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Bangladesh, Bhutan, Bostwana, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Grenada, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Zambia


Bangladesh

A forest stolen for cash

The plantation of exotic trees – rubber, acacia and eucalyptus in particular – is a major factor that has changed the Modhupur sal forest (Shorea robusta) for ever, with severe consequences for the ethnic communities – Garos and Koch – who have lived in the forest for centuries.

With loan money from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, in particular, the government has actually established plantations of alien species all over the public forest land. With the exception of the Sundarbans, only fragments of native forests remain in Bangladesh.

Pineapple and banana plantations have also expanded recently in the Modhupur sal forest, which is a cause of serious concern owing to the heavy use of pesticides (including DDT), and imported hormones to make the fruit bigger and ripen faster. Nowadays both pineapple and banana production and trade are controlled by the Bangalee traders.

In Bangladesh, “social” forestry on public forest land means big cash deals with loans coming from international financial institutions. The practice of “simple plantation” forestry has been passed for “social”, “community” or “participatory” forestry. The land belongs to the Forest Department; loan money comes from the Asian Development Bank (ADB); and the Forest Department establishes the plantations on public forest land, cutting native forests and bushes with the argument that the local species are less productive and grow slowly. The local people and often outsiders are drawn into the practice as the so-called participants or beneficiaries who have no say in the selection of species, while production and trade are controlled.

According to some appalling statistics about the state of the Modhupur forest given by the Tangail Forest Office, out of 18 600 ha in the Tangail part of the Modhupur forest, 3 160 ha have been given out for rubber cultivation, 405 ha to the Air Force, 10 125 ha have gone into illegal possession and the Forest Department controls only 3 650 ha.

In Modhupur, once abundant with medicinal plants, one can hardly find native species such as Gandhi gazari, ajuli (Dillenia pentagyna), dud kuruj, sonalu (Cassia fistula) (golden shower), sesra, jiga, jogini chakra (Gmelina arborea), kaika, sidha, sajna, amloki (Emblic myrobalan) and gadila.

Currently, the Forest Department is implementing the second rotation of fuelwood plantation throughout the country with loans for the Forestry Sector Project from the ADB. The controversy, debate and protest that the first rotation of plantation (beginning in 1989/90) generated are still alive. The Forest Department continues to ignore all these protests and controversies around plantations. (Source: Extracted from Modhupur. A stolen forest, robbed Adivasis, by Philip Gain, Society for Environment and Human Development sehd@citechco.net in Community Forestry E-News, 2003.16.)

Bhutan

Matsutake export declines

Exports of matsutake mushrooms to Japan have slumped rapidly in recent years says the National Mushroom Centre (NMC) in Semtokha. According to Dawa Penjor of NMC this is basically because of the large production of matsutake in other exporting countries such as the Republic of Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and China. Matsutake, locally called sangay shamu, fetches about Nu 3 000 per kilogram in Japan and Bhutan has been exporting the mushroom for about a decade.

There are other reasons for the decline. Despite the vigilance of quality control inspectors, Japanese importers found nails inside the mushrooms, seriously tarnishing the quality of Bhutanese export standards. Bad harvesting practices of mushroom collectors have also contributed to the decline. According to Dawa Penjor, the Bhutanese overpick, collect very young mushrooms, disturb the soil and damage the host plant, and carry plastic bags instead of baskets which prevented spores from being released in the forest. Collectors say that the productivity of the cultivated areas has declined by at least 10 percent in recent years.

Exporters, farmers, agriculturists, foresters, collectors, quality controllers and marketing experts in the business met at a one-day workshop on 18 June 2003 to discuss “sustainable harvesting and marketing of the mushroom”. The participants deliberated on various cross-cutting issues affecting the mushroom industry in Bhutan.

Chhimi Tshering of the agricultural marketing section, who presented a paper during the workshop, said that little was known in Bhutan about the Japanese mushroom industry, the place of matsutake in the industry, and the progress and the prospects of Bhutan’s exports to Japan. He added that Canada, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Morocco, the United States, Turkey and China also exported matsutake to Japan, with China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea dominating the market. Bhutan was the smallest supplier. Bhutan also exported matsutake to Thailand, Singapore, India, Malaysia and China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Mushroom exporters said that the “low demands and uneconomic prices offered” because of an economic slump in Japan, coupled with high cargo charges and flight cancellations owing to bad weather, were other reasons for the declining exports to Japan. But a marketing expert with the agricultural marketing section argued that the information Bhutanese exporters had on the Japanese mushroom industry was either very limited or not accurate and assured the workshop that the Japanese matsutake market was steady and that exports were worth continuing.

The programme director of the Renewable Natural Resources-Research Centre (RNR-RC) spoke about the possibility of harvesting matsutake based on the principles of shared ownership. He explained that mushroom producing areas were a “common pool” for which an effective management strategy needed to be developed.

Meanwhile, NMC has been taking various initiatives to keep the industry running and has been training the matsutake collectors in the sustainable harvest of mushrooms. The beginning of the harvest season is now being set every year and the collection of small-sized mushrooms is not permitted so that mushrooms can mature and shed their spores. NMC has also set packaging standards and has been encouraging collectors’ group formation to prevent overpicking and mismanagement.

To regain Bhutan’s market reputation in exports to Japan, “Bhutan Fresh” will be used as the quality standard brand on matsutake mushrooms exported to Japan. (For the full story, please see: www.kuenselonline.com/article.php?sid=3087) (Source: Kuensel online.com, 24 July 2003.)

Botswana

San Bushmen launch ecotourism project

One of southern Africa’s most ancient and vulnerable communities, Botswana’s Bukakhwe San Bushmen, have launched a community-run ecotourism project built on preserving their traditional values and protecting the region’s declining wildlife.

Working in partnership with Conservation International and Wilderness Safaris, the Bukakhwe Cultural Conservation Trust recently inaugurated the new venture called Gudigwa Camp. The ecotourism venture is fully owned by the Bukakhwe San Bushmen and all proceeds will be funnelled back into community development projects. The initiative aims to reduce pressure on wildlife in Botswana’s Okavango Delta by providing alternative sources of income that respect the Bukakhwe’s cultural heritage.

Hunting, increased human settlement and livestock encroachment have had a negative impact on some of the region’s most endangered species such as the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and African wild dog (Lycaon pictus). Gudigwa’s cheetahs, wattled cranes, lions and leopards are also under pressure. This new project gives the 700 members of the Gudigwa community sustainable alternatives to livestock grazing and incentives to protect local fauna.

The Bukakhwe San Bushmen of Gudigwa live in northeastern Botswana in the upper extremity of the Okavango Delta. Tracing their roots back to Namibia and southern Angola, they have maintained their cultural heritage for thousands of years, amid their unique wetland surroundings.

Gudigwa Camp will host up to 16 guests at a time in comfortable grass huts modelled on traditional Bushmen shelters. Through walking tours, community members will teach guests about the San cultural heritage including the use of medicinal plants, gathering water in the dry season, traditional storytelling, song and dance. (For further information about the project, please visit: www.gudigwa.com ) (Source: Press Release, Conservation International [Washington, DC], 1 May 2003.)

Brazil

Environmental protection areas in half of Amazonia

Brazil should consider the idea of transforming half of Amazonia into an environmental protection area, according to a document published by the World Bank; Brazil should combine “its tremendous natural riches”, with higher levels of human capital, foreign trade and innovation to “construct an economy based in knowledge and natural resources”.

The document advocates the preservation of Amazonia’s ecosystems alongside the existence of highly productive agriculture. (Source: O Estado de S. Paulo, in Amazon News, 29 May 2003 newsletter@amazonia.org.br .)

Secrets of the forests

Nuts, essential oils, precious stones, certificated tropical hardwoods and handicrafts are some of the treasures hidden deep in the Amazonian rain forest. Despite the fact that it occupies two thirds of the territory of Brazil, the Amazon region contributes 7 percent only of Brazil’s annual income. The Brazilian environment agency IBAMA estimates that Amazonia’s biodiversity could generate an income of $R 4 trillion, four times more than the current GNP.

On 17 June 2003, 650 representatives of the public, private and “third” sector met in Belém to discuss proposals to make the forest economy the motor which drives the development of the region. During the meeting, the first group of timber producers with the coveted “green seal” was formed. The group is composed of five companies and two communities in Acre.

An initiative from the federal government, the National Forests Programme, promises to offer incentives for ecologically correct products. The idea is to transform an area twice the size of the state of São Paulo into national forests by 2010. Under this new regime, the exploitation of the forest’s natural resources will be permitted as long as it conforms to the criteria of sustainable management, i.e. the extraction of forest resources should benefit local communities without damaging the environment.

Adalberto Verissimo, of the Institute of Man and the Environment in Amazonia (IMAZON), said that the future of sustainable development in the region depends on the urgent resolution of the land question since around 45 percent of the forest has no owner.

