quinta-feira, 23 de abril de 2020

Post scriptum aos comentários sobre as críticas de GGR

Recebi a notícia de que Giulio Gino Rizzo infelizmente morreu em 2016.
Meus pêsames à família e amigos.
Meus comentários sobre suas críticas permanecem iguais.

I received the notice that Giulio Gino Rizzo unfortunately died in 2016.
My condolences to family and friends.
My commentaries about his criticism remains the same.

sábado, 21 de março de 2020

Comments on the critics of Giulio Gino Rizzo

09/03/2020
I met Giulio Gino Rizzo (GGR) at the beginning of the time (1995-2011) when I directed the Sítio Roberto Burle Marx (SRBM). He was taken there by Haru (Haruyoshi Ono) and maybe because he had organized a catalogue for an exhibition of Burle Marx in Italy, he said he wanted several rare plants.
I found some soi-disant friends of Roberto Burle Marx (RBM) who, in view of this alleged condition, intended privileges on the Sítio. GGR was just another one. 
But I could not provide the plants he demanded, because I was just a director, not the owner of the plants.
More than once I also found criticism of my work at the Sítio long time after they were written. Perhaps there is some worthy reason why my detractors do not send their objections simultaneously to me, but I do not know any.
In the case of GGR, I only became aware of the size of his animosity now in 2020, by chance.
Surfing the internet, I discovered that he took the trouble to write a book, published in 2010 – Il giardino privato di Burle Marx: il Sítio – in which he extensively criticizes me as director. GGR even says that his motivation for writing the book is related to my performance.
I will try to clarify why he is wrong in these critics, in the evaluation of Roberto's work, in the very conception of what Landscape Design is and in what he understands by ethics.
As I prepared myself for this unpleasant task, I remembered an expression our master Roberto used to say: embarrassment de richesse. Thus he characterized a state of mind that sometimes invaded him during the choice of plants of our flora for a project. In the present case, the embarrassment is due to the profusion of errors of every kind that GGR makes. Virtually all the phrases of his criticisms would deserve clarification.
I know that, after so long, talking about it may arouse an attention that the GGR’s book does not deserve, but I think some clarification must be given, after all this is an opportunity to resolve what may not be only GGR’s suspicions.
So, let’s begin.

1. Patrimonial letters
While visiting - according to him in 1997 - GGR didn't criticize my work, much less asked me how was I taking care of the Sítio. And I did not declare that I was using the Letter of Venice, but that's what he says in his book.
Both the Venice Letter and the Florence Letter are documents full of excellent intentions, but they were made for colder regions, where the vegetation does not grow with the speed it has in our latitudes. In my view, many of the recommendations contained therein are literal transpositions of procedures better suited for architecture and static works of art.
In addition, they fail in one aspect: the delimitation of the undelimitable – which are the actions that can be considered routine (and therefore exempted of consultations with official committees of experts) and which are not?
The general impression is that its authors were academics who not even in dreams had the experience of managing a tropical landscape heritage.
If the manager of a park in Brazil had to carry out, with the rigor that GGR intends, all the bureaucratic procedures recommended by the mentioned Letters, he would quickly exhaust the maintenance budget and go crazy.
Here, a director should be like a football coach: accompanied by a committee that evaluates his performance. If the team starts to lose, the coach is fired. In the SRBM it was the same: there was a council of notables – connoisseurs of all the Letters – that could require my head at any time.
This is the formula that works. No consultations at each and every step to higher entities (who often do not know what it is all about, otherwise would not have appointed a director to solve the problems) – inevitably accompanied by exhaustive documentation. Nature does not wait and, most of the time, if we want to avoid the loss of assets, the decision must be quick.
In the proposed analogy, if something like the cited letters were applied to a football team, the coach would have to consult the club's board to replace an injured player, sending a medical report and the corresponding x-rays. Obviously, that wouldn't work.
By the way, I transcribe an official ordinance, issued by Maria Elisa Costa, the president of IPHAN who best understood the Sítio, probably because his father and teacher, Dr. Lucio Costa, was the great friend who "discovered" the landscape designer in Roberto and sent him in his career.
Ordinance No. 051 of February 17, 2004.
The President of the National Institute of Historical and Artistic Heritage - IPHAN - in the use of the attributions conferred by Annex I to Decree No. 4,811. of August 19, 2003.
·       Considering that Sitio Roberto Burle Marx is an atypical unit in the set of museums and special units of IPHAN:
·       Considering that it is neither an environmental preservation unit nor a garden or park. but of a botanical-landscape design laboratory;
·       Considering that it is important that sitio's management is in the hands of Robério Dias, who worked directly with Roberto Burle Marx for years:
·       Considering that Robério Dias, with the collaboration and supervision of the Sítio's own Council, due to his extensive experience, is able to discern what and how to manage in the Sítio.
·       RESOLVE designate Robério Dias to elaborate and format the management plan and indicate the preservation criteria of the Sítio Roberto Burle Marx.
Whoever wants to know the management plan prepared by the SRBM Council and by me, may access the link HERITAGE

