· Albania   · Algeria · Bosnia and Herzegovina   · Brazil · Cameroun · Canada · China · Colombia · Costa Rica 
· Finland · Gabon · Ghana · Guyana · India · Ireland · México · Nepal ·Pacific Islands · Papua New Guinea 
Perú · Philippines · Portugal · Russian Federation · Senegal · South Africa · United Republic of Tanzania 
· United States of America · Viet Nam · Zimbabwe


The Albania Private Forestry Development Program (APFDP) is funded by the United States Agency for International Development and implemented by Chemonics International Inc. Based in Tirana, with its field activities extended over 15 districts, the project was initiated in 1995 and will be completed by April 2001.

APFDP is designed to increase Albanian rural household incomes, alleviate and ultimately reverse forest environmental degradation by encouraging and supporting the development of sustainable private forestry management on privately owned lands and on community, village and state-owned forests and pastures.

APFDP has now set up its own site where readers will find the on-line directory of Albanian enterprises dealing with medicinal herbs and spices, as well as a catalogue of willow products and furniture.

For more information, please contact:
Albania Private Forestry Development Program, PO Box 2417, Tirana, Albania.
Fax: +355 4 374675;
; or


NWFPs in the forest region of Yakouren
The forest region of Yakouren is distinguished potentially by many NWFPs, such as cork, game, herb products, mushrooms and honey.
Cork is the most important NWFP in the region. Since 1990, the annual average production has been 225.6 tonnes. The area harvested reached 2 550 ha (the total area of the Yakouren forest is 5 705 ha). A large part of this production is destined for export and the rest for local transformation. There are seven factories at the national level manufacturing products derived from cork, such as: bottle stoppers, engine joinery, parquet (flooring), decoration, roll-cork and shoe soles. The INRF-AZAZGA forest research station integrates various field activities - silviculture, site classification, cork quality - aimed at targeting the sustainable development of cork oak and maintaining a high production level of best-quality cork.

Acorns constitute an appreciable volume of cattle feed; unfortunately, the harvesting of these fruits has a negative influence on forest regeneration.

More than 54 mushroom species have been identified and their ecological distribution known. Most of the edible mushrooms that are harvested on a large scale grow on Quercus faginea in humid areas with a northern exposure.

One aspect that has emerged recently is the importance given to aromatic plants, such as Laurus nobilis, Myrthus communis, Thymus vulgaris and Lavandula stoechas, which are widely used in cooking or in the traditional treatment of diseases. Development of these NWFPs must be preceded by studies focusing on: inventory of the most useful species, ecological adaptation on large areas, economic profitability, and development techniques (regeneration, harvest, etc.) in accordance with sustainable forest management.

In addition, the roots of Erica arborea are used for briar pipe and ash pan manufacturing.

Other NWFPs that play an important role in the socio-economic life of the population are honey and beeswax. The quantities harvested around shrubs dominated by Arbutus unedo and Lavandula stoechas easily reach 15 litres per beehive, especially when the climate is favourable.

For more information, please contact:
Mr M. Ferrahi, Work Group on NWFP, Institut national de recherche forestière, INRF-Azazga Forest Research Station, BP 30, Yakouren 15365, Tizi-Ouzou, Algeria.
Fax: +213 3342945.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Citizens' association for medicinal and aromatic plants in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Association of Citizens for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants was established in June 2000. The citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina have a long tradition of collecting and processing different kinds of wild medicinal and aromatic plants; different kinds of tea, tinctures and essential oil have been made. In addition, there are very good climatic conditions for these plants in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The objectives of the association are to:

· protect wild medicinal and aromatic plants and other NWFPs from destruction;
educate collectors and producers of medicinal and aromatic plants;
establish connections between collectors and producers of medicinal and aromatic plants and companies which process these plants;
establish connections with similar associations; and
represent the interests of association members at the public and policy levels.

Association members are all those who have an interest in medicinal and aromatic plants or other NWFPs: collectors of wild growing plants, producers who cultivate different kinds of these plants, processing companies, etc.

Medicinal herbs in Republika Srpska
With regard to the collection and production of medicinal herbs in Republika Srpska, the conclusion was reached that the interests of the individuals engaged in any activity related to medicinal herbs could only be realized in an organized way. For that purpose, Republika Srpska Association for Medicinal Herbs was established in December 1999. The non-political, non-governmental and non-profit association is divided into two sections - one of medicinal herb collectors and the other of medicinal herb producers/growers.

The association's main tasks are:

· the development and promotion of the registration, preservation and collection of medicinal herbs;
the development and promotion of production, processing and trading of medicinal herbs;
to offer professional assistance to members in: purchasing raw materials and equipment, controlling the quality of medicinal herbs, trading with medicinal herbs, etc.; and
to encourage the development of the production of medicinal herbs in Republika Srpska.

One of the first projects is the education of collectors and producers of medicinal herbs, aimed at creating self-sustained and controlled harvests in a way that will generate income, without at the same time destabilizing the ecological balance of the environment.

Among members, the most frequently grown herb in the plantations is Matricaria chamomilla, which is produced in ecologically clean conditions, without any chemicals or fertilizers. This production method is of great importance since M. chamomilla is used for tea in both folk and official medicine.

Since Republika Srpska has considerable coniferous forest resources, test distillation and production of coniferous essential oils was started, primarily from Abies alba and Juniperus communis. Analysis and examination at the "Kurt Kitzing" Institute for Chemical Analysis and Quality Control in Germany determine the consistency and quality of these oils. According to the institute, they are high-quality coniferous oils, owing to their pleasant smell and high concentration of typical components. On the basis of these results, and keeping in mind the quality raw material from which they are processed, there appears to be a real possibility of starting production of ether oils for the world market. The results are also encouraging for the further production of oils from other wild-growing coniferous trees, as well as from other aromatic herbs.

At present, it is important for the producers and the association to find a suitable market for these products and a better organization and networking of the producers, as well as increasing production of ether oils, in order to justify market research in this regard.

The greatest problem is lack of funds, since members are not able to increase and finance production by themselves. (Contributed by: Mrs Nedjada Kosovic, Biljana Gligoric, Ezrema Delalic and Mrs Ljiljana Dunjic.)

For more information, please contact:
Mrs Ljiljana Dunjic, GTZ Sarajevo, Splitska 6, 71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Fax: +387 33 442 119;


Non-timber forest products in the Amazon and markets
In the 1990s, there was intense debate on development alternatives in the Amazon region. On the one hand, neoclassical economists postulated that non-timber extraction is a primitive and transitory economic activity. Owing to its supply rigidity and increasing shortage faced with growing demand, it will give way to species domestication and cultivation on a large scale or will be substituted for like-products. On the other hand, the economic importance of this kind of forest extraction should be recognized since it involves approximately 16 percent of the rural inhabitants of the Brazilian Amazon. However, since this activity has already been considered as low-impact and non-exclusive, alternative economists, sociologists and anthropologists are now favouring a new form of governmental intervention, through fiscal and credit subsidies which privilege this economic sector, thus contributing to the conservation of forest resources.

A recent study to analyse this issue has as its objective a third approach, that by being ecologically important, NTFPs are also economically viable.

By examining time series data of national production statistics for several NTFPs in the Amazon region, it was observed that even after introducing a competing substitute product, the production of the NTFP did not decline to zero. This implies that substitute products do not respond to the expectations of all the demand segments of markets for NTFPs. In fact, NTFPs have specific qualities that differentiate them within the market context, and particularly in the "green" and "organic" markets. These are two distinct niches where consumers are willing to pay more for the specific qualities of a NTFP, independent of whether substitute products (cultivated, synthesized or industrially processed) exist.

The "green" markets are the consumers who will pay more for products which contribute to conserve ecology; and the "organic" markets are the consumers - firms and individuals - who demand products from native sources which have a broad genetic variability and are free from toxins.

In conclusion, although the rigidity of NTFP supply implies the substitutability for some demand segments, other segments are still willing to buy them because the products respond to market expectations concerning quality, quantity, supply normality and price.

Moreover, if the production of a NTFP can fall initially with the onset of competition from a substitute, this product can again be replaced in the market, proportionate to the time needed to find niches still able to consume it.

This theoretical model can help in the implementation of programmes and projects designed to foster economy and environmental management based on the trade in NTFPs, thus contributing to the revival of an economic sector that responds to the income and well-being expectations of extractive populations and international efforts to conserve biodiversity. (Contributed by: Mr Vag-Lan Borges, Brazil.)

For more information, please contact:
Mr Vag-Lan Borges, SCLRN 714, Bl. G, Entrada 19, Apto. 301, Brasilia 70.760-578, Brazil.

Açaí (Euterpe oleracea )
People in Los Angeles, United States, can already ask in Portuguese for açaí (Euterpe oleracea), which is a mixture of açaí and guaraná or other energy products. Early in 2000, a Brazilian company, Muaná Alimentos, sent 100 kg of pulp to the North American market; an additional 400 kg were sent later, and in October 2000, 5.5 tonnes of sweetened pulp and 1 tonne of pure pulp were sent to the gymnasia and snack bars of Los Angeles.

Shipped in Belém, the batches were processed, frozen sweetened and packed in 3-kg plastic buckets stamped "Açaí". In September that year, two North American representatives had visited the Brazilian plant, mainly interested in the mixture of açaí with guaraná that, according to them, had more chance of finding a place in the North American market as "tropical vitamin" species. The company has also made contact with importers in Europe and Asia, possible purchasers of the fruit. If the experience gives the expected results and if the product is accepted in the North American and European markets, the national exports of açaí can explode over the next few years, benefiting producers, transporters, traders, local industries and populations that depend on the resources generated by açaí stands.

With its offices in São Paulo, and its plant in the agro-industrial company Ita (which has been processing palm hearts [palmito] of açaí in the region since 1980), Muaná Alimentos has as a minority partner with 49 percent, "Fundo Terra Capital", an international organization that directs money from the World Bank, the Swiss Government and other investors to ecologically sound projects. In 2000, the company invoiced US$4 million with the production of 540 tonnes of palmito of açaí (a volume corresponding to1.8 million 300-g glass jars) and 250 tonnes of pulp.

