of this long ago... Orchids have divercity, and there are many speicies all of which wonderful and glorious, and we have learned to keep them.. This is a privalidge, not a right...IMO
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:52 PM
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Invasive species have been proven harmful time and time again.. There are reasons plants and animals grow in certain areas and not others. I understand your sentiment, and Zeal, as when I first responded to your post. You cannot possibly know the impact of such until its too late, as for example the python problem in Florida, which is now out of control or the Jumping Carp problem when has decimated the southern rivers having killed many native species, or the musscle problem in the great lakes, or the lampray problem... Monsanto already fooling around with changing plants, and examples go on and on...

Rats, Termites, Cockroach all not naitive, but invasive. Can you imagine the plants around millions of years ago? Before humans? Many of which went extinct naturally which is what makes our world.. We have made too many alterations as far as I am concerned, and the many who have voiced reasonable explanations to your post... You have diversified a tree, but you don't really know for sure what the long term is for that tree, and if you have altered that trees life span, as you are experimenting, and asking others to participate in this folly... Isn't it better to observe speicies in the natural habitat? To me thats what makes the world a wonderful place, and trust me when I say, I have seen much of it... You have so much wonderful flora in Ca which cannot grow or thrive elsewhere, and it seems not enough for you... Its the same reason we do NOT mix darts, to preserve thier natural lines.. If you basterdize a plant, its not the same plant it was in nature, even if the conditions are right otherwise many Super smart scientists would have thought of this long ago... Orchids have divercity, and there are many speicies all of which wonderful and glorious, and we have learned to keep them.. This is a privalidge, not a right...IMO
I think you replied to the wrong "epiphyte" ...but good points
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Old 01-24-2014, 06:56 PM
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I think you replied to the wrong "epiphyte" ...but good points
Thanks Dave, I am still figuring out the threads... I really like and follow many of your comments...
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:39 PM
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Dendro Dave, no, I value markets because I do not underestimate complexity. Putting too many eggs in one basket is the logical consequence of underestimating complexity. The Irish potato famine was a perfect example of underestimating complexity. Another perfect example was the 30 million people that died during the Great Leap Forward. Every war that occurs is a perfect example of underestimating complexity.

Right now we don't have a market in the public sector. Based on your understanding of complexity...would you say that this is a good thing? Do you think preventing people from shopping for themselves results in a greater variety and quantity of goods?

Here's a hint...

Quote:
One would think that man could find enough variation in the orchid family, as it occurs in nature, to more than satiate his taste for variety. Yet man's appetite for variety is never appeased. He has produced over two times as many hybrids, in the past 100 years that he has been engaged in orchid breeding, as nature has created species in her eons of evolutionary effort. - Calaway H. Dodson, Robert J. Gillespie, The Botany of Orchids
...and another...

Quote:
If we now turn to consider the immediate self-interest of the consumer, we shall find that it is in perfect harmony with the general interest, i.e., with what the well-being of mankind requires. When the buyer goes to the market, he wants to find it abundantly supplied. He wants the seasons to be propitious for all the crops; more and more wonderful inventions to bring a greater number of products and satisfactions within his reach; time and labor to be saved; distances to be wiped out; the spirit of peace and justice to permit lessening the burden of taxes; and tariff walls of every sort to fall. In all these respects, the immediate self-interest of the consumer follows a line parallel to that of the public interest. He may extend his secret wishes to fantastic or absurd lengths; yet they will not cease to be in conformity with the interests of his fellow man. He may wish that food and shelter, roof and hearth, education and morality, security and peace, strength and health, all be his without effort, without toil, and without limit, like the dust of the roads, the water of the stream, the air that surrounds us, and the sunlight that bathes us; and yet the realization of these wishes would in no way conflict with the good of society. - Fr้d้ric Bastiat, Abundance and Scarcity
Are parrots really that different though? Our naturalized parrots want an abundance of figs...and they spread the fig seeds accordingly. Hummingbirds and bees want an abundance of flowers...and they do their part to help ensure that there is an abundance of flowers. Nobody wants a scarcity of the things they value...so they sacrifice accordingly.

I think if the issue of fungus truly concerns you...if you truly believe it will result in a scarcity of things that you value...then perhaps you would have started a thread where you've encouraged the boycott of the orchid nurseries that import orchids. If this issue truly concerns you, you would know exactly which nurseries import orchids. I haven't seen such a thread. Instead, I've seen numerous threads where people have wanted a greater abundance of awesome orchids...where they heap praises on the nurseries that do import orchids. If you've raised your concern in any of these threads...please share the links.

