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A comprehensive collection of biodiversity publications

Biodiversity Support Program. 2001. Washington, DC, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). CD-ROM.

The Biodiversity Support Program (BSP) operated from 1989 to 2001 as a consortium of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Nature Conservancy and the World Resources Institute and was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). BSP's mission was to promote conservation of the world's biological diversity, based on the belief that a healthy and secure living resource base is essential to meet the needs and aspirations of future generations.

BSP, in collaboration with governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), communities, donors, academics and the private sector, carried out its mission through projects combining conservation with social and economic development. Its four main areas of activity were:

BSP has created a comprehensive CD representing the accumulated experiences, lessons and tools resulting from the programme's 13 years of work. It was developed for conservation practitioners, decision-makers, governments, NGOs, community leaders, donors, educators, researchers and students working in the field of biodiversity conservation and natural resource management. The CD contains approximately 80 publications and reports in English with some Bahasa, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish translations. Information on BSP and its specific regional programmes is also included.

The contents of this CD, as well as additional documents, can also be found on the BSP Web site (

Conserving biodiversity in Bolivia

Biodiversity, conservation and management in the region of the Beni Biological Station Biosphere Reserve, Bolivia. O. Herrera-MacBryde, F. Dallmeier, B. MacBryde, J.A. Comiskey and C. Miranda, eds. 2000. SI/MAB Series No. 4. Washington, DC, USA, Smithsonian Institution/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). ISBN 1-893912-03-5.

The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) provides support to studies on the management and conservation of forest ecosystems. Biosphere reserves are areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems that are promoting solutions to harmonize the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use (for more on the MAB World Network of Biosphere Reserves, see p. 55 of this issue).

The Beni Biological Station Biosphere Reserve, located in northeastern Bolivia, covers 135 000 ha and represents three major biogeographical regions: Amazon, Chaco and Cerrado. Seventy percent of the reserve is forested with high dense forests, riparian forests and swamp forests, and the rest is wetlands and savannah. The reserve contains over 2 000 species of vascular plants, over 100 mammalian species, 470 bird species, 45 amphibian species and approximately 200 species of fish. The population of approximately 2 000 people living within or immediately adjacent to the reserve depends on the area's natural resources for hunting, fishing, gathering, craft production and subsistence agriculture.

This publication is the result of cooperation between UNESCO and the Smithsonian Institution. It contains the main work accomplished since the Beni Biological Station was created in 1982, including detailed research efforts and general information intended for a wide audience.

Twenty-one chapters, most written in Spanish with English abstracts, are organized into five sections. The first section provides an introduction to the Beni Biological Station Biosphere Reserve, including a general description of the area's ecology and an outline of the management objectives, programmes and activities. Detailed and applied research on the vegetation and fauna of the reserve are discussed in the next two sections. The use and management of the resources by local communities are addressed in the fourth section. A section on conservation concludes the publication; it includes biogeographical analysis of the reserve, an examination of implications for protected area management and regional planning processes and a historical summary of the Beni Biological Station project.

Forest biodiversity in Europe

Structural, compositional and functional aspects of forest biodiversity in Europe. J. Puumalainen. 2001. Geneva Timber and Forest Discussion Papers. Geneva, Switzerland, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)/FAO. ISBN 92-1-116788-4.

Structural, compositional and functional aspects of forest biodiversity in Europe aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the forest biodiversity and variety of the forests in Europe for a wide audience including politicians, environmentalists, foresters and researchers. The study was undertaken not only simply to describe the variety of European forests but also to address the current deficiencies and difficulties related to international reporting, large-scale assessments and long-term monitoring of forest biodiversity. The analysis is based on results from the Temperate and Boreal Forest Resources Assessment 2000 (TBFRA 2000), complemented or verified with additional sources when appropriate.

The introduction provides a brief overview of international initiatives and reporting on forest biodiversity. The following chapter outlines the challenges to monitoring forest biodiversity such as the lack of a universal definition for biodiversity and often incomparable results because of different methods of analysis and assessment. Chapter 3 describes indicators and key factors used for describing forest biodiversity, such as the Pan-European indicators for sustainable forest management.

Chapter 4 summarizes the structural aspects of European forest biodiversity (the framework and pattern of the forests), including the area of forest and other wooded lands, natural and protected forests, species mixtures, age structure, regeneration and colonization.

The compositional aspects of forest biodiversity in Europe - including not only the number of species present, but also the interactions of species with their habitat and the function of species in their particular niches - are presented in Chapter 5. This chapter analyses total flora and fauna species counts, the number of species per unit area, forests as species habitat and introduced species data.

