other arrests!

Mark Walker mwalker at aisvt.bfg.com
Wed Sep 24 08:56:02 EDT 1997

Isn't electronic mail great?  You can make your original point in a succinct
and to-the-point message...and then write 20 additional messages trying to
explain what you really meant in the first.  It's awesome.

John Shuey replied:

> My thoughts run exactly counter to Mark's - I actually think that it is a
> good thing for developing countries see econimic value in their natural
> ecosystems.  

I don't think our thoughts are really counter to one another, John.  I wrote:
>>While it is appropriate for a ruling government to make
such a decision, it becomes difficult (and even absurd) to defend these
regulations on behalf of wildlife protection.  I would think that this scenario
would be the worst nightmare for collectors and conservationists (not mutually
exclusive) alike.

The point is not whether governments acting according to economic interest is a
bad thing, the point is whether or not such a justification for the permitting
process places any guarantees on the conservation of resources.  In fact, if
the country is not economically well, such a situation might even result in the
mismanagement of resources (in pursuit of short term gains).

Then John wrote:

>Thus, the ability to economically exploit native habitats is a positive in my
mind, one that is likely to allow native habitats to persist.  

Maybe you were right - our thoughts are counter.

John's last paragraph:

> Thus, I lost my liana samples, and it weakens our data a little.  But so
what.  Belize may figure out how to keep most of the country's forests intact,
and to move away from the terrible tree mining operations that currently offer
the only decient economic returns.

O.K., so whatever we do, we shouldn't insist on any policy that negatively
impacts another country's economic situation.  Find another crop for Columbia
to farm that will be as profitable as Coca, give the rain forest countries
something to offset the money they lose by not farming McDonalds burger-beef
cattle.  You might be able to get me through this knot-hole in general, but
when I apply it to something like the exploitation of Morpho butterflies, I
still see the same solution.  For the sake of the butterfly populations, we
still should do something to eliminate the demand - perhaps replacing it with
something else more benign.  In the case of species which are exploited because
of their collecting value (i.e.. they are rare and/or endangered), this seems
even more critical.  Eliminate the demand, the poachers go away, AND the
country is less likely to do something irreversible based on short term

Recall that I am selfishly attempting to redraw the lines so that I, a lone and
eccentric net trekker, can peacefully collect a few common (but outrageously
fascinating) insects - not offsetting any economics beyond the wads of currency
I tend to leave behind in towns and villages.

Mark Walker.

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