Brazil is the leading producing, consuming and exporting country of palmito conserves in the world. According to the National Association of the Manufacturers of Palmito (ANFAP), the country accounts for 85 percent worldwide (the remainder comes from plantations and natural stands in Costa Rica, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru). Ninety percent of the national production (which was calculated last year at 28 000 tonnes) comes from the Amazon, mainly the state of Pará; the remaining 10 percent was from Santa Catarina and Paraná. The company's goal, however, is to invert the production ratio: 1 800 tonnes of açaí pulp and 1 200 tonnes of palmito in conserve by 2003, thus tripling the invoicing.

Muaná Alimentos possesses 5 000 ha of açaí stands (it also harvests palmito and açaí in 3 000 ha of leasehold lands, also buying from third parties), in addition to the 400 ha of permanent conservation used as reference in the conservation of biodiversity. The objective is to reach 35 000 ha in five years, of which 28 000 ha will be managed.

With an eye to the external market and to the growing domestic demand for health foods, the company is investing in sustainable management techniques and is directing its contracts with suppliers towards techniques that guarantee the maintenance of the biological diversity of the forest and their transfer to the local communities.

Thanks to the sustainable management techniques, Muaná Alimentos should receive the endorsement of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the main certifying agency for forest products, represented in Brazil by the Instituto de Manejo e Certificação Florestal e Agrícola (Imaflora). Besides ecological sustainability, the company is developing social programmes for the local communities, such as the project "Açaí Marajoara", carried out in partnership with the state government and the municipalities of Curralinho, Sebastião da Boa Vista, Ponta de Pedras, Cachoeira do Arari and Muaná Alimentos.

The project, which started in May 2000, aims to guarantee the economic sustainability of the communities through professional training, training of development agents and other actions. "Nowadays, it is not enough only to invest in the product," says Mr Schnyder, the commercial director of Muaná, recalling that technical knowledge on forest management is still at the beginning. "The challenge of the future is to promote the fruits of the Amazon in a rational way, preserving them for future generations." (Source: Revista Globo Rural, November 2000.)


Les agroforêts cacao: espace intégrant développement de la cacaoculture, gestion et conservation des ressources forestières au sud Cameroun
Au Cameroun, les cacaoyères sont créées à l'ombre de la forêt. Trois structures ont jusqu'ici intervenu, sans grandes interférences, dans le développement et l'aménagement de l'espace forestier au sud Cameroun (zone de forêt humide du Bassin du Congo). La gestion de la cacaoculture s'est faite par le canal de la Société de développement de cacao (SODECAO). Les plans d'aménagement des forêts assurés par l'Office nationale de développement des forêts (ONADEF) ou les structures que cet office a remplacées, se sont traduits par l'exécution de nombreux programmes de reforestation. Plusieurs aires protégées ont été érigées par la Direction des forêts du Ministère de l'environnement et des forêts (MINEF) pour conserver les ressources forestières. Depuis la crise cacaoyère et la libéralisation de la filière cacao, les paysans, sans l'appui des services de vulgarisation, essayent de diversifier de plus en plus les plantes dans leurs cacaoyères (surtout dans les zones à forte pression foncière). Ils y gèrent les produits forestiers non ligneux (PFNL), les fruitiers exotiques, les plantes médicinales, les bois d'_uvre et les cultures vivrières. Ces écosystèmes deviennent des espaces où se conjuguent développement de la cacaoculture, gestion et conservation des ressources forestières.

Les agroforêts cacao restent l'une des principales sources monétaires en zone rurale dans les provinces du centre et sud du Cameroun. Parmi les cacaoculteurs, 81 pour cent n'ont pas d'autres activités que l'agriculture. Plus de 85 pour cent n'ont pas de contact avec les vulgarisateurs. Les terres coutumières exploitées pour la cacaoculture relèvent du domaine national. Dans cette zone 97 pour cent des cacaoculteurs sont autochtones. La transmission des agroforêts est patrilinéaire. Plus de 50 pour cent des cacaoyères actuelles ont été héritées.

Les relevés botaniques et le regroupement des espèces suivant leur utilité permettent de ressortir trois types de cacaoyères en zone de forêt humide du Cameroun. L'un des types se caractérise par une densité en cacaoyers 70 pour cent plus forte que les autres. Les deux autres ont soit une forte densité en Musacées et en palmiers, soit une forte densité en bois d'_uvre de haute valeur économique et en PFNL. La densité moyenne des plantes (cacaoyers et autres espèces) de chaque type de cacaoyère varie entre 400 et 680 m par hectare. Ces différences de densité offrent ainsi plusieurs types d'intervention dans le contrôle des pestes (capside et pourriture brune) du cacaoyer, de gestion et de conservation des ressources forestières dans les agroforêts cacao. Les actions de diversification à l'intérieur des cacaoyères initiées par les paysans nécessitent d'être relayées par les structures de recherche, de développement et les organisations non gouvernementales. (Source: Les agroforêts cacao: espace intégrant développement de la cacaoculture, gestion et conservation des ressources forestières au Sud-Cameroun, par Denis J. Sonwa, Stephan Weise, Mathurin Tchatat, A. Bernard Nkongmeneck, A. Akinwumi Adesina, Ouseynou Ndoye et James Gockowski. Communication presentée lors du second colloque panafricain sur l'utilisation durable des ressources naturelles en Afrique, organisé par l'Alliance mondiale pour la nature (UICN) à Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 24 au 27 juillet 2000, sous le thème «Développement et utilisation durable des ressources naturelles en Afrique: conflit ou parfaite complémentarité».)

Pour plus de détails, veuillez contacter:
Denis J. Sonwa, Humid Forest Ecoregional Center, Institut international d'agriculture tropicale (IITA), B.P. 2008, Messa, Yaoundé, Cameroun.
Télécopie: +237 23 74 37;

Ricinodendron heudelotii (Djansang): étude ethonobotanique et importance pour les habitants des forêts du sud Cameroun
La domestication d'arbres fruitiers sauvages indigènes pour leur intégration dans les systèmes d'utilisation des terres existants vise à améliorer les moyens de subsistance des communautés rurales tout en conservant la biodiversité. L'amélioration pourrait concerner les systèmes de production, des opportunités génératrices de revenus ou le bienêtre nutritionnel. Une étude ethnobotanique et une collecte de germoplasme de Ricinodendron heudelotii (un arbre fruitier indigène) ont été effectuées dans six provinces de la forêt humide du Cameroun. Des échantillons de fruits ont été collectés à des intervalles de 40 à 50 km le long du réseau routier principal du sud Cameroun dans des jardins de case, des champs de cultures vivrières ou de rente, des jachères et des zones de forêt primaire. À chaque endroit, les échantillons ont été collectés sur des arbres choisis par les fermiers. Des questionnaires ouverts ont été utilisés pour interroger les fermiers et comprendre l'importance de cet arbre dans leur communauté.

Cent fruits en moyenne ont été récoltés par provenance ou accession pour la collecte de germoplasme et la description morphologique. Un total de 47 accessions ont été enregistrées et les performances pour le poids des semences calculées par accession. La morphologies des fruits a montré des formes de hile variées, ce qui indique une variabilité entre provenances, que l'on observe aussi pour le nombre de graines par fruit. Le poids des graines varie de manière significative entre provenances, avec une différence de 110 g entre les extrèmes. Quatre utilisations majeures sont dérivées de l'espèce, selon le groupe ethnique, allant, par ordre de priorité, de la consommation alimentaire à des usages médicaux, socio-culturels jusqu'à l'amélioration de la fertilité des sols. (Source: Ricinodendron heudelotii (Djansang): étude ethonobotanique et importance pour les habitants des forêts du sud Cameroun, par J.M. Fondoun, Tiki Manga et J. Kengue. Bulletin de Ressources Phytogénétiques, No 118.)

Pour plus de détails, veuillez contacter:
IRAD/CRRAN, Genetic Resources Programme, PO Box 2067,
Yaoundé, Cameroun.
Télécopie: +237 237440;

Local participation essential for sustainable forest management
Local stakeholders, such as the Bantu and Bagyeli ("Pygmies") in Cameroon, should be involved in making decisions about tropical rain forest use and management. The immense economic value of timber has turned the forests on which these populations depend for their livelihood into politically contested spaces. Only a sound planning of forest land use and effective collaboration between government agencies, logging operators and local groups may prevent a conflict between logging and local forest use.

This was the starting point for six years of social science research in the Tropenbos-Cameroon Programme, the integrated results of which have now been published in the Tropenbos-Cameroon Series. The Tropenbos-Cameroon Programme is a joint research effort of Cameroonian institutions, the universities of Wageningen and Leiden, and the Tropenbos Foundation in Wageningen, the Netherlands. Its activities focus on developing methods and strategies for natural forest management for the sustainable production of timber, non-timber forest products and ecological services. The well-being of local populations is of great importance to the programme. The latest volume in the Tropenbos-Cameroon Series, therefore, assesses the footholds and pitfalls for their involvement in collaborative management regimes.

The research was carried out in the southwestern part of Cameroon. In this sparsely populated area, the Bantu population lives along roads, cultivating food and cash crops. Most Bagyeli live in the forest at some distance from these roads. Their livelihood depends primarily on hunting, fishing, the gathering of forest products and, to a lesser extent, some farming. The forest offers both population groups an important source of food, shelter, medicine, household equipment and cash income. Until recently, logging companies also operated in the area. Those concerned in industrial logging dominate any decision-making on forestry management. As economically and politically marginal groups with an unequal share in legal power, local populations have little say.

This study provides a better understanding of the local importance and peoples' perspectives of the forest, customary and formal tenure arrangements, and potential structures for negotiation and conflict resolution. It formulates concrete recommendations on how to organize the participation of local populations in comanagement regimes. The study reveals a highly diverse sociopolitical landscape. This implies that the various groups will be differently affected by future management arrangements that place restrictions on local forest use. The authors point to the need specifically to involve minority groups with little negotiating power, such as the Bagyeli and Bantu women, in decision-making on sustainable forest management. Regional platforms for negotiating agreement on rights and duties in forest management between the appropriate government agencies, logging companies and local populations can create a proper setting for this.