The next chapter addresses functional aspects - the ecological and evolutionary processes that influence various processes, such as photosynthesis and nutrient cycling, and ultimately the system structure itself. Topics covered include monitoring of continuous processes, such as forest growth and crown condition, as well as natural disturbances and discrete anthropogenic influences.

The wide baseline assessment presented in the study will be helpful in identifying improvements for future assessments of forest biological diversity and in refining indicators and monitoring systems.

Innovative study on effectiveness of logging bans for conserving forests and biodiversity

Forests out of bounds: impacts and effectiveness of logging bans in natural forests in Asia-Pacific. P.B. Durst, T.R. Waggener, T. Enters and T.L. Cheng, eds. 2001. RAP Publication 2001/08. Bangkok, Thailand, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. ISBN 974-7946-09-2. Forests out of bounds - executive summary. C. Brown, P.B. Durst and T. Enters. 2001. RAP Publication 2001/10. ISBN 974-7946-10-6.

Logging provides the timber and fibre needed to satisfy the rapidly increasing demands of today's societies. It generates billions of dollars in revenues, supports national economic and industrial development and provides income and employment for millions of individuals. On the other hand, logging can also cause significant damage to forests, or even facilitate the conversion of forests to other land uses. Logging is often viewed as a key factor in the loss of biological diversity and habitats, the deterioration of watersheds and water quality, the expansion of deserts and the demise of forest-dependent people. Can logging bans help to halt forest destruction and degradation?

Forests out of bounds presents the results of a two-year study to assess the impacts and effectiveness of logging bans and other timber harvesting restrictions as a strategy for conserving forests in the Asia and the Pacific Region. The study was requested by member countries at the seventeenth session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC) in 1998. Bans on harvesting timber from natural forests, either partial or total, have been established or are being considered by many countries in the region in the face of continuing deforestation and increased emphasis on forest conservation.

The objectives of the study were to:

The publication contains a regional overview of the natural forests, the history of logging bans, issues and concerns, strategies and solutions, lessons learned, necessary conditions for achieving natural forest conservation, and recommendations. Extensive case studies from six countries (China, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam) are presented.

Forest ownership and community management

Land, people and forests in eastern and southern Africa at the beginning of the 21st century. The impact of land relations on the role of communities in the forest. L.A. Wily and S. Mbaya. 2001. Forest and Social Perspectives in Conservation. Nairobi, Kenya, World Conservation Union - Eastern Africa Regional Office (IUCN-EARO). ISBN 2-8317-0599-1.

The way in which forest land is owned directly influences the status of the forest, its condition and the way in which it is managed. Ownership also determines the relationship of local communities with the forest. Secure forest ownership may be viewed as a community's most powerful stake in the forest's future and a stable basis for its involvement in sustainable forest management.

This publication presents the findings of a study on the relationship of people's land rights to the manner in which they may be involved in the management of forests. It concentrates mainly on the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Lesotho, and to a lesser extent on Botswana and Swaziland. Although all forest types are considered, natural forests are the focus.

The authors claim that posing participation in a framework that is only concerned with local forest use ignores the real requirements for both forest management and forest-based local livelihoods. They argue that instead of reframing forest access and benefits to include communities, forest management should restructure where, how and by whom the forest's future is owned and controlled. This would shift the orientation of forest management from a paternalistic focus based on local needs to one focused on local rights and capacities. In support of this position, the authors present and analyse prevailing management paradigms and other central issues such as differing perceptions of local interests, the extent to which relevant laws are obeyed and enforced and changing notions of land tenure.

This publicaiton is likely to be of interest to those with an interest in community forest management and to policy-makers from the national to community levels.

Social dimensions of sustainable forest management

People managing forests: the links between human well-being and sustainability. C.J. Pierce Colfer and Y. Byron, eds. 2001. Washington DC, USA, Resources for the Future. ISBN 1-891853-05-8.

Produced for Resources for the Future, in collaboration with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), this book is a compilation of recent papers on the current status of knowledge on ways to improve the well-being of forest-dependent people and to help tropical countries manage their forests wisely for sustained benefits. It pursues the fundamental question: How can conditions be created that allow people who live in and around forests to maintain the valued aspects of their own way of life and to prosper while still protecting those forests on which they, and perhaps the rest of humankind, depend?

Central issues of concern addressed in the book are the identification and roles of relevant stakeholders (including an examination of gender and diversity and the relevance of a "conservation ethic"), the security of intergenerational access to forest resources and rights and responsibilities to manage forests cooperatively and equitably. The discussion is supported by examples from Central Africa, Indonesia and the Brazilian Amazon.

Anyone with an interest in the cultural and social dimensions of sustainable forest management would find the book valuable. Researchers and practitioners involved with community-based sustainable forest management would find the conceptual analyses, range of topics and methodological tools in the book relevant and applicable to their work.

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