THE CUTTING EDGE

Volume VI, Number 3, July 1999


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NEWS AND NOTES | RECENT TREATMENTS | LEAPS AND BOUNDS | GERMANE LITERATURE

END OF AN ERA. A monumental figure in Costa Rican biology has died. Internationally esteemed forester Leslie R. Holdridge passed away on 19 June in Easton, Maryland. Original owner (before OTS) of Finca La Selva, founder of the Tropical Science Center (TSC), creator of the revolutionary Life-Zone System bearing his name, author (with protégé Luis Poveda) of Arboles de Costa Rica, mentor (directly or indirectly) to at least two generations of foresters, dendrologists, and botanists specialized in Costa Rican floristics...Holdridge's pervasive influence can scarcely be measured. Poveda and another Holdridge protégé, Gary Hartshorn (now Executive Director of OTS), have passed the torch along to a legion of others, including all three Manual co-PI's and most INBio botany curators. Holdridge continued to reside in Costa Rica until a few years ago; he had become blind, and was well into his 90's at the time of his death. In addition to Costa Rica, he worked extensively in the Caribbean region, especially Puerto Rico. At least nine angiosperm spp. have been dedicated to Holdridge, including Sacoglottis holdridgei Cuatrec. (Humiriaceae), the dominant tree sp. of Isla del Coco. A memorial for Les Holdridge was held at TSC headquarters in San Pedro, east of San José, on 30 June. More details, and many more accolades, will certainly be forthcoming from other sources, better-informed than us.

DISTINGUISHED VISITORS IN COSTA RICA. Garrett Crow (NHA), contributor of numerous families of aquatic plants to the Manual, just arrived in Costa Rica for a year-long sabbatical residence. He will be based at INBio, and will teach a course in aquatic plants at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma in Heredia. Garrett's other activities during this period will include the preparation of a guide to the aquatic plants of Parque Nacional Palo Verde, and continued collecting of aquatics, especially dicots, for Manual treatments yet to be completed. Italian orchidologist Franco Pupulin just left Costa Rica, after a visit of ca. six months, while Cyperaceae experts Paul Goetghebeur and Konraed Camelbeke (GENT) collected in disparate parts of the country during April (see under "Leaps and Bounds").