(Source: J. van den Berg and K. Biesbrouck. 2000. The social dimension of rainforest management in Cameroon: issues for co-management. The Tropenbos Foundation, Wageningen. Tropenbos-Cameroon Series No. 4. ISSN 1566-6484. ISBN 90-5113-043-0.)

For more information, please contact:
The Tropenbos Foundation, PB 232, Wageningen, 6700 AE, the Netherlands.
Fax: +31 317 423024;
[Please see under Special Features for more information on Cameroon.]


Economic potential of NTFPs on the Queen Charlotte Islands, Canada
Seeing the forest beneath the trees: the social and economic potential of non-timber forest products and services in the Queen Charlotte Islands/Haida Gwaii - a report by Sinclair Tedder of the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Darcy A. Mitchell of Royal Roads University and Mitchell Consulting Associates, and Ramsay Farran of Mitchell Consulting Associates. Funding for this project came from the South Moresby Forest Replacement Account, and the British Columbia Ministry of Forests.

This report examines the current and potential use of commercial non-timber forest products (NTFP) on the Queen Charlotte Islands/Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada. While a thriving industry currently exists for the harvest and export of chanterelle mushrooms, many other products have commercial potential, but the prior resolution of many economic and social issues may be necessary.

Based on numerous interviews and open houses, the report examines many of the issues facing local residents regarding the use of NTFPs for commercial purposes. The issues include potential impacts on Haida and non-Haida subsistence and cultural uses, local control of resources, the potential abuse of the land base by outside interests, and economic and investment constraints. The report concludes that with proper understanding of the use, and abuse, of the non-timber resource and its environment, opportunities do exist for locals and non-locals to expand the current use of NTFPs. Also included in the report are a picker's diary, industry contacts and a bibliography.

A pdf version of the report can be viewed on the province of British Columbia, Canada, Ministry of Forests' Web site.

For more information, please contact:
Sinclair Tedder, Economics and Trade Branch, Ministry of Forests, Province of British Columbia, PO Box 9514, Victoria, B.C. V8W 9C2, Canada.
Fax: +1 250 387 5050;

Non-timber forest product industry in Canada: scope and research needs
With a current yearly output of $241 million per year, NTFPs contribute significantly to the welfare of rural and First Nations communities in Canada. Maple sap products, wild mushrooms and wild fruits are the most important NTFP for consumption in Canada. Because of the increased access to international markets by entrepreneurs, along with a growing international demand for NTFPs, it may be possible to double or triple Canada's NFTP harvest.

Further development of this industry should be associated with adequate training of harvesters in terms of NTFP biology in order to maximize profits while achieving biological sustainability. Research should also emphasize the domestication of specific NTFPs to meet the growing demand, increase revenues and promote biodiversity conservation. (Source: The Forestry Chronicle, 56(5): 743.)


Forestry and Society Newsletter
The purpose of the biannual Forestry and Society Newsletter (FSN) is to report on the development of community forestry in China. In addition, FSN aims to promote the exchange of information, new technology and research methods in China and countries around the world.

For more information, please contact:
Mr Li Weichang, Managing Editor, Forestry and Society Newsletter, Institute of Scientific and Technological Information, Box 101, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Wan Shou Shan, Beijing 100091, China.
Fax: +86 10 62882317;

Non-wood forest products in Xin Xian county
Located in the rugged Dabieshan Mountains in southern Henan Province, Xin Xian county is one of China's poorest counties, with an annual per caput income of Y 765 (US$93). A significant proportion of farmer income in this county is derived from several non-wood forest products (NWFP).

Xin Xian county is one of China's leading producers of chestnuts, Castanea mollissima, a sweet and nutritious nut. China is the world's leading producer of chestnuts and a high percentage of production is exported to Japan and other countries. In Xin Xian county, some 13 000 ha are dedicated to chestnut production, yielding an annual crop of about 10 000 tonnes. Chestnut trees are usually grown on steep mountain slopes and often look more like a forest than an orchard. Some chestnut trees, however, are grown on terraced slopes in an agroforestry system. Approximately 80 percent of the orchards are privately owned and the remainder are managed as communes by townships. Owners of private orchards usually have from 50 to 100 trees and rely entirely on chestnuts for their income. The trees begin to bear nuts about three years after they are grafted and continue to produce profitable quantities of nuts for about 40 years.

Insects and diseases, both in the orchards and later in storage, are important factors affecting production. Current estimates indicate that roughly 20-30 percent of the crop is destroyed annually, and in localized areas damage may be as high as 50 percent. This equates to an annual loss of Y 42 million (approximately US$4.9 million). The most important insect pests in Xin Xian county's chestnut orchards are weevils and nut boring caterpillars. The chestnut gall wasp attacks buds and forms an irregular gall that kills branches. In some parts of China and also the Korean peninsula and Japan, where this insect has been accidentally introduced, it can affect chestnut production. In Xin Xian county, however, it does not appear to be a major pest. The weevils and nut boring caterpillars are often brought into storage facilities where they continue to feed on the chestnuts. Fungi cause a fly-speck disease when the chestnuts are stored using traditional methods, which consist of mixing the chestnuts with a mixture of moist river sand and mulch. At present, chestnut farmers rely heavily on chemical insecticides to control chestnut insects. The development of an integrated pest management (IPM) system for chestnuts and the construction of a controlled atmosphere storage facility is currently being facilitated through FAO TCP/8925(t) - Integrated Pest Management and Storage of Chestnuts in Xin Xian County.

Gingko, Gingko biloba, is another important NWFP in Xin Xian county. Estimates of total area planted to gingko are not available because most plantings consist of small numbers of trees planted among other crops. Gingko produces a fruit that has long been a source of traditional Chinese medicines. Recently, gingko products have been in great demand in Europe and North America. The leaves of the gingko tree are made into a herbal tea that reportedly reduces high blood pressure and cholesterol. Gingko tea is produced in Xin Xian county by Henan Lingrui Pharmaceutical Limited at a modern facility where a number of herbal medicines are manufactured. The tea has a bitter but pleasant taste.

Xin Xian county's chestnut plantations are interspersed with forests of masson pine, Pinus massoniana. These forests are the source of another of China's important NWFPs - resin. China is a leading producer of pine resin and masson pine is the county's principal resin producing tree. Many of Xin Xian county's pine forests show evidence of either current or past resin tapping operations. (Contributed by: William M. Ciesla.)

For more information, please contact:
William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International, Fort Collins, Colorado 80525, USA.


Llamado para un uso sostenible de plantas medicinales en Colombia
El comercio de más del 70 por ciento de las plantas medicinales y aromáticas comercializadas en Bogotá no está regulado y las especies no están oficialmente registradas por el Instituto Nacional de Vigilancia de Medicamentos y Alimentos (INVIMA). En Colombia, de acuerdo al INVIMA, está permitido el comercio para aproximadamente 100 especies de plantas medicinales, de las cuales solamente 11 son nativas. Según un estudio llevado a cabo por TRAFFIC, el programa de monitoreo de comercio de vida silvestre de la Unión Mundial para la Naturaleza (UICN) y del Fondo Mundial para la Naturaleza (WWF), sólo en Bogotá al menos 200 especies de plantas medicinales se comercializan regularmente en grandes volúmenes en los mercados locales.

Los resultados de este estudio están incluidos en las memorias del taller sobre Uso y comercio sostenible de plantas medicinales en Colombia, realizado del 18 al 19 de septiembre de 2000. El taller, que fue auspiciado por el Ministerio del Medio Ambiente de Colombia y el Ministerio de Cooperación Económica y Desarrollo de Alemania (BMZ) e involucró alrededor de 50 representantes del sector público y privado del país, fue una ocasión que permitió compilar la información disponible y actualizada sobre la legislación, controles del comercio, investigación y desarrollo de la industria de plantas medicinales en Colombia.

El documento del taller revela el consumo creciente de plantas de origen colombiano, tanto a nivel nacional como internacional, en un ambiente donde los niveles oficiales de regulación del comercio son claramente incipientes. A partir de varias presentaciones y discusiones en el taller, quedó claro que la demanda de materia prima de plantas medicinales por parte de centros de medicina natural, hospitales y laboratorios se ha incrementado en los últimos años aproximadamente en un 50 por ciento. También hay preocupación sobre la inadecuada identificación de las plantas comerciadas, con riesgos potenciales para la salud, como envenenamiento y alergias.

Representantes presentes en el taller promovieron acciones multisectoriales e interinstitucionales para un eficiente uso del recurso, así como mayores discusiones y diálogos abiertos sobre los sistemas de comercio existentes. Las recomendaciones realizadas por el taller se concentraron en aspectos de medio ambiente, salud, investigación, comercio y conservación de plantas medicinales. Entre los más urgentes, está la inmediata revisión de la lista básica de plantas del INVIMA y la inclusión de más especies utilizadas regularmente, como el romero (Senecio pulchellus), el confrey (Symphytum peregrinum), la cola de caballo (Equisetum giganteum) y la zarzaparrilla (Smilax medica y S. officinalis), entre otras.

Tanto los participantes como los organizadores resaltaron la necesidad de mejores controles contra el uso indiscriminado de plantas medicinales. Un mayor diálogo entre autoridades que regulan las actividades de extracción y comercio, y una mejor cooperación entre sectores involucrados e interesados, se señalaron como pasos fundamentales. «Estas son acciones esenciales para promover el desarrollo adecuado de esta industria y la reunión de hoy es un paso significativo para mejorar el sistema de regulación actual que afecta al comercio», dijo Ximena Buitrón de TRAFFIC América del Sur, una de las organizadoras del taller. (Fuente: TRAFFIC, Comunicado de prensa, 2 de febrero de 2001.)

Para más información, dirigirse a:
Ximena Buitrón, TRAFFIC América
del Sur.
Correo electrónico:
o a:
Maija Sirola, TRAFFIC International, 219c Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, Reino Unido.
Fax: +44(0)1223 277 237;
correo electrónico:
o www.traffic.org/Colombia

Costa Rica

El conocimiento de los recursos bióticos comestibles presentes en los bosques húmedos tropicales puede ser una alternativa para la protección de los mismos y una fuente adicional de energía alimentaria, especialmente para las poblaciones humanas más empobrecidas de la región, así como materia prima para la agroindustria nacional y regional.