Because I, like many others, also want an abundance of awesome orchids...I've started threads to try and help people understand the important relationship that orchids have with their associated fungus...


Orchid Fungus Symbiotic Relationship by epiphyte78, on Flickr

And I've started threads that document orchid seeds that have germinated on my tree because of this fungus...


Symbiotic Orchid Germination 1a 008 by epiphyte78, on Flickr

I've also shared an article that describes a market for fungus. Value is decreased when exchange is limited.

This forum would decrease the amount of value created if we could only read and reply to threads created by people in the same country. Just like our country would be worse off if we could only exchange goods and services within the country. Just like the world would be worse off if people couldn't vote with their feet. Just like the world is worse off because people can't vote with their taxes.

I've studied and lived in developing countries. They don't develop by protecting them from foreign "ideas" (products, services, companies, etc). Systems aren't strengthened by limiting competition and exchange...they are made stronger by subjecting them to stress. This is the concept of antifragility. Differentiation and diversity and variety follows from facilitating exchange. The opposite follows from underestimating complexity.
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:35 PM
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You are missing the point entirely.

1) Hybridizing orchids/plants for your backyard- I think its fine, but dont expect them to spread and DO NOT encourage them to spread to natural ecosystems!!!! I dont care if you dont understand why not. If I find out that you are, Ill report you to California fish and wildlife for invasive plant distribution


2) Economics seems to be driving your thinking, not an understanding and appreciation of the natural world and ecosystem complexity- this kind of thinking has DEVASTATED ecosystems around the globe for well over a century now, and its time to end that style of thinking

3) Anyone that loves orchids knows about the mycorrhizal relationship between fungi ( often very specific fungi) and the germination of orchid seed. This type of relationship doesnt benefit the tree at all, since its not a mycorrhizal fungi associated with the tree roots. I dont know what point you're trying to argue but there is no economic value to the fungi associated with orchid roots.
4) I love orchids, and love to have them available to me for purchase, but I DONT WANT them taking over native ecosystems, displacing native species, hybridizing with native orchids in certain areas of the country, distracting pollinators, etc etc.
Introduced plants CAN, HAVE AND WILL CONTINUE to be potential vectors for pathogenic plant fungi, viruses and insect pests that can do nothing but harm natural ecosystems
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:58 PM
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The simple fact is that bucket biology is bullshit.

I understand wanting nice epiphytes for your backyard and trees. Great, fine, I understand that.

Trying to " save the rainforest" with hybrid plants spread throughout non indigenous habitats is just about the saddest idea Ive heard today.
Where do you think hybrid plants get their genes from? From some alternate universe? From a distant planet? The goal isn't just to save the maximum amount of genetic diversity...it's to increase the total amount of genetic diversity. This requires hedging bets. It requires putting the greatest variety of eggs in the greatest quantity of baskets.

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Dont ever think you can do batter than nature and milleniums of natural selection. Nature should be left natural. No introduced plants, no introduced animals PERIOD. It NEVER works out to the benefit of anything.
So the wind and parrots can determine the allocation of plants...but humans cannot? That doesn't make a lick of sense.

Nature tries a lot of different combinations of inputs (genes, traits, characteristics). Some are successful (fit)...many are not. Orchids are so successful because they've embraced the numbers game like none other. An orchid pod can contain a million seeds. Each seed is a unique combination of inputs. The greater number of attempts/chances...the greater the chance of finding successful combinations of inputs.

Somehow humans shouldn't participate in this process? Hummingbirds and bees should determine which orchids are crossed...but humans should be forbidden from doing so? Because...? Hummingbirds and bees know what they are doing?

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Originally Posted by frogparty View Post
You could introduce a non native plant that native pollinators perfer over the native species, and if thery bloom concurrently, the native plants wont be as effectively pollinated and cause ecosystem shift.
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Originally Posted by frogparty View Post
I urge you to take some ecology/ environmental science/ terrestrial ecology classes at your local university if youre having trouble grasping these concepts
LOL...let me get this straight. The supply of food increases...yet the pollinator population size would stay the same? Honestly, you should get a refund on those classes. Seriously. What university was it? I'm going to call your professors and determine whether this is what they really taught you.

