No, I received an allowance. I spent there 3 years. First, I stayed there 9 months working in a small farm, in 1981. Then I returned to work in Tucurui Project for a year to do the inventory the species of the area of the future hydroelectric. During this period, I had a contract, then I started my degree of master, in Manaus and I received an allowance from CNPq and stayed for more than a year.
In Tucuruí, your work concerned the preservation of species?
No, our work have been done just before filling up the dam and we just collected the material to list the species occuring in the area which will be destroyed.
No policy had been established for saving the wood. Everything was lost, there was no way to safe plant material.
We have done the inventory trying to catalogue the specimens growing there. A year wasn't a time enough to do this. Besides to be an extensive area, not all plants bloom every year.
I lived in Manaus and went to Tucurui 4 times but the time was so little. Tucurui was a very rich area in noble species of tree, all destroyed. Nothing has been recovered.
|Note: click here to see a summary from Miranda's book about the Amazon|
There is no map of Brazilian orchids? is it impossible, desirable but impracticable?
It is impossible. There are so many plants and so few people working with it. I can pronounce my self satisfied that I succeeded in doing a more or lest complete work with Laelias.
Do you intend to continue those works?
As soon as I finish the work about Laelias, I'll do the same with the Cattleyas. I've already taken many photos from the habitats and have a lot of information about variability. I don't intend to take 15 years to do this book, I believe I can publish it within 3 years.
My idea is going on with the work of cataloguing species including another areas of the country. If I do a work by region, this is a project for 5, 6 years. If I have more time to work hard, I can finish within this time. It will not be a complete list but I intend, at least, to register the different types of habitat, how they are conserved and the main species of orchids occuring in those habitats. It is impossible to find out every thing.
Even if it was only registration of the habitats, it would be very important to do a comparison within 30 years. This work would be the revision of Flora Brasilica, by Frederico Hoehne?
It is a very complicated work to be done for only one person. This revision could be done but it would require a full time work and with the kind of life I have nowadays as a commercial grower, I have no condition to do this. In all kind of revision, you start from all works which have been done but, as a matter of fact, there is no work about the geographical distribution. There are some information spread, you should gathered them.
I want to visit all the habitats I will put in the book. I don't want to mention places that I will not visit, I don't want to mention for other peoples' words.
Besides the habitats are modifying in a such hurry way that a three years old information, can be completely incorrect today.
That is. I intend to visit sample of environments. For example, the South, I knew quite well the seaside area but I don't know the elevated plains. I have been to Serra do Itambezinho which I know enough to comment about but I never went Santa Catarina and Parana mountains, I need to go there. In Banhado de Taim, there is a great number of Cattleya intermedia, enormous clumps, it is a very common species there. This is another area that I must go, I am curious to know by my self, not by other peoples' descriptions and photos. There is no problem to go with the native orchids growers to take photos, during the blooming season.
I have photos taken by other peoples, I can use but it is not the ideal.
Which will the structure of this research? Will you divide by geographical regions?
Yes, I will. The South-east, for example, is the region where there are more varieties but it is also the region I visit more frequently and have more photos.
My big problem is the North-east. I've never passed over Salvador, I don't know nothing about this region.
I have already passed through the central west region, I have some photos but they are not very representative. I should go again mainly the region which is located to the North of the state of Mato Grosso, already in Amazon forest where I've never gone. Nowadays there are roads which make the access easier. The road goes until Serra do Cachimbo, in the South of the state of Pará. I am interested in out-crops areas.
You have talked about varieties, can you tell a little more about them?
During the last century, people described variety because of the color. This was what nowadays we call horti-cultural varieties but to science they are just forms, color varieties. The morphology of the plant is similar, but only for the color.
And the flowers size?
For example, you have Oncidium flexuosum with big flowers and with small flowers but it is only the quality of the flower. It could be another species if there were only the two extremes but there are all those intermediate sizes.The variability of the species goes since small flowers to big ones, passing through all intermediate forms. You see the two extremes and guess they are two different species. You must take care when you see species like that. You must see it in the habit to study hardly, to verify if doesn't exist a intermediary variation..
Those concepts have a certain malleability?
The concept for every species varies a lot, depending on the taxonomist opinion, on the person who is describing. This person should gather the most quantity of information to get the final conclusion.
There is no parameter of analysing or the analyse is always subjective?
Sure there is but the final conclusion owns to the person who is describing. I would say it is subjective in major or minor degree.
There are some differences between Cattleya intermedia do sul which is smaller than Cattleya intermedia from Rio. And Cattleya intermedia aquinii, why is it recognized as a simply variety of Cattleya intermedia?
