The International Orchid Conservation Congress II “IOCC II” was held at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, in Sarasota, Florida, USA, on May 16-21, 2004. In the whole, we were a total of 115 participants, more than half was formed by Americans, followed by the Australians, Latin-Americans, Europeans, Asiatics and one African registrant. Brazil was well represented: among 17 Latin-Americans present, 7 were Brazilian, being 5 from Rio de Janeiro city and 2 from the state of São Paulo.
The program was divided in workshops before and after the Congress, oral presentation and posters, field trips, meetings of the Orchid Specialist Group and a forum of discussion about CITES.
The presentations were formed by themes: specific threats for the orchids, integrate experiences for conservation, environmental education, studies of conservation cases, mycorrhiza fungus, studies of the population and its regeneration.
As Conservation was the main theme, some of the richest ecosystems in orchids and the most threatened constituted, sometimes, the center of the discussions.
Our Atlantic Rainforest, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Panama and Madagascar were subject of different lectures. The Atlantic Rainforest, as a matter of fact, was focus of interest since the first day of the congress. The ecologist Dr. Stuart Pimm, expert in birds’ bio-diversity, was invited to give the inaugural lecture and asked the audience if we knew where the biggest diversity in orchids is. He believes that there is where we should concentrate our efforts to conservation. In Dr. Pimm's opinion, based on the bio-diversity of the birds, the ecosystem more important to be preserved in the Americas, is the low altitude Atlantic Rainforest of Rio de Janeiro State. In the same morning, Dr. Richard (Dick) Warren, David Miller's partner in Macaé de Cima, RJ, brought the Atlantic Rainforest again to the center of the attention. Dick showed the results of the orchids survey they are doing in “Serra dos Órgãos” and emphasized the deficit of orchids species found on the anticline of the mountain (side turn to the interior of the continent) which has been used for agriculture and cattle raising for centuries.
Besides, the posters presented by Melissa Bocayuva (The Orchidaceae family in the Municipal Ecological Park of Prainha, Rio de Janeiro), Pedro Constantino (Strategies of Conserving Laelia lobata), Eduardo Saddi (A Survey of the Orchids from the Reserve of Rio das Pedras, Mangaratiba, RJ) and Carlo Alberto Zaldini, M. Bocayuva and

E. Saddi (Orchids from the Park of Marapendi, Rio de Janeiro) drew the attention to other aspects of our rich flora and the necessity of preserving it.
During the congress, the big difference in the stages of conservation and the necessary endeavors to conservation between different regions became evident. In temperate North America and Australia, where the number of species is not big, populations of some species of orchids have already a detailed map and, some times, individual plants have been followed for many years. Nowadays, in those regions, the great emphasis is to make the local inhabitants conscious of their orchids and to develop environmental education to tourists and children. In some places, projects dealing with reintroduction of native species are under progress. The Australian group, which was the host of IOCC I, 3 years ago, was the one that presented the more integrated strategy of conservation. There, not only the researchers have a great scientific knowledge about the terrestrial orchids and their environments but there is also an important work developed by the responsible authorities and local communities.
On the other hand, in the tropical countries of America and in Madagascar, where the bio-diversity is high, there is frequently a lack of basic knowledge about the flora of the regions that should and still can be preserved. In all presentations related to the regions rich in orchids, it was evident the urgency not only of the efficacious actions to protect the endangered ecosystem but also the great necessity of forming local researchers able to draw up information about taxonomy and ecology of several species. Foreign researchers who have been working for decades with the taxonomy of the tropical flora are finding a lot of difficulties to deal with endless bureaucratic barriers (this became very clear in the CITES discussion forum). These researchers are aware of the urgency in forming local scientists.
Conservation, in tropical regions, consists in a series of great challenges and, between them, we can point out:
1) The flora is very rich and we know very little about it;
2) The numbers of local researchers is low;
3) The pressure on the environments resources is huge;
4) Local alternatives for the sustainable development should be improved and spread out.
Some examples of projects with results already tangible, in Ecuador as well in Nepal and in Madagascar showed that self-sustainable alternatives for the local population are possible.

I had the opportunity to participate of workshops about Mycorrhiza Propagation and Propagation of Terrestrial Orchids both concerning difficult techniques, but not very sophisticated, of germination of orchids in cultivation media where mycorrhiza is growing. It means a bigger success in the reintroduction of orchids in natural environments.
In Australia as well as in USA, the most part of the studies, until now, has been about terrestrial orchids.
The last point I want to emphasize is the lack of available resources for the projects of orchids' conservation. Although orchids inspire passion all over the world, few societies seem to be mobilized to get resources for financing projects of conservation.
In all works presented, only the San Diego County Orchid Society appeared as a financial supporter of conservation projects. There is still a great work to be done, also in this front.

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