Unscrupulous collection of herbarium (mixed thread):
There is a recent article in current science by Dr. A K Bhatnagar from DU about unscrupulous collection of herbarium and plant specimens by college students and he has specially mentioned about frequent trips of DU botany students to Panchamarhi!!!
Yes …, we will go there sometimes when you are back at home in India.
You are right!
Still people (some, espl students) have the tendency of collecting more number of samples of rare and threatened species. Because they think that they can not collect it again elsewhere so they want to collect as much as possible (and sometimes howmuchever available in that place!). Nepenthes khasiana is an another examples of species getting more threatened owing to scientific collections. Their representation in the herbaria will be higher than in the living condition. The lab attenders and the heads of Botany department in colleges and universities should think about it and make necessary steps to minimize the collection of these botanically curious and interesting species.
Perhaps … may wish to throw more light on this (serious) issue.
I think authorities should urge students to take good pictures for their reference which could be enough to prove that yes they saw and studied the plant rather than everyone collecting and making herbarium, UNLESS, the collection is done for research purpose.
When I take students out, I usually explain the plants myself or give them keys to identify, and dont tell anyone to collect, just take pics. I do dissect 2-3 flowers to explain at times, if needed, especially incase of orchids, when you need to show them the inner parts.
It is a very good idea, and sure to catch up with students. These days digital photography being part of almost every mobile phone and even low end digital cameras, teachers should ask students to take photographs of specific plants, give names (or make them identify using keys, books or otherwise), ask them to collect relevant information and submit this as report in printed form or preferably electronic version (power point, slide show movie with relevant text and sound through move maker or other suitable program) in place of Herbarium collection.
The problem is how to sell this idea to educational authorities. All of us can make some efforts. We have a botanyteachers yahoo group for Botany teachers of Delhi. There is move in last so many years to discontinue plant collection. This is a good alternative. I will sell the idea there.
That will really be a nice effort from your side.
I have initiated the idea
Hope things work out for the goodness of floristic wealth of India.