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Wile E. Peyote

In-situ Lophophora conservation

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I posted the other day about an episode of The Psychedelic Salon podcast that contained an interview with Keeper Trout. I was surprised to hear KT is an advocate for the reintroduction of cultivated Lophophora to some areas. I had the understanding that reintroducing cultivated plants was typically a bad idea, but KT is definitely an authority on the subject so I did a bit of a review of the literature. I couldn’t find much relevant material, at least using the search terms ‘conservation’ and ‘reintroduction’ alongside 'Lophophora' and 'Peyote' in Google Scholar.
 

The one relevant paper I did find is here

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.03.023515v1.full.pdf

This paper implies that the ultimate goal of Lophophora conservation is to reintroduce plants to their native habitat, but that more data is needed before moving forward with this to determine appropriate locations and the potential impact.

I recently came across this campaign in the Loph Growers Worldwide Facebook group

https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-peyote?pc=fb_co_campmgmtbnr_w&rcid=r01-158775808205-d7938f80697644a7&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=p_lico%2Bbanner&fbclid=IwAR3cGO36eTjTAb2ZeMaC6BTEVZtwO_7qROshlooyxc7uvISHqDLAA0OeKA0
 

The campaign aims to cultivate Lophophora, both to satisfy a demand that is troubling in-situ populations and to reintroduce in-situ. The Cactus Conservation Institute and Sia: The Comanche Nation Ethno-Ornithological Initiative, the Piah Puha Kahni, Mother Church of Comanche Native American Church 1918 Charter Association.
 

I’m really interested in in-situ reintroduction of Lophophora. If anyone can suggest further resources so that I can learn more about it, please hook me up!  

 

Edited by Wile E. Peyote
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Have you seen Hamilton Morris's YT video on his Loph hunt? 

Well worth it for the Loph buffs.

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Sorry to respond to such an old post but I don't get on forums much anymore.

There is a question whether introducing wild plants brings something unnatural to the mix. People complain about wolf re-introductions too. To be successful, at least from my point of view, one ideally wants to use the sort of genetics as came from that locality. And we actually quite often do have those thanks to European cultivators who have been actively maintaining peyote lineages for a century or more. 

But is this a real concern in this instance, and if so how much?

Peyote in South Texas clearly did not originate in what is now the Peyote Gardens as most of that landform is less than 11.5K years old. The Gulf (and ocean levels) was almost 500 feet shallower back then so a lot of where people lived at that time is now underwater as people like to congregate near the coast.

Humans often have an idea of there being some primordial static state of perfection but the reality is all healthy and robust ecosystems are in flux and constantly changing and this has always been true. That appears to be the story of life. Fragile ecosystems tend to arise when pressures of one sort or another are absent and create a unique and magical picture that cannot survive those pressures (ground nesting birds for example can be really heavy hit or even obliterated when rats, pigs, dogs or snakes are introduced). These special ecosystems are more akin to museum displays than to robust ecosystems. When we value them, we have to work to protect them or we rapidly lose them as they lack resiliance.

Peyote is not a fragile plant and it approaches being weedy in vigor. Ponder almost all of its habitat being wiped out in South Texas (95%+ according to some estimates) yet people still being able to harvest a million plus plants every year via legal channels and multiples of that illegally.

The question arises, let's say it was possible to get landowner permission to replant peyote someplace where there was no more, is that harmful if the activity is possible? If so, how and why?

There are a lot of repopulation efforts ongoing involving everything from star cactus to saguaros to the zapata bladderpod. Strangely I don't hear those complained about the same way as I do peyote. 

Sometimes looking at who is speaking can be illuminating too as often what is also included is the idea that it is wrong to cultivate peyote anywhere for any reason.

 

I'd suggest repopulation of peyote would cause fewer harmful ecological effects than did its removal by rootplowing and land conversion and those activities would make more sense to be seeing objections.

Introduction of plants rather than seeds will maximize the success. To do that a period of cultivation is required. It would however be pointless to just plant out a bunch of plump, lush peyotes and expect them to still be there the next year. Hardening off is part of any successful repopulation strategy.

 

Wolf reintroduction is a great example of why we should sometimes reintroduce species that we've removed. People still actively try to wipe these out when they are released. Mainly ranchers. However, aspen trees had gone into a serious decline from saplings being destroyed due to elk overpopulation after removal of the wolves. After their releases aspens are beginning to come back. Clearly those wolves are not killing that many elk but their presence did appear to rapidly affect the fertility rate. Nature is connected like a tapestry.

