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  • By Erik Stokstad

    This week’s news that Australian customs officers incinerated irreplaceable plant specimens has shocked botanists around the world, and left many concerned about possible impacts on i […]

    • And who’s going to jail over this?

    • @OP – This week’s news that Australian customs officers incinerated irreplaceable plant specimens has shocked botanists around the world, and left many concerned about possible impacts on international research exchanges.

      They were clearly using under-trained incompetent “jobs-worths” as customs officers, when skilled biologists or botanists were required for this sort of monitoring of legally restricted bio-matter, and guarding against importing invasive species or pathogens!

      I have heard of examples from botanist friends, of customs officers elsewhere, who read lists of prohibited organisms, but can’t identify the plants in front of them which they are supposed to be inspecting!

    • @OP “This story is likely to have a major chilling effect on the loan system between herbaria across national boundaries,” says Austin Mast,
      president of the Society of Herbarium Curators and director of the herbarium at Florida State University in Tallahassee.
      “Without the free sharing of specimens, the pace of plant diversity research slows.”

      Anyone inspecting botanical samples who cannot recognise the words “herbarium”, “botanic garden”, “museum”, or “university”, as key words triggering further investigation into sources of valuable materials, really is unfit to do that job!

    • Unfortunately Kew, the most notable botanical research organisation in the world, has been devastated by the sociopath Osborne. The Conservative party want to turn it into a theme park. A large part of the internationally expert academics and laboratory researchers there have been sacked and the status of Kew is likely to suffer greatly as a result. Short-term (electoral term) savings which did not consider long-term consequences for science, the country, or the world.

    • Unfortunately Kew, the most notable botanical research organisation in the world, has been devastated by the sociopath Osborne. The Conservative party want to turn it into a theme park. A large part of the internationally expert academics and laboratory researchers have been sacked and the status of Kew is likely to suffer greatly. Short-term (electoral term) savings which did not consider long-term consequences for science, the country, or the world.