ˇ Field courses in rain forest and marine ecology
ˇ Hunting for tonight's dinner
ˇ Pro-poor tourism
ˇ ThinkShrimp! - social and ecological impacts of industrial shrimp aquaculture along tropical coasts

Field courses in rain forest and marine ecology

Rainforest and Reef is a non-profit organization specializing in field courses in rain forest and marine ecology which are currently offered in nine countries. All programmes are operated by partner organizations that have shown a strong commitment to conservation and education. The organization is committed to the fair return of the benefits from the courses to the local partners to assist in conservation and education projects.

Local guides and biologists are featured in the study of natural history, rain forest and coral reef ecology, medicinal uses of native plants, conservation, land management, local cultures, archaeology, geology and much more. Past participants have come from across the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Australia and the Far East.

Customized programmes are available upon request.

For more information, please contact:
Mike Nolan, Director, Rainforest and Reef, 9 Prospect NE Suite No. 8, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503, USA.
Tel./Fax: +1 616 776 5928;
rainforest@mail.org  or mnolan01@sprynet.com;


Hunting for tonight's dinner

In more than 61 countries worldwide, rural families obtain at least 20 percent of their animal protein from wild game and fish. In West Africa, fully one quarter of the population's protein comes from bushmeat. Each year, local people in Sarawak, Malaysia eat US$75 million worth of such meat. In the Amazon Basin as a whole, consumption exceeds US$175 million. The total catch from hunting in the Congo Basin is more than one million tonnes of wild meat annually. People also catch live animals to sell, and hunt them to protect their crops from pests, as part of cultural rituals, and for other reasons.

Hunting of wildlife in tropical forests: implications for biodiversity and forest peoples, by Elizabeth Bennett and John Robinson from the Wildlife Conservation Society, provides ample evidence that much of this hunting is unsustainable. Moderately or heavily hunted forests have a much lower mammal density. Vulnerable species often disappear entirely from these areas. This means fewer cute and cuddly animals, less protein and income for rural families, and greater hunger. Furthermore, changes in animal populations can alter other components of the ecosystem by affecting seed survival and dispersal, as well as the predator to prey ratios.

Hunters go after a wide range of mammals, birds, and reptiles, although typically a major proportion of bushmeat comes from large hoofed animals and monkeys. Animals that travel in packs, move slowly, make loud noises, or do not reproduce frequently are especially vulnerable. Old-growth tropical rain forests generally produce less bushmeat per hectare than savannahs, grasslands and secondary forest, so hunting there often takes a much heavier toll.

The hunting problem has worsened as populations in forested areas have increased and become more sedentary. Migrants who lack traditional norms for regulating hunting have moved in. Widespread encroachment of logging crews into the forest has proved to be especially problematic. Better access to the forest and improved hunting technologies, such as the introduction of firearms, wire snares, flashlights, dogs, motorbikes and outboard motors, have helped deplete game species. In many African and Asian countries, people actually consume more wild meat as their incomes rise, since they prefer it to other foods. In contrast, when given the option, Latin Americans generally prefer to purchase beef or chicken.

The authors recognize that few attempts to regulate hunting have proved effective in the tropics. They suggest greater efforts to promote community wildlife management, increased monitoring of logging companies and continued support for protected areas.

Hunting of wildlife in tropical forests: implications for biodiversity and forest peoples by E.L. Bennett and J.G. Robinson (2000) is published as Biodiversity Series-Impact Studies No. 76 by the World Bank, Washington, DC.

The paper can be downloaded in pdf format (www.worldbank.org/biodiversity). An electronic Word file with the document in English, French or Spanish is available from Sharon Esumei (sesumei@worldbank.org ).

Comments can be sent to: Elizabeth Bennett (e-mail: lizwcs@pd.jaring.my).
(Source: POLEX mailing list, 2 February 2001.)

Pro-poor tourism

A recent paper, Pro-poor tourism: putting poverty at the heart of the tourism agenda , by Caroline Ashley, Charlotte Boyd and Harold Goodwin, examines how tourism affects the livelihoods of the poor and how positive impacts can be enhanced. In doing so, it assesses the relevance of tourism to the poverty agenda, and the factors that encourage or constrain economic participation of the poor in the industry. In conclusion, it outlines strategies for promoting pro-poor tourism (PPT).

Policy conclusions

(Source: ODI. Natural Resource Perspectives, No. 51, March 2000.)