South Africa provides another example of why intervention can be good if it is on a solid conceptual basis.

Vaccination of cattle against rinderpest led to less disease in wildebeest. Wildebeest populations rebounded led to grass fire suppression. Grass fire suppression led to more Acacias surviving which enabled the dwindling giraffe population to also rebound. Prior to that the approach had been exterminating wildebeest on the mistaken notion they gave it to the cattle rather than vice versa.

Helping address the problems we cause commonly produces a cascade of unexpected positive results.

Blindly repopulating single species can be potentially fraught with some problems if done mindlessly (introduction of endophytes or insects and pathogens in imported soil, or replacement with a plant people think is somehow similar to what is gone and it proves to lack controls and becomes aggressively weedy, for examples) but it is also a powerful and important tool.  

Back to peyote. I'd love to know the perceived dangers of its repopulation.

 

Feel free to email me to discuss this. I have no qualms about anything I say being shared but often lack enough free time for participating in forums or social media.

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Thanks so much for your input KT, I’m very grateful to hear from you on this topic.
 

I don’t have enough knowledge of peyote habitat and stakeholders to suggest anything but generic dangers of repopulation – my real motivation for starting this thread was to learn how myself and others on this forum can contribute to Lophophora conservation efforts.
 

Is there any point in community members cultivating particular varieties so that they can contribute to repopulation? Obviously living internationally makes transport complicated – perhaps it would be more practical for members to cultivate these varieties for seed to send back to the Americas than engaging in the politics and effort of sending live plants? Or perhaps our distance and isolation here in Australia means we can’t really contribute in this way.
 

If there is some point to this, how can we source the appropriate seed ethically and ensure provenance? I’ve had my fun with weird inbred Loph genetics, it would be nice to start growing peyote for conservation purposes rather than then just personal interest and monetary value.

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Moogy, sorry for the delay in my reply, somehow I missed your post. I have seen Hamilton’s Loph episode, I enjoyed it but I thought more emphasis could be given to conservation, considering he was effectively publicly promoting peyote harvest. I was pleased to see this conservation slant came out strong in his recent episode on Bufo. I do get a little frustrated at how much easier people seem to care about the lives of animals than the lives of plants though – something about anthropomorphism I expect.
 

Very special plant in your profile pic btw ;)

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I wish I had answers. European suppliers are the only sources of a diverse selection of seeds with locality data right now. A problem with some is low viability due to self-fertilization or old age of seeds. Assurances of accurate knowledge about their genetics would be nice but I know of no way to check or confirm it.

 

A big challenge with this picture is some of the primary players increasingly are resembling the Taliban. Ponder this letter written with the intention of countering Decriminalize Nature. Neither mescaline nor trichocereus are NAC sacraments (or at least they have repeatedly said that) AND Trichocereus are completely legal to grow and possess.  

 

IPCI-NAC statement_1.15.2021VersionSenWienerF.pdf

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Also, on Anya's paper. I enjoyed that too but be aware this was a preprint required to be posted by the publisher who decided to not publish it due to not having a narrow enough focus so it did not go to print in this form.  The final version appeared in Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas under another title after being rewritten to focus only on the data for her study and its design.  It is nice that the preprint requirement made the earlier version available in perpetuity. Both versions are worth reading.

A preprint of the version that did go to press is available at https://cactusconservation.org/resources/cci-publications/

 

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7 hours ago, trucha said:

 

A preprint of the version that did go to press is available at https://cactusconservation.org/resources/cci-publications/

 

 

Trucha, that index is a veritable smorgasbord of articles, not just the one you quoted above :worship:

 

Last I saw you speak at EGA outdoors some years back you seemed to be having a fair bit of a hard time keeping your work going?

 

Now I see the output from your group, with your name on so many peer reviewed publications *and* open source. Am utterly impressed by your resilience, attention to detail and dedication. Thank you so much.

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Trucha, could you please help me understand which localities are the most threatened?
 

Is the ‘Taliban’ comment implying that the NAC are focusing on protecting their ability to profit from, rather than conserve, wild peyote populations? Maybe that is too blunt of a statement as the NAC are such an important stakeholder in this…
 

I was unable to find even the title of the Anna/Anya Ermakova’s paper in the Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, I even searched the archive spreadsheet located at https://www.brit.org/jbrit/archives for ‘Ermakova’, but had no luck. Any suggestions for figuring this out?