2. Botanical collection.
GGR states that the Sítio has lost many species of plants and bases the suspicion that I am the one to blame in some incipient drafts, considered by him a reliable floristic inventory. GGR says he does not understand why I didn't find these drafts on the Sítio. The answer is simple: because they weren't there to be found. The lists presented by GGR in his book were not made available to me.
Moreover, between Roberto's death and the beginning of my tenure as director 17 months passed, in which much may have happened. GGR does not examine the hypothesis that some botanical and documentary resources may have been transferred to other places at the time when the Sítio was acephalous.
GGR tries to oppose such erased, imprecise, freehand made drafts, against the precise, digital, georeferenced inventory, that we were doing on the existing reality, with the help of several botanical experts.
GGR didn't even bother to see if the "missing" species and genera were really missing or had not yet been registered.
By that time, our work already had more than 1,800 trees and palm trees located and identified, but it was still far from complete and I believe that it will never be, due to the size of the project, to new acquisitions and to accidental or necessary changes that occur frequently. But the truth is that almost all the supposedly missing species and genera are there at the Sítio for anyone who wants to see them.
Moreover, the botanical ignorance that GGR suffers is evident, because, although it is true that today there are no longer in the Sítio the  genera, claimed by him, called Arikuryroba, Chrysalidocarpus, Diplothemium, Neodypsis, Polyandrococos, Veitchia and several others, this is due to the fact that the international botanical community decided to abolish these names from Taxonomy. Such specimens remain there, but their names have been changed, or included in other genera to improve the phylogenetic classification. Arikuryroba today is Syagrus; Chrysalidocarpus and Neodypsis now are just Dypsis; Diplothemium and Polyandrococos became Allagoptera and the name Veitchia turned into Adonidia. Obviously GGR didn't realize that before undertaking his attack.
The origin of some absences may also be because our inventory identified some species differently. For example: Arenga caryotaefolia, in the old inventory, is the same Arenga aculeata of the new. This does not constitute an absence, but a disagreement in identification.
Another GGR error is his implicit assumption that all plants of the Sítio, once planted, live forever. It does not pass through his head the possibility that some did not adapt to the new environment and succumbed shortly after Roberto brought them, although "surviving" in the lists of that time. This is the case of Nypa fruticans, for example, of which we know that was planted in the mangrove across the road, but I myself have never seen even traces in place. Of course, it's more likely that this was an experiment that didn't work out. GGR at one point says:                
... the Sítio, in my opinion, is getting poorer. And the comparison between the two inventories, in my opinion, proves it.
How can a university professor think that a comparison between inventories, even if completed, proves that there are more or fewer objects anywhere? Anyone with common sense knows that inventories do not prove the existence, or inexistence, of anything.
GGR visited the Sítio during a couple of hours in 1997 and till the publication of his book he did not bother to go back there to find out if what he wrote was true.
His contempt for reality – individual specimens planted in the Sítio – is such that he allows himself to accuse based solely on the comparison of lists – mere words written on papers – which, in addition to being incomplete, are liable to errors of identification, location, updating, etc.
Even if I was a crazy dendroclast eager to destroy, I could not eliminate from the Sítio the species that GGR wants to put on my account. I must say that, on the contrary, the collection of palm trees was added, during my time, of the following species: Metroxylon warburgii, Archontophoenix maxima, Astrocayum alatum, Bactris militaris, Bentinckia nicobarica, Brahea armata, Carpoxylon macrospermum, Caryota no, Dypsis onilahensis, Beccariophoenix madagascariensis, Borassus aethiopum, Borassus flabelifer, Hyophorbe indica, Johannesteijmannia altifrons, Kerriodoxa elegans, Latania loddigesii, Livistona decora, Livistona mariae, Prestoea nudigera, Ptychosperma caryotoides, Raphis multifida, Ravenea hildebrandtii, Siphokentia beguinii, Thrinax radiata, Trachycarpus wagnerianus, Wallichia densiflora etc..
This addition occurred, not because we were committed to it, but by contributions that we were not capable to refuse, in memory of Roberto who would never reject so valuable and new items for his collection.
Other botanical families also had additions. After the donation, Roberto acquired a farm of perhaps about 50,000 m², adjacent to the Sítio, to continue exercising his profession, because he never ceased to design and execute gardens commercially as Haru's partner in Burle Marx & Cia. Ltda.
In this farm there were some plants, newly introduced by him, that were already being used in projects and that, therefore, had no reason to be absent from the collection of the Sítio. So, the fantastic Polyaltia longifolia, Bombax malabaricum, Clerodendron quadriloculare, Ludwigia sedioides etc., after understandings with the mentioned firm, were added to the Sítio's collection.

3. Nomenclature.
Surprisingly, GGR got in trouble with the names I gave to the polygons in which the Sítio was divided!
In creating a base on which we could work, we developed several thematic maps. One of them divided the Sítio into squares of 50m aside, another according to the slope, another according to the insolation and so on, following the lessons of McHarg, in several different themes that, combined in ad hoc made applications, assist in the management of that precious heritage.
The thematic map of polygons, in which the land was divided according to naked eye recognizable features, would not be so useful without names to which we, who took care of the collection – gardeners, guards, guides, technicians and director – could refer. Knowing the names of the polygons saved us the insane work of having to show photos, indicate in maps or go to the site in person. Therefore, these names are anything that helps us in the conservation, maintenance, protection, supervision etc. All we needed was a common language.
The names chosen for the polygons delimited on this map were, first, those that already existed, such as Carrasqueira, Largo do Cascalho, Santa Luzia, Casa de Pedra, Barracão etc.. These were names used by Roberto and everyone on the Sítio. Next come the names that Roberto created, such as Sombral Graziela Barroso, Sombral Margaret Mee, Pérgola da Flor de Jade etc.. Finally, the ones we had to invent quickly and that we went on assimilating. The reason was eminently practical, functional and internal.
Following Roberto's example, we associated each of the greenhouse-polygons to names of people he revered, had friendship or worked for the improvement of the Sítio. But there was never any intention to officiate anything, do inauguration ceremonies or things like that.
In regard for the other polygons, their names relate to something that the place evoked, without much concern. If GGR couldn't see the relationship, he could just ask me. Instead, to criticize some names he made historical, etymological, anthropological and even psychological considerations, but he reaches the maximum when referring to the polygon entitled Cenário de Montezuma, saying that the Aztec chief has nothing to do with the Sítio:
For example, what does Roberto Burle Marx's Sítio have to do with giving a part of it the name Montezuma Scenery? Nothing at all! The area attributed to this place, from where a beautiful panorama is observed, has nothing to do with one of the two Aztec emperors who had the name Montezuma and who reigned over Mexico, the first at the turn of the fifteenth century and  the second in the first twenty years of the following century. Even Montezuma's original etymology doesn't help to understand why that name was chosen for this Sítio. In fact, Montezuma, in the Aztec language Motecuhzoma, means "the one who becomes boss with anger". The chosen place has nothing to with "anger"!  It is, therefore, an absolute arbitrium, a freedom that the director of the Sítio took without anyone authorizing! Or, subconsciously, he thought about how much anger he put into becoming director of the Sítio, prevailing, yes, over other suitors for this post!
I clarify that Montezuma designates a genus of Malvaceae! The road that goes from the 50m quota towards the highest part of the Sítio has a side planted with several specimens of the beautiful tree called Montezuma speciosissima and the set situated in this polygon forms a green wall, sometimes flowery, which evokes a theatrical setting.