Certificated timber continues to be up to 20 percent more expensive than timber which does not have the FSC “green seal”. Other ecologically correct products are up to a third more expensive. “The appeal of these products is in the work behind each item and the many families which benefit from this economic alternative which means that they do not have to leave their land,” said Verissimo.

One piece of good news is that there is no shortage of projects in the region aimed at bringing about sustainable development. The non-governmental organization Friends of the Earth-Brazilian Amazonia has created a service for sustainable business, which offers advice to local communities in Amazonia. According to Roberto Smeraldi, director of Friends of the Earth, an economy based on sustainable development could generate 500 000 direct and indirect jobs in the next four years. The sustainable business service received an investment of $R 1.5 million from the Netherlands Government in its first year. It helps companies selling forest products to identify markets and find buyers for their products.

One area of growth is the production of cosmetic products, using raw materials from all over the Amazon region. Beraca, a São Paulo-based company which acts as an intermediary between producers and industrial manufacturers, has created a research programme to identify potential ingredients. Copaiba oil is used to make antidandruff shampoo and acne products. Andiroba oil is used in anticellulite products.


The Sustainable Business Service is an initiative launched by Friends of the Earth-Brazilian Amazonia in December 2002. The project offers training – and not direct financial resources – to small-scale community initiatives in the Amazon region, which includes the states of Acre, Amazonas, Rondônia, Roraima, Amapá, Pará, Maranhão, Tocantins and Mato Grosso.

The aim is to strengthen the productive sector in the region through the development and sustainability of community-based initiatives which are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. The initiative is benefiting rubber tappers, furniture makers, producers of indigenous craft goods, oils, palm hearts, honey, fruit pulps and certificated wood.

The Sustainable Business Service is one of a number of initiatives aimed at helping local people to exploit Amazonia’s natural resources responsibly. The service offers support in a number of areas: technical, legal, marketing, business management, etc., through partnerships with local government, non-governmental organizations, specialist teaching institutions and law practices. The aim is to help 24 enterprises in the next four years. There have already been 200 candidates.

Information about the candidates will be included in a Sustainable Business Databank, which may be accessed via the Internet. Any potential candidates may contact

the service by e-mail (negocios@amazonia.org.br) or via the Web site (www.amazonia.org.br/negocios ).


The sustainable development projects have an unquestionable appeal. A specialist shop in São Paulo, which sells ecologically correct stationery, furniture and personal hygiene products, has seen an increase in its monthly income from $R 40 000 in June 2002 to $R 100 000 today. The shop was the first in Brazil to receive the Forest Stewardship Council’s “green seal”. (Source: Revista Istoé, in Amazon News , 25 June 2003.)

Ecology makes a difference to Brazil’s cosmetic industry

The exotic names of fruits, seeds, barks and plants from the Amazon region have an ecological appeal which distinguishes Brazilian products in the international cosmetics market. In the last five years, the beauty products industry has grown by 102.7 percent. In 2002, export sales exceeded imports by US$35 million. It is estimated that more than US$190 million of products will be exported in 2003, representing a growth of 20 percent in relation to 2002.

Products which are “made in Brazil” are becoming increasingly common in Europe, the United States, Africa and the Near East. Until 2000, 80 percent of Brazilian exports went to other countries in Latin America. This year, that figure has dropped to 55 percent.

The use of biodiversity has given the national industry a distinctive personality. According to Farmaervas’ commercial director, Walmir Paulino, natural cosmetics, particularly those with active ingredients from Amazonian plants, have a great marketing appeal abroad. The company has recently launched an Amazonian line using essences of copaiba, pequi and andiroba. (Source: O Estado de S. Paulo, in Amazon News, 25 September 2003.)

Cameroon

Forestry products to boost economy

The contribution of the forestry sector to Cameroon’s economy is significant. The latest report on the competitiveness of the Cameroonian economy describes the sector’s role in very simple terms; “its contribution is important by virtue of its direct and indirect fallouts.” The report is the result of a study on the diagnosis of the competitive nature of Cameroon’s economy realized by the Technical Secretariat of the Committee on Competitiveness in partnership with the CRETES cabinet and James Bannet, an international consultant. It has been carried out within the framework of the fight against poverty, a strategy which challenges the Cameroonian economy and particularly the private sector, already identified as the major axis on which riches and employment could be created.

On the basis of its enormous contribution to the economy, the report gives serious consideration to the forestry sector which possesses rich potentials for making the economy more competitive within and outside the country.

The sector is also hailed for playing the following role in the economy: contributing to the amelioration of the road infrastructure especially in enclave areas; reinforcing banking and insurance businesses; supplying wood to the numerous carpentry and furniture workshops nationwide known to have provided jobs to more than 20 000 people; providing non-timber forest products, such as medicinal plants, vegetables, wild fruits and spices that have undergone spectacular development; and supplying fuelwood as an important energy source for a greater majority of the population. (Source: Cameroon Tribune [Yaoundé], 30 December 2003.)

Fighting poverty through community forestry

“Empowerment and livelihood improvement of the Bagyeli community through the sustainable use of the resources at the Ngovayang Forest in Cameroon”: this is the purpose of a project conceived for the Bagyeli or Bakola people living around the Ngovayang Massif Forest in Lolodorf, Ocean Division.

The feasibility studies for the project were carried out by the Cameroon Biodiversity Conservation Society (CBCS), working in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MINEF) and the Ministry of Social Affairs (MINAS). The project is being implemented with the financial support of the Dutch Development Agency (DGIS) and Comic Relief.

CBCS collaborates with two main site community-based organizations made up of the Bagyeli people and their Bantu allies. The government brings in technical support through MINEF and MINAS.

The Bagyeli people who live around the Ngovayang Massif Forest are part of the second largest group of pygmies in central Africa and the world’s population that still live as hunters and gatherers. Their economy is based on hunting and the collection of forest products. The Ngoveyang forest covers an area of 62 700 ha, situated in the Centre and South Provinces.

The project aims at raising awareness and contributing to the empowerment of local communities around the Ngovayang forest to manage their natural resources and improve their livelihoods. The project activities include: training in natural resource management, promotion of indigenous natural resource management systems, and access rights to natural resources. (Source: Cameroon Tribune [Yaoundé], 26 December 2003.)

Foundation helps communities protect Cameroon Mountains biodiversity

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is supporting activities by the Cameroon Mountains Conservation Foundation to protect the area’s unique biodiversity by helping local communities manage forest resources and improve their livelihoods. UNDP is providing US$300 000 for the initiative.

The Cameroon Mountains, lying in the western part of the country, are the highest range in West Africa. The region’s forests have been designated by Conservation International as one of the world’s 25 biodiversity “hot spots” that need special attention to safeguard endangered species.

Many villages in the mountains are isolated, and their people are among the one third of Cameroonians who survive on less than one dollar a day. They depend on the mountains for resources such as fuelwood, honey, medicinal plants and game for food, and have strong cultural bonds to the forests. The mountains are also a vital source of water for many inhabitants.

Among the animals living in this unique environment are primates, including chimpanzees and gorillas, mountain elephants and a number of rare bird species. Over the years, however, forests have been cleared for farming and grazing, leading to the drying up of streams and the disappearance of wildlife.

The Cameroon Mountains Conservation Foundation is applying to the Global Environment Facility for US$6 million in funding and UNDP is working to mobilize an equal amount from donors and partners. To aid this effort, UNDP hosted a round table in June 2003 for representatives of donor and government agencies in the capital, Yaoundé, and is following up to marshal support for the foundation.

Tanyi Mbianyor Clarkson, Minister of the Environment, urged support for the foundation’s mission, noting that its work is carried out within the framework of the government’s Forest Environment Sectoral Programme, supported by the World Bank. Donors to date include the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) which has allocated US$2.1 million, the United Kingdom Department for International Development US$740 000 and the Forest Environment Sectoral Programme US$620 000.

The foundation is cooperating with communities to improve forest management to conserve resources, protect endangered species and improve livelihoods by promoting ecotourism and marketing of local products. The foundation also works with villagers to monitor the ecology and social and economic conditions in the area.

These activities contribute to Cameroon’s efforts to reach two of the targets of the Millennium Development Goals for 2015: halving severe poverty and ensuring environmental sustainability. (Source: Newsfront, 13 August 2003 newsfront@undp.org .)

For more information, please contact:
Peter Ngu Tayong, UNDP Cameroon.
E-mail: peter.ngu.tayong@undp.org; or
Nicholas Gouede, UNDP Communications Office.
E-mail: nicholas.gouede@undp.org

Les produits forestiers non ligneux – quel rôle dans la gestion participative du domaine forestier non permanent?