En la Reserva indígena Tayní, Provincia de Limón, se realizó un estudio que consistió en exploraciones etnobotánicas sobre el uso y conocimiento de la flora silvestre con valor alimenticio. Se obtuvo un total de 40 plantas comestibles. Las familias botánicas más representativas por el numero de especie comestible son: la Arecaceae con siete palmas, la Mimosaceae con cuatro especies arbóreas, y la Sapotaceae con tres especies arbóreas que produces frutos comestibles. De todas las plantas comestibles identificadas, sólo una pequeña parte se consume con relativa frecuencia (los palmitos, zapotes y caimitos), el resto hace parte exclusivamente del conocimiento tradicional indígena.

El estudio recomendó iniciar un proceso de investigación multidisciplinario, paralelo al etnobotánico, tendiente a la selección, domesticación y comercialización de la especies consideradas más promisorias (Diospyros dygina, Brosimum alicastrum, Licania sp., Pouteria sapota, Pouteria caimito, Euterpe precatoria, Chamaedorea tepejilote, Iriartea deltoidea y Passiflora vitifolia).

(Fuente: J.P. Madriz Masís, Explotación etnobotánica en los bosques húmedos tropicales de la Reserva Indígena Tayní, Costa Rica. Revista Forestal Centroamericana. Octubre-Diciembre 1999, págs. 22-26.)

Para más información, dirigirse a:
José Pablo Madriz Masís, Escuela de Ingeniería Forestal, Sede Central del Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica (ITCR), Apartado postal 159-7050, Cartago, Costa Rica.
Fax: +506 551 5348;



Berry bonanza
Wild berries thrive well in the light forests and peatlands of the boreal forest zone, and through the centuries they have been among the benefits forests generously provide for the welfare of all people.

In Finland, picking berries and mushrooms is part of traditional common rights, usually referred to as "everyman's rights", to utilize the forests. Although these rights are not written in law, berries, mushrooms and some other products have been purposefully excluded from the property rights of the forest owner. The argument for this is social. During tough times these products have had particular and sometimes indispensable value, especially for the poor.

A recent study at the University of Joensuu indicated that the tradition of picking wild berries continues to be strong. In 1997, 60 percent of Finnish households picked 56.5 million kg of wild berries while in 1998 a total of 49.7 million kg were picked.

What makes these results surprising is that the quantity of berries picked in 1997 was probably higher than in any previous year. Until now, the highest officially documented figure was 47 million kg recorded for the wartime year of 1943. According to the officially documented figures, which were mainly drawn from household surveys, the quantities collected dropped significantly during the 1950s and 1960s. Presumably, berry picking has been increasing since the 1970s, perhaps largely due to the increasing number of freezers suited for household use, but reliable annual estimates of household use have been lacking. Since 1977, commercial picking statistics have been available and these form the backbone of the official figures.

The berry harvests, averaging 25.8 kg per household in 1997 and 22.6 kg in 1998, were mainly intended for home use. However, in 1997, the amount sold was 15.4 million kg, or 27 percent, which was harvested by 5 percent of the households. In 1998, the quantity of berries picked for sale was slightly lower, 12.8 million kg. The estimates of the study were systematically higher than those provided by the annual statistics, 40 percent higher in 1997 and 52 percent higher in 1998.

The wild berry markets are diverse and a well-informed picker can choose other marketing channels than those included in the statistics. Better prices can be reached through direct sales to tourism enterprises, restaurants and even individual customers, which all remain outside the official statistics.

The price paid to berry pickers has decreased rapidly, since import prices from the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic States have been extremely competitive, leading to increased imports. The profitability of commercial picking seems to be seriously threatened in Finland and the need to seek for alternative marketing channels has become increasingly important. A recent Scandinavian merger produced the biggest primary processing unit of wild berries in Europe, signalling a trend towards larger units, in the search for increased profitability. (Source: Taiga News, No. 31, Spring 2000.)

For more information, please contact:
Olli Saastamoinen and Kari Kangas, University of Joensuu, PL 111, 80101 Joensuu, Finland.
Fax: +358(13)251 2050;
Olli.Saastamoinen@forest.joensuu.fi; or

On the first harvest trip of the season, you should eat all that you pick that day
to ensure good future yields.
Finnish folk proverb

Certified NTFPs - organic berries

In Finland, vast tracts of public forest land are now being harvested for wild organic berries. In 1998, more than 4 million ha of land in Lapland, Kainuu and North Karelia were joined in an organic NTFP harvesting area. This land is operated primarily for timber production, but members of the public have open access rights and berry harvesting has long been a traditional pastime. NTFPs harvested from these lands meet organic criteria and are marketed as such. This is made possible because of the negligible use of chemicals by many of the country's managing forest companies. Harvesters are provided with information and training about the rules of organic NTFP harvesting. They then sign an agreement to follow harvesting instructions and are given a picker's card, which is essentially a contract with a registered organic buyer. There are no regulations about harvest levels but also few reported cases of overharvesting.

This example of certifying a common access harvesting system is relatively unique and may not be easily replicated or desirable for the NTFPs. (Source: Forest, Trees and People Newsletter, No. 43, November 2000.)


Voir le tableau ci-dessous.

Principaux PFNL utilisés et vendus au Gabon

Noms scientifiques

Noms communs


Partie utilisée


Aframomum sp.

Adzôm ou maniguette


Fruits et feuilles

Alimentaire et médicinale

Afrostyrax lepidophillus

Arbre à ail


Graines et écorces


Antrocaryon klaineanum



Fruits - Écorces

Alimentaire - Médicinale

Coula edulis



Fruits - Écorces

Alimentaire - Médicinale

Dacryodes buetneri



Fruits - Écorces

Alimentaire - Médicinale

Dacryodes edulis





Garcinia klaineana

Bois amer



Médicinale et distillant

Gnetum africanum





Guibourtia tessmannii





Irvingia gabonensis



Fruits et amandes Écorces

Alimentaire et médicinale Médicinale

Megaphrynium macrostachyum

Feuilles de marantacées



Emballage du manioc et autres denrées alimentaires

Monodora myristica

Muscadier ou nding



Condimentaire et médicinale

Panda oleosa





Pseudospondias longifolia



Fruits - Écorces

Alimentaire - Médicinale

Pteridium aquilinum

Pousses de fougères



Alimentaire et médicinale

Raphia sp.

Raphia ou bambou


Feuilles, fruits, sève

Usages multiples

Ricinodendron heudelotii



Graines - Écorces

Condimentaire - Médicinale

Tetrapleura tetraptera



Gousses - Écorces

Alimentaire - Médicinale

Trichoscypha acuminata

Raison du Gabon




(Source: Synthèse bibliographique sur les produits forestiers non ligneux en Afrique centrale, par Serge Morel Manembet. Association pour le développement de l'information environnementale [ADIE]. Rapport de stage.)

Pour plus de détails, veuillez contacter:
Jean Philippe Jorez, Association pour le développement de l'information environnementale, BP 4080, Libreville, Gabon.
Télécopie: +241 77 42 61;


Ghana to develop medicinal plant garden at Aburi Botanic Gardens
Using a £79 000 (approximately US$115 000) grant from the United Kingdom National Lottery and Charities Board and with technical assistance from Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BCGI), the Aburi Botanic Gardens will develop a 50-hectare site as a model medicinal plant garden. When finished, the garden will be used to encourage villages in the neighbourhood to grow and sell more medicinal plants. It should also help educate adults and children in the region to appreciate their medicinal plant heritage and to learn to identify the key species of medicinal plants that grow in Ghana.

The garden will work closely with the nearby Mampong Centre for Research into Traditional Medicine, which carries out research into the uses, potency and commercial value of medicinal plants and herbs. (Source: Plantwise Newsletter, Issue 7, April 2000.)

For more information, please contact:
Mr George Owusu-Afriyie,
Director, Aburi Botanic Gardens,
PO Box 23, Aburi, Ghana.
Fax: +233 21 777821; or contact:



Crab oil - a promising NTFP for Guyana
Crabwood (Carapa guianensis) or andiroba, as it is known internationally, is one of the most common hardwood species found within the Iwokrama Forest. Crabwood seeds fall mainly from May to July during the mid-year rainy season. These seeds are collected and processed to make crab oil.

To extract oil from the crabwood seeds, the seeds are boiled and left to decompose for a period of one to two weeks. The seeds are then cut, and the core of the seed extracted and placed on zinc sheets and exposed to the sun. As the sun heats the zinc and seed pulp, the crab oil trickles out into containers. Some crab oil producers use a matapee (a long woven, sieve-like device most commonly used to process raw cassava) to squeeze the oil from the pulp where it is processed in jars. One litre of oil is yielded from approximately 3.6 kg of fresh seeds.

Mixed with honey, or taken in concentrated form, crab oil is said to be used to ease coughing and to soothe asthma. Brittle hair can also be cured with regular treatment of this oil. When rubbed on the skin, crab oil is thought to soothe bruises, swollen and sore muscles, arthritic joints and minor skin irritations and also acts as an insect repellent.

Owing to the reputation of crab oil, the Iwokrama project is working in partnership with various regional councils and local villages to explore the commercial potential of this oil from Guyana's forests. A research team consisting of Janette Forte, Principal Social Scientist, Dr David Hammond, Principal Forest Ecologist, and Twydale Martinborough, Research Assistant in Forest Science, has initiated a DFID-UK and ITTO-funded assessment of the ecological, social and economic aspects of crab oil production in Guyana. This research is under way in Region 4 (Georgetown), Region 8 (including Chenapau, Kurukabaru and Paramakatoi), Region 9 (including NRDDB-affiliated communities, Lethem) and Region 10 (Linden-Ituni district, including the villages of Ebini, Kimbia, Sand Hills, Hittia DeVelde and Maria Henrietta), and may be extended to other regions of Guyana where this proves to be feasible.

