Thursday, 23 November 2017

New resource for botanists

Luronium natans, a Schedule 8 plant
Image: S. Whild
You know when you're out plant hunting and find a plant you can't identify? And there's only one of them? That's when you have one of those ethical dilemmas - do I pick it, take it home and try to identify it? Or just take a photograph and try to capture all the details? Or retreat to the pub feeling like a rubbish botanist?

Well those dilemmas are a thing of the past because BSBI and the Natural History Museum have put their heads together and come up with the very thing: the BSBI Code of Conduct 2017. 

It tells you how to proceed when you encounter an unknown plant, introduces you to the rule of 1 in 20, helps you stay within the law, whether you're a botanist, a forager, an ecological consultant or just somebody who likes nice wild flowers. The Code lists all the things you should never ever pick even if you have the landowner's permission and you can see hundreds of the plants stretching as far as the horizon... 

The Code of Conduct 2017 is the brainchild of Sarah Whild of BSBI's Training & Education Committee who told me:

Working out what that plant is...
Image: M. Crittenden
"I've been working with Fred Rumsey from the Natural History Museum and colleagues from the Joint Nature Conservancy Committee and Natural England since the last major review of the schedules in 2010. Yes it has taken seven years to pull all of the information together, but it is up-to-date now for 2017. Of course, the Code of Conduct will change, whenever there is a change in the legislation, but the ethical issues should remain pretty much immutable."

So it's sounds as though you can download your free copy now in the knowledge that it won't be updated for a few years. And if you are coming to the BSBI Exhibition Meeting at the Natural History Museum this Saturday, you can take home a free print copy too. Many thanks to Sarah, Fred and colleagues for this great new resource!