4. Appointment.
In the last sentence of the previous quote, GGR insinuates that I may have forced my appointment to be director, stepping over the ambitions of others! Nothing farther from the truth!
This is what happened: in 1994, soon after the death of Roberto, the president of IPHAN at the time, the architect Glauco Campello, decided to call José Tabacow, Roberto's former partner, to the position.
As for me, in 1985, after completing my participation in the work that the donation of the Sítio to the PróMemória Foundation (today IPHAN) involved – meetings, consultations with lawyers, drafting of the statutes, creation of the entity called SRBM etc. – I moved away from the "train of joy" formed by the distribution of jobs in the newly created entity. Only in 1995, more than a year after Roberto's death, I was surprised by the invitation made by José Tabacow, after he offered the position to other people who did not accept the responsibility.
So, I didn't need any anger, much less a “montezumian” one. I was called, perhaps, by the merits that no one less than Roberto himself saw in me, as documented in an interview granted to Guilherme Mazza Dourado, published in Revista Projeto nº 146 of October 1991:
Landscape design is a relatively new profession, in which much is being experienced. I'm always interested in any job well done. I have friends who are doing gardens very well. Several people who have been in my atelier are working, such as Chacel, Leandro Silva Delgado, from Uruguay, who makes gardens optimally; there is a top-quality artist in Colombia, Leiva, who knows the profession well. For these I have admiration, because they know and seek to do in the best possible way. Robério, who worked with me, knows very well the problems related to the garden. I think I've already left some seeds, which will sprout and complete many ideas that I may not have been able to accomplish.
It should mentioned that, with reference to landscape design, few of his disciples were documentedly praised by Roberto. I had stopped working with him in 1981 and this discourages anyone who wishes to insinuate that the compliment was not spontaneous.

