The Maldives is endowed with blue seas, green forests and rich island vegetation of which every Maldivian is proud. These forests and trees are used by the islanders primarily as a source of timber but also for medicinal and culinary purposes amongst many others. For their effective conservation and sustainable management it is essential for relevant information on the identity, ecology and use of each species to be catalogued and disseminated. The 'Forestry programme for early rehabilitation in Asian tsunami effected countries', which is supported by the Government of Finland and coordinated by the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, took the initiative to publish this important book and we are sure it will be welcomed and used both by the people and residents of Maldives and by the many visitors the country receives each year.
The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific with funding from the Government of Finland, are particularly proud to have played a role in supporting production of this book and, more widely, to have provided support for the advancement of forestry and conservation in the Maldives. Recognition of the values of trees and forests and the environment is climbing the global agenda and through this publication we hope that awareness will be raised amongst Maldivians and others interested in studying the wide range of trees and shrubs present in this picturesque group of islands.
We would like to thank the author , Dr. Selvam Vaithilingam, for his meticulous and hard work and Dr. Ravishankar Thupalli, Chief Technical Advisor of the Maldivian component of the FAO Forestry tsunami programme, for his guidance and assistance in bringing this important book into being. Thanks are also due to Mr. Abdul Majeedh Mahir, Mr. Mohamed Naseem and Mr. Hussain Faisal of the Ministry of Fisheries, Agriculture and Marine Resources for their contribution.
This work is the first of its kind in Maldives and contains information on 100 species including broadleaves, mangroves, pandanus, palms and casuarinas. We believe this book, with its abundant and colorful pictures, will serve as a stimulus for Maldivian people and conservationists alike and will further promote the propagation and conservation of `Forests and Trees for a Green Maldives'.