La gestion participative est une des options fortes de la nouvelle politique forestière du Cameroun mise en œuvre depuis la seconde moitié de la décennie 1990. Cette nouvelle démarche est une réponse à l’échec des approches de gestion centralisée, «exclusive» et répressive par rapport à l’entreprise de conservation et de développement durable.

À travers le triangle national, il existe d’importants espaces offrant des possibilités de cogestion. Il s’agit prioritairement des espaces-ressources des populations dans le domaine de forêts non permanentes dont l’exploitation relève du régime collectif villageois ou tout simplement de ceux dont l’accès est libre. Ces espaces regorgent pour la plupart des produits forestiers non ligneux (PFNL: rotin, njansang, bitter cola, eru, mango, etc.) dont les potentialités notamment en matière de gestion collective demeurent ignorées. Pourtant, par leurs caractéristiques, les PFNL peuvent jouer un grand rôle dans le processus de mise en place et de fonctionnement d’un système de gestion multipartite ou participative des ressources forestières.

En premier lieu, les PFNL peuvent servir de révélateur d’un besoin de cogestion à travers la surexploitation et les conflits auxquels donne souvent lieu leur prélèvement incontrôlé dans certains massifs forestiers d’accès libre. Au-delà de ce rôle de déclic (c’est-à-dire la mise en exergue du besoin de gestion concertée), les PFNL peuvent être utilisés comme élément d’analyse des situations de précarité autour de l’exploitation des ressources forestières.

En deuxième lieu, lorsque le principe d’une gestion collaborative des ressources forestières est retenu, les PFNL peuvent contribuer de façon appréciable à plusieurs étapes du processus de sa mise en place dans la mesure où leur exploitation est relativement simple, facile et suscite l’engouement de fortes proportions des communautés villageoises. Ainsi par exemple, on peut se servir des PFNL comme outil de mobilisation d’un grand nombre de personnes pour cause de gestion participative. On peut aussi les utiliser comme un des indices d’identification des différentes parties prenantes de l’exploitation d’un massif forestier, comme support de négociation des plans et accords de gestion ou encore comme matériel didactique dans le cadre de l’apprentissage collectif de la cogestion par l’action. On peut également relever le fait que les situations de prélèvement excessif et de friction autour des PFNL peuvent constituer de puissants éléments de persuasion ou de conviction dans la communication sociale (sensibilisation, dialogue) dont fait généralement appel le cheminement vers la cogestion.

Sur le plan organisationnel, l’exploitation des PFNL peut être à la base de la naissance d’une entité de gestion participative (association, coopérative, groupe d’intérêt économique) dans la mesure où certaines opérations d’exploitation commerciale des PFNL constituent des facteurs de rapprochement des villageois. On peut par exemple penser aux «expéditions» de ramassage de Irvingia dans certaines localités du sud et du sud-est, aux parties de chasse dans les mêmes régions et aux opérations de cueillette, d’évacuation et de vente du rotin dans les campagnes du Nyong et Soo. A ces occasions, des groupes informels plus ou moins larges et stables se constituent. Cette synergie peut être capitalisée et canalisée vers une éventuelle initiative de cogestion.

Les PFNL étant peu «sensibles» (ils polarisent moins d’enjeux politico-économiques et fonciers que le bois) et d’accès relativement facile peuvent être, sans grande difficulté, pris comme ressources support ou ressources témoin dans le processus d’initiation et de définition du cadre relationnel (rôles, droits, responsabilités) entre différents acteurs impliqués dans l’exploitation des produits d’une forêt donnée.

Enfin, dans le cadre particulier des forêts communautaires (au sens du décret 95/531/PM: «une forêt du domaine forestier non-permanent faisant l’objet d’une convention de gestion entre une communauté villageoise et l’administration chargée des forêts»), l’exploitation commerciale des PFNL peut être d’une grande importance pour les communautés locales. Par rapport au bois d’œuvre, l’exploitation des PFNL présente divers avantages: ces ressources sont relativement plus abondantes et diversifiées et ont un temps de maturation généralement court. Leur extraction est en général simple et nécessite moins de moyens (financiers ou techniques). Leur évacuation peut se faire à travers des sentiers qui sont en général moins coûteux et perturbateurs que les routes dont fait appel le prélèvement de la matière ligneuse. Par ailleurs, les PFNL se prêtent mieux à l’exploitation en régie et sont comme on l’a déjà relevé, moins sensibles que le bois. Par ailleurs, sans égaler à court terme les bénéfices financiers de l’exploitation des arbres, la commercialisation des PFNL par les villageois peut générer des sommes non négligeables. Certaines études réalisées en Amérique latine ont d’ailleurs montré qu’à la longue, l’exploitation des PFNL peut être économiquement plus profitable que celle des arbres.

Au-delà de leur montant, les sommes susceptibles d’être générées par l’exploitation commerciale des PFNL dans les espaces régis par le régime collectif villageois peuvent être d’un grand appui pour les communautés dans les efforts d’obtention et de gestion des forêts communautaires: cet argent peut aider ces derniers à rechercher des partenaires techniques et financiers, à financer certaines étapes ou formalités dans le processus (exemple: organisation des réunions, création de l’entité légale de gestion, élaboration de plan simple de gestion). Les PFNL peuvent générer de l’argent plus rapidement que le bois et cet argent peut financer le fonctionnement et la consolidation de l’entité de gestion aussi bien au cours du processus d’acquisition de la forêt communautaire que de son exploitation en attendant que les disponibilités financières s’élargissent davantage avec l’exploitation des arbres.

Comme on le constate, les PFNL peuvent jouer un rôle significatif dans la gestion participative des ressources forestières en général et en matière d’obtention et de gestion des forêts communautaires en particulier. Il revient donc aux différents acteurs de la gestion forestière d’exploiter les possibilités qu’ils offrent dans leurs efforts d’opérationalisation du concept de participation. (Contribution de: Louis Defo, CML, Université de Leiden [bourse WOTRO], Pays-Bas et Université de Yaoundé, BP 8297, Yaoundé, Cameroun mél.: defotls@yahoo.fr .)

Local communities take the lead in implementing their conservation plans

Mount Kupe straddles the Southwest and Littoral provinces of Cameroon. Its altitude ranges from approximately 600 to a peak at 2 064 m. The forest is largely submontane evergreen forest (800 to 2 000 m), with some montane forest species above 1 800 m and below 1 200 m. At present, the mountain’s forest covers an area of approximately 42 km2. The forest is surrounded by 16 villages/towns with an estimated population of 140 000 inhabitants, predominantly of the Bakossi tribe.

The forest has a wide range of endemic, unique and endangered flora and fauna species, such as the Mount Kupe bush shrike (Malaconotus kupeensis) exclusively on Mount Kupe and the Bakossi forests. In addition, there are seven bird species for which Mount Kupe is a very important population centre, a unique chameleon species, eight primate species and about 20 endemic plant species, including Coffea montekupeensis known in Bakossi as “deh a mbine”, a wild coffee plant (discovered by the Earthwatch team from the Kew Gardens, United Kingdom) believed to be more valuable than the robusta and arabica coffees common in Cameroon.

Apart from its scientific worth, Mount Kupe forest represents a rich and grand cultural force to the Bakossi people. They consider it as one of the strongest points of their culture, constituting one of the major reasons for the intact state of the forest, especially on the western side.

The Bakossi people believe that the Mount Kupe forest is the greatest secret meeting place in all Bakossiland. However, as can be expected, the population surrounding Mount Kupe forest uses it for their livelihood and recreation via hunting, farming, tourism and petty-logging. The native inhabitants saw human pressure on the forest, especially from the settler population (non-Bakossians), as a step towards obliterating the valuable biodiversity that nature has provided them and, above all, their culture. Consequently, the local communities through their chiefs and in concert with other stakeholders decided to put in place a farm-forest boundary, beyond which further human activities are forbidden. The peculiar aspect of the more than 52 km long boundary in the Kupe forest is that the local people themselves took the decision to put it in place and afterwards to demarcate the forest, technically supported by the Government of Cameroon and facilitated by the WWF-Coastal Forests Program.

An assembly of the “Kupe All Chiefs Meeting” (community leaders’ forum), consisting of 19 villages, was convened by the local chiefs to determine future interventions in the Kupe forest, as sanctioned by the Cameroon Forestry Law of 20 January 1994.

Facilitated by WWF-Coastal Forests Program, with the technical assistance of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MINEF), the 19 chiefs bordering the Kupe, collectively with other stakeholders, proposed Mount Kupe, as an Integral Ecological Reserve in an enlarged Kupe All Chiefs Meeting, after they had been well schooled on the provisions of the Cameroon Forestry Law.

