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The Cutting Edge
Volume VIII, Number 2, April 2001
News and Notes | Recent Treatments | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature | Season's Pick
QUÍRICO STICKS HIS NECK OUT. While the rest of us stew in quiet frustration over the continuing destruction of Costa Rican forests by the timber industry, INBio's Quírico Jiménez has actually been doing something about it. An environmental group spearheaded by Quírico blew the whistle on a bevy of government-sanctioned "management plans" in the Osa region, documenting illegal cutting of trees along streams, cutting of more trees than reported, and other anomalies. Their action spurred a government study that resulted in administrative procedures against those responsible for 30 such plans. As recently reported in the Costa Rican daily La Nación (9 February, 2001), two employees of the Ministerio del Ambiente y Energía (MINAE) were reassigned, one resigned, and two others have been suspended pending further investigation. Jail time is a possibility, and modification of a key forestry law is being contemplated. As a reward for his efforts, Quírico's life has been threatened over the phone (presumably by logging interests), and the Costa Rican guild of foresters has promised a lawsuit. We are all awed by such courage, on the part of a married father of two young children.
NEW FEATURE FOR ON-LINE READERS. For several years now (actually, ever since we got our slide and flatbed scanners) we have talked among ourselves about encouraging either INBio or MO to have a "Plant of the Month"-type feature on their web sites. But the talk never went anywhere. Now that we also have a fine digital camera at our disposal, we have decided to take the bull by horns. See this issue's new web feature "The Season's Pick," wherein we will spotlight one sp., with a photo or collage of photos. The sp. will be chosen, minimally, for being one that flowers or fruits during the given season, and for which we have a good photo. The caption will include family and sp. name, distribution, significance, voucher, and photographer. The featured sp. will be announced in each hard-copy Edge. This quarter's Pick is: Opuntia lutea (Rose) D. R. Hunt (Cactaceae).
SAVEGRE UPDATE. Just last issue we reported on a project, financed by the Spanish government, to map and botanically inventory the watershed of the Río Savegre basin, in the central Pacific region. This project is a collaborative effort between INBio and the Museo Nacional (contrary to our original report, which implicated only the Museo), with Armando Estrada (CR) as the principal investigator for the Museo, and José González and Alexander Rodríguez the field coordinators for INBio. Labels will be produced at INBio, with electronic copies provided to the Museo. The collecting phase is now finished (again, contrary to our first report, which indicated that collecting would go on for a year and a half). Because the Río Savegre basin is wild, largely forested, and scarcely explored botanically, several enticing discoveries have already come to light (see under "Leaps and Bounds"), and others are sure to follow. On the other hand, the chilling phrase "sustainable development" (often a euphemism for "logging") has been uttered in reference to this project, so we may have to settle for just the appetizers.
VISITORS TO COSTA RICA. We neglected to report in our last issue that Manual contributor Fred Barrie (MO; Myrtaceae, Valerianaceae) traveled to Costa Rica during October (at a time when most of us were out of the country). Fred limited himself to herbarium work, in connection with forthcoming treatments of Myrtaceae for the Manual and Flora mesoamericana. In Costa Rica at the same time, but for unrelated reasons, was fellow Myrtaceae specialist and former MO staffer Bruce Holst (SEL), with whom Fred had recently collaborated in Sarasota.