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Tobias W. Spanner, Tizianstr. 44, 80638 München, Germany

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You might have begun to wonder if Chamaerops had vanished since you have not received a new issue for such a long time; but, we are not gone . . . yet. I am very thankful to the vast majority of our members, who have been so patient while the EPS steers though difficult waters. We apologize for the delay, and would like to fill you in on the current status of Chamaerops, and, indeed, the entire European Palm Society.

For most of its more than ten year history, the EPS was run by Martin Gibbons, who acted as editor of Chamaerops, putting together issues four times a year almost single-handedly, and by Tony King, who served in the much under-appreciated position of membership organizer and treasurer. While Chamaerops always had a tendency to be a little late (good things need time), over the last few years more and more time has lapsed between issues. As you can imagine after such a long stint, Martin was running out of steam, and was just too busy with his own business. I jumped in temporarily to act as the editor-in-chief to help get the magazine back to a more punctual schedule. After issue 41 was out and issue 42 was halfway done, Martin felt he would be able to resume his old position. Within a few weeks, however, some drastic changes made it necessary for Martin to devote more time to his business than ever before. Due to the many delays with production and printing, issue 42 did not come out until this spring. Luckily, at this time, member David Poole was taken aboard as the new editor, and was sent all the material that had been gathered for issue 43. When several months had elapsed and no issue was produced, we discovered that David had become seriously ill and could no longer do any work for the EPS. Now totally without an editor, and with Martin freshly married and increasingly busy with his own business, all the materials were sent back to me. After sorting, editing, and arranging all the articles that had accumulated by this time, we were able to bring out two complete issues with lots of great articles. To catch up a little we decided to combine them into this large double issue #43/44. How the EPS will continue after this issue, though, I do not know.

While we have professionals to do the editing, layout and production, and of course the printing and mailing, we really need volunteers to help with the unthankful administrative work, and, most of all, an editor with enough enthusiasm, ideas, spare time, knowledge of palms, and a computer, to bring it all together and get Chamaerops back on track. In addition, we need articles. We need lots of articles, from all of our members, on palms, cycads, bananas, or whatever exotic plants are your favourite at the moment. I hope our members remember that Chamaerops is not a commercial but a plant society magazine, and thus lives only through the participation of its members. While we‘re proud to have grown so large, the number of contributors has not increased with the increase in membership. If we cannot find enough members willing to spend some of their spare time involved in the EPS, it will not be able to continue in its current form.

There are other options. We could consider going commercial, with a paid editor organizing the production and sales of Chamaerops and fees paid to authors for professional articles, but this would certainly raise membership fees dramatically. Another option is to join forces with the Pacific Northwest Palm & Exotic Plant Society in the US and Canada, who have a very similar climate to western Europe and publish lots of articles on the same topics, and who have already expressed interest in joining our membership to theirs. This, of course, would change the face of the EPS, making it more international. The last resort is to wind it all up, which, we can all agree, would be a great shame.

In the past, decisions in the EPS were made by only a few. In the future, we will need more input from all of you, and I hope to receive lots of comments, suggestions, and help, in order to give back to the EPS the vitality it used to have.

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