5. The case of the fig tree.
GGR decided to criticize a short article I wrote for laypeople, in a series entitled Estrelas do Sítio Burle Marx (Stars of the Sítio Burle Marx) and which can be accessed in STARS
The article deals with a monumental fig tree – Ficus mysorensis, var. pubescens – which is in a place of great exposure, central in the SRBM. This tree has spectacular roots, but they were invisible, covered by a climbing aracea, quite common in Rio de Janeiro, called Syngonium podophyllum (pé-de-galinha). The removal of the vine corrected the concealment of the formidable roots.
Roberto, in his practice, taught us landscape design principles and some of them were fundamental, although they seem primary as: do not show what is ugly and do not hide what is beautiful. I do not know if GGR is aware of these principles because he argues that the roots of the monumental fig tree should remain covered by the pé-de-galinha. His main argument is that otherwise the fig tree could die! I.e.: he prefers to hide the roots than to expose the tree to a risk that exists in his mind.
There are many mistakes in that.
Someone who claims to be an expert in landscape design, before criticizing, should base his opinions with some objective fact, happened in the history of the world, the reference of some fig tree, or any tree at all, dead by the removal of a vine that climbed his trunk. But GGR opts for the rhetorical and demagogic ecologism that plagues humanity today. I assure, however, that it is easier for the pé-de-galinha to kill the fig tree by producing a pathogen-friendly microenvironment than the huge tree to die by getting rid of a creeper that nothing good causes to it. In this regard, Dr. Jorge Pedro Pereira Carauta – who was perhaps the greatest specialist in fig trees in Brazil – says in his doctoral thesis, entitled  Ficus (Moraceae) in Brazil: Conservation and Taxonomy, defended at Mackenzie University, São Paulo, in 1988, and published in the journal Albertoa, 1989, Vol. 2, pag. 319:
As parenthesis, it is appropriate to mention the largest pest of fig trees in cultivation in parks and urbanized areas: the poor habit of planting Araceae at the base, as "ornamentation" of the stem. This causes several problems, starting with the fact of hiding the most important characteristic of the species, which is its sculptural trunk. A tree that could live more than 100 years will die around 10 years, from the moment the Aracea was planted.... The death of the fig tree is caused by the fact that these Araceae have a very rapid growth and cause the rotting of the surface of the stem and also attract termites and other predatory insects that, starting their nests in the tissues of the roots, end up attacking the stem killing or causing diseases in the tree. The fig tree loses all ornamental beauty, even more so that the leaves and branches of the Aracea drown out the sprouting of the branches and accelerate the death of the hostess.
GGR still accuses Roberto (who in his last times had serious problems of sight) of seeing this plague and let it develop. He also defends the aides who, even seeing everything clearly, did nothing. To top it off, he also praises them, calling them "attentive and respectful of Roberto Burle Marx's desire".
In this item GGR incurs in a serious error – quite common today – that of privileging not Ecology, but a mushy ecologism to the detriment of Landscape Design and, therefore, of not understanding Roberto's legacy.
GGR considered that removing a dangerous hemi-epiphyte from an important tree is an attack on ecology!
However, ecological problems are not corrected with landscape design, but with awareness, legislation, guidelines, supervision and education.
Roberto's explicit actions in defense of ecology were exhausted in his conferences, writings and protests in the media. Therefore, there have never been ecological experiences at the Sítio. On the contrary, many ecologists saw with reserves the removal of plants from the natural habitat that Roberto practiced. He was criticized in this respect, although this would lead, in many cases, to perhaps the rescue of botanical species from extinction. In any case, it was not the landscape designer, but the man Roberto Burle Marx – a public character – who played an invaluable role in the defense of the environment.
Let no one get confused: Roberto has never deluded himself to the point of thinking that a garden or park could correct ecologically anything. Parks and gardens are spots upon the Earth, while ecology deals with vast areas such as the cerrado, the caatinga, the rain forest. The ecological influence that a landscape designer can exert is indirect and this is how the landscape designer RBM influenced legions, not creating "ecologically correct" gardens.
Explaining in a simple way: by contacting nature ordered by man and for man the ordinary citizen feels good, begins to like plants and, as a consequence, the probability of continuing to pollute and devastate the environment is reduced.
Roberto always told us that it was necessary to know the natural associations of plants, but not to make servile copies of nature. That's why he didn't hesitate to use exotic trees in his projects. That’s why the percentage of native plants in the Sítio’s collection is below 70%. That's why the landscape design of the Copacabana promenade has only two native species. That’s, still, why one of the gardens that most made his fame was the Euclides da Cunha Square, in Recife, where he recreated a caatinga in the middle of the urban region, situated in an Atlantic forest, privileging symbolic and aesthetic values, although strictly antiecological.
The easy discourse of an emotional  environmentalism conveyed by the big media is a fashion to which lay people adhere without reasoning, but this is not expected of someone that intends to teach landscape design and, moreover, that imagines himself able to criticize with property someone who worked 11 years in projects with Roberto, was part of his team in many botanical excursions and who was advised in the SRBM management by an  attentive council composed of  botanists of the caliber of Luiz Emygdio de Melo Filho and Nanuza Luiza de Menezes, as well as by the landscape architects Fernando Chacel and José Tabacow and other prominent people in the arts – Antonio Gabriel de Paula Fonseca – and in urbanism – Augusto Ivan de Freitas Pinheiro.
There is a common type among Roberto's admirers: the one who worships him, without understanding his message. Such people tend to supply this lack with idolatry and prefer to see the Sítio, not as a place for experiments in landscape design, as Roberto defined it, but as a temple of exaltation to his personality. They imagine that Roberto donated his Sítio for this, because it is perhaps what they would have done in his place, or rather, for this type of person it is inconceivable to donate a Sítio for another purpose than the cult of one's own memory. But this certainly was not the reason for the donation. Roberto was much greater than this. He was distressed by thinking that the landscape principles he acquired and established in a life of continuous work could be lost. That is why his main legacy is about the transmission of his how-to-make-gardens knowledge.
GGR is included in the type of admirer that, not understanding the message, chose the way to act as a defender of the Sítio, repeating cliché phrases, such as those proposed in house and garden magazines. In his effort, GGR disserves the cause he thinks he is defending. No wonder, because in favor of the mediocre goals he can imagine to attribute to his idol, he despises Roberto's explicit orientations. GGR is far from understand that to maintain culture it is necessary to assimilate and retransmit it. And in the present case, this will not be achieved by doing the impossible task that GGR intends: to immobilize nature in the Sítio Roberto Burle Marx.
Apropos, I transcribe an excerpt from an article of mine, accessible in full in HERITAGE  .
The only assets that can be kept fixed, in the case of the natural, botanical and landscape design collections of the Sítio Roberto Burle Marx, are immaterial or intangible: the principles of landscape composition adopted and established by Roberto, his contribution to botanical science, the aesthetic appreciation of the flora that exists in our latitudes and the testimony of his immense love for plants and life. The fleeting materialization of these patrimonies in each successive aspect of the vegetation that constitutes the landscape of the Sítio needs to be constantly updated, i.e., rediscovered when lost, to ensure its expression in face of the changes imposed by time. And the active maintenance of this expression, based on the principles that presided over its genesis, and were achieved throughout its development, is the only way these assets may continue to exist. 
6. Visual impairment.
Contesting the lack of the sense of vision that Roberto suffered, in his last years for distances greater than 10m, GGR offers a personal testimony originated during a visit that both made to a garden of Roberto himself: "He saw everything! He knew where each plant was!". Well, this “proof” is equivalent to that which someone, denying Beethoven's deafness, could claim: "He knew the passages of each instrument in the Ninth Symphony!"

7. Popular names.
GGR points out an error in a popular name:
There's a mistake in this quote. It is not the beautiful Syngonium podophyllum that in Brazil is called crow's foot, but Eleusine indica.
Each plant has a single scientific name. This cannot be said in relation to popular names, as there may be several for the same plant, as well as the same for several plants. Such names vary by state, city and even neighborhoods. This is the case of the crow's foot which in Guaratiba designates the Araceae of the genus Syngonium. Not even the most experienced botanists, because they know that it is impossible to know the popular names of each place, enter into discussions of this type. In fact, that's why a scientific nomenclature was created.