It's so sad/funny that I'm going to copy and paste it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by frogparty View Post
You could introduce a non native plant that native pollinators perfer over the native species, and if thery bloom concurrently, the native plants wont be as effectively pollinated and cause ecosystem shift.
Quote:
Originally Posted by frogparty View Post
I urge you to take some ecology/ environmental science/ terrestrial ecology classes at your local university if youre having trouble grasping these concepts

Quote:
Originally Posted by frogparty View Post
You are missing the point entirely.

1) Hybridizing orchids/plants for your backyard- I think its fine, but dont expect them to spread and DO NOT encourage them to spread to natural ecosystems!!!! I dont care if you dont understand why not. If I find out that you are, Ill report you to California fish and wildlife for invasive plant distribution
I attached a Tillandsia three stories high on my tree in order to encourage it to spread to natural ecosystems. The first seed pod opened today.

I also have orchid roots all over my tree...and many of those roots contain foreign fungus...which sends spores all over Southern California.

Are you going to report me? Or are you simply going to make idle threats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by frogparty View Post
2) Economics seems to be driving your thinking, not an understanding and appreciation of the natural world and ecosystem complexity- this kind of thinking has DEVASTATED ecosystems around the globe for well over a century now, and its time to end that style of thinking
Let's review...

Quote:
Originally Posted by frogparty View Post
You could introduce a non native plant that native pollinators perfer over the native species, and if thery bloom concurrently, the native plants wont be as effectively pollinated and cause ecosystem shift.
Quote:
Originally Posted by frogparty View Post
I urge you to take some ecology/ environmental science/ terrestrial ecology classes at your local university if youre having trouble grasping these concepts
Your thinking reveals a complete ignorance of basic biological concepts. And economics as well. The supply of food for an organism increases...yet its population size does not? Seriously? The size of a population is independent of its food supply? Really? The two aren't positively correlated?

Quote:
Originally Posted by frogparty View Post
3) Anyone that loves orchids knows about the mycorrhizal relationship between fungi ( often very specific fungi) and the germination of orchid seed. This type of relationship doesnt benefit the tree at all, since its not a mycorrhizal fungi associated with the tree roots. I dont know what point you're trying to argue but there is no economic value to the fungi associated with orchid roots.
I argued that people should grow orchids on trees because this will increase the supply of orchid fungus...and a greater supply of orchid fungus will increase the supply of orchids. I even drew a diagram.

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Originally Posted by frogparty View Post
4) I love orchids, and love to have them available to me for purchase, but I DONT WANT them taking over native ecosystems, displacing native species, hybridizing with native orchids in certain areas of the country, distracting pollinators, etc etc.
Maybe this will help you understand the concept...

Quote:
Organisms do not necessarily, or even generally, inhabit the geographic area best suited to their attributes. Since organisms (and their areas of habitutation) are products of a history laced with chaos, contingency, and genuine randomness, current patterns (although workable, or they would not exist) will rarely express anything close to an optimum, or even a "best possible on this earth now" - whereas the earlier notion of natural theology, with direct creation of best solutions, and no appreciable history thereafter (or ever), could have validated an idea of native as best. Consequently, although native plants must be adequate for their environments, evolutionary theory grants us no license for viewing them as the best-adapted inhabitants conceivable, or even as the best available among all species on the planet. - Stephen Jay Gould, An Evolutionary Perspective on Strengths, Fallacies, and Confusions in the Concept of Native Plants
Although I'm not optimistic you'll grasp this...given that you don't seem to understand that the population size of an organism is largely dependent on its supply of food. But, you're not the only one participating in this discussion...so there's always the chance that others will grasp Gould's argument.
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:19 PM
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Since this is a controversial topic, let me remind everyone posting and/or tempted to post on this thread...
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:42 PM
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Systems aren't strengthened by limiting competition and exchange...they are made stronger by subjecting them to stress. This is the concept of antifragility.

Are you trying to make a connection with this philosophy to ecology and human interference with it? I hope not.
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:58 PM
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Dendro Dave, no, I value markets because I do not underestimate complexity. Putting too many eggs in one basket is the logical consequence of underestimating complexity. The Irish potato famine was a perfect example of underestimating complexity. Another perfect example was the 30 million people that died during the Great Leap Forward. Every war that occurs is a perfect example of underestimating complexity.

