Botany and bureaucracy

ABSTRACT: PLANT-COLLECTING has long attracted mavericks with a thirst for adventure. In Borneo in the 1960s John Wood, now at Oxford University, had to shave leeches off his legs with a machete. In the 1970s, at the outbreak of Lebanon’s civil war, Geoff Hawtin, now a trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, drove a collection of legumes down a mined road to the Syrian border (and back again when he found it was closed). In the 1980s Daniel Debouck, a Belgian bean-collector based in Colombia, narrowly escaped capture by narcos in Mexico and guerrillas in Peru.

Category: Papers Conservation
Publisher: The Economist
Publication Year: 2015

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