8. Amazon Expedition.
GGR slanders me by saying that I lied about my participation in the botanical expedition that Roberto undertook with a team to the Amazon. To make worse the abominable image he tries to create for me, he claims, that I attribute myself to merits that I don't have. But what elements did GGR use to come up with that statement? He writes:
One of the most important expeditions in the forests of Brazil, Roberto Burle Marx carried it out in 1983, from September 27 to November 17. For this expedition there is a preliminary and important clarification to be made. In fact, says the current director the of Sítio: "José Tabacow had the idea to remake von Martius' journey and invited me to participate." Wrong! On page two of the publication with the results of the expedition are the names of all participants of the expedition, including that of José Tabacow, but there is no that of Mr. Robério Dias. Perhaps Mr. Robério Dias ignores that there is an official document of the expedition, a kind of logbook, and this led him to make the statement that we have previously reported with what is a self-attributed "merit" that he does not have, because his presence in the expedition simply did not exist. Mr. Robério Dias therefore publishes in his blog completely inaccurate and unfounded news.
Let us examine in detail the quantity and quality of the errors contained in this accusation:
·                GGR considers that the fact that I claim to have been invited to an excursion is equivalent to the statement that I participated in it! Where is the logic of this deduction? We are facing a statement worthy of a functional illiterate – the one who reads, does not understand what he read and attributes to it the meaning he was expecting to read.
·                There is no mistake in what I said. In fact, I was invited to the Amazon expedition and even participated in the preliminary meetings, but I gave up going and never stated, nor would I have reasons to, that I went to the Amazon on Roberto's expedition.
·                The expedition to which I refer in the excerpt cited by GGR is the Von Martius Expedition, carried out in 1985. The participants were José Tabacow, Gustavo Martinelli, Cynthia Chamas, Luiz Cancio, Laura Mourão and me. We followed the same path taken in July 1817 by the great German naturalist, between Araçuaí and Januária, on a route of about 650km, totally in the interior of the state of Minas Gerais, documenting the local flora and environmental changes that happened since then. The results were presented in an exhibition, in 1986, at the Paço Imperial (house of culture belonging to IPHAN). Although, at first, it had nothing to do with Roberto, this expedition gave rise to the donation of the Sítio to the ProMemória Foundation, as reported in DONATION 
·                GGR confuses two expeditions so different in dates, routes, participants and objectives, that it is up to us to doubt: was he “absent minded” enough to merely confuse them, or just pretended he had taken one for the other, hoping that no one would notice his artifice? Tertium non datur.


·                GGR insinuates that because I did not know that there is an official document listing the participants of the amazon expedition, I lied to gain prestige. This shows that GGR evaluates me according to his own moral stature.
9. Inconvenience of a thesis about the Sítio.
GGR tries to create an ethical law to condemn me by the theme I choose for my thesis. Here's what he says in his book:
In fact, Mr. Robério Dias elaborated, in January 2008, a doctoral thesis in Geography presenting a thesis on the Sítio!
Great elegance of behavior!
If, when I was PhD coordinator in Landscape Project, I had been introduced to a doctoral student who intended to "explore" his eventual place of work to do the thesis, I would have without a doubt vigorously dissuaded him!
A minimum of "elegance", not to say "ethics", it is necessary that there is always in the university world, especially in coping with this main step – the doctorate – which can open any paths subsequent to teaching. This was not the case with the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Departamento de Geografia, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Geografia.
The question that this case demands is: how can someone, who has no notion of ethics, attempt to create ethical laws? Paradoxically, it seems that only this type of person allows himself such ambitions. The phantasmagoria, which GGR tries to implant en passant in the real world, has no conditions of existence, otherwise there would be a remarkable academic impoverishment. And he tries to do it without a single argument, as if it was something established and notorious!
There are numerous examples of excellent theses made about various entities, by people who worked in these same entities. And often among the people who run institutions are the ones that know them better. On the subject, I took the testimony of an emeritus professor of UFRJ, Dr. B. Ernani Diaz, professor in structural calculus, former mayor of the University City:


The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and other Brazilian universities promote and encourage the creation of theses on various technical, cultural, artistic subjects, etc., based on experiences lived by students already trained in extracurricular activities. These theses acquire importance to the professional activities in general, because students who have previous experience are more able to develop previously treated topics. In the professional activities, the proposed thesis themes cannot be developed completely and with definitive results. But in the subsequent research, students are able to develop the topics already known, deepen the subject problems, carry out on the research and then write the thesis that serves to record the research done academically. These studies are done under the guidance of teachers who generally have another type of knowledge capable of encouraging students to develop the proposed themes.
Everyone wins with this practice: the country with the research carried out on the thesis subject, the training of the doctoral student and the increase of the technical, artistic or cultural knowledge of the advisor.
On the other hand, it should be commented that performing academic work in the workplace is a procedure common in Brazil. Starting with the Brazilian university itself, where theses of professionals employed at the university are prepared in their workplaces and where special studies are performed by contract for firms outside the university.
In other cases, professional university employees develop academic research topics while working at the university on the same thesis theme. In civil engineering are known cases of doctoral candidates who develop common themes, carried out at project firms, while still working in the same firm.
In some cases, the very firm, where the student works, promotes the preparation of the doctoral thesis. There are even in UFRJ the so-called professional postgraduate courses, where the focus is to develop professional themes of a more practical character than theses of a more academic and theoretical character.
So, there's nothing inelegant about it, much less a lack of ethics.
It should be noted that GGR tries to invent an absurd ethical law, applicable to me, but does not follow, himself, the existing ethical laws that everyone knows, such as not speaking ill behind the back, not slandering, not accusing without evidence, not making a reckless judgment  and not giving false testimony.
GGR once again privileges what is less important over the most important. Instead of worrying about "elegance" and etiquette superstitions, that only exist in his mind, he should stick to the essence of a thesis and pay attention to the fact that it does not matter where the doctoral student works, but the knowledge that a thesis provides.
Later, within the same thesis subject, he insinuates other improprieties, relying on biased interpretations of information collected on the Internet. He even suggests that the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, by its Department of Post-Graduation Studies in Geography, is involved in a fraud involving funding. GGR sees no ethic limitations for his vendetta.
My thesis proposes the application of modern GIS (Geographic Information System) tools for the management of an area of landscape design heritage. There I show how such digital resources can be used in various ways. It is an innovative matter and the place where I could test it in practice, by chance is the Sítio Roberto Burle Marx. What can be objectionable about this? Only in the head of a person  more concerned with labels and gossips than with the real benefits that may come from such a thesis, especially being about a subject hitherto insufficiently established as is the preservation of parks and gardens protected as cultural heritage.

