Economic Botany

, Volume 68, Issue 1, pp 85–95 | Cite as

The Electronic Trade in Greek Endemic Plants: Biodiversity, Commercial and Legal Aspects

Article

The Electronic Trade in Greek Endemic Plants: Biodiversity, Commercial and Legal Aspects. We present for the first time an analytical survey of the Greek endemic plants traded over the Internet (n = 588 cases). A total of 145 taxa corresponding to ca. 10% of the Greek endemic flora were found to be traded by 73 nurseries in Europe, North America, and Australia. Of the traded taxa, 35% feature in the websites of only one nursery, and ca. 10% in websites of more than 10 nurseries. Most traded are members of Campanulaceae, Iridaceae, Lamiaceae, and Liliaceae. The live plant is the commonest form of sale, at an average price of EUR (Euros) 6.38/USD 8.61; most expensive is Ophrys kotschyi ssp. cretica (EUR 20.46/USD 27.60). The price range for individual bulbs is EUR 0.24–5.67 (USD 0.32–7.65), whereas for seeds, it is EUR 0.03–0.93 (USD 0.04–1.26) per seed, and EUR 0.07–44.0 (USD 0.09–59.36) on a per gram basis, with Draba cretica being the most expensive in the latter case. Many of the traded taxa face the risk of extinction: 6 are designated as endangered, 27 as vulnerable, 5 as near threatened, and 32 as rare; of these, 30 are steno-endemics, confined in one (12 taxa) up to five localities (18 taxa). Overall, 58 taxa are protected at the national and 19 at the international level. We cannot estimate the degree to which this commerce is legal. Nevertheless, none of the nurseries surveyed seem to have been granted a permit from the authorities of Greece to harvest and sell its wild flora. We recommend regular surveillance of popular Internet sites in order to curb illegal commerce, and suggest that nurseries’ websites should declare that the plant material sold is not of wild origin and has been legally obtained. State authorities should take action to protect biodiversity, but also exert the rights deriving from national laws and international treaties regarding the exploitation of their countries’ genetic resources.

Key Words

Conservation e-commerce illegal trade Mediterranean Nagoya protocol ethnobotany threatened species 

Η ηλεκτρονική αγορά των ενδημικών φυτών της Ελλάδας: βιοποικιλότητα, εμπορικά και νομικά ζητήματα. Παρουσιάζονται αποτελέσματα έρευνας που έγινε για πρώτη φορά σχετικά με το διαδικτυακό εμπόριο των ενδημικών φυτών της Ελλάδας. Εντοπίστηκαν 588 περιπτώσεις εμπορίας από 73 φυτώρια στην Ευρώπη, τη Βόρειο Αμερική και την Αυστραλία. Αφορούν 145 taxa που αντιστοιχούν σε περίπου 10% της ενδημικής χλωρίδας της χώρας. Εμπορευόμενα από πολλά φυτώρια (>10) εμφανίζονται 10% αυτών των taxa, ενώ 35% από μόνον ένα. Κυριαρχούν εκπρόσωποι των Campanulaceae, Iridaceae, Lamiaceae και Liliaceae. Το ζωντανό φυτό είναι η πιο κοινή μορφή πώλησης, με μέση τιμή €6,38 ανά άτομο και ανώτερη €20,46 για το Ophrys kotschyi ssp. cretica. Για τις άλλες μορφές πώλησης, οι τιμές είναι €0,24–5,67 ανά βολβό, €0,03–0,93 ανά σπέρμα και €0,07–44,0 ανά γραμμάριο σπερμάτων. Στην τελευταία περίπτωση, η μέγιστη τιμή αντιστοιχεί στο Draba cretica. Από τα εμπορευόμενα taxa, 58 είναι προστατευόμενα σε εθνικό και 19 σε διεθνές επίπεδο, 33 χαρακτηρίζονται ως απειλούμενα (κινδυνεύοντα και τρωτά) και 37 ως σχεδόν απειλούμενα ή σπάνια. Από αυτά, 12 έχουν βρεθεί σε μια μόνο τοποθεσία και άλλα 18 σε δύο έως πέντε. Είναι άγνωστο πόσο νόμιμο είναι αυτό το εμπόριο. Ωστόσο, κανένα φυτώριο από όσα εξετάστηκαν δεν φαίνεται να έχει άδεια από τις αρχές της χώρας για συλλογή και πώληση των ενδημικών φυτών της Ελλάδας. Εξετάζοντας μια αγορά που δεν έχει επαρκώς μελετηθεί μέχρι τώρα, η έρευνά μας συμβάλλει στην διάνοιξη ενός νέου πεδίου στην προστασία της βιοποικιλότητας. Για την καταπολέμηση του παράνομου εμπορίου, προτείνουμε συστηματική παρακολούθηση των ιστοσελίδων μεγάλης επισκεψιμότητας και υποχρέωση των φυτωρίων να δηλώνουν ότι το προς πώληση φυτικό υλικό δεν προέρχεται από τη φύση και ότι έχει νόμιμα αποκτηθεί. Οι αρμόδιες αρχές θα πρέπει να λαμβάνουν μέτρα όχι μόνον για την προστασία της βιοποικιλότητας των χωρών τους αλλά και την άσκηση των δικαιωμάτων που απορρέουν από την εθνική νομοθεσία και τις διεθνείς συμβάσεις σχετικά με την εκμετάλλευση των γενετικών πόρων.