To ensure that the potential for crab oil is carried out in a sustainable and efficient manner, researchers are also looking at other important uses of bark and leaves. (Source: Iwokrama Bulletin, 4(1).)

For more information, please contact:
Dr David Hammond, Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development, 41 Brickdam, Stabroek, PO Box 10630, Georgetown, Guyana.
Fax: +592 2 59199;
iwokrama@guyana.net.gy or dhammond@solutions2000.net;

Plantes comestibles de Guyane
Ce fascicule sur les Plantes comestibles de Guyane présente les espèces ayant un intérêt alimentaire les plus couramment rencontrées à l'état naturel sur le Plateau des Guyanes et plus précisément en Guyane française.

Listées alphabétiquement, ces plantes sont brièvement décrites par leur morphologie, leur habitat et, lorsque les fruits sont consommés, leur période de fructification est donnée à titre indicatif.

L'index général reprend les noms scientifiques de même que les dénominations vernaculaires dans les différentes langues parlées en Guyane, ces différentes langues étant par grandes ethnies et par familles linguistiques (Créole, Noir marron, Amérindien).

Illustré par de nombreux dessins et photos couleurs, cet ouvrage devrait intéresser toutes les personnes amenées à se déplacer au sein de la Guyane ainsi que toutes les personnes désireuses de mieux appréhender cet environnement guyanais si riche.

Pour plus de détails, veuillez contacter:

Unique indigenous knowledge recorded in the Tropenbos-Guyana Programme
Palm heart, medicinal plants and other non-timber forest products (NTFP) are of great importance to indigenous peoples in Guyana's North-West District. These people have an immense knowledge of their surrounding forest, which is now being threatened by logging, mining and forest fires. Tinde van Andel of the Utrecht branch of the National Herbarium of the Netherlands made an inventory of 587 useful plants and describes their uses, harvest and processing methods and abundance in various forest types.

Van Andel's study is part of the Tropenbos-Guyana Programme, which is a joint research effort of Guyanese Government institutions, the universities of Guyana and Utrecht and the Tropenbos Foundation in Wageningen, the Netherlands. The programme aims at developing guidelines for the conservation and sustainable exploitation of the forests of Guyana for timber and other forest products and services. Its results contribute to the formulation of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, which serve as a basis for the future certification of forest operations.

Van Andel conducted her study in Guyana's remote North-West District. In this sparsely populated area, indigenous peoples rely on the forest for their livelihoods. NTFPs offer a great source of food, shelter, household equipment and medicine. No fewer than 294 medicinal plant species are used in more than 800 applications. Some NTFPs, such as animals, palm heart and aerial roots used in "rattan" furniture, are being traded in national and international markets, thus providing cash income.

Several of the forest types studied are being threatened by timber harvesting, mining, forest fires and slash-and-burn agriculture. Since indigenous tribes in Guyana are also under great pressure from western society, traditional knowledge of herbal medicine and other useful plants may rapidly be lost. Van Andel documented this knowledge in a field guide, which contains short botanical descriptions and uses of 471 useful plant species. More detailed descriptions and botanical drawings are given for the 85 NTFPs of major importance. The field guide is appended as Part II of Van Andel's book, and is a unique document for all practitioners and indigenous people with an interest in sustainable forest use, particularly for those working in the Guyana Shield. (Source: T.R. van Andel. 2000. Non-timber forest products of the North-West District of Guyana. Part I and Part II. A field guide. Tropenbos-Guyana Series 8a/b. Tropenbos-Guyana Programme, Georgetown, Guyana. ISBN 90-393-2536-7.)

For more information, please contact:
The Tropenbos Foundation, PB 232, Wageningen, 6700 AE, the Netherlands.
Fax: +31 317 423024;


Environmental Information System
The Environmental Information System (ENVIS) was established in 1982 by the Ministry of Environments and Forests, Government of India, to collect, collate, store and disseminate information among its users on a wide range of environmental subjects through its 25 centres located in different regions of the country, working in diverse specialized fields.

The ENVIS centre on forestry was set up in 1996 at the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) at Dehra Dun. Its main objectives include the acquisition, storage and dissemination of the latest information on forestry and related issues to support research, development and innovation. One of the networking methods used is ICFRE's ENVIS Newsletter, the inaugural edition of which (1998) covered many aspects of NWFPs.

For more information, please contact:
Mr Mudit Kumar Singh, Coordinator, ENVIS project, Directorate of Extension - NFLIC Building, Indian Council of Forest Research and Education, PO New Forest, Dehra Dun, Uttar Pradesh 248006, India.

Forest bounty - organized trade helps Bastar tribals earn riches from the jungle
The tribal peoples of Bastar district of Madhya Pradesh are beneficiaries of a cooperative movement, the Madhya Pradesh Government scheme that gives villages a monopoly on minor forest products, which generated Rs 40 crore in 1999.

The tribals previously only received 20 percent of the value of their produce from the entrepreneurs at the local market (haats).

Bastar, with its rich forests, presents a bounty for its inhabitants: tora (used in soap making), harra (used in tanning), sal seeds (from which oil is extracted) and the seeds of karkatiya, nirmali and peng, all used in pharmaceuticals. There are at least 31 similar products that the tribals gather from the jungle and sell at the weekly haats. Tamarind, mahua, mango kernels, silk cocoons, lac, chironji, wax and gum continue to be the mainstay of the tribal economy. Lac, used in the production of sealing wax and in bangle making and electrical goods, sells for Rs 50 000/tonne. Chironji, a dry fruit, fetches Rs 60 000/tonne, while wax and gum fetch Rs 40 000/tonne.

The government had already started market intervention in the collection of tendu leaves (for making bidis), harra and sal seeds. But it had ignored the trade in other commodities. A Bastar collector, Pravir Krishn, seeing the exploitation of the tribals by the entrepreneurs felt that the volume of trade in minor forest products in the Bastar region (worth Rs 500 crore) could be turned to the tribals' advantage - this was the start of the forest wealth movement. The government gave village committees absolute control over minor forest produce and replaced traders with self-help groups. The government fixes the price of the produce and advances the money to the self-help groups, which act as commission agents. The new arrangement has slashed the excessive profit margins of the traders. Regularization of the agricultural produce market also increased the government's tax revenues by Rs 2 crore in 1999. The traders are angry at what they consider is a violation of "free trade" but the tribals are not complaining. A women's self-help group in Aasna village earned Rs 25 000 in just 15 days in 1999 - which is more than they had earned in a long while. Regardless of what the traders feel, Bastar's tribals at last seem to be on the road to self-reliance. (Source: India Today, 11 September 2000.)

[Editor's note: a crore is a traditional unit of quantity in India, equal to 10 million; US$1 = Rs 43.61 (30/9/99).]


The Government of India, through a Constitutional Amendment (1996), has conferred ownership rights of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) - another term for NWFP - on Panchayats and Gram Sabhas (village-level institutions). Since conferring ownership of MFPs is a highly complex issue in terms of its legal, social and administrative implications, the government appointed a committee to investigate the entire gamut of MFPs.

After examining all the socioreligious and legal implications, the Government of Madhya Pradesh has defined MFP as follows: Minor Forest Produce means non-timber forest produce which can be harvested on a non-destructive basis but this shall not include minerals and wild animals or their derivatives. Timber and Forest Produce will have the same meaning as given in the Indian Forest Act, 1927.

Section 2 of the Indian Forest Act defines "Forest Produce" as:

· the following, whether found in, or brought from, a forest or not, i.e. timber, charcoal, caoutchouc, catechu, wood, oil, resin, natural varnish, bark, mahua flowers, mahua seeds, kuth and myrobalans; and

· the following, when found in, or brought from, a forest, i.e.:

- trees and leaves, flowers and fruits and all other parts or produce not hereinbefore mentioned of trees,

- plants not being trees (including grass, creepers, reeds and moss) and all parts or produce of such plants;

- wild animals and skin, tusks, horns, bones, silk cocoons, honey and wax and all other parts or produce of animals; and

- peat, surface soil, rock and animals (including limestone, laterite, mineral oils and oil products of mines and quarries).

The Act also defines "timber" as: Timber includes trees when they have fallen or have been felled, and all wood whether cut up or fashioned or hollowed out for any purpose or not.

The Act also defines a tree as: Tree includes palms, bamboos, stumps, brush wood and canes.

Thus, in the Indian Forest Act and other Acts related to forestry, there is no mention of the term "Minor Forest Produce". One thing, however, is clear from the Indian Forest Act, that timber includes bamboo and canes and therefore, at present, legally bamboo and canes cannot come under the category of MFPs. (Contributed by: Dr R.C. Sharma, P.C.C.F & Managing Director, MPMFP Federation, Bhopal, India.)


The protection and enrichment of forest biodiversity in Ireland's forests received a major boost with the announcement of a £Ir 1 million research and development project cofunded by the Council for Forest Research and Development (COFORD - www.coford.ie) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

As a result of a public call for research proposals on forest biodiversity in May 2000, a successful research consortium, comprising University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin and Coillte (the Irish Forestry Board), following international peer review, have just signed a contract with COFORD and the EPA for an in-depth five-year study. Interim results will be used to inform and revise policy and practice where appropriate.

The project will examine the impact of afforestation and forest operations on the biodiversity of flora and fauna on a range of site types. It will also quantify the changes in biodiversity that occur throughout the forest cycle and, most important, it will outline best practice for the enrichment of biodiversity in the forests of Ireland. (Source: Forest Information Update [FIU], 19 February 2001.)


La Red mexicana de Plantas medicinales, aromáticas, condimenticias y cosméticas, está conformada por seis grupos de productores ecológicos de los estados de Tlaxcala (Cuaxomulco, Teacalco, Aztatla y Tepeyanco) y Puebla (Zapotitlán de Salinas y Yeolixtlahuaca), así como por técnicos, asesores y consultores con formación en ciencias biológicas, agronómicas y sociales.

La Red promueve la conservación ecológica, el manejo sostenible, la certificación botánica, el cultivo orgánico, el procesamiento, el control de calidad y el comercio justo de más de 150 especies de plantas nativas y extranjeras con alta demanda local, nacional e internacional. Estos recursos herbolarios tienen gran importancia en la medicina tradicional, fitoterapia, acupuntura, homeopatía, aromaterapia, cosmetología, microdosificación, medicina alopática, industria alimenticia y mercado orgánico.