For more information, please contact:
Overseas Development Institute, Portland House, Stag Place, London SW1E 5DP, UK.
Fax: +44 20 7393 1699;


Both time and space are measured from the prime meridian of the world, also known as the Greenwich meridian, 0 longitude. The Millennium Tree Line, which is supported by the University of Greenwich, is a project aiming to create a line of trees following the Greenwich meridian line.

The world entered the third millennium at midnight on the Greenwich meridian on 31 December 2000. To mark this historic event a line of trees is being established along the meridian in the United Kingdom. It is hoped that the line will be continued through France, Spain and Africa until it reaches the Atlantic in the Gulf of Guinea.

The many trees already growing on the line will be carefully recorded and, wherever possible, conserved for the remainder of their natural lives.

Different tree species will be used for planting, although generally those native to the area through which the line passes will be preferred. An important aspect of the project will be to allow the trees to age naturally, or to extend their lives by pollarding, so that many will be venerable giants at the arrival of the fourth millennium and beyond.

Once the line is established, it is expected that successive generations will keep it going and that any trees that die, or are blown down, will be replaced. As the trees mature the line will be visible from the air and even from space.

As well as being of interest in its own right, the Millennium Tree Line will have considerable conservation value as a living laboratory of the life cycle of trees. It is hoped that environmental centres can be established at suitable points along the line and it is planned to designate areas of woodland on either side of the line as reserves where the cycle of nature is allowed to run its full course.

At the heart of the project will be a computer database designed by the University of Greenwich. This will record existing trees and the new ones that are planted so that full details of the Millennium Tree Line, and individuals and organizations associated with it, are available to people in the future.

Organizations and institutions are being offered the opportunity to sponsor tree sites on the Greenwich meridian. The money raised will enable the project to develop and any surplus will go to the charitable causes nominated in the constitution of the Millennium Tree Line.

A similar initiative is being undertaken in France where there are plans for "La Méridienne verte" (the Green Meridian): a line of trees 1 200 km long. Eight French regions, 20 departments and 336 communes will be involved. A hiking route will follow the line of the trees and help draw attention to the tourist attractions in the areas covered.

For more information, please contact:
The Millennium Tree Line Ltd,
c/o University of Greenwich,
Oakfield Lane,
Dartford, Kent DA1 2SZ, UK.
Fax: +44 20 8331 9700;
e-mail: treeline@gre.ac.uk;

ThinkShrimp! - social and ecological impacts of industrial shrimp aquaculture along tropical coasts

Local people in India and Ecuador are losing their land and their mangrove forests because they are cut down for huge artificial shrimp ponds - shrimp aquaculture. With these forests the main resource of income for the local population is disappearing: the amount of wild fish, shrimp, crab and shells, which depend on intact mangrove forests, has been decreasing over the past few years. Not only is the food security for the people living on these coasts in danger but also the drinking-water supply, as a result of the salinization of the groundwater, as well as of the fertile agricultural land. A further threat is the contamination of the sea, rivers, channels and land areas in the neighbourhood of shrimp farms, because of the input of chemicals, pesticides and antibiotics.

Value of national forests

National forests are far more valuable for their recreation, wildlife and water quality than for timber, minerals and cattle grazing, according to a recent report by the Sierra Club. The forests are worth an estimated US$234 billion and generate 2.9 million jobs from recreation, fish and wildlife, water quality and wild areas, according to an economic consulting firm that prepared the report for the Sierra Club, which opposes commercial logging in national forests. By comparison, the nation's 80 million hectares of federal forests generate US$23 billion and 407 000 jobs from timber, mining, grazing and other uses, said the firm, ECONorthwest. (Source: press release, Associated Press.)

In order to provide the general public (as well as shrimp importers in Germany and Austria) with information on these problems, the German non-governmental organizations (NGOs) EarthLink, Food First information and action network (FIAN) and Community of action fair world (ASW) invited the activists Dr Jacob Raj, from the Indian NGO PREPARE, and Lider Góngora Farias, from the Ecuadorian NGO FUNDECOL, to the information tour "ThinkShrimp!" to ten German and Austrian towns from 11 to 26 September 2000.

For more information, please contact:
EarthLink, Frohschammerstr. 14, 80 807 Munich, Germany.
Fax: +49(0)89/35 65 21 06;


Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.

John Muir, 1912

(Quoted in Closer to the truth, a retrospective of the Pacific Northwest Research Station, 1925-2000.)