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Conserving the Orchids of Panama

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Hannah Lindstadt

on 27 November 2012

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Transcript of Conserving the Orchids of Panama

12.5% of the vascular flora of the planet currently facing extinction . Orchidacea family: comprised of 35,000 species. Cerro Gaital El Valle De Anton, Panama Panama was down to less than 15% of its original primary forest cover in 1994 The remaining tropical forests of Panama house about 959 different species of orchid, with 10% of those species, endemic species Global threats to orchids; habitat encroachment, deforestation, climate change, fragmentation, introduced species, and over harvest Cerro Gaital suffers from over harvesting And the monetary incentives to harvest the tropical forest on which orchids depend, and harvest the orchids themselves APROVACA Restocking Program Ornamental garden that holds representations of over 100 native and non-native species Visitors/Environmental education center Four propagation greenhouses Conservation Issues and Strategies for Tropical Orchids The reintroduction program is facing challenges: 1. Lack of protection and funding, within the protected are. 2. Lack of regulation of what can be called a protected area. 3. Lack of monitoring the program and its effects. 4. Over Emphasis on a small group of species. a. Failure of ANAM (Atoridad Nacional del Ambient) to provide patrols to discourage poaching. b. Entrance fee is collected only on Sundays and at only one of the many entrances to the protected area trails. a. The International Union for the Conservation of Natural Resources (IUCN) has a grading scale for denoting what level of protection and development a protected area is maintained at. b. Under the lowest protection ranking the IUCN doesn't recognize Cerro Gaital as a protected area a. No knowledge of if the restocking is accomplishing the goals or possibly even harming the environment. b. Reintroduction/restocking methods are in their infancy, the failure to monitor the reintroduced plants robs APROVACA and other entities of new insight that could be learned from the mistakes and successes of the current reintroduction efforts. a. Cerro Gaital is only 500 hectares, and it is debatable weather this is adequate space to conserve a functioning habitat. b. APROVACA is focusing their attention almost exclusively on orchids, ignoring the larger questions of dynamic-whole environment biodiversity, and adopting a “sanctuary” or “gene bank” view c. APROVACA has no sustainable source of orchids for the reintroduction program, stalking the educational gardens or selling to orchid collectors. Solutions to these Problems: 1. Make conservation a higher priority in government (no easy task)

2. Charge entrance fees to park consistently

3. Punish violations of poaching in protected area consistently

4. Monitor

5. Patrol

6. Find an alternative source of orchids so demand for looted orchids is diminished and a positive alternative exists for orchid collectors. In Vitro Cultivation The process of growing orchid seedlings without the aided nutrients of natural fungi, and instead, supporting plant growth in a sterile environment fed on a jelly like nutrient medium. What are the benefits of having an in vitro cultivation laboratory? 1. APROVACA would be able to grow all species of orchids they have seed pods of.

2. APROVACA would have the legal right to sell native and non-native orchids to support daily operations possibly to pay for protected area patrols, monitoring, and further education in the area.

3. To reduce the cost of obtaining orchids for the ornamental garden and reintroduction program.

4. Eliminate APROVACA's dependence on looters and unsustainable practices, while giving orchid collectors a sustainable alternative source. Building the laboratory Affordable for even small scale cultivation Making the nutrition culture Easy to teach to new volunteers.

There now are easy to follow instructions in spanish and English. Works Cited 14 years Funded by the Japanese government Propagate native orchids on site

Replace the native species of orchids that are rapidly disappearing from the protected area Orchids rely directly on healthy tropical forests Honors Undergraduate Thesis


Hannah Lindstadt Conservation Issues and Strategies
for Tropical Orchids b. Orchid collecting by humans compounds the problems of natural scarcity. 5. Natural and human caused scarcity of orchids a. Orchids naturally reproduce slowly and depend on a delicate symbiotic relationship between specific type of fungi to germinate under natural conditions. The project is not finished True measure of success Reduced cost of obtaining orchids

Provide a stable source of orchids for the reintroduction program and sale. Continues to lose 1% of remaining forest cover every year
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