The Cameroon Forestry Law of 1994 highlights an Integral Ecological Reserve, as one of the highest categories of Protected Area Legal Status. If the Government of Cameroon approves this status, then Kupe will be the first Integral Ecological Reserve in Cameroon (as at the time of writing this article, September 2003). As stated by the Cameroon Forestry Law, an Integral Ecological Reserve is a Permanent Forest, an area whose resources of whatever kind are completely protected in order to ensure the full preservation of its climatic conditions. It implies that all human activities are strictly prohibited in such areas.

However, the administration in charge of forestry may authorize scientific research projects to be carried out in areas where such projects are not likely to upset the balance of the ecosystem.

So far, although the status is still to be approved by the government, many people are respecting the boundary as elucidated by the general belief of the local inhabitants, that their ancestors have the prowess to attack anyone who trespasses on the boundary. Also, the joint monitoring staff of the Center of Reproduction of Endangered Species-Cameroon, a programme of the Zoological Society of San Diego-USA, and WWF-Coastal Forests Program, has reported the presence of an encouraging population of drills (Mandrillus leucophaeus) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in the area.

The gazettement process of Kupe is in progress and has been proving very expensive. More funds are required to follow it up to its end in a scrupulous manner and also to assist in the improvement of the livelihoods of the local communities around Kupe by stirring up other alternative conservation-related enterprises, as one of the strategies towards reducing pressure on the would-be Kupe Integral Ecological Reserve Forest. (Contributed by: Ngwene Theophilus Nseme, WWF-Coastal Forest Program, Nyasoso Office, PO Box 112, Tombei, Kupe-Muanenguba Division, South West Province, Cameroon [e-mail: ngwenetheo@eudora.com].)

Seeking assistance on managing forest biodiversity

In 1994, a group of extension workers in forestry, agriculture and community development in Bova, Buea Limbe, Fako Division in South West Province formed Wewuley Consultancy to fight deforestation, promote participatory forest management/sustainable agricultural practices to rescue forest/agricultural land, the environment and people from the threat of drought, desert encroachment and soil erosion. Forests and trees on farms are the lifeline of rural people. The group helps grassroots farmers, common initiative groups and community forest projects to plant and manage trees. It also works to ensure that the trees that have been felled are replaced by establishing tree nursery training and helping the farmers and groups to plant trees on their farm lands. It also organizes training in beekeeping.

The consultancy is helping to establish community forests, including establishing commercial forestry enterprises in their management plans covering timber, fuelwood, fruits, charcoal, non timber forest products (NTFPs), medicinal plants and bees, all of which can provide some income for the rural people for poverty alleviation.

Wewuley’s goal is to maintain a good statistical database to guide future use and protection of the “Green Gold”, the African rain forest ecosystem. The consultancy has 28 members and resource persons/volunteers, ten of whom are women. Members pay a monthly contribution towards funding the group’s activities, but these funds are not enough to cover the running costs and projects. The group is, therefore, seeking assistance from non-governmental organizations, donor agencies, interested agroforesters and scientists.

For more information, please contact:
Ndumbe Ekeme Stephen, Wewuley Consultancy, PO Box 442 Buea,
Fako Division, Cameroon.
E-mail: ndumeke@yahoo.com

Canada

Salvaged ferns – the newest North Island export

Nurseries in the Lower Mainland have already ordered thousands of sustainably harvested ferns from North Island residents as a result of harvesting trials held in December 2002 and January 2003.

Native ferns such as deer fern (Blechnum spicant) and sword fern (Polystichum munitum) are highly desired products in the nursery industry for use in landscaping and restoration. Concerns about the sustainability of whole plant extraction, however, have resulted in a reduced demand for these wild-harvested ferns in the past four to five years, particularly with the advent of successful nursery propagation. If managed correctly though, wild fern harvesting, as with other non-timber forest products (NTFPs), could be a sustainable and viable industry for the North Island community.

To ensure the ecological sustainability and economic viability of whole fern plant extraction, harvesting trials were initiated on the North Island in December 2002. With the assistance of Western Forest Products and with the information gathered from the North Island NTFP Demonstration Project’s 2001 Botanical Inventory, sites with good fern coverage were selected. The research team then chose two species of fern, deer fern and sword fern, and conducted variable levels of commercial harvest (0, 50 and 100 percent) within areas slated for timber harvest.

Plots will be revisited after the timber is harvested. Survivability of the ferns will be compared between the plots. If no significant difference is found between the harvest levels and the survivability of the ferns, then it can be assumed that removing ferns prior to timber harvest is a sustainable method of whole fern extraction. If there is a significant difference, other methods of sustainable harvest should be explored.

Fern harvest prior to road building, however, is clearly a salvage activity. In coordination with Western Forest Products, proposed and flagged logging roads were identified and selected for additional harvesting trials, in order to determine the economic viability of salvaging ferns for North Island harvesters.

The data from the study will be analysed and a report made available.

This project is led by Royal Roads University and funded by the Forestry Innovation Investment Research Program. (Contributed by: Diane Carley, Communications Coordinator, NTFP Demonstration Project, Sointula, BC, Canada e-mail: dhcarley@island.net .)

For more information, please contact:
Wendy Cocksedge, NTFP Coordinator, Royal Roads University, 2005 Sooke Road, Victoria, BC, Canada V9B 5Y2.
E-mail: wendy.cocksedge@royalroads.ca;
www.island.net/~ntfp/

Forests – much more than a bunch of trees

Manitobans from remote northern communities are literally forging a new path through the forest to enhanced economic security. They are harvesting often overlooked non-timber forest product materials such as: mushrooms, berries, floral greens, medicinal herbs, craft supplies, landscaping products, and more. Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) Training Program graduates are processing these materials and selling them to vendors in Canada and around the world, including the United States and Japan.

The NTFP Training Program is a remarkable example of community economic development at its best. Looking at ordinary things in extraordinary ways, Keewatin Community College, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), five northern Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) – Cedar Lake, Greenstone, North Central, North West and Kitayan – and the Province of Manitoba are working together to ensure the success of the Northern Forest Diversification Centre. The centre, established in February 2001, is a subsidiary of Keewatin Community College in The Pas and was set up to develop the non-timber forest products and ecotourism industries in the north. One of the ways it does this is through the NTFP Training Program.

The NTFP Training Program, delivered locally in the communities, teaches students about the industry, including an understanding of their unique community resource base, the market potential, safe and ethical harvesting, and NTFP-based businesses. Students come away with the information and skills they need to assess opportunities and to develop an industry valued by some at hundreds of millions of dollars annually in Canada. “NTFP Training Program graduates know that the forest is more than a bunch of trees,” commented Dave Buck, NTFP project coordinator and instructor.

Annette Brightnose graduated from the July 2001 training session held in Cormorant and is a member of the Manitoba Wild Harvesters Association. Among the many products she and her family are working on is collecting dry diamond willow for walking sticks. The willow sticks are cleaned, peeled, sanded and varnished repeatedly until they shine just right. After a leather hand strap is attached to the top and a rubber tip is placed on the bottom, a walking stick emerges from what was once considered suitable for the fireplace.

Interest in the NTFP Training Program is growing. So far, it has been delivered in the northern Manitoba communities of Moose Lake, Cranberry Portage, Cormorant, Sherridon and National Mills. Plans are under way to offer the course in Lynn Lake, South Indian Lake and Leaf Rapids.

WD is proud to be part of the Northern Forest Diversification Centre and the Non-Timber Forest Products Training Program – a community economic development project with tangible impact on the lives and economic well being of people and communities in northern Manitoba. (Contributed by: Dave Buck, Canada.)

For more information on the NTFP Training Program or products available through the Manitoba Wild Harvesters Association, please contact:
Dave Buck, Northern Forest Diversification Centre, PO Box 509,
The Pas, Manitoba, Canada R9A 1K6.
Fax: +1 204 6278686;
e-mail: dbuck@keewatincc.mb.ca;
www.nfdc.ca/contact.htm

Coalition agrees to ban industrial activities in Canadian forest

An agreement announced on 1 December 2003 would exempt more than half of Canada’s vast northern forest, about 1 million square miles [about 2.56 million km2] in all, from industrial activities, including logging and oil and gas exploration.

The boreal forest, as it is known, is just below the Arctic Circle and stretches some 3 000 miles [4 800 km] from the Yukon to the Atlantic Ocean. It is the largest intact forest ecosystem in the world and makes up roughly half of Canada’s territory. The agreement reached by a coalition of native tribes, environmentalists and businesses seeks to protect this evergreen expanse that has large bear, wolf and caribou populations, along with other species and hundreds of native communities. Approval by national and local governments is now necessary, as 90 percent of the forest is under public ownership. (For the full story, please see: www.enn.com/news/2003-12-02/s_10903.asp) (Source: Environmental News Network, 2 December 2003.)

China

China’s forests, global lessons from market reforms

Sweeping reforms since the late 1970s have turned China upside down. China’s forests, global lessons from market reforms, edited by Bill Hyde, Brian Belcher and Jintao Xu and copublished by Resources for the Future and CIFOR, shows what the reforms have meant for forests.

