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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
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The Cutting Edge

Volume XX, Number 4, October 2013

News and Notes | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature | Season's Pick

IN THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL, AMBIGUITY REIGNS. It was our understanding that the collections at INBio (including insects, etc.) had been officially turned over to the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica. However, it seems that said official dominion is still pending some sort of government resolution. One thing is certain: INBio is bent on getting rid of them, but this is an expensive “gift horse” that will require the receiving party to put forth money, at least for maintenance (e.g., air-conditioning), if not curator salaries. In any case, the collections remain on the (in name only) INBio campus in Santo Domingo de Heredia. These buildings themselves, and the grounds on which they stand, no longer belong to INBio, rather to the Costa Rican Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería (MAG). We cannot say what the future holds for the herbarium. Perhaps it will be moved physically to the Museo Nacional at some point, but at present there is no space for it there. In the best of all possible worlds, the current situation would precipitate government funds to relocate the already scrunched Museo collections, together with the INBio collections, into one building. Let us dream. The question of whether the INB acronym will be retained or abandoned and, if so, when, is only a tiny part of the current dilemma. Stay tuned for further developments.

ANOTHER LAST VESTIGE. Manual collaborator José González (LSCR) reports on an intriguing patch of forest located somewhere to the northeast of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, en route to the delta of the Río San Juan. Though completely surrounded by what José describes as an “ocean” of banana plantations, this small patch of forest yet harbors a multitude of interesting plant spp., as evidenced by a list (sent by José) of about 250 that were found by José and Amanda Wendt (of the nearby Refugio de Vida Silvestre Privado Nogal) within 500 m of a trail that passes through the property. Many of the spp. on the list are in common with the Estación Biológica La Selva, but some are quite rare there, including the orchids Aspidogyne tuerckheimii (Schltr.) Garay [Erythrodes tuerckheimii (Schltr.) Ames of the Manual], not found at La Selva since 1979, and Palmorchis trilobulata L. O. Williams. Most interesting of all is a still-unidentified Diospyros sp. (Ebenaceae), representing a genus never collected at La Selva and, indeed, not recorded from anywhere below 500 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica (except in the relatively dry Río Sapoá basin). José worries that even this last outlier of biodiversity will eventually be swallowed up by the banana plantations, and he and Amanda hope to marshal the evidence necessary to dissuade the banana company from allowing that to happen. See Season's Pick, this issue for footage of some of these spp.

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