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Author Topic: Rhododendron Species Conservation Group  (Read 22898 times)

FrazerHenderson

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Rhododendron Species Conservation Group
« on: August 13, 2009, 08:39:56 PM »
This is just to give advance notice of the Rhododendron Species Conservation Group (RSCG)
2009 Autumn Conference on Saturday 10 October at Crown and Mitre Hotel, Carlisle, Cumbria

Rhododendron Conservation: A programme featuring specialist speakers on propagation methodology, creating plant database records and Rhodos under threat: The Red Book

Details and registration: hammondsrhodies@supanet.com

Speakers include Jens Neilsen, Alan Clark, Dr David Chamberlain, Dr George Argent and John Hammond.

The Edinburgh and Lothians SRGC Group Newsletter will contain more details about the event and the RSCG, and these will be published on the SRGC website once the newsletter is published.
Yemen, what a country ... Haraz mountains, Socotra, Sana'a, Hadramaut, the empty quarter.... a country of stunning, mind altering beauty...and the friendliest of people.

FrazerHenderson

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Re: Rhododendron Species Conservation Group
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2009, 10:11:27 PM »
As mentioned previously here is a copy of the article by John Hammond within the Autumn issue of the Edinburgh and Lothians Group newsletter, which is published tomorrow.
...

Rhododendron Species Conservation Group
by John Hammond

Whilst the Rhododendron Species Conservation Group [R.S.C.G.] is a relatively new organisation that was inaugurated only three years ago, it arose from concerns in regard to the ongoing losses of original Rhododendron species plants that were raised from wild collected seed brought back from the expeditions of the great plant collectors from the mid-1800’s to the outbreak of WWII.  In reality, these losses are due to a wide variety of causes, which have been the subject of much discussion between horticulturalists and enthusiasts for some years; nevertheless, whatever the reasons, the losses are significant and ongoing.  Unfortunately, none of the existing societies, with an interest in Rhododendrons, had sufficient active members or financial resources, or the will to become directly involved in a major new project; so, a group of enthusiasts from within the Scottish Rhododendron Society decided that if anything was to be achieved within their own lifetime it would only happen if they took up the challenge themselves.  As you will be aware, it takes a long time, and a great deal of background work, to establish a new organisation and the Group only began to distribute membership brochures around eighteen months ago.  Many of our members are key personalities and enthusiasts in the Rhododendron world, including some from Overseas.  This project was never going to be an easy task, particularly for a specialist Group; nevertheless, we continue to make good progress in many spheres of what is complex subject. 

From a ‘networking’ perspective, we are currently in detailed discussion with Plant Heritage [N.C.C.P.G.] in connection with the possibility of working together in regard to Rhododendron Collections, as they have indicated they have difficulty in dealing with this complex genus.  Dr. David Chamberlain is working with the R.B.G.E. to set up a plant records database for the Group that will utilise their Bg Base system in a way which will mutually benefit both organisations, and a database trial using the plant records for Gargunnock Estate is currently being inputted to test the way of approach.  We are scheduled to carry out a two-day field trial next Spring at Eckford when we will attempt a data collection of the species in the garden for subsequent entry into the database.  We have established a working liaison with the RHS R.C. & M. Group through our discussions with the late-Mike Robinson, Group Chairman, and we are currently in discussion with Joseph Ronsley, Past President of the Rhododendron Species Botanic Garden in Federal Way, WA, to create a working relationship with the Botanic Garden.  The German Rhododendron Society has also contacted the Group as they wish to establish a similar organisation in Bremen, and they have requested that we implement some form of affiliation.

From a practical perspective, we are investigating the possibility of establishing ‘out-based distributed collections’ of Rhododendron species material, much in the way that the R.B.G.E. developed their ‘Conifer Project.’  A number of large gardens have indicated they would be very interested in this way of approach and would be prepared to work with the Group in setting-up a network of locations and would provide plant material for the Group to work with.  We have reached agreement in principle with the Forestry Commission for the Group to use the ex-R.B.G.E. outstation at Glenbranter Forest, near Benmore, as a base for the Group to utilise for raising plants and establishing a collection.  The next step is to formalise these arrangements. 

Our first Conference, held at Garelochhead last Spring was a great success, when David Knott, Curator of Outdoor Collections, outlined the R.B.G.E.’s approach to Conservation, with particular reference to Rhododendrons.  It was also suggested that some thought needs to be given to the conservation of early Rhododendron hybrids and this was discussed by the late-Mike Robinson, who provided much food for thought.  This year’s Autumn Conference is scheduled to be held in Carlisle city centre on Saturday, 10 October, with an attractive programme that will appeal to a wide audience.  In the morning session, Jens Neilsen, Alan Clark and John Hammond will outline three practical ways of approach to the propagation of plant material for conservation work.  Of necessity, this will take into account that the plant to be propagated may be aged, that only a limited amount of propagation material may be available, and that the plant itself may not be in good health.  After lunch, Dr. David Chamberlain will demonstrate the work being done, in liaison with the R.B.G.E., to establish a plant database, utilising the Bg Base system.  He will also outline the approach required for collecting and recording plant records in the field.  This will be followed by a keynote lecture by Dr. George Argent who will discuss the identification of threatened Rhododendron species in the wild and give an overview of the ‘Red Book’ approach that is currently being taken forward.  Non-members will be very welcome to attend the Autumn Conference and a nominal delegate fee has been set. 

...

This is a great project which I think deserves a good deal of practical support. John's email address is above.

Frazer
Yemen, what a country ... Haraz mountains, Socotra, Sana'a, Hadramaut, the empty quarter.... a country of stunning, mind altering beauty...and the friendliest of people.

 


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