For those playing along at home the pre-print link is here https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.03.023515v2.full.pdf

I also found another piece by Ermakova and Terry on Chacruna in my search, which makes for a lighter read on peyote sustainability https://chacruna.net/a-word-in-edgewise-about-the-sustainability-of-peyote/

Edited by Wile E. Peyote

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That is a difficult question as most of the habitat in South Texas has been destroyed but in general Jim Hogg and Starr County, while heavily affected,  have both good sites and some decent populations left. Those and Webb County are where most harvesting occurs.

In many cases it is pointless to try to return plants to some pieces of land as rootplowing has made that land inimical to peyote and that will take decades more to restore the pH gradient that rootplowing upset. This means reintroduction has to be assessed parcel by parcel based on not just suitable habitat but its history of land-clearing. The brush comes back but the upper couple of feet of soil is not the same afterwards.

 

One group is beginning cultivation in Texas (the same people involved with that letter). It will be many years before it produces their Medicine for them so they also plan to become distributors and are hoping to displace the present licensed harvesters and become their replacements as the suppliers of wild harvested peyote. There is much talk of conservation by them. Just don't look too closely at the reality.  To hear the tale they have always been champions of conservation of peyote, have always been interested in cultivation, and have used peyote as a traditional practice for thousands of years (rather than beginning between the 1880s and the 1990s as is true for most NAC groups) yet the original peyote people in South Texas for whom that is true lack any legal right to consume it since they are not members of federally recognized tribes.

The thought that seems to be forgotten is that religious freedom is guaranteed for none if not protected for all. The NAC has the right to peyote due to an act of Congress in 1993 and it is not based on the First Amendment Right to Religion. What Congress can give, Congress can also someday take away if they ever change their minds.

That letter did get peyote excluded from what did occur but the bill is a positive movement. Even if it is not passed this time, the movement is afoot. It is ironic a shortage of peyote was given as the reason for denying cultivation in California. "Hippies" still get blamed by many people for causing peyote to become scarce but that is misdirection.  All harvesting combined pales in comparison to land loss.

The belief voiced in the Oakland discussions is all those people with interest are all going to have to go to Texas and get some peyote from the distributors or through poaching in order to grow or use it (this is almost silly as there is no legal channel as the law would only affect California and an average person going to harvest illegally is not going to be very successful) However, in reality, LOTS of people in California already are growing peyote and have been for a long time. Just not the NAC outside of a few individuals. I suspect there is as much or more peyote already in the hands of nonNAC cultivators in California as is eaten in any given year in California by the NAC.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/17/california-bill-decriminalize-psychedelic-drugs

Edited by trucha
typos

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The paper you are looking for at JBRIT is the first paper at the link I sent above for the Cactus Conservation Institute website. When papers are resubmitted to a second journal the titles most often get changed.  https://cactusconservation.org/resources/cci-publications/

The first preprint that someone else posted above never went to print and was rejected for not being more narrowly focused.

I think the preprint of the JBRIT article is all we have permission to post right now but that should be able to change soon. I don't think it is actually in print yet which is why it does not show up in a search for her name. I will check on that and update this with better info.

Edited by trucha
needed
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Thanks Darklight, when I spoke at EGA I was having a hard time with everything due to being in mid recovery from lyme and babesia duncanii.

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The Taliban seek to rigidly control not only their own group's practice of their religion but everyone else's practice of the same religion (and have neither tolerance nor respect of other religions).

This is nothing new of course, Charlemagne did something similar but even more excessive. If a person knew of someone who had not been baptized and did not turn them in or if they did not say their prayers when they were supposed to, the punishment was death. (And in the process the use of plant based intoxicants/sacraments in Europe was either obliterated or driven into secrecy,)

Rigid authoritarian control over a religious practice seems almost perverse when it involves psychedelics.

 

To more clearly answer the rest of your question Wile E Peyote,, yes, IPCI intends peyote harvesting and distribution to be a commercial venture., Sandor Iron Rope told VOA that IPCI hoped to be sustaining their operation and educational program through the sales of peyote by next year. Wild harvested of course.

Not a realistic goal but it does illuminate something worth understanding. 

Edited by trucha
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On 17/02/2021 at 9:20 AM, Wile E. Peyote said:

Moogy, sorry for the delay in my reply, somehow I missed your post.

No probs.

 

anthropomorphism I expect.

Sadly a common problem - mostly unconscious (like most people most of the time!)
 

Very special plant in your profile pic btw ;)

yep, and stunning when in flower. Imagine ten acres of dense nuytsia in December. Noice!

 

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