C.intermedia aquinii C.intermedia tipo
The flower is similar except for the size. Concerning Cattleya intermedia aquinii, it is a peloric form, a genetical deformation, like occurs in many other species. Instead of producing one lip, it also produces labelloid petals, it is a genetical variation, it an aberration. Cattleya intermedia aquinii is exactly similar except for the 2 petals which are different from the original ones, they are peloric, they have something like keels but they are opened and have the same color of the lip. If you take out the two petals and do the same thing with another intermedia, they will be similar to each other.
Is the triumph of the pathology?
I could say that and you try to develop this exactly because it is a different, a unique thing.
The alba plant, for example, it is another deformation. It is not a degenerated plant, it jus haven't the pigment gene or complete genetical chain which origins the pigment. If there a rupture some where in this genetical chain, the pigment will be incomplete. There are semialbas which are white with colored lip, coerulea, concolor. All those varieties are due to modification in the pigment chain.
But when you do the propagation by division of clumps, seed raising or meristem, will be there a repetition?
By division, there will not be a repetition, the plant is like that. With the seed raising, not always but, normally, we want to repeat exactly because it is different.
Concerning Brassavola tuberculata, perrinii, fragrans, is it just only one species or not?
Brassavola is very complicate genus. They are considered as many species but the differences are little and there is no consensus yet.
I am not encouraged to study it and perhaps I will never be.
This species which occurs in Pão de Açúcar is, surely, Brassavola tuberculata because the localization-type is Babilonia hill, where it has been collected and it is very close. You know that Brassavolas which have this shape, are in conformity with Brassavola-type. The plants which come from this area are, of course, well adapted to sun but in Cabo Frio, Maricá, this seaside region, there is a Brassavola growing in a shade place and produce a great number of very scent flowers, people call it Brassavola fragrans, perrinii. As a matter of fact, it is different from which growing in the rocky. We must consider that it occurs in the middle of the woods, in a more humid place, after all, it is well adapted to another habitat. It is hard to say there are two good species or just only one.
I look at Brassavola's flowers and think they are similar, some are a little bit bigger, other ones are more greens except for this, they are similar to each other. It is very difficult to separate the species. If you go to Bahia, there are some different specimens and things become worse.
Is there commercial stuffs with the classification?
With Brassavola no. With some other, it could have but not exactly with the classification of the species but with the varieties, color form. In fact, there is but it is harmless.
Although the nomenclature of Brassavola digbyana and glauca has been modified, the hybrids maintain the same nomenclature they had before?There is no way to change it?
There is no way, in fact there are two different things. Botanical nomenclature is one thing, horti-cultural nomenclature is another completely different. All those hybrids with Brassavola digbyana remain Blc, Bc... In the same way, the horticultural nomenclature doesn't accept that Cattleya nobilior and walkeriana are two different species, Laelia pumila and praestans are also different. There are some others. If you cross Cattleya walkeriana and Laelia pumila, the result is Lc Mini Purple.If you use Cattleya nobilior and Laelia praestans, it remains Lc Mini Purple. For the proceedings of RHS, the organism which records the hybrids, both species are the same thing.
Of course, there is no interest in changing the nomenclature every time the genus changes.
You do this work because you decided to do this.
If we have a serious society, this would be done in an organized way or commanded by the government? Any country in the world does this? Do they have this priority?
But it is not a priority.
In Australia, this work is done. In USA also, not exactly with orchids because they have a little number. Some other tropical countries do this but, as a matter of fact, the most part of the countries are more concerned about nourish their people than about those superfluous matters, let's put it in this way.
The Agriculture Ministry and Environment Ministry have already a structure . Part of their budget wouldn't be shared for the preservation policy?
Not exactly for this. Pure science is a very complicated thing because the tendency, here and in other countries, is call everything you cannot classify as pure science and it is a good pretext for not being financially supported. Only the applied research raises the interest. Pure research doesn't interest.
But people don't know that to do applied research, first you should do pure research in order to know how to apply it. As a matter of fact, there is no applied research, there is application of research. There is no difference between pure research and applied research, there is research and application of research. All researches are pure, then you find the use, utility for it. You cannot say that, first, you should find the application for it, before knowing what is it. Nowadays we use pure research that has been done in the past for applying in other thing.
So the research to ameliorate the rice is a applied research because we can only do it when we know the rice, the variation, what can be ameliorated. For this, we should first do pure research. You cannot use the applied research before doing pure research however people think they can do and have enough pure research to go on doing only the application but it is not true.
In a National Park like Itatiaia, it shouldn't be very difficult to a research here in order to list all orchids we have here? And the IBAMA or the international organisms like UNESCO, for example, don't they give a financial support to do this kind of research?
No, it wouldn't be very hard but you would get financial support to do this.