In the early 1980s, the collectives that own about 60 percent of China’s forests handed most of them over to individual families to manage. Fifty-seven million households received 30 million hectares of degraded land to plant trees on. Millions more households were allowed to manage existing forests and share the profits. The government partially liberalized forest product markets, particularly for bamboo, fruits and pine resin.

Many families that received forests initially overexploited or deforested them. But after a few years both forest area and timber stocks started to grow as farmers planted more trees. Things improved more quickly in regions which handed over forests faster, went further towards liberalizing markets, charged lower taxes and had more consistent policies.

The reforms made some farmers better off, particularly those who were better educated and well connected and who grew bamboo and fruit-trees. Planting windbreaks increased many farmers’ crop yields. However, there are still too many taxes and regulations for most farmers to prosper from selling timber. More than 80 percent of the country’s poorest counties are in forested mountainous regions and in many of them life is improving slowly.

The total area in forests grew by five million hectares between 1980 and 1993. Yet, while the plantation area increased by 21 million hectares, the area in natural forests declined by 16 million hectares. The net result was good for reducing soil erosion, but bad for biodiversity. The government has since banned logging in several major regions and set aside millions of hectares as nature reserves, which may have improved the biodiversity aspect.

To meet the growing demand for paper, small factories using agricultural residues sprang up throughout the country. However, those factories soon became the largest source of rural water pollution, so the authorities shut down 2 000 of them. The government is now trying to encourage foreign companies to build large modern pulp and paper mills that use wood instead of residues, but it is unclear where the wood will come from.

They may get it from imports. China is rapidly becoming one of the largest importers of all sorts of forest products. So what happens in China may dramatically affect forests worldwide; and we all need to pay attention.

(A limited number of copies of this book are available free of charge for people in developing countries. To request one please write to Nia Sabarniati n.sabarniati@cgiar.org; others can purchase the book from RFF press www.rffpress.org; to send comments or queries to the authors, please write Brian Belcher b.belcher@cgiar.org.) (Source: David Kaimowitz, CIFOR d.kaimowitz@cgiar.org, Polex Listserve.)

Czech republic

Collection and importance of NWFPs

Non-wood forest products (NWFPs) – forest berries, mushrooms, medicinal plants and partially plants for decorative purposes – are picked intensively in the Czech Republic by forest visitors but are mostly not marketed. In particular, edible mushrooms, forest berries and medicinal plants have been well-known products of the Czech forests from time immemorial. According to Article 19 of Forest Act No. 289 of 1995, individuals are entitled to enter the forest at their own risk and to collect, for their own needs, any forest berries and dry wastewood lying on the ground. Although the collection of NWFPs is a very popular public activity, there was no objective information about the importance of NWFPs before the investigation into the socio-economic importance started in 1994.

Questionnaire surveys of representative samples of the Czech population, which took place from 1994 to 2001, were aimed at investigating the level of NWFP collection by the population. The following main kinds of NWFPs were included in the set of NWFPs surveyed (in order of importance): mushrooms without species specification, bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.), raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.), blackberry (Rubus fruticossus L.), elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) and cranberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.).

The collection of NWFPs is second among the main reasons for visiting forests, with a share of almost 29 percent (short-term recreation had first place, with 42.5 percent). But NWFPs are also picked during short recreation activities, as well as during forest visits for other main purposes. Data obtained show that about two thirds of the inhabitants and four fifths of households collected NWFPs. Mushrooms were picked by 70 percent of households, bilberries by almost 50, raspberries by almost 30, blackberries by more than 20, elderberries by 15 and cranberries by 8 percent. On average, more than 11 kg of these commodities were picked per year by an average household in the Czech Republic in the period from 1994 to 2001. One half of that amount was mushrooms by fresh weight. The total average annual value of NWFPs collected reached CK 2 999 million. (Source: RG5.11, IUFRO News.)

For more information, please contact the author:
Ludek Sisak, Faculty of Forestry,
Czech University of Agriculture Prague, Kamycka 129, 165 21 Praha 6-Suchdol, Czech Republic.
E-mail: sisak@lf.czu.cz

Grenada

Grenada is the world’s second largest producer (after Indonesia) of the well-known spice, nutmeg (Myristica fragrans). The cost of nutmeg has declined sharply, triggering an economic crisis for the “Spice Island”. Any fluctuation in the nutmeg price jeopardizes Grenada’s economy. More than 30 percent of the population earns a livelihood by cultivating the spice. A nutmeg glut has resulted in the price falling from US$1.50 per pound [0.4536 kg] to US$1 per pound in 2003, resulting in a reduced income for the farmers. (Source: MFP News, XIII.4.)

India

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library

The National Institute of Science Communication (NISCOM) of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, New Delhi (India) is developing a Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) in collaboration with the Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy, Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in order to protect India’s traditional knowledge from biopiracy.

The TKDL proposes to digitize, in phases, information available in the public domain on Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Naturopathy and Folklore.

The TKDL will be available in different foreign languages (e.g. English, French, German, Spanish), as well as Indian languages, which will make it accessible to patent examiners globally. It will be made mandatory for patent examiners to refer to TKDL before granting patents on non-original inventions.

For more information, please contact:
Mr V.K. Gupta, Chairman, TKDL Task Force and Director NISCOM, NISCOM, Dr K.S.
Krishnan Marg (near Pusa Gate), New Delhi 110 012, India.
Fax: +91 11 5787062;
e-mail: vkg@niscom.res.in;
www.niscom.res.in

Community Based Economic Development Project (CBED): NTFP cultivation benefiting marginalized mountain farmers

The hills of Uttaranchal are rich with NTFP resources. Communities in this region are dependent on these forests and resources for their day-to-day needs as the topography of the region is not conducive to the traditional cropping practised in the plains. Traditionally, NTFPs that are collected from the wild support and supplement farm-based incomes.

At the same time, hill farming is suffering owing to the damage to crops caused by wildlife. NTFP cultivation, on the other hand, is less prone to wildlife interference. In fact, cultivation helps to reduce the pressure on dwindling forest resources and farmers can adapt NTFP cultivation as a sustainable source of income.

Additionally, permilia (lichen), moss grass, soap nut, Cinnamomum tamala and Valeriana jatamansi are collected on a large scale and sold every year. As a result of this considerable collection, the quantity of NTFPs available has diminished.

Asparagus racemosus Willd, a thorny climber has been identified as a potential commodity for cultivation. The roots of this plant are one of the important ingredients of Ayurvedic preparations in India. A. racemosus along with its wild cousins (A. adscedence) is collected from the wild in different parts of the country (90 percent) without considering its regeneration. There is a strong need to focus on the cultivation and proper harvesting for perpetual availability.

For these reasons, one of the components of the Community Based Economic Development Project (CBED) is the focus on NTFP cultivation on marginal lands, idle lands, and farm spaces. In addition to replenishing these wild resources, cultivation activities provide high-value crops for income generation.


The Community Based Economic Development Project (CBED) is a four-year bilateral project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Centre canadien d’étude et de coopération internationale (CECI). The project is implemented in partnership with the Himalayan Study Circle and the Kumaon Agriculture and Greenery Advancement Society in the districts of Champawat and Pithoragarh in Uttaranchal, India. The CBED project is designed to serve 15 000 families in 230 villages. Its goal is to reduce rural poverty by supporting the social and economic reform processes of the Uttaranchal government. This will be achieved by implementing an integrated set of activities aimed at improving the livelihoods of the local communities through participatory processes in community-based sustainable economic development.


Women and children are predominantly involved in NTFP collection during the lean agricultural periods. NTFP collection is less demanding on women’s workloads and encourages time-saving activities. The cultivation process is less labour demanding than other cultivations and involves one-time sowing, no maintenance and natural irrigation.

The CBED project has provided training and support to producers and community leaders in establishing nurseries, maintenance and management of crops, concepts in marketing and marketing activities, and technological aspects. All training is followed by field exposure to demonstration plots, which CBED has developed in Champawat and Pithoragarh districts. Farmers in the project are organized into Producer Self Help Groups (PSHGs) so that production and collective marketing can be managed.

In addition, the outreach of PSHGs is promoted in the project area in order to increase the cultivation of selected crops and to organize other collective production activities. To date, the CBED project has involved 800 producers and the involvement of more producers next year will enable economies of scale of production.

The CBED project has also established nurseries which provide low-cost planting materials at the local level so that more producers can undertake plantation. Nurseries are raised and managed collectively to benefit all group members in PSHGs. (Contributed by: Erica Stillo, CBED India.)