La asociación civil Ecología y Desarrollo de Tlaxcala y Puebla, que coordina y administra el proyecto Mercados Verdes Herbolarios apoyado por el Fondo de América del Norte para la Cooperación Ambiental de 1999, proporciona capacitación técnica y promueve las relaciones comerciales con distribuidores y comercializadores del país y del extranjero.

El Jardín Botánico Universitario (JBU) de la Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala, proporciona asesoría permanente en cada etapa de la producción y certifica la autenticidad botánica de las especies así como la calidad de los productos herbolarios. Asimismo abastece de semillas, plántulas de vivero y de la información científica necesaria. El personal del JBU elabora las fichas monográficas básicas que contienen información botánica, ecológica, etnobotánica, fitoquímica, farmacológica y toxicológica para cada especie.

En 1996 la Red organizó el Primer Congreso Nacional de Plantas Medicinales de México donde participaron 250 médicos tradicionales, investigadores, estudiantes y promotores de salud. En el año 2001 se realizará la segunda edición incorporando a participantes de Iberoamérica.

Hace tres años fue establecido, por primera vez en México, un programa regional con 30 especies de plantas medicinales donde se tratan aspectos tales como: recolección, secado, manejo sustentable de poblaciones silvestres, cultivo orgánico, procesamiento artesanal y comercio justo.

Las especies se seleccionaron en base a criterios tales como: mayor demanda en el mercado nacional e internacional, amenazas de las poblaciones silvestres, alto valor cultural y comercial, alto potencial de uso en la medicina tradicional y occidental, etc. Ejemplos de estas especies son: Valeriana edulis ssp. procera (Valeriana), Agastache mexicana (Toronjil morado), Jatropha dioica (Sangre de drago), Amphypteringium adstringens (Cuachalalate), Heterotheca inuloides (Arnica), Tagetes erecta (Cempasuchil), Castela tortuosa (Chaparro amargoso), Turnera diffusa var. aphrodisiaca (Damiana de California), Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. mexicana (Estafiate), Calea zacatechichi (Hierba de la Puebla), Achillea millefolium (Milenrama), Tagetes lucida (Pericón), Lippia graveolens (Orégano mexicano), Ruta chalepensis (Ruda), Aloysia triphylla (Hierba Luisa, Te cedrón), Salvia divinorum (Hierba de la Pastora), etc.

Para más información, dirigirse a:
Yolanda Betancourt Aguilar, Coordinadora del Proyecto Mercados Verdes Herbolarios -FANCA- Coordinadora de los Diplomados en Agricultura Orgánica, Herbolaria Mexicana, Herbolaria y otras Terapias Alternativas, Apartado postal 332,
C.P. 90000, Tlaxcala, México.
Fax: +246 289 96;
correo electrónico:
edtp@tlax.net.mx y edtpmex@laneta.apc.org;

Boletín de plantas medicinales y aromáticas
A partir de noviembre de 2000 ha empezado a circular por vía electrónica el Boletín de plantas medicinales y aromáticas de la Red mexicana de Plantas medicinales, aromáticas, condimenticias y cosméticas orgánicas, que tendrá una periodicidad bimestral.

Quien esté interesado en recibir gratuitamente el boletín, puede enviar un mensaje con sus datos completos a: suscripcionboletin@LatinMail.com

[Para mayor información, véase en Web Sites.]


NTFPs in Nepal
Developing benefits from community forestry management is a major strategy of the community forestry programme in Nepal. For the last two years, a NTFP network, coordinated by Asia Network for Small-scale Agricultural Bioresources (ANSAB), a national non-governmental organization (NGO) working on NTFP development, has been bringing together project staff, government officials, NGOs and others working in the NTFP sector.

The network members are developing specific collaborative activities, including: developing marketing analysis and development (MA&D) training materials for the Nepalese context and developing local market information systems. In addition, SNV (the Netherlands development organization) through its partner NGOs has been holding MA&D training and implementing field activities. (Source: Asia Pacific Community Forestry Newsletter, 13(1), February/March 2000.)

For more information on the NTFP network, please contact:
Mr Bishma Subedi.
[Please see under Publications of Interest for more information on ANSAB.]

Working with local people to develop timber and NTFPs
The Nepal-UK Community Forestry Project is currently operating in seven districts in the middle hills of Nepal. It has been supporting the government's community forestry programme over the last seven years. A number of project staff, together with other local stakeholders, have been actively supporting local communities through village-level forest users' groups to explore and enhance their forest management practices.

A paper entitled Learning to learn: working with local people to develop timber and NTFP. Experience from Nepal, by S.P. Dahal, H. Gibbon, G. Kafle and R. Subedi, was presented at the Workshop on Learning from Resource Users - a Paradigm Shift in Tropical Forestry, which took place in Vienna, Austria, in April 2000. The paper examines two themes: the distribution and availability of local knowledge and the manner in which "insiders" and "outsiders" need to interact in order to promote enhanced development outcomes. Pilot experience with three main NTFPs is discussed: Girardinia diversifolia, Edgeworthia gardneri and Swertia chirayita. (Source: ETFRN News, No. 30, Spring/Summer 2000.)

For more information, please contact:
Mr Hugh Gibbon, Natural Resources Institute, Chatham Maritime ME4 4TB, UK.
Fax: +44 1634883959;

Pacific Islands

Non-timber forest products for Pacific Islands
Pre-release version of Non-timber forest products for Pacific Islands: an introduction for producers, by Kim Wilkinson and Craig Elevitch. March 2000.

From the abstract:
Non-timber forest products (NTFP) represent an important aspect of sustainable economic growth, conservation and forest management. This handbook provides an introduction to NTFPs and the basics of planning an NTFP enterprise. A resource section with books, periodicals, and Web links is included for further information. A species table of more than 70 traditional Pacific Island NTFPs and their uses is provided.

The publisher is:
Permanent Agriculture Resources. PO Box 428, HI 96725 USA.
Fax: +808 324 4129;

Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea Eco-Forestry Forum
The Papua New Guinea Eco-Forestry Forum produces Iko-Forestri Nius, the eco-forestry newsletter for Papua New Guinea. A recent special edition of the newsletter (September 2000) covers many aspects of non-timber forest products.

The Papua New Guinea Eco-Forestry Forum is now accessible on the Internet. This is a new initiative and constructive comments and suggestions on the future development of the site are welcome. The current plan is that the site will be updated monthly.

For more information, please contact:
Mr Timothy King, Coordinator, Papua New Guinea Eco-Forestry Forum, PO Box 590, Kimbe, West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea.
Fax: +675 983 5852;


El manual técnico «Manual de Ordenamiento Castañero» fue producido por el proyecto Conservando Castañales que, llevado a cabo en el Perú, aplica una fuerte componente participativa con los usuarios del bosque en la ejecución del ordenamiento (inventario y mapeo) de áreas de aprovechamiento de la castaña (Bertholletia excelsa).

El aprovechamiento de los frutos de la castaña es una importante actividad económica en el departamento de Madre de Dios, que cuenta con una superficie de más de un millón de hectáreas de bosque bajo este uso, y con un potencial de aprovechamiento futuro de hasta 2,5 millones de hectáreas. Los castañales son áreas de aprovechamiento tradicionales, que en muchos casos han sido aprovechados a lo largo de varias décadas. Sin embargo, sólo en los últimos años se vienen ejecutando el ordenamiento de dichas áreas para que entren a ser parte del catastro nacional de uso forestal.

El manual, que está dirigido a técnicos forestales, detalla la metodología para la ejecución del ordenamiento, que se articula en tres sectores:

· trabajo en el campo: organización del personal, uso de materiales y equipos, técnicas de levantamiento de árboles y caminos de extracción, organización de libreta de campo;
trabajo en gabinete: uso de sistemas SIG para la elaboración de mapas, organización de datos y elaboración de expedientes;
proceso participativo: proceso de resolución de conflictos.

Se espera que esta experiencia positiva pueda servir como modelo metodológico para futuros trabajos de ordenamiento de áreas castañeras, así como de otros recursos no madereros y madereros de los bosques amazónicos.

Para más información, dirigirse a:
Vanessa Sequeira, Proyecto Conservando Castañales, Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuenca Amazónica (ACCA), Jr. Cuzco, 499, Puerto Maldonado, Perú.
Fax: +51 84 573211;
correo electrónico:
(Se pueden solicitar copias gratuitas de la publicación.)


Recognition of ancestral domain claims on Palawan Island: is there a future?
Development on Palawan island (the Philippines' last frontier) is being fostered in a way that repeats the historical injustices suffered by the indigenous people of the archipelago, in the name of progress and the conservation of biodiversity. There is a divergence of interests between the desires and needs of the native communities and the government and environmental objectives of conserving natural habitats. A review of recently enacted environmental laws in the Philippines indicates that the zoning of protected areas based on biodiversity criteria is curtailing local subsistence practices while increasing the efficacy of government power and control over them. In addition, the new law for the recognition of ancestral domain claims needs to be improved in order to reflect indigenous notions and priorities.

Recognition of ancestral domain claims on Palawan Island, the Philippines: is there a future? by Dario Novellino, is published in Land Reform 2000/1, the bulletin of FAO's Rural Development Division.

Recent publications on the same issue include: D. Novellino. 2000. Forest conservation in Palawan. Philippine Studies, Vol. 48, third quarter 2000.
For more information, please contact:
Dario Novellino, Department of Anthropology, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.