How can you deal with? IBAMA budget is small and they have a few employees.
The projects of Amazon are supported by Wild Life foundation and some other foreign organisms but it has decreased. In 1983, 1984, When I was at INPA, there were many projects, a lot of people working there but as far as I got from people who still work there, the quantity of researches has decreased a lot in last times.
To put it in other words, if there are no people like you, the researches wouldn't be done. Species would die out and no one would take note of this fact.
Not only me. Elton Leme who works with bromelias, as a hobby, is a district judge. We can mention many others who have done interesting works.
The botanists who work in the research institutions finish by having bureaucratic functions , filling reports, doing meaningless things and don't have time to do their researches.
In former days, I think it was a little bit different. There is the work of Hoehne, works which were published by the Secretary of Agriculture of São Paulo.
But it was due to his own efforts when he created the Botanical Garden of São Paulo.
An the associations of orchid grower like OrquidaRio? Can not they do any kind of pressure in this way?
Some more, others less.
Those associations exist in order to congregate people who have the same interests which is to cultivate orchids. That is the main function of a social community social. The most part of those people are not interested in such problems, they are interested in meeting each other, once a month , in discussing about their plants, in fact, that is the reason of the creation of those societies.
Regarding the botanical gardens functions, every things change. As far as I am concerned, one of the main functions they have is exactly to preserve the flora and in case of zoological gardens, the fauna. No one is concerned about contracting qualified research workers. This interesting doesn't exist in this country. This is the reality, dot. Once more, I say, pure research has no importance in this country. When I was in Amazon, more than one time, I heard: Why study orchids? It doesn't have any importance. In all the world, it a market which deal with millions and millions of dollars but in this country, it doesn't have any importance, that is why it is a third world country. If you analyse, the United States have the same age we have, you can say they are different colonizers but their History is very similar. You cannot say they have 5.000 years of History because it is not true. The United States have been discovered just before Brazil. They are what they are and we are what we are.
Brazilian people has a little self regard. All Brazilian laws presume that Brazilian people are dishonest.
I don't see any change happens to ameliorate, just for worsening. I verify that the acts of Agriculture Ministry, little by little, make the life more difficult, always.
The Government creates a botanical garden with a structure but nothing happens. Why?
Nowadays they don't create any more. I think the Government wants to finish with the botanical gardens.
Here is becoming a country of amoeba. You just have to eat food. You don't need to eat anything to your mind.
There are some countries in the Asian Southeast which depend practically on the exportation of orchids included Brazilian species and hybrids. Why is it different here?
Exactly. Thailand, Malaysia. In Europe, there is Netherlands where the Government subsidies the flowers production which is one of the main products of the country. Here, it is quite the contrary , the tendency is to make more difficult the life of people who produce something.
In those countries, they give importance to it.
Didn't you notice any change for the better? haven't the consumption and appreciation increased?
No, of course not. In all those years, I have been dealing with orchids, I haven't noticed any change for the better. The consumption haven't increased, there are more orchids available in the market, only this. In the same way we have bromelias, today we cultivate bromelias.
It have been encouraged by Japanese emigrants, Dutch people from Holambra, for people like Rolf Altenburg, foreign peoples' sons. For 90% of the population, it's worth nothing.
With the clones, the tendency of the price is to lower since you can do clone at your convenience, isn't it? Could the price of the orchid become less high as violet's price, for example?
We can do clones as you wish but we will still wait for 7 years or more to sell the plant.
When you work with clone and start the division, you will have the plants two or three years later. The clone method is slower than the seed raising. The orchids will always be the most expensive plant, unlike the violets that you sow the seeds, 6 months later, you are selling the plants. If you analyze in terms of the hours of nurseries, you take 6 months to have a violet blooming and 7 years for the orchid, to put it in other way, a time 14 times longer. So the cost is also 14 times bigger: seven years of watering, fertilizing, room, employees. don't have illusions about it, you will never met an orchid at the same price as violet. The price of the orchid lowed until it could.
Finding blooming Dendrobium nobile costing R$3,00, R$4,00 or R$5,00, like we can find, is the surplus of production, people are throwing away when they sell at this price. Be sure, they are learning with this and won't go on producing Dendrobium in such quantity to throw they away and lose money. Do you know what will happen? In few years, there will be less Dendrobium in the market and they will return to their right at R$ 10,00, R$ 15,00. It will always be in this way. The orchids will always be the most expensive plant. Not because it is the most beautiful or something like that, it is the plant which takes more time to be produced. If you have any trouble, pests or diseases in the nursery, you will take more than 2 years to recover it, if you don't lose everything. If you cultivate violets and it happens that you lose the whole cultivation, fine, you start again and within 6 months, it is completely recovered.
This is the reality.
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