The so-called developed countries could help us, too.
For example, at the dawn market, if one does not buy a piece or two of what is for sale, everything will be bought by Taiwanese, Koreans, and Europeans or north Americans. I suspect more than 90% of the poached plants end up abroad.
Last year 10 big boxes of forest-gathered plants from the Philippines were intercepted at the Miami airport. Hearsay is that bigger shipments before that were not intercepted. This has been going on for years! Now, no Philippine hobbyist buys plants by the thousands like that.
The people who order Philippine plants like that from North America, Europe, Thailand, Korea, and Taiwan know that the plants have been poached. Surely no hobbyist in those countries purchase in bulk like that! Who orders them, then? BIG BUSINESS, OR COURSE! Huge nurseries! These people buy, knowing fully well where the plants came from!
Several years down the road, species plants shall be offered by these nurseries for sale to the general public. By that time, they would have been flask-propagated already from the original plants. Or, the original plants do not look poached anymore, and can be offered for sale with impunity.
For many of the forest dwellers, gathering (sustainable or not) may be the only means of sending their children to school, eating three meals a day, providing a roof over their heads, etc...
If gathering is done to provide Philippine breeders with stockplants, I think forests will have a chance to replenish plants (The same can be said for gathering from legitimate logging concessions, where plants are obtained from felled trees). If Western, Taiwanese, Thai, and Korean nurseries order more than 20 or even 100s of times the volume needed by Philippine breeders and hobbyists, then all is lost.
Every year when the Philippine budget is made, about half ( I am not sure of the exact amount) goes to debt servicing primarily to the World Bank and to the IMF.
Where do you think the government will obtain the money to pay forest rangers, to guard against poachers?
For developing countries, the issue is complex.
In the meantime, my first wish is for western nurseries, Thais, Taiwanese, and Koreans to stop buying forest-gathered Philippine plants.
As with the drugs of abuse trade, the issues have several sides to them. Coca plants and opium poppies wouldnt be planted in huge numbers by mountain people (of Afghanistan and South America) if people from abroad do not create a demand for them.
Isnt forest-poaching for orchids the same thing?
Perhaps my post would generate hostile replies, I don't know...Maybe it helps to look at issues from different sides, don't you think?
( N.B. For the past several years, the budget allocation for state universities has been decreasing. As associate professor (part time in the state university school of medicine, I receive a monthly salary of the equivalent of US$200. That is how cash-strapped the country is! I have to work in three other hospitals to survive decently. I went back to my country after training abroad because I belong here, my friends and relatives are here. When I die I will be buried in the land that gave birth to me, sustained me, and looks up to me to train the future generation to negotiate for their existence. )