10. Evaluation of management actions at the SRBM.
In my thesis I present a way to justify the actions of maintenance of the Sítio, quantifying each action under eight different approaches. Let us use an example already mentioned in item 5 of these comments – that of removing the pé-de-galinha from the fig tree.
To eradicate the harmful vine, 8 forms of evaluation were observed, according to the following aspects or axes: botanical, ecological, aesthetic, horticulturist, experimental, economic, educational and institutional.
Anyone who wants details about each axis can download my thesis by clicking on THESIS and read item 3.5.
GGR in his book condemns the removal of the vine based on a single approach – the ecological – and does it in the wrong way, because ecology does not advocate for the association of plants from continents as different as America (Syngonium podophyllum) and Asia (Ficus mysorensis). But, reasoning for the absurd, let's imagine that ecologically it would be more appropriate to keep the Syngonium climbing the fig tree. Still, it would not be advisable, because the damages that jump to the eye when we evaluate the issue by the other aspects leave no doubt that it was necessary to take the Aracea out:
·       In botanical terms, there are many specimens of Syngonium podophyllum in several other parts of the Sítio, so, there was no impoverishment of our collection.
·       In aesthetic terms, no discussion, because the fig tree, after its roots were on display, became perhaps the most photographed plant of the Sítio.
Even if it is true that beauty is in the eyes of those who see it, it is possible to extract some objectivity from this fact by counting how many people have praised a particular thing or being.
GGR, by the news we have so far, is the only person in the history of mankind who referred to the Syngonium as "bellissimo" (beautiful).
·       In horticulturist terms, it is an indisputable mistake to risk one of the most important specimens, unique in the Sítio, to favor what, in this case, is a real pest.
·       Experimentally speaking, one cannot decide on the maintenance of the Syngonium, because among the experiences practiced in the Sítio there are not those of the type that aim to reinvent the wheel.
·       In economic terms it is necessary to consider the risk of a huge damage: that the Syngonium killed the fig tree, as already warned with emphasis by Dr. Carauta.
·       In educational terms, it is not appropriate to carry on a diseducational message, as was the punctual situation before the removal of the Syngonium.
·       Finally, with regard to the institutional missions of the SRBM (see my thesis, item 3.5.8), the removal of the Syngonium agrees with at least 50% of them, while its maintenance, hiding and endangering the fig tree, does not agree with any.
GGR calls this multiple evaluation method, proposed by me, as "naïve" and "banal", but he does not explain why, i.e., as he had no arguments, he resorted to insults.
We know that evaluations tend to be ultimately subjective – and that's how they are done today, if not in all, in the vast majority of the world's gardens –, but the form presented in my thesis minimizes the negative side of this trend and makes judgment as objective as possible. Listing and requiring evaluations by different approaches decreases the likelihood of incurring in errors such, as the one done by GGR when defending the maintenance of a pest that could be fatal to an important tree.
It is said that the worst blind is the one who does not want to see, but this definitely does not apply to GGR in relation to my thesis. He really did not understand it. Otherwise, he would not state this in his book:
That's why what Mr. Robério Dias says about the suitability of what was done on the Sítio from 2001 to 2007 is false! A quick examination of the processing I did in the original data [of his thesis], and which I summed up in two documents, indicates, that almost none of the types of actions performed on the Sítio presented negative results!
But what did GGR expect? It is obvious that the actions evaluated negatively have not been undertaken! It would be crazy to conclude that an action should not be done and still perform it. It is also obvious that actions that have not been done are not included in the list of the actions that have been done! Or did GGR expect us to list what we did and what we avoided doing? This would be as useful as making an inventory that included both existing plants and those that do not exist on the Sítio!
It becomes clear, after this supremely illogical deduction of GGR, that this fellow, who pretends to be a critic, does not know how to think, or at least is unable to reason clearly!
But GGR doesn't stop! Further on he is shocked by another conclusion of his "brilliant intelligence":
Almost everything that was done increased, therefore, the value of the subsequent situation! The Sítio even changed the value of the subsequent situation, compared to the previous situation, by more than sixty percent!
In other words, he thinks that the sum of the percentages of changes in some parts of a whole equals the change percentage of the whole!
Is it admissible for a university professor this way of reasoning? I believe that nowhere in the world! Even for primary school gymnastic teachers, a minimum of arithmetic notions is required.

11. Criticism of my proposals
GGR in his book seeks to discredit the proposals that I present, in my thesis, for the fruition of the great SRBM’s potential still unknown to the public. And he does not hide his ill will when analyzing them.
·       Chairlift. GGR is against. He states a direction for the public visitation, saying that the Sítio should be seen bottom up, that is, in the opposite direction to what a chairlift would permit. But, when Roberto was alive, there was no public visitation to the Sítio. His guests for the sumptuous Sunday lunches – which until 1994 constituted approximately 99% of the total visitors – went in their cars straight to his house, which is at the level 30m. After lunch they were all going to visit some part or plants which Roberto was interested in showing. Nothing beyond that. So, to speak about an established sense of "reading" the Sítio makes no sense at all.
The proposal for a chairlift aims to show parts of the Sítio, that deserve much to be known, but are still hidden from the public. I would even say that they are unmissable, if they were not almost inaccessible, at 120m altitude - the equivalent of a 40 floors building. 
But how to take the visitors there without creating a vehicle traffic that would be totally incompatible with the Florence letter?
The solution came to me inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum, where visitors are allowed to go to the top floor by elevator and to descend on a gentle slope while enjoying the art works till the entrance level. We already had the most expensive part of the elements needed for so much: the slope and the art works. All that was missing was the elevator. Translating: the slope is the solid road built by Roberto's brother, Guilherme Siegfried Marx; the art works are the incredible plants and the brilliant compositions that Roberto spread along the road; the elevator, in this case, would be the chairlift. This would have one more function, besides that of the Guggenheim's elevator: to show the breathtaking view that unfolds from the Sepetiba bay - an almost unprecedented vision!
One more advantage: take out from the Sítio the parking lot that hardly holds the cars of an increasing number of visitors. The initial station of the chairlift would be on the other side of the road, in an independent lot, where there is plenty of space.
·       New Greenhouses (Sombrais). GGR condemns my design for optimization of the greenhouses:
It seems to me that such a structure, however responsive to some of Sítio's needs, is quite out of scale and, for that reason, out of place. It alters, and in a decisive measure, the internal conditions of the lower area of Sítio, significantly modifies the view of this area from the main house - making it very visible, while it is now, from this observation point, almost hidden by vegetation.
As for being "out of scale", there can be no opinion more subjective than such an assertion. I say it's not out of scale, so what?
Raising by 3.5m the height of a cover which has 14,000m² is, in physical terms, almost imperceptible. GGR stands as an arbitrator and, once again, uses only one approach – in this case, the aesthetic – to evaluate the proposition. But there are many other approaches that should be considered. Those who want to know the reasons and justifications for the reform of the Sítio's greenhouses, may click on GREENHOUSES .
As for modifying "significantly the view of this area from the main house", this would not happen, because any views between house and greenhouses are blocked by the trees between the two structures. With this statement, GGR makes clear that does not know the Sítio. He might have visited it very few times. As we have said, from the 1997 visit to the date I stopped being a director, December 2011, he was there not even once.

