Saturday, September 02, 2006

"Is This Eden? No It's Iowa"

The rain forest's promoters often point to (and even visit) a facility in England that has been a model for their design. If Eden works in Cornwall, they say -- up to and including financially -- so will their project in Iowa.

There are a great many reasons why "the Eden project" in England is far from a perfect analogy for the rain forest proposed for Iowa. There's not space in a blog entry (even one of mine) for all the reasons why. But those reasons include everything from the much more favorable climate for rain forests in Corwall, to the much more tourist-appealing surrounding countryside, beaches and castles, to the much greater passion for gardens among the potential visitors.

But now Bradley Franzwa has brought a couple more to my attention: buggy plants, and buggy attendance projections.
Buggy Plants

"The problems began in 2002 with both attendance and bugs:

"Imported vine pest found at Eden Project

"VINES, SOIL and sculptures at the Eden Project were ordered to be destroyed after an aphid-like pest that kills vines was found. The pest, known as Grape Phylloxera, was discovered by government plant health inspectors on a routine visit to the Cornish conservatories last month.

The Independent (London), August 9, 2002.

"The project had initially planned to use natural pest extermination such as lizards, tree frogs, praying mantises, and geckos. A year later they were found to be unsuccessful. In early 2003 they started bug bombing (7 days closed) and continue to this day. See "Plant Health," Eden Project Foundation, September 2, 2006.

"Problems have occurred in spite of strict quarantine methods prior to introducing plants to the dome. They now have expanded the site to include a 'dry' dome with a different climate for the visitors to see when the 'wet' domes are shut down for spraying. Admission prices are half-price on those days.

"There are some environmental and agricultural issues here that should be addressed before we quarantine tropical plants in the parking lot of the casino prior to introduction into the rain forest dome.

"Just some things for the farmers in the region to consider.

"Can you imagine the panic that would occur if a new pest was introduced into Iowa farming as a result of a federally funded project like this?

"Perhaps Orkin should be brought in as a project consultant/supporter ["corporate partner']. At least the casino would be a good harborage for the termites and cockroaches that occupy the rain forest.

Buggy Attendance Projections

Iowa rain forest promoters pointed to Eden to justify their projections of 1.5 million or more annual visitors to a rain forest in Iowa.

Franzwa notes: "The Eden Project shouldn’t necessarily be promoted as the project that sets the standard in world rainforest projects. In 2001, they enjoyed just under 2 million visitors. By 2003, it dropped down to 1.40 million visitors. The latest numbers from the UK’s Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) now show the project lured only 1.17 million visitors in 2005. A yearly consistent attendance drop of 10% should be considered in any copycat model we try to build here."

[The British Association of Leading Visitor Attractions reports its statistics reveal that Eden's 2005 visitors totaled 1,177,189 which, it says, was a 3% decline.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Consider also the involvement of

How 'green' is that?

How 'green' is fossil fuelled tourist dependency?