Indigenous peoples and protected areas in South and Southeast Asia
Another paper by the same author analyses present options for forest management and conservation by both governmental and non-governmental organizations, and their impact on the Batak communities of Palawan Island (the Philippines). It is argued that such options share the common assumption that "ecological sustainability" and the protection of biodiversity can be attained through restricted/controlled use and by introducing stable forms of agriculture to indigenous upland communities. On the other hand, the paper suggests that even an innovative law such as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 needs to be improved, in order to reflect indigenous notions and practices. While the IPRA law is being "killed" by the lack of political will, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is resorting to some acronym juggling and socially acceptable soundings (e.g. Communal Forest Management Agreements) to retain state control over ancestral domains. Batak perceptions of the environment, their forest management practices and the people's involvement in the trade of non-timber forest products is discussed. (D. Novellino. 1999. The ominous switch: from indigenous forest management to conservation-the case of the batak on Palawan Island, Philippines. In M. Colchester and C. Erni, eds. From principles to practices: indigenous peoples and protected areas in south and southeast Asia. IWGIA document No. 97, p. 250-295. Copenhagen, Denmark, IWGIA & FPP.)

To order a copy of the volume, contact: International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA); e-mail: iwgia@iwgia.org; or Forest Peoples Programme (FPP); e-mail: ffppwrm@gn.apc.org

For more information, please contact:
Dario Novellino, Department of Anthropology, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.

Wetlands and indigenous rights in Palawan
A preliminary investigation of the mangrove and coastal ecosystems and of the threats posed to them by the new road took place in Palawan (the Philippines) from 16 July to 10 August 1999. The initiative was planned and coordinated by Bangsa Palawan-Philippines - Indigenous Alliance for Equity and Wellbeing together with the United Kingdom-based Forest Peoples Programme. The report has several related objectives. At the most basic level, it aims to provide an orientation on the current status and utilization of mangrove and coral reefs in the southern municipality of Rizal in Palawan, and to identify the root causes of environmental destruction. Special attention is also given to local ways of coping with the progressive decline of the resource base, and to the priorities of indigenous peoples. It is hoped that the understanding of such priorities will lead to a dialogue between different actors (conservationists, developers, migrants and indigenous communities).

Wetlands and indigenous rights in Palawan. A preliminary account of the status of mangroves, coral reefs, road construction and indigenous rights in Rizal municipality, southern Palawan Island (Philippines), by Dario Novellino. A report of Bangsa Palawan-Philippines (BPP) and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), May 2000.

For an electronic copy of the report, please contact:
Maurizio Ferrari, Forest Peoples Programme (FPP).


Portugal is at the centre of a row threatening to break up the timeless marriage between wine and the one product in which the country leads the world - cork.

Portuguese producers of the unique bark of the cork oak, which is flexible yet impervious to water and air, are worried that many supermarket chains in wine-importing countries are moving towards plastic seals. At stake, they say, is not only a billion-dollar industry but also the mainstay of many farmers in Portugal.

For as long as the word "cork" has been synonymous with sealing wine bottles, it has also been associated with the nasty woody taste of ruined wine (so-called "corked" wine). Scientists have identified 2-4-6 trichloroanisole, or TCA, a powerful fungus, one glassful of which could spoil a country's whole wine harvest, as being responsible for tainting wine.

"If plastic takes off, the cork industry is finished because cork stoppers are the main part of the industry" said Richard Mayson, an author of books on Portuguese wines.

An end to the cork industry would be a severe blow to Portugal, which plants 33 percent of the world's cork oaks, and has a 75 percent share of the world market in cork products.

Growers say a drop of just 10-15 percent in cork prices would take the profit out of a crop that would be almost impossible to revive.

It takes a cork oak 40 years to produce quality bark, which thereafter can be stripped only every nine years.

However, since the advent of plastic stoppers, the cork industry has made a determined effort to raise standards. The cork industry adopted a Europe-wide informal code of practice in 1996, based on new research that showed how to stamp out TCA. "Corking" can be prevented by eliminating the lower-level bark that harbours TCA on cork trees, by refraining from laying freshly cut bark on the ground and by boiling it.

The road to survival for the cork industry depends, say producers, on improving quality. (Source: Extracted from an article in China Daily, 28 August 2000.)

Russian Federation

From collectivism to cooperation
NTFP use in the Russian Far East has a long history. The region's indigenous peoples have used non-timber forest products for centuries. Under the former USSR, state-harvesting organizations collected dozens of NTFP species in the Far East republics. Up to 1 200 tonnes of birch juice were produced annually in Khabarovskii Krai alone. Japan imported as much as 2 000 tonnes of salted fiddlehead ferns from the region. Rigid price controls, large consumer demand and an almost complete lack of competition instigated the government plan for the harvesting, processing and sale of NTFPs.

Since the collapse of the USSR, the breakup of the centrally planned system and the transition to a market economy, problems in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as outdated processing and packaging techniques, have all combined to undermine severely the NTFP industry in the Russian Far East. Many rural collecting stations shut down because they were ill prepared to operate in a market economy. Increasing unemployment is a significant factor contributing to the social and environmental problems. Providing new employment opportunities for rural people is a key part of the region's conservation and environmental protection strategies for Khabarovskii Krai. One solution is to create both temporary and permanent jobs through better use of NTFP resources.

The Russian Far East Association for the Use of NTFPs was formed in 1996 to look for ways to coordinate the activities of the region's NTFP producers and suppliers. Association membership has increased from seven members, representing two regions, in 1996, to 32 members, representing four regions, in March 2000. Association members have successfully introduced new technologies and scientifically based formulas for processing NTFPs, have expanded their market share for processed products both within the Russian Federation and abroad, and have found ways to improve the integratation of local people into the growing NTFP industry.

Association members focus mainly on harvesting and processing food items: honey, nature drinks, berry juice and syrups, medicinal teas, partially processed salted fiddlehead ferns and mushrooms. Ready-to-use NTFP products, such as berry jams, confectionery, flash frozen berries and shelled Korean pine nuts are now beginning to find their way on to regional markets. Future market niches are locally produced NTFP-based medicinal products, biologically active supplements and skin care products.

As a growing sector of the new market economy in the Russian Federation, the NTFP industry can be an important voice in forest conservation efforts. However, despite ongoing efforts to inventory NTFPs, information is still lacking on NTFP resources, and monitoring and resource assessment activities need to be improved to manage NTFPs more effectively.

A key element in the future success of the NTFP industry in the Russian Far East is a programme to equip firms with new equipment and introduce improved processing techniques. Training is needed for personnel running equipment and operating new facilities. A combination of these factors will help stabilize production and make available products that can effectively compete on today's market.

Improved equipment and personnel training require investments. Renewed investments into the region's NTFP industry will begin when investors feel the economic and political atmosphere is more secure. One issue faced by the NTFP industry is inadequate government support at the local, regional and federal level. Official terminology continues to refer to these products as "secondary forest products" despite their importance in any sustainable forest and forest industry management programme. Legal regulation of NTFPs is equally important in establishing a sound investment atmosphere, but the industry currently lacks federal and regional legislation. (Source: Taiga News, No. 31, Spring 2000.)

NTFP industry requirements

(from a 1999 survey by the Russian Far East Association for the Use of NTFPs)

1. Inventory NTFP resources and set scientifically based harvest limits with control and monitoring structures.

2. Improve harvest methods and local primary processing.

3. Expand secondary processing and finished product technologies and improve packaging.

4. Reach international-level agreement on standardization and certification of raw and processed NTFP products.

5. Promote NTFP sales through a network of commercial outlets.

6. Investigate new markets for NTFPs.

7. Improve the skills of everyone working in the NTFP industry.

8. Carry out and coordinate market research for NTFP firms.

For more information, please contact:
Andrei Zakharenkov, Russian Far East Association for the Use of NTFPs, Karl Marx Street 176, Khabarovsk 680031, Russian Federation.
Fax: +4212 338497;


Senegal has been hit by a growing scarcity of the bitter-tasting kola nut. The nuts, which contain caffeine, are mainly imported from other West African countries such as Nigeria, Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire. However, in September 2000, it became virtually impossible to find any in the markets. Imports have plummeted, as a result of bad harvests in the producer countries.

According to kola nut wholesalers, a 50-kg sack of kola nuts now costs about CFAF 90 000 (US$120), compared with the pre-scarcity
price of CFAF 25 000.

Apart from its economic consequences, the scarcity of kola nuts has also resulted in serious social problems. The nut is used in virtually every aspect of social life in Senegal.

Apart from acting as a sexual stimulant, the nut also contains physical stimulants and many men chew it all day long to maintain their strength. The nut is also an indispensable requirement in marriage ceremonies. In fact, in most regions of Senegal, the bridegroom must offer at least 10 kg of kola nuts to the family of his would-be wife for the marriage to be sanctioned by them.

In addition, kola nuts are essential for mystical rituals performed by religious healers and soothsayers known as marabout. It is not surprising that many people believe the scarcity of the nuts is threatening these rituals and they are fervently hoping for a quick end to the crisis. (Source: BBC News, 18 September 2000: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/ english/world/africa/newsid_930000/ 930661.stm)

South Africa

A book on plants in South Africa has recently been published:People's plants. A guide to useful plants of southern Africa. 2000. By Gericke N. van Wyk ben Eric., Pretoria, Briza Publications (i7131). 351 pp.

This book is divided into three main parts:

1. Food and Drinks covers cereals, seeds and nuts, fruits and berries, vegetables, roots, bulbs and tubers, and beverages.

2. Health and Beauty has chapters on general medicines, tonic plants, mind and mood plants, women's health, wounds, burns and skin conditions, dental care, perfumes and repellents, and soaps and cosmetics.

3. Skills and Crafts deals with hunting and fishing, dyes and tans, utility timbers, fire making and fuelwood, basketry, weaving and ropes, and thatching, mats and brooms.

Species and their uses are described; there are many excellent photographs and a comprehensive index. (Source: EcoPort gatekeeper abstract.)

For more information, please contact:
BRIZA Publications, PO Box 56569, ARCADIA 0007, South Africa.

United Republic of Tanzania

Gender and non-wood forest products
In the United Republic of Tanzania, it is the women who are experts on the collection, processing and preservation of non-wood forest products for the household foods. Peasant women know the nutritional needs of their families as well as the nutritive content of the wild foods they collect from the bush since they are responsible for sustaining the livelihood of the family.

However, the roles of women and men with regard to the collection of medicinal plants do not seem to be specialized. Traditional healers, men and women, frequently carry out the collection themselves in the forests partly to maintain secrecy of knowledge of relevant species.