Supplementary material

12231_2014_9264_MOESM1_ESM.docx (54 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 53 kb)
12231_2014_9264_MOESM2_ESM.docx (178 kb)
ESM 2(DOCX 29 kb)

Literature Cited

  1. Alacs, E. and A. Georges. 2008. Wildlife across our borders: A review of the illegal trade in Australia. Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 40:147–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bandi, A., N. Krigas, and D. Vokou. 2012. Dominant risks and threats of the rare and threatened plants of Greece. In: Book of abstracts of the 6th European Botanic Gardens Congress “European Botanic Gardens in a Changing World,” Chios Island, Greece, 5/28–6/2/2012, eds. E. Maloupa, F. Mylona, and C. Cook, 63–64.Google Scholar
  3. Bilz, M., S. P. Kell, N. Maxted, and R. V. Lansdown. 2011. European red list of vascular plants. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.Google Scholar
  4. Bradshaw, C. J. A., N. S. Sodhi, and B. W. Brook. 2009. Tropical turmoil: A biodiversity tragedy in progress. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7:79–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brito, D., R. G. Ambal, T. Brooks, N. De Silva, M. Foster, W. Hao, C. Hilton-Taylor, A. Paglia, J. P. Rodríguez, and J. V. Rodríguez. 2010. How similar are national red lists and the IUCN red list? Biological Conservation 143:1154–1158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Courchamp, F., E. Angulo, P. Rivalan, R. J. Hall, L. Signoret, L. Bull, and Y. Meinard. 2006. Rarity value and species extinction: The anthropogenic Allee effect. PLOS Biology 4:2405–2410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davis, S. D., V. H. Heywood, and A. C. Hamilton, eds. 1994. Centres of plant diversity: A strategy for their conservation. Vol. 1. Europe, Africa, South West Asia and the Middle East. IUCN/WWF, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  8. Euro+Med. 2006–2013. Euro+Med PlantBase—The information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity. Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem, Germany. http://ww2.bgbm.org/EuroPlusMed/ (30 August 2013).
  9. Flores-Palacios, A. and S. Valencia-Diaz. 2007. Local illegal trade reveals unknown diversity and involves a high species richness of wild vascular epiphytes. Biological Conservation 136:372–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Georghiou, K. and P. Delipetrou. 2010. Patterns and traits of the endemic plants of Greece. Botanical Journal of the Linnaean Society 162:130–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 2003. Guidelines for application of IUCN red list criteria at regional levels. Version 3.0. IUCN Species Survival Commission, Gland and Cambridge.Google Scholar
  12. Jiménez-Sierra, C. L. and L. E. Eguiarte. 2010. Candy barrel cactus (Echinocactus platyacanthus Link & Otto): A traditional plant resource in Mexico subject to uncontrolled extraction and browsing. Economic Botany 64:99–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kalpoutzakis, E., P. Trigas, and T. Constantinidis. 2012. Allium orestis sp. nov. (Amaryllidaceae) from Parnon and Taigetos mountains, south Peloponnisos, Greece. Nordic Journal of Botany 30:195–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. McMahan, L. R. and K. S. Walter. 1989. The international orchid trade. Pages 377–392 in W. J. Chandler, ed., Audubon Wildlife Report 1988/198. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  15. Med-Checklist. 2007–2013. Med-Checklist—A critical inventory of vascular plants of the circum-Mediterranean countries. Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem, Germany. http://ww2.bgbm.org/mcl/home.asp (30 August 2013).
  16. Menteli, V., N. Krigas, and D. Vokou. 2012. Worldwide conservation of Greek endemic plants in botanic gardens and seed banks. In: Book of abstracts of the 6th European Botanic Gardens Congress “European Botanic Gardens in a Changing World,” Chios Island, Greece, 5/28–6/2/2012, eds. E. Maloupa, F. Mylona, and C. Cook, 60.Google Scholar