For more information, please contact:
Ravi Pacholi, NTFP Specialist, CBED India, Link Road, Takana Tiraha, Pithoragarh, Uttaranchal, India.
E-mail: pacholi_cbed@yahoo.ca

Indonesia

The Dayak people in the first comanaged protected area

The Kayan Mentarang National Park, situated in the interior of East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, lies at the border with Sarawak to the west and Sabah to the north. With its gazetted 1.4 million hectares, it is the largest protected area of rain forest in Borneo and one of the largest in Southeast Asia.

The history of the natural landscape of the park is inexorably intertwined with the history of its people. About 16 000 Dayak people live inside or in close proximity to this national park. The communities living in and around the park are still largely regulated by customary law or “adat” in the conduct of their daily affairs and the management of natural resources in their customary territory. Traditional forest areas with protection status or strict management regime exist. “Tana ulen”, for example, is land whose access is restricted, limited. It is an expanse of primary forest rich in natural resources such as rattan (Calamus spp.), sang leaves (Licuala sp.), hardwood for construction (e.g. Dipterocarpus spp., Shorea spp., Quercus sp.), fish and game, all of which have high use value for the local community.

The Nature Reserve established in 1980 had a strict protection status, meaning that no human activities are allowed inside the protected area. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) together with the Indonesian Institute of Research (LIPI) and local people ran a long-term social science research programme (Culture and Conservation, 1991–1997) and conducted experimental community mapping to show that the communities were dependent on forest resources and had rightful claims to the land. The results provided the necessary evidence to recommend a change of status from Nature Reserve to National Park in 1994 (where traditional activities are allowed).

The issue of social entitlements, and particularly the lack of tenure security, was identified by the WWF team as a key issue and priority area for intervention in the period 1996–2000. Although the Dayak people had been living in the area and had made use of the forest resources for centuries, the forest they inhabited and managed was “state forest” with open access, whereby the state could decide to allocate exploitation rights or decide to establish a conservation area without the prior consent of the local communities. Local communities had very little power in trying to defend the forest or secure the source of their economic livelihood against the interests of logging companies, mining exploration or outside collectors of forest products.

Under these circumstances, the WWF Kayan Mentarang project developed a strategy and programme of field activities that would lead to the legal recognition of “adat” claims and “adat” rights so that indigenous communities could continue to use and manage forest resources in the conservation area. Activities included: community mapping; qualitative assessments of the use and availability of forest resources with economic value; workshops for the recognition of “tana ulen” or forest under traditional customary management; participatory planning for zonation recommendations and the redrawing of the external boundaries of the park; drafting of “adat” or customary regulations for the management of the national park; strengthening of local organizations and institutional development.

Following several meetings and discussions among the ten “adat” leaders from the customary lands around the park area, the Alliance of the Indigenous People of Kayan Mentarang National Park (FoMMA) was formed and formally established on 7 October 2000. The main objectives were to create a forum for conveying the aspirations of the indigenous communities and debating issues concerning the management of the national park and natural resources in the customary lands of the park. FoMMA is concerned with guaranteeing the protection of the forest and the sustainable use of natural resources as well as the protection of the rights of indigenous people, and is also concerned with increasing their economic prosperity. FoMMA now legally represents the indigenous people on the Policy Board of the park, a new institution set up to preside over the park’s management. The Policy Board includes representatives of the central government (agency for Forest Protection and Nature Conservation), the provincial and district governments, and FoMMA. The operating principles of the board emphasize the importance of coordination, competence, shared responsibilities, and equal partnership among all stakeholders. The board was formally established in April 2002 with a Decree of the Ministry of Forestry, which also spells out that the park is to be managed through collaborative management (a first in Indonesia).

After decades of marginalization and dispossession, recent developments in the Kayan Mentarang National Park offer hope to the indigenous communities of Kalimantan. It is becoming increasingly evident that conservation objectives can rarely be obtained or sustained by imposing policies and projects that produce negative impacts on indigenous peoples and local communities. Alternative and progressive approaches that genuinely take into consideration local people’s needs and rights and secure their full involvement in biodiversity management and decision-making can provide a more solid basis for ecological protection and the improvement of people’s livelihoods. There is hope that the comanagement arrangement being developed in Kayan Mentarang will fulfil these objectives. (Source: Community Forestry E-News 2003.14 info@recoftc.org.)

For more information, please contact:
Cristina Eghenter, WWF Indonesia Kayan Mentarang Project.
E-mail: awing@samarinda.org;
Martin Labo, Alliance of the Indigenous People of Kayan Mentarang National Park (FoMMA).
E-mail: dolvina@indo.net.id; or
Maurizio Farhan Ferrari, Forest
Peoples Programme.
E-mail: mfferrari@pd.jaring.my

Forestry ministry to map forests

The forestry ministry and the National Coordinating Agency for Surveying and Mapping signed a memorandum of understanding for a joint project to map out the country’s forests.

The head of the ministry’s forestry planning body, Boen M. Purnama, said the move was needed to provide accurate data and information on forests in the country. The cooperation, which will last five years, will start with pilot projects in South Kalimantan and West Kalimantan. Boen earlier said the ministry did not have accurate data on 60 million ha of forest in the country, including the rate of deforestation.

Indonesia has lost more than

75 percent of its forest over the past few decades. Over the past five years, some 43 million hectares of Indonesia’s forest, the equivalent of half of Kalimantan Island, has been destroyed. (Source: Jakarta Post, 12 September 2003 cited in Community Forestry E-News 2003.15.)

Kenya

Biodiversity greatly affected by loss of forest cover

The allocation and destruction of forest lands has had a serious impact on useful plants and animals, says Michael Gacanja of the Kenya Forest Working Group. The pressure on useful plants will increase owing to reduced habitat. Continued overcollection of medicinal plants will eventually end in the loss of those plants and affect the health of people who are not able to purchase modern medicines.

Forest loss in water catchment areas contributes to reduced water flow in rivers. In Mount Kenya Forest, low water levels for downstream users following water abstraction by upstream users last year also raised tension between the two users.

The destruction of forests has also had a serious impact on biodiversity. A large percentage of the country’s biodiversity occurs in forests. Deforestation is known to have impacts on viable species populations within the forests. (Source: The East African Standard [Nairobi], 10 March 2003.)

Experts want carvers banned from forests

In Malindi, about 1 000 wood carvers yesterday urged the government to lift the ban on tree felling in the remaining forests. Malindi Handicraft Co-operative Society chairman, Joseph Kimulu, said that the ban on logging may render wood carvers jobless.

Speaking at the Malindi Handicraft Centre, Kimulu said the local wood carvers make beautiful curios depicting Kenya’s wildlife and cultural heritage that attract tourists from all corners of the world. Wood carving, he said, was a major job creator and that unless the government lifts the ban on logging, the multimillion-shilling wood carving industry would collapse.

Environmentalists have called for the ban on logging, saying the cutting of trees from the remaining forests could wipe out forests in the district. Malindi Green Town movement chairman, Godfrey Karume, lamented that the unrestrained cutting of trees by wood carvers had threatened the world famous Arabuko Sokoke Forest with extinction. Karume strongly opposed the cutting down of indigenous forests which, he added, are a major tourist attraction and essential for scientific study. (Source: The East African Standard [Nairobi], 31 October 2003.)

Kenya Wildlife Service permit to cut rare tree type now revoked

The Kenya Wildlife Service has been directed to revoke a 20-year-old permit it granted to a trader for the cutting of an endangered medicinal tree. It should also stop any further exploitation of the Prunas africana tree used in manufacturing medicine, environment minister Newton Kulundu said yesterday.

The minister accused the Kenya Wildlife Service of abusing its authority as the custodian of the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). He said that although the government had listed the plant under its endangered species, Kenya had been providing 60 percent of the world’s supply, estimated at K Sh 28.1 billion per year.

The indigenous tree, found in Baringo, Kakamega and Samburu districts, is used in manufacturing drugs for prostate cancer. (Source: The Nation [Nairobi], 14 November 2003.)

Opposition to new forest regulation

The government has been accused of interfering with the local communities’ right to enjoy forest resources. The leader of the official opposition, Uhuru Kenyatta, said yesterday that a new regulation that bars people from entering forests was denying minority communities access to food, grazing lands, water, fuelwood and medicinal plants.

Area MP Musa Sirma said the decree was contrary to the Forest Act, which allows local people to source food and other necessities from forests. (Source: The East African Standard [Nairobi], 7 December 2003.)

Liberia

Forest protection laws

Three landmark laws have been signed representing an important step forward in securing protection for Liberia’s globally important biodiversity. The three laws – the Protected Forest Area Network Law, the Sapo National Park Act and the Nimba Nature Reserve Act – aim at protecting Liberia’s forests from deforestation, fragmentation and degradation.

Preparation of the laws was led by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) with technical input from numerous Liberian and international partners and with financial support principally from the European Commission, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) and the Panton Trust. All three laws were passed by the Liberian legislature earlier this year and will come into force shortly.

