The CSSG was reached out by Liz Vayda, the owner of the plant boutique B.Willow, with the hopes of providing help to raise awareness about the illegal plant trade among their customers, as well as kindly donating funds to support the conservation activities of the Specialist Group.
B.Willow, located in Baltimore, USA, obtains their plants from ethical sources and believes in creating a connection between humans and plants. Their interest in Cactus and Succulent plants' global conservation led them to connect with the Specialist Group and form a partnership. As a result of our new association, the Specialist Group will be benefited from a percentage of the plant sales of B.Willow, in addition to the raised funds from the donated-based registration for a speakers series that they have organized. The funds will be managed by our host institution, the Desert Botanical Garden, and will support the Specialist Group's work.
B.Willow will be hosting their speaker series once a month and would appreciate it if you would like to be one of the expert speakers. Please reach out to the Programme Officer if you would like to participate.
The Cactus and Succulent Plants Specialist Group endorsed the exhibition ‘Copiapoa, Patriarchs of the Andes’ organised by member Andrea Cattabriga during ‘La Festa del Cactus’, one of the most important Italian commercial exhibitions specializing in succulents. The photographic exhibition, dedicated to the genus Copiapoa, targeted the 3,500+ succulent enthusiasts from all over Europe who visited the exhibition to raise awareness on how their consumer behaviour can fuel illegal poaching and smuggling markets, which are driving many of the species in this genus to extinction.
The creators of this photographic exhibition are Marco Giani, Engineer from Tradate (Italy), Cesar Cabero, Agronomist from Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Carlos Quevedo, Professor of History and Literature from Santiago (Chile).
To participate in the sensory experience of an eagle’s flight over the habitat of Copiapoa in Chile, check this video.
We are happy to share that the scientific paper entitled "High proportion of cactus species threatened with extinction" published in October 2015 in the journal Nature Plants reached 100 citations in March 2020.
Congratulations to all the co-authors involved in this outstanding piece of work!
Have you heard in the news that illegal trade threatens cacti?
It was thanks to this publication that media attention was caught worldwide. To date more than 22 media outlets and tens of newspapers, magazines, and radio programs have used this information to call attention to how illegal trade is one of the main drivers of extinction in cacti.
This important study that highlights the main results from the Global Cactus Assessment has been key in our efforts to raise awareness on the extinction risk of cacti among the general public. Because of this study, we now know cacti are among the most threatened taxonomic groups assessed to date; with 31% of species threatened, cacti are more at risk than birds or mammals.
In addition, this work shows the main threats that are deteriorating and destroying cacti and its habitat, which is essential information to plan effective conservation actions. It also shows that the development of global species assessments for major plant groups can be done with relatively moderate resources. The number of citations reached is evidence of the impact such studies can have in conservation efforts.