12. The destruction of the Sítio
Throughout his book GGR refers negatively to the aspect of the Sítio many times. He says that the Sítio is "excessively clean" and "with a general feeling of neglection" (!?), that "it is so mistreated", that there are "repeated and clumsy attempts to make the Sítio look more and more like a playground", that it is getting poorer and that it goes through a "devastation", that suffers "a massacre made with general disinterest", that "radical and destructive changes are taking place in the Sítio" etc. etc. etc. etc.
GGR's opinion is in opposition to that of many people and entities:
·        IPHAN technicians. On several occasions I have had favorable evaluations throughout the lawsuit that was anonymously moved against me.
·        Michelin Guide. The first time the world's most famous tourist guide visited somewhere outside Europe and North America, only 19 places across the state of Rio de Janeiro received the maximum of 3 stars, including the SRBM. MICHELIN 
·        Visitors. The Sítio's quotation, according to the spontaneous evaluation of visitors on Google Business, for many years has maintained an average of 4.8 in a maximum of 5.
·        UNESCO delegation. On December 9, 2009, a UNESCO delegation visited the Sítio and the reaction of the technicians was very favorable to its inclusion in the Cultural Heritage of Humanity – a process that is being completed in 2020.
·        On April 1, 2010, UNESCO's assistant general director for culture, Francesco Bandarin, visited the Sítio and made a point of photographing and being photographed next to the roots of the fig tree in question in item 5.
·        On August 23, 2011, the landscape architect Petra Blaisse and the architect Rem Koolhas  visited the Sítio and were pleased with what they saw.
·        In 2009, architect Daniel Liebeskind interrupted his visit to go and pick up his daughter from the hotel, because he considered essential that she saw the Sítio as well.
·        Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. I do not have in hands the visitors’ book of the Sítio that is full of praise. But the list is long.
This means that, from a lay audience to some big international names, the overwhelming majority approved the measures I took during my tenure. It would be the case to contrast these views with that of GGR.
Let's examine whether GGR knows what landscape design is. In his book he states:
The work of the landscape designer is, or should be, always a delicate operation that aims to deepen the deep character of the places, not a surgery operation, which even intending to be aesthetic surgery is still surgery! Everything is used to justify someone's behavior. In fact, the reference to Michelangelo Buonarroti serves Mr. Robério Dias to affirm that pruning, transplants and eradication, which alter the physical condition of the entities and their spatial perception, are necessary all the time.True, but does it not cross the mind of Mr. Robério Dias that "transplants", "eradication" and reasons of "spatial perception" etc., are all operations that the designer does and not the administrator? When Roberto Burle Marx did these operations, of course, none of us had anything to oppose. But Mr. Robério Dias was put in charge of the Sítio, not to its redesign, he must preserve the Sítio, not transform it!
Right in the first sentence GGR disqualifies, at least, Andrè le Notre, Capability Brown and Roberto Burle Marx! What were the reasons GGR found to think that Versailles, Blenheim Park and Aterro do Flamengo were the result of  "delicate operations"? GGR does not even admit an "aesthetic surgery" and thus becomes a champion of landscape delicacy.
Further on, he confuses landscape design with architectural procedures, recommending, in other words, that the Sítio's administrator should keep nature immobilized. He forgets that plants are born, grow, multiply and die, modifying microclimates, hiding views, killing each other etc. etc. etc. He seems to ignore that, in view of these changes, it is necessary to decide at each moment what to do and that, in the absence of the author of the project, someone has to do it, preferably based on the same landscape design principles that the author of the project adopted.
As for the principle attributed by GGR to Roberto, that "a garden is beautiful when it is not very maintained", I do not recognize this statement as authentic from Burle Marx. There is nothing similar in any other interview, conference, document or documentary that I am aware of. Much less Roberto's practice corroborates it. Every time he had guests, he made sure everything was very well kept. And he was very demanding about it. The same with respect to the projects of his own. He was happy to see them well maintained and very upset if they weren't. This alleged statement, made exclusively in a GGR interview, is therefore very suspicious.
Later on you can read in the book of GGR:
In fact, Mr. Robério Dias recalls that Roberto Burle Marx loved to repeat that "the garden is nature ordained by man and for man." I'm sure Roberto Burle Marx said that! He said that to the gardens, not the Sítio! It did not occur to the current director of the Sítio, when writing what he reported, that Roberto Burle Marx also said that he, who had designed so many gardens, did not have one for himself! And in saying this he was referring to the Sítio, which, in Roberto Burle Marx's head was not a garden, it was something different and more, it was an outdoor laboratory!
And what would be the experiments practiced in this outdoor laboratory? Something about the cure of cancer? Cold fusion? No, none of that, but it seems that GGR must be thinking of something like that. 
Someone needs to warn him that Roberto's experiments on his Sítio were all about gardens! 
And the experiments may be divided into two types:
·                The adaptation of the plants selected in nature by their landscape potential, which were brought from other ecosystems, on excursions. The indicator of success in this type of experiment was not to get the plant to survive the change of habitat, but its multiplication in the Sítio, that is, the plant was considered acclimated when it could reproduce.
·                After the success in the first type of experiment was verified, the multiplied plants were used in association with others, in an aesthetic essay  that also aimed to unburden the greenhouses, test them elsewhere in the Sítio and maximize the probability of not losing them, planting them in more than one place.
It was only after this double trial period that Roberto used to include them in projects. He considered this function the most important of the Sítio, as he defined it: "The Sítio is my place of experiments in Landscaping".
In view of the above, it becomes evident once again that the maintenance of the Sítio cannot be that of an immobilized garden, as recommended by GGR, because many plants of the greenhouses are still in the experimental situation of the first type and we may consider that all the others are in the second. This second type only ends if the experiment fails, i.e., while the plant is functioning well, it remains observed, as some of its characteristics may be revealed many years after been planted. Examples: Hibiscus tiliaceus,  Bauhinia blakeana  etc.
GGR contradicts on its own terms, because a true maintenance of the Sítio cannot be superficial as he wishes - one that conserves just the appearance -, even if this was possible. Preserving Roberto's legacy includes actively recognizing its most important function, the one that made the Sítio unique and was the mechanism of its constitution, the motor of its development and reason for its existence.