Liberia contains two of the three remaining large blocks of Upper Guinean rain forest: the Lofa-Gola-Mano block in the northwest contiguous with Sierra Leone, and the southeastern Liberian block that extends into Taï National Park of Côte d’Ivoire. The Upper Guinean Forest, CEPF’s strategic focal area in the Guinean Forests of West Africa hotspot, is a coastal rain forest belt covering six countries from western Togo to eastern Sierra Leone. Today roughly 40 percent of the original Upper Guinean forest cover survives in Liberia alone.

The first of the laws amends the New National Forestry Act of 2000. It defines a series of eight protected area types and the uses permitted and prohibitions for each, establishing a coherent legal framework for the conservation of forest resources.

The second Act expands Sapo National Park – Liberia’s first and only fully protected area – to more than 180 000 ha, an increase of 38 percent. Biological surveys coupled with GIS and remote sensing analysis since 2001 have demonstrated that Sapo Park is among West Africa’s least disturbed lowland rain forest areas, with populations of forest elephants, chimpanzees, pygmy hippopotamus and other species whose West African ranges have been severely reduced outside Liberia. Botanical collection experts who visited the park in late 2002 found six species new to science in just ten days.

The third Act creates the Nimba Nature Reserve out of the former Nimba East National Forest. Analysis indicates this mountainous reserve could be as extensive as 13 568 ha. The reserve is contiguous with the Nimba Nature Reserves of Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire, which together were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981.

Together, these laws represent significant progress towards the overall goal of creating a biologically representative network of protected areas covering at least 30 percent of the country’s existing forest area or about 1.5 million hectares. The Government of Liberia is committed to establishing this network, including an expansion of Sapo National Park and the creation of Nimba Nature Reserve, as part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2002 with Conservation International – one of five CEPF donor partners. (Source: October 2003 CEPF E-News cepfnews@conservation.org.)

Madagascar

GEF grant of US$13.5 million supports protection of Madagascar’s biodiversity

A US$13.5 million grant, approved today by the Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), is supporting Madagascar’s ambitious plan to protect its globally significant biodiversity, which includes hundreds of species that are unique to the island.

“Protection of Madagascar’s biodiversity and natural resources will contribute to improving the quality of life for the country’s residents, many of whom depend directly on natural resources for their livelihoods,” said Len Good, CEO and chairman of the GEF. “This project will also benefit the global environment, since Madagascar contains numerous unique species, including many medicinal plants that are of critical importance to the pharmaceutical industry.”

The project is funded by a GEF grant of US$13.5 million and US$135.4 million in cofinancing from other sources, including US$18.5 million from the Government of Madagascar. The World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), two of GEF’s implementing agencies, are managing the project in partnership with key government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The project supports the third and final five-year phase of Madagascar’s innovative Environmental Action Plan, which was started in 1991 with the support of a broad coalition of international donors, agencies and NGOs.

Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, is one of the 17 recognized mega-diverse countries that represent 80 percent of the world’s biological diversity. As a result of Madagascar’s longstanding geographical isolation and highly varied microclimates, the archaic life forms making up Madagascar’s terrestrial ecosystems have evolved into some of the most unique biodiversity in the world.

Without substantial and sustained intervention, there is a real risk that numerous species that are unique to Madagascar will become extinct. Deforestation caused by illegal logging and unsustainable agricultural practices, among other factors, is a major threat to the biodiversity. It also leads to a rapid loss of topsoil, which in turn diminishes the country’s agricultural productivity and accelerates its downward spiral of extreme poverty. Nearly 80 percent of the country’s poor inhabitants live in rural areas and depend on the land almost exclusively for their livelihoods.

GEF funds will be used to preserve the quality of Madagascar’s globally significant biodiversity and natural resources.

Investments made under Madagascar’s Environmental Action Plan from 1991 to the present are leading towards the establishment of a comprehensive environmental policy and regulatory framework, and have already led to the creation of environmental institutions. The Government of Madagascar’s Ministry of Water and Forests, for example, has successfully carried out an action plan to improve governance. This plan included the transferral of 70 percent of permit fees to local stakeholders, thus providing an increased incentive for communities to support the enforcement of logging regulations. (Source: Global Environment Facility [Washington, DC] Press Release, 24/11/03.)

Data collection and analysis related to NWFPs

In most African countries, non-wood forest products (NWFPs) play a significant role in livelihoods by providing key subsistence products and income. In Madagascar, NWFPs such as medicinal plants, ornamental plants (e.g. orchids, aquatic plants), xerophytes, essential oils (e.g. Syzygium sp.) and living animals (e.g. birds, mammals, reptiles and insects) represent 40 percent of the export value of the entire forest products sector.

Despite its socio-economic importance, the availability of statistical data on the social, economic and ecological aspects of NWFPs is very limited. Therefore a study, Data collection and analysis related to NWFPa pilot study in Madagascar, was carried out within the context of the European Commission-FAO Partnership Programme, Data Collection and Analysis for Sustainable Forest Management in ACP Countries – Linking National and International Efforts. The main objective of the study was to review available information on NWFPs in Madagascar and to propose an appropriate methodology to improve the quality and quantity of statistical data on NWFPs in the country. The preliminary results of the study were presented and discussed in a workshop held in Antananarivo in November 2001.

In Madagascar, NWFP statistics are collected and maintained by various institutions such as the Service de la Conservation de la Biodiversité with regard to NWFPs listed on the appendixes of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Service de la Valorisation économique des Ressources forestières for NWFPs not covered by CITES.

The study proposes a methodology to improve the availability of data on the production, consumption and marketing of NWFPs of major importance in Madagascar. This methodology covers ecobiological, socio-economic, technical and statistical aspects and is divided into four phases: i) preparation; ii) data collection; iii) data analysis; and iv) data storage and dissemination.

The proposed methodology was tested for the frog Mantella aurantica and the medicinal plants Catharanthus roseus and Prunus africana. The case studies analyse quantitative and qualitative information, propose a data collection form for animals and plants and present recommendations for the better use and improved statistical data collection of NWFPs.

The study concludes that many gaps, irregularities and challenges still exist with regard to the use of NWFPs, including their monitoring and evaluation. The study notes the urgency to implement a plan of action for the entire NWFP sector in order to promote the sustainable use of NWFPs and presents a programme of work for the development of an appropriate data collection system with regard to NWFPs. (An electronic version of this Working Paper, FOPP/03/1 – La collecte et l’analyse des données statistiques sur les produits forestièrs non ligneux. Un étude pilote à Madagascar, is available on FAO’s NWFP home page www.fao.org/forestry/foris/webview/fop/index.jsp?siteId=2301&langId=1&geoId=0&sitetreeId=13473.)

[Please see under Publications of Interest for more information on the Working Papers of FAO’s NWFP Programme.]

Malawi

From poaching to sustainable use of NWFPs: two successful cases from Malawi’s national parks

National parks in many countries face problems with the surrounding communities for a number of reasons. Poaching and the mistreatment of the caught poachers is one example of how animosity develops between a national park and the people living outside its boundary. One way of solving this conflict is to implement projects in which the community benefits from the park and appreciates its presence rather than resenting it. In many southern African countries governments have initiated different long-term projects aimed at the collaboration between their national parks and the communities that border them. The Government of Malawi has called their efforts Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM), and its goal is to mobilize villagers to work together with the park instead of against it. Rather than poaching out the vital resources or stealing wire from the park fence, they should work together with the national park extension staff and learn how to benefit from it.

In two national parks in Malawi, grassroots development initiatives with community groups have shown that with very little input successful and sustainable projects can bring monetary benefits to the members and in turn create a positive relationship with the national park.

Something most parks have in common are tourists. In Liwonde National Park a group of approximately 50 women living outside the park’s western boundary have learned they can benefit from the national park by taking advantage of its tourist market. For the past two and a half years these women have been making and selling different crafts, such as jewellery made from local seeds, banana leaf baskets, decorative mobiles and baskets made from bottle tops. In collaboration with the park staff, the women can collect the materials for the crafts and benefit from the park without overutilization of its resources. With all the resources needed to produce the crafts found locally, sustainability in the project is ensured. The women sell the crafts in their own stores as well as at the tourist lodge within the park. Remarkably, they initiated the project in 2001 with a loan of less than US$5 and in one year they have made well over US$2 000. This is in an area where most families are subsistence farmers and families have little annual income and where women are rarely employed and generally do not control any of the household money. Through this project the women have learned to benefit from the tourists visiting the park, and therefore appreciate the establishment of the national park and the conservation of its resources.

Similarly, at Lake Malawi National Park a natural resources committee has been able to demonstrate the success of an income-generating project, independent of selling or utilizing national park resources, such as fish or wood for carvings. Six months ago the group was taught how to make peanut butter and peanut brittle with locally grown groundnuts. Again, by utilizing the local resources the project is sustainable. The group was given a loan of US$3 to buy the initial supplies and now, six months later, they have made more than US$500 to share between five members. The natural resources committee now has the capital to initiate other projects such as a community garden, woodlot or beekeeping.