  17. Myers, N., R. A. Mittermeier, C. G. Mittermeier, G. A. B. da Fonseca, and J. Kent. 2000. Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403:853–858.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Olsen, C. S. and H. O. Larsen. 2003. Alpine medicinal plant trade and Himalayan mountain livelihood strategies. Geographical Journal 169:243–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Phitos, D., A. Strid, S. Snogerup, and W. Greuter, eds. 1995. The red data book of rare and threatened plants of Greece. WWF, Athens.Google Scholar
  20. ———, T. Constantinidis, and G. Kamari, eds. 2009. The red data book of rare and threatened plants of Greece, Vol. 1 (A–D) and Vol. 2 (E–Z). Hellenic Botanical Society, Patras.Google Scholar
  21. Rodríguez, J. P. 2008. National red lists: The largest global market for IUCN red list categories and criteria. Endangered Species Research 6:193–198.Google Scholar
  22. Snogerup, S., B. Snogerup, and A. Strid. 2006. Acanthus greuterianus (Acanthaceae), a new species from NW Greece. Willdenowia 36(Special Issue):323–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. St. John, F. A. V., G. Edwards-Jones, and J. P. G. Jones. 2012. Opinions of the public, conservationists and magistrates on sentencing wildlife trade crimes in the U.K. Environmental Conservation 39:154–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Strid, A., ed. 1986. Mountain flora of Greece, Vol. 1. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  25. ——— and K. Tan, eds. 1991. Mountain flora of Greece, Vol. 2. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  26. ——— and ———, eds. 1997. Flora Hellenica, Vol. 1. Koeltz Scientific Books, Königstein.Google Scholar
  27. ——— and ———, eds. 2002. Flora Hellenica, Vol. 2. Koeltz Scientific Books, Ruggell.Google Scholar
  28. ——— and ———. 2005. A new species of Omphalodes (Boraginaceae) from Southeast Peloponnese, Greece. Phytologia Balcanica 11:69–72.Google Scholar
  29. Stuart, S. N., J. S. Chanson, N. A. Cox, B. E. Young, A. S. L. Rodrigues, D. L. Fischman, and R. W. Waller. 2004. Status and trends of amphibian declines and extinctions worldwide. Science 306:1783–1786.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sylvester, O. and G. Avalos. 2009. Illegal palm heart (Geonoma edulis) harvest in Costa Rican national parks: Patterns of consumption and extraction. Economic Botany 63:179–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tan, K. and G. Iatrou. 2001. Endemic plants of Greece—the Peloponnese. Gad Publishers, Ltd., Copenhagen, Denmark.Google Scholar
  32. ——— and B. Biel. 2011. New name: Campanulaceae, Campanula saonissia Biel & Kit Tan, nom. nov. Phytologia Balcanica 17:265.Google Scholar
  33. Trigas, P., G. Iatrou, and D. Tzanoudakis. 2010. Allium apergii sp. nov. (Alliaceae, A. sect. Codonoprasum) from Evvia Island, Greece. Journal of Biological Research-Thessaloniki 14:225–229.Google Scholar
  34. Walter, K. S. and H. J. Gillett, eds. 1998. The 1997 IUCN red list of threatened plants. The World Conservation Monitoring Centre, IUCN-The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland, and Cambridge.Google Scholar
  35. Williams, S. J., J. M. Gibbons, C. Clubbe, A. Dibble, A. Marroquín, and J. P. G. Jones. 2012. Who harvests and why? Characteristics of Guatemalan households harvesting xaté (Chamaedorea ernesti-augusti). Economic Botany 66:357–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wolf, J. H. D. and C. J. F. Konings. 2001. Toward the sustainable harvesting of epiphytic bromeliads: A pilot study from the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. Biological Conservation 101:23–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikos Krigas
    • 1
    • 2
  • Viktoria Menteli
    • 1
  • Despoina Vokou
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology, School of BiologyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Laboratory of Systematic Botany and Phytogeography, Department of BotanyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

Personalised recommendations