13. Pruning – a scarecrow created by GGR
In discussions there is a fallacious technique usually employed by those who do not praise intellectual honesty. It is the so-called Scarecrow Technique: it consists in staging, in plain sight and with all possible vehemence, the destruction of a necessarily indefensible argument, ad hoc constructed and falsely attributed to his opponent. With that, the “wise guy” hopes to forge, in the most inattentive people, the impression that if he is right at that point, he must be also right in the rest.
That is exactly what GGR tries to do by assigning to me the mania of pruning vegetation. But in fact, all those who learned from Roberto are totally opposed to this practice for the misplaced motives that GGR presents in his book. Pruning on the Sítio was done only when indicated by our phytopathologist or, in the case of vines, when they extended beyond the desirable limits.

14. Future.
With regard to the visit of the Portuguese billionaire Joe Berardo and a possible sponsorship for the creation of Roberto Burle Marx Park, in front of the Sítio, GGR triggers an unnecessary alarm. He says the intention of the interested party was to take over the whole Sítio, deceiving us all. However, the Sítio is an entity listed by federal and state heritage and therefore could never be sold or transferred. The mere assumption that IPHAN could be deceived implies considering it an inept institution.
The idea was restricted to a partnership for the creation of a park, in an area of 400,000 m² independent of the Sítio, nothing more. A preliminary study, accompanied by the description and justifications, of the Roberto Burle Marx Park can be seen in PARK

15. Lawsuit.
GGR scavenged the lawsuit in which I was declared innocent. At this point he shows he wants not only to point out errors in my management and thesis, but that he hates me to the point of trying to destroy me professionally.
The great English landscape designer Humphry Repton said: "The art of landscape gardening is the only art which everyone professes to understand, and even to practice, without having studied its rudiments." True, there is never a shortage of laypeople to criticize any park or garden project.
And when the subject is a protected garden, it is difficult, for those who consider themselves cultural heritage experts, to give up trying to apply in it the procedures established for static works of art and architecture. The peculiar dynamics of life, when declared worthy of conservation for posterity, becomes too complex for such critics and, probably because of mental laziness, instead of working new concepts, they prefer to use those they already possess, even if they don't work in this new environment. I believe that this is the cornerstone on which the case against me has been triggered.
Other vectors concurred, one of which has already been mentioned, that of the dissatisfaction provoked in some by the donation Roberto did of the Sítio to PróMemória (now IPHAN).
One more: the environmental hysteria that prohibits the removal of trees, even if they are clandestine and are soiling a protected garden where they were born spontaneously and no one took the responsibility of eradicating them early on, when they were still small plants.
This combination of vectors, coupled with the sensationalism of a press that is always thirsting for scandals, can cause a lot of annoyance in someone who is conscientiously caring for an area in these conditions.
Making the truth finally prevail was laborious. During the 16 years I remained director, there were frequent unfounded complaints, reports that demanded response, attendance to the Public Prosecutor's Office, justifications to justice, all this to distract me from my mission – the maintenance of the botanical and landscape cultural heritage of the SRBM.
Finally, justice was done, and the result was good.
It could be better if, after the lawsuit, a discussion about the concepts I proposed to comprehend and classify the Cultural Heritage had taken place within IPHAN.
Aiming to remedy the lack of consensus on the subject, I did investigate the confusion and concluded that the root of all errors lies in the classification of cultural assets, falsely based on the material/immaterial dichotomy.
The need to work without great upsets moved me toward a model that would prevent future lawsuits and include, unlike the current one, landscape design assets. I think my model solves these issues once and for all. See it at MODEL .
But, getting back to the subject, GGR even published in his book the entire chronology of my process – which I had never seen myself – but he would not need to touch on this already resolved subject if he was only concerned with the Sítio.

16. Conclusion.
GGR sees nothing positive in the transformation that the Sítio had to undergo by no longer being a private property and becoming a place of public visitation that is on the eve of becoming a Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Instead, only angry, dishonest and poorly worded criticism.
From what he writes, we discovered that he does not know the Sítio, does not understand what Roberto did and does not even know what landscape design is.
We conclude that, contrary to the impression he wants to produce, GGR is not a defender of the Sítio, but someone who wants to embellish himself above any scruples.

Much more could be said, but within the powers of a blog in a time of pandemia, I hope GGR is sufficiently unmasked.

P.S.