There are five basic steps to creating a reserve; Finding a desirable location, finding an owner willing to sell, finding the money to buy the land, arranging security, and finding long term management. To date we have only worked in South America, because we know people there with whom to work.
So far, we have found ‘word of mouth’ to be the most useful for finding locations with lots of orchids worth preserving. Although we have made a more formal analysis of the distribution of orchids in Ecuador, see our project “Gap Analysis” below, this approach has yet to bear fruit. Field biologists with experience and an interest in orchids know where orchid rich sites are and they know whether the orchids there are rare, novel, and endangered. This approach has worked well in Ecuador, Brazil, and Colombia.
Finding an owner willing to sell his or her land has not so far been a problem. In most instances the land where orchids are still plentiful is also land that is not well suited for agriculture or other development and given an economic opportunity to divest of unproductive land, owners have been cooperative.