Right now we don't have a market in the public sector. Based on your understanding of complexity...would you say that this is a good thing? Do you think preventing people from shopping for themselves results in a greater variety and quantity of goods?

Here's a hint...



...and another...



Are parrots really that different though? Our naturalized parrots want an abundance of figs...and they spread the fig seeds accordingly. Hummingbirds and bees want an abundance of flowers...and they do their part to help ensure that there is an abundance of flowers. Nobody wants a scarcity of the things they value...so they sacrifice accordingly.

I think if the issue of fungus truly concerns you...if you truly believe it will result in a scarcity of things that you value...then perhaps you would have started a thread where you've encouraged the boycott of the orchid nurseries that import orchids. If this issue truly concerns you, you would know exactly which nurseries import orchids. I haven't seen such a thread. Instead, I've seen numerous threads where people have wanted a greater abundance of awesome orchids...where they heap praises on the nurseries that do import orchids. If you've raised your concern in any of these threads...please share the links.

Because I, like many others, also want an abundance of awesome orchids...I've started threads to try and help people understand the important relationship that orchids have with their associated fungus...


Orchid Fungus Symbiotic Relationship by epiphyte78, on Flickr

And I've started threads that document orchid seeds that have germinated on my tree because of this fungus...


Symbiotic Orchid Germination 1a 008 by epiphyte78, on Flickr

I've also shared an article that describes a market for fungus. Value is decreased when exchange is limited.

This forum would decrease the amount of value created if we could only read and reply to threads created by people in the same country. Just like our country would be worse off if we could only exchange goods and services within the country. Just like the world would be worse off if people couldn't vote with their feet. Just like the world is worse off because people can't vote with their taxes.

I've studied and lived in developing countries. They don't develop by protecting them from foreign "ideas" (products, services, companies, etc). Systems aren't strengthened by limiting competition and exchange...they are made stronger by subjecting them to stress. This is the concept of antifragility. Differentiation and diversity and variety follows from facilitating exchange. The opposite follows from underestimating complexity.
How did we switch to market economics ...Nature doesn't give a crap about our economy or what we want, but what we want and do will still impact the environment and that will impact us.

If you're talking about doing this as to create more markets, larger and more diverse market economies that will ultimately benefit people by providing jobs, food, and personal enrichment that may or may not be true in the short term but doing so could have long term and dire impact on the natural ecosystems. So maybe we have our personal eden for 50-200 years, then the food web collapses and the ecosystem implodes around us... there goes eden

Also growing hybrid orchids in a greenhouse or in your home is different then unleashing them outside. If they are pretty much kept out of the outside ecosystem they have minimal impact, but if you're out there seeding your yard with all kinds of foreign plants and their associated viruses, bacteria, and fungi you are putting your local ecosystem at risk. How much risk is debateable, but you're trying to play the game without really understanding how it is played.

As for fungi and other micro organisms I'm not paranoid about them if that is what you mean, but especially given your understanding of how intergral they are to some orchids, you should understand that microorganisms like that are a major part of the foundation for all ecosystems, and screwing around with them tends to have a domino effect that eventually reaches us, and often not in a good way.

Do you really believe that we are knowledgeable enough to just go around introducing and/or engineering all kinds of plants and animal species and introducing them outside without it having dire consequences, not just to the plants and animals out there but also eventually to us? If so that is naive. There are already lots of instances where we've screwed this up and it hasn't just impacted the plants and animals negatively, but also the people of the area.

The truth is we haven't been at plant and animal hybridization and introduction on such a massive scale as we are right now for very long on the time scale that nature operates on (or geological time), and we have no idea of the long term impacts... To advocate more of that for our own personal eden, and suggest we have the wisdom to do that responsibly is foolish and naive at best.

You're essentially talking about playing god on a massive scale when we so far our efforts to do so have been pretty shotty at best.
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:10 PM
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Default Re: The Eden Exercise

There's always the chance that this is just a lengthy troll thread.
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:11 PM
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One thing you seem to keep missing is that hybridization, and introduction of new plants and animals or microorganisms into new areas that happens naturally, happens by a set of processes that nature has built into a system of checks and balances, one of those is time. The different time scales that humans operate under vs what happens natural is a major point that you need to understand makes what we do radically more dangerous then when similar things happen in nature over much longer time scales.

