CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. CITES works by subjecting international trade in certain plant and animal species to certain controls. All import, export, re-export and introduction from the sea of species covered by the Convention has to be authorized through a licensing system. (www.cites.org) Nearly every country in the world is a member (don't ask North Korea, Haiti, or the Vatican).
Species under such controls are categorized by CITES under different appendices, according to the degree of protection they need.
Appendix I - 1,200 total species
These species are threatened by extinction. International trade of these species would be permitted only in exceptional circumstances. Notable examples include chimpanzees (Pan species), jaguars (Panthera onca), and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus).
Appendix II - 21,000 total species
These species are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but may become so due to overutilization if trade in them is not regulated. Notable examples include great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias), American black bears (Ursus americanus), and bigleaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla).
Appendix III - 170 total species
These species are not necessarily threatened with extinction globally, but are categorized in Appendix III when one member country of CITES requests help from other member countries to control their trade. Notable examples include two-toed sloths (Choloepus hoffmanni) by Costa Rica, alligator snapping turtles (Macrochelys temminckii) by the United States, and African civet (Civettictis civetta) by Botswana.
CITES doesn't affect much for the hobbyist collector because only importers/exporters are regulated.
Luckily, only three Tillandsias species are listed in CITES, and all under Appendix II:
With huge areas of habitat in Guatemala, T. xerographica is on Appendix II thanks to deforestation. Unfortunately, host tree species for T. xerographica are not considered priority species and are not included in reforestation programs ("Case Study: Tillandsia xerographica" Garcia & Chocano).
Native to Guatemala, this species landed on Appendix II also due to deforestation.
Native to the tropical savannas of Honduras and El Salvador. No further information. Have some? Email us!