The Challenge: Orchid Conservation

  • Eng Soon Teoh


Every year tens of millions of orchid plants are stripped from the wild to supply traders of medicinal or edible plants. In some areas where orchids were formerly growing in great profusion, it is now difficult to find the species for which the area was once famous. Conservation is therefore a hotly debated topic. Laws enacted through CITES prohibit the collection of orchids from the wild and cross-border trade in wild orchids. Enforcement is difficult. Historically, scientists and organizations involved with the study of small numbers of orchid species have been harassed and even punished, whereas people involved with wholescale plunder were untouched.

The emphasis today appears to have shifted from prohibition to sustainable orchid harvest because most orchid gatherers are living from hand to mouth. Several medicinal orchid species are now cultivated to meet demand. Whereas clonal micropropagation has been reported for some medicinal species, propagation from seed is preferred to sustain a wide gene pool. The author suggests using drones to broadcast seeds from the air in areas where any particular species was prevalent; seeds to be mixed with flour to achieve widespread dispersal with limited seeds.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eng Soon Teoh
    • 1
  1. 1.SingaporeSingapore

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