There is a big differences between a few frogs floating on a log over to a new island over the period of several hundred years and eventually establishing a population there over then next couple thousand years VS us dumping 500 frogs onto some new island in a day. Look at cane toads... People who might have considered Australia to be their personal Eden now get to watch natural wild life, pets and even some humans die of poisoning.

With time nature will adapt, not given that time the very diversity you want to encourage is put at risk through massive extinction events and then nature has to fix our mess and start building back the diversity it had then proceed from there.

So what you're suggesting is something that puts the very things you claim we need at risk... More diversity, because we frankly aren't smart enough or responsible enough to play god on such a massive scale as we currently are and get it right, let alone expand on those efforts.

We're already basically doing what you want, and we're screwing it up and damaging diversity probably at least as often as we get it right, and you want to do more
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:52 PM
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1) hybridizing ornamental plants has nothing to do with increasing diversity for the benefit of the gene pool, it has everything to do with aesthetics of the consumer. And in fact, youre NOT INCREASING GENE DIVERSITY, YOU ARE LIMITING IT TO SELECTED TRAITS.

2) You should NOT be determining what plants get sown where outside your own garden. Whether parrots or the wind spreads invasive plants is beyond our control, but YOU can control whether YOU knowingly spread invasive species into foreign ecosystems.

3) So, yes, youve increased the number of flowering plants SHORT TERM. BUT if those pollinators no longer favor native vegetation over introduced species, then YES, you will see a die off of native plants, and the overall number of available nectar sources etc will decline. AND when non natives displaces natives out of niches that other species not directly affected by pollinator choices utilize, then you can have MASSIVE ecosystem impact. Your overall food availability doesnt increase, in fact, in a short amount of time it will DECREASE, and the genetic diversity of the ecosystem will DECREASE accordingly. Thats where you need to look at multi generational ecology

4) Theres a big difference between an already established fungus spreading to a single tree vs it spreading to multiple trees through sporulation or hyphal fragmentation. And theres really no benefit to the ecosystem beyond growing non native orchids if it did spread. THERE IS the potential that this non native fungus can outcompete other native fungi that some other native organism relies on though.

5) Youre arguing that although native plants are well suited for their habitat, they may not be best suited vs other species ( introduced, invasive, hybridized) so you should just go ahead and introduce new plants with no thought to the ecosystems developed over millions of years to rely on those plants? THATS ignorant.






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Originally Posted by epiphyte View Post
Where do you think hybrid plants get their genes from? From some alternate universe? From a distant planet? The goal isn't just to save the maximum amount of genetic diversity...it's to increase the total amount of genetic diversity. This requires hedging bets. It requires putting the greatest variety of eggs in the greatest quantity of baskets.



So the wind and parrots can determine the allocation of plants...but humans cannot? That doesn't make a lick of sense.

Nature tries a lot of different combinations of inputs (genes, traits, characteristics). Some are successful (fit)...many are not. Orchids are so successful because they've embraced the numbers game like none other. An orchid pod can contain a million seeds. Each seed is a unique combination of inputs. The greater number of attempts/chances...the greater the chance of finding successful combinations of inputs.

Somehow humans shouldn't participate in this process? Hummingbirds and bees should determine which orchids are crossed...but humans should be forbidden from doing so? Because...? Hummingbirds and bees know what they are doing?





LOL...let me get this straight. The supply of food increases...yet the pollinator population size would stay the same? Honestly, you should get a refund on those classes. Seriously. What university was it? I'm going to call your professors and determine whether this is what they really taught you.

It's so sad/funny that I'm going to copy and paste it...








I attached a Tillandsia three stories high on my tree in order to encourage it to spread to natural ecosystems. The first seed pod opened today.

I also have orchid roots all over my tree...and many of those roots contain foreign fungus...which sends spores all over Southern California.

Are you going to report me? Or are you simply going to make idle threats?



Let's review...





Your thinking reveals a complete ignorance of basic biological concepts. And economics as well. The supply of food for an organism increases...yet its population size does not? Seriously? The size of a population is independent of its food supply? Really? The two aren't positively correlated?



I argued that people should grow orchids on trees because this will increase the supply of orchid fungus...and a greater supply of orchid fungus will increase the supply of orchids. I even drew a diagram.



Maybe this will help you understand the concept...



Although I'm not optimistic you'll grasp this...given that you don't seem to understand that the population size of an organism is largely dependent on its supply of food. But, you're not the only one participating in this discussion...so there's always the chance that others will grasp Gould's argument.
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