It has further been established that NWFPs with a direct contribution to household food security are often collected by women while those related to income generation are collected by men. For example, women and children purposely hunt for mushrooms and consequently the best mushroom specialists in the village are women.

Commercialization of forest products also has a gender dimension. While most of the beekeepers in Tanzania are men, the majority of basket and mat makers are women. Moreover, it has been observed that most of the wood carvers and hunters are men.

However, the local knowledge of both men and women concerning NWFPs and wild foods, in particular, for household food security is declining, as a result of formal schooling, intermarriages and emigration.

Gender-based local knowledge is a central issue in the selection, collection and preparation of wild foods. Women are often very knowledgeable about direct food consumption activities while men are more knowledgeable and responsible concerning income-generating NWFPs. This gender-based local knowledge needs to be studied in detail and documented so that it is not lost in the wake of modernization.

Governments, non-governmental organizations and women should be the target for programmes in household food security.

The Links project has already started various activities to improve household food security. (Source: Potentials of non-wood forest products in household food security in Tanzania: the role of gender-based local knowledge, by G.C. Kajembe, M.I. Mwenduwa, J.S. Mgoo and H. Ramadhani. July 2000.)

Project Gender, Biodiversity and Local Knowledge Systems (Links) to Strengthen Agricultural and Rural Development (GCP/RAF/338/NOR)

The project's objectives are:

· To increase understanding among rural people, development workers and policy-makers about the value of men's and women's distinct knowledge and skill related to the management of agrobiodiversity for food security.

· To strengthen the capacity of key partner organizations participating in the project to use gender analysis, participatory research and communications for development methods to work with rural communities to document and share information about local knowledge systems with communities, NGOs, research institutes and policy-makers.

· To overcome the policy, legislative, socio-economic and cultural barriers to the local management, conservation and sustainable use of agrobiodiversity.

For more information, please contact:
FAO, PO Box 2,

Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.

Fax: +255 22 2112501;

e-mail: FAO-TZA@field.fao.org; or

Project Coordinator (Links), Tanzania Food & Nutrition Center (TFNC),

2 Ocean Road, PO Box 977,

Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.

For more information, please contact the authors:
Mr G.C. Kajembe and Ms M.I. Mwenduwa, Department of Forest Mensuration and Management, Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation, Sokoine University of Agriculture, PO Box 3013, Chuo Kikuu, Moregore, Tanzania.
Fax: +255 232603718/4648;
ifrisua@suanet.ac.tz ; and
Mr J.S. Mgoo and Ms H. Ramadhani, Forestry and Beekeeping Division, PO Box 426, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
Fax: 255 222 866162;
e-mail: misitu@twiga.com

United States of America

Non-timber forest products (temperate)
A recent edition of The Overstory (No. 71) focused on non-timber crops of forests in the continental United States. Although the focus is primarily temperate, NTFP producers will be interested in the management techniques described for a wide variety of commercial crops. Forest farmed products include mushrooms, botanicals of medicinal or culinary value, fruits and nuts, craft materials, maple and other syrups, and baled pine straw. Raising honey bees (apiculture) is also an option. (Source: The Overstory, No. 71.)

Managing the "other" forest products
With is headquarters in Portland, Oregon, the Pacific Northwest Research Station is one of seven United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service Research sites. This station's research is organized into seven programmes conducted at ten locations: nine laboratories in Alaska, Washington and Oregon, and a Wood Utilization Center in Sitka, Alaska. Forestry research sites were established to evaluate and disseminate information and technology to improve management and use of natural resources.

The Pacific Northwest Research Station has indicated that an emerging area of concern is special forest products, such as florals, medicinals, pharmaceuticals, greenery and edible harvests. There is an economic as well as a lifestyle component to these products. Commercial, recreational and subsistence harvesting of such products as chanterelle mushrooms, brings working people to the forest, sometimes in cultural conflict with each other, or with forest regulations.

On the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, chanterelle harvest has become a dynamic example of adaptive ecosystem management, as agencies and citizens grapple with regulations, realities and cultural differences among groups of pickers. Station research has revealed more common ground among and between chanterelle pickers and landowners than was previously recognized. Recognition and understanding of a common interest in sustaining the resource is helping alleviate tensions.

Knowledge of communities' and citizens' concerns has helped resource managers, country commissioners, legislators and educators develop partnerships for tackling problems facing both agencies and communities. For example, data are now available to describe the impacts on displaced timber workers: loss of occupational identity, distrust of corporate and agency managers and lower wages. The data, however, also reveal support on the part of timber workers for better conservation of timber resources, and a demonstrated capacity to cope with changes. (Source: Closer to the truth, a retrospective of the Pacific Northwest Research Station, 1925-2000.)

For more information, please contact:
Pacific Northwest Research Station, PO Box 3890, Portland, OR 97208, USA.


Wild Harvest Sector
"Wild Harvest Sector: entrepreneurships in the sustainable production of forest-grown medicinal plants and other non-timber forest products" is a partnership among Total Action Against Poverty, Roanoke, Virginia; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Department of Wood Science and Forest Products, Blacksburg, Virginia; and Craig County Rural Partnership, New Castle, Virginia. The programme is also collaborating with Virginia Cooperative Extension, and West Virginia Cooperative Extension. The programme's first year is funded through the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Wild Harvest Sector will provide training to residents in southwestern Virginia as well as technical assistance in finding and developing propagation sites for forest-grown medicinal plants and other non-timber forest products.

The primary focus is to help ten participants become first-time producers of NTFPs. An Internet-based instruction programme, as well as a small paper guide on NTFP production entitled Guide to Special Forest Products, will be prepared. Emphasis will also be on helping those who do not own forested land to obtain access to forested growing sites for NTFPs on land owned by their neighbours.

Workshops planned for 2001 cover:

· "virtually wild" ginseng growing;
producing forest-grown plants for overseas and domestic Asian markets;
propagating native forest plants for market;
writing a business plan for a forest products enterprise; and
marketing and producing shitake mushrooms.

Wild Harvest Sector is dedicated to the preservation of all plant species grown for the market. Therefore, the programme will encourage participants to "grow their own" rather than deplete existing plant communities. NTFPs can generate significant economic activity at the local community level in the Appalachian region of North America without destroying or degrading the area's abundant mature hardwood forest ecosystems, therefore playing an important role in the development of sustainable local economies in the Appalachias.

For more information, please contact:
Ms Ann Rogers, Total Action Against Poverty (TAP), PO Box 2868, Roanoke, VA 24001, USA.
AnnR99@aol.com ; or
Mr A.L. Hammett.

Viet Nam

Viet Nam to increase cinnamon crops to meet export demands
Viet Nam is to expand its cinnamon-growing areas from 16 000 to 50 000 ha in an effort to earn US$15 million from cinnamon-bark exports by the year 2005, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Between 3 000 and 5 000 ha of the planned cinnamon areas will be exploited each year to ensure raw material for both export and essential oil production. Viet Nam also intends to build two more cinnamon oil-processing plants - each with an annual capacity of between 50 and 100 tonnes in northern Yen Bai province and central Quang Nam province.

Cinnamon is a forest product that has become Viet Nam's top export and each year the country exports 3 000 tonnes of cinnamon bark. The ministry reports that cinnamon trees are largely grown in Yen Bai, Thanh Hoa, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces because they have a higher economic value than other plants grown on hilly land and help prevent soil erosion. Growers can earn between US$2 000 and $3 000 from 700 to 1 000 kg of cinnamon bark per hectare. Cinnamon trees are usually planted with other food crops for higher profits, the ministry stressed.

Viet Nam's cinnamon has long been known for its quality and flavour because it is rich in essential oil. The bark has a cinamic acid content of about 75 percent, while its leaf has a content of more than 50 percent. Both bark and leaf are used to produce essential oil for the food and pharmaceutical industries. About 0.8 percent of cinnamon's essential oil is contained in its leaf and 2.2 percent in its bark.

Viet Nam's cinnamon products were previously exported to Eastern Europe and the Nera East and are now being sold in Japan, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan Province of China, China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and some Western countries at US$2 000 per tonne.

Previously, cinnamon trees were grown in regions where soil conditions were not particularly suitable and growers did not have adequate experience and technology. Both cinnamon areas and output fell as a result.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is now formulating policies and measures to encourage both enterprises and farmers to grow the trees. Incentives include forest-land allocation, soft long-term loans and the provision of expertise. (Source: AsiaPulse via COMTEX, Hanoi, 29 January 2001.)


Southern African forests - the poor people's safety net
Without access to their communal forests, many of Zimbabwe's poor might have perished a long time ago. Two surveys conducted in a typical rural county (the Shindi ward) in the mid-1990s found that on average each family derived over 35 percent of their income from forest products. In a country where one rural person out of every two consumes less than US$150 worth of products a year, forest-related income can literally mean the difference between life and death. Most people think that southern Africa's rural households make their living as farmers. But, in reality, many depend as much on their surrounding forests as they do on their crops.

Empirical regularities in the poverty-environment relationship of African rural households, by William Cavendish, demonstrates that forest products provide an essential component of rural African livelihoods.

Cavendish's study found that Zimbabwe's rural families use hundreds of wild plants and animals for food, medicine, fuelwood, building materials, furniture, baskets, livestock fodder, and other uses. Termite mounds and leaf litter provide a major source of fertilizer. Livestock fodder, wild foods and fuelwood contribute most to household incomes. However, around three quarters of all income comes from a wide range of other natural products. None of these gifts of nature will make the families rich. But they definitely help them survive.

The poorest households depend the most on forest products. Even so, in absolute terms the richer households consume more forest products. Men do most of the hunting and wood-related activities. Women sell wild vegetables, fruits and wine. They also collect fuelwood and thatching grass and make pottery out of local materials. Both groups sell mats and medicinal plants and pan for gold. Young children rely heavily on wild foods such as mice, small birds, insects and fruits.

What will happen if these natural resources disappear? Where will these families turn to if someone privatizes their woodlands? (Source: POLEX list serve, 1 September 2000.)

To obtain a free electronic version of the paper and/or send comments about this message, you can write to William Cavendish at: william_cavendish@new.labour.org.uk