These two case studies show that grassroots development projects can not only be monetarily successful and sustainable, but effective in building a positive relationship between the national park and the surrounding communities. As populations continue to grow there becomes an even grea ter need to involve local communities in the conservation and management of natural resources. Through basic income-generating projects such as these, community groups can improve their quality of life with the money they make, the skills they learn and from the sense of empowerment they gain and, furthermore, help to protect the national park and its resources in the process. (Contributed by: Erin Meyer, US Peace Corps Volunteer/WWF-Finland, PO Box 66, Monkey Bay, Malawi e-mail: erinmeyer2003@yahoo.com.)

The promise of ecotourism in Lake Malawi National Park

Lake Malawi, 600 km long and 60 km wide, is the southernmost basin of the African Great Rift Lakes system. The lake hosts some of the greatest diversity of freshwater fish in the world, especially cichlid fish. To protect examples of the lake’s aquatic communities as well as their habitats, Lake Malawi National Park (LMNP) was established in 1981 and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. LMNP encompasses the tip of the Nankumba peninsula in the southern end of Lake Malawi, consisting of 87 km2 of terrestrial area including 13 islands, and a 7 km2 aquatic zone.

The park was designed so that the five enclave fishing villages situated on beaches inside the park could continue their traditional way of life undisturbed, allowing fishing outside the protected aquatic zone and permitting fuelwood collection and collection of other NWFPs inside the park, e.g. primary products such as building poles and grass, and secondary products such as wild plant foods, medicines, fibres and dyes, bushmeat (mammals and birds), insects, curios for the tourist industry and domestic tools.

Today, LMNP encases the largest village in Malawi, Chembe, with an estimated population of 12 000. Like many other communities on the shores of Lake Malawi, Chembe is struggling with the effects of overfishing, unemployment and an HIV/AIDS pandemic that threatens to destroy the local social fabric. With its hot climate and low rainfall the region has the lowest agricultural productivity in the country. The still rapidly growing population of the village is in greater need of the dwindling fish and forest resources of the park, posing the threats of woodland degradation and loss of biodiversity. In this situation, new, innovative means are required to provide both sustainable economic opportunities as well as conservation of the environment.

An important source of income for Malawi, which is among the ten poorest countries in the world with annual per capita income of US$170 (2001), are the tourists attracted by Lake Malawi. In the case of LMNP, the development of ecotourism activities in the area has been suggested as a means of providing local people with an ecologically and economically sustainable source of income. The International Ecotourism Society characterizes ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people”. From this point of view, the natural preconditions for ecotourism are ideal in Chembe. In the absence of large-scale tourism and with the emphasis on “environmentally friendly” activities, the negative environmental impacts of tourism can be considered relatively minor.

As a part of a conservation and development project by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Finland (Conservation of Endangered Species of Fishes and Forests of Lake Malawi National Park: Environmental and Economic Strategies, started in 2001) we studied the socio-economic potential of ecotourism in Lake Malawi National Park. We investigated what kind of stakeholders need to be taken into account when promoting nature-based tourism in LMNP, and how the different stakeholders see the potential of tourism as a means of benefiting both the local community and the environment. Fieldwork of the study took place between August and December 2003.

Preliminary results show that although the number of foreign visitors in LMNP has decreased strongly during the last ten years, presumably owing to economic instability in the southern African subcontinent, tourism still provides important economical inputs for local livelihoods. The seven lodges operating in the village employ directly around 100 local people. Income also comes from local arts and crafts that are sold to tourists. Indirect benefits include a small clinic run together with a lodge by an Israeli non-governmental organization (NGO). The road leading to the village, the condition of which has been seen as a major hindrance for local development, is also being upgraded, which will facilitate access to the park and hopefully boost local economies. Most of the lodge owners see the future positively, with potential for growth and employment opportunities.

On the other hand, five out of seven of the lodges are owned by foreigners who have been granted 25-year leases on property by the Malawi Government. This means that the biggest gains (or possible losses as well) from the business go abroad, a fact that creates doubt about the benefits of tourism among local people. With no capital, locals have few possibilities to start their own businesses. Another thing to consider is the exceptionally high population density of the area; ecotourism usually works well in supporting smaller communities. It can be asked, how many of the hundreds of unemployed fishermen can the tourism sector realistically employ in the future?

It is vital that developing ecotourism in LMNP should be a participatory process including all the stakeholders: local people, the state, tour operators and NGOs working in the area. The role of the state can be seen as supporting the building of sufficient infrastructure for tourism and an effective park management system, but at the same time controlling and ensuring that development is sustainable. Dialogue between traditional authorities, park authorities and businesses should result in the distribution of income from ecotourism to the local community. In addition to facilitating the whole process directly, NGOs can contribute remarkably by promoting Malawi in general. The geographic location and cost base alone restrict marketing LMNP for the masses; therefore, the tourism most suitable for the area can be defined as ecotourism. (Contributed by: S. Rantala, WWF-Finland and T. Tyynelä, MTT Agrifood Research Finland.)

For more information, please contact:
Ms Salla Rantala, WWF-Finland, Lintulahdenkatu 10, 00500 Helsinki, Finland.
E-mail: salla.rantala@wwf.fi
www.wwf.fi

Malaysia

Community approach to save forest

The joint WWF-Malaysia and WWF-Denmark project “A Community-based Approach to Conservation and Development in Ulu Padas, Sabah”, launched in January 2002, aims to lay a strong foundation for conservation and sustainable development in the Central Bornean Montane Forests. Ulu Padas, which includes about 85 000 ha of state and reserve land near the Sabah-Kalimantan border, is part of these forests. In this area are two villages inhabited by about 800 people. The local communities depend on the surrounding forest resources for their daily needs, and the scenic areas and cultural heritage sites are the foci of local tourism initiatives.

The project aims to provide the impetus, expertise and funding support needed to improve the capacity of stakeholders, especially the local community, to address land-use and tenure conditions. It should enhance the management and development capabilities of the Ulu Padas community, assist the development of alternative economic uses of forest and promote transboundary cooperation. (Source: Daily Express News, 4 November 2003, in Community Forestry E-News 2003.17.)

Parks get input of villagers

Public participation plays an important role in finalizing the management plan for Sabah’s largest park – the 139 191 ha Crocker Range. More than 100 people including district officers, village heads and village, security and development committee members attended a two-day workshop on “Sociological Issues in and around Crocker Range” to work out issues on land, villages, natural resources, water and the environment.

While the park is gazetted strictly for protection, villagers living within or near the park continue to rely on the resources for their livelihood activities. But the biggest issue facing all parties concerned is probably traditional resource use: native customary rights versus modern law. (Source: Daily Express News, 18 December 2003, in Community Forestry E-News 2003.18.)

Mali

Mali promotes West African shea industry

The West Africa International Business Linkages Program (WAIBL) brought together 160 United States and West African participants in Bamako, Mali to discuss US-Africa business agreements in the shea butter industry. The West Africa-based conference followed a similar event held in Washington, DC in January 2003 that attracted nearly 70 United States companies. Both served to educate participants on the shea industry as well as to create an environment for United States buyers and West African sellers of shea to meet. WAIBL is a programme of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).

The conference featured industry experts who spoke on commodities as exports, quality control and standardization, possible means to improve the industry through regional collaboration, marketing, labelling and packaging tips for the United States market, and challenges and opportunities for shea in the United States. Included in the 160 conference participants were shea producers, distributors and exporters from Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, the Niger, Senegal, Guinea, Benin and Togo. Four United States companies also attended.

Following the conference, WAIBL arranged site visits to two Malian villages. Thirty of the conference participants attended, taking the opportunity to see shea butter produced in the traditional manner by the women in the villages.

As shea butter quickly gains wider recognition in the United States, the WAIBL conference served to bring more attention to the industry and the potential for collaboration between United States companies interested in developing shea butter market opportunities with West African shea producers and exporters. (Source: Corporate Council on Africa [Washington, DC] Press Release, 6 March 2003.)


The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), established in 1992, is a non-partisan 501 (c) (3) membership organization of more than 150 American corporations dedicated to strengthening the commercial relationship between the United States and Africa. CCA members represent nearly 85 percent of total United States private sector investments in Africa. (CCA’s Web site is at: www.africacncl.org)


Mexico

The Sierra Madre Alliance

The Tarahumara and Tepehuan people of Mexico’s Sierra Madre have been under siege for generations. Their lands and forests have been seized. Tens of thousands have retreated to remote and desolate areas, choosing a life of silent suffering over integration in Mexican society. Many have been able to sustain a rich traditional life, but others find themselves caught between two worlds: the old world which is disappearing with the forests and the new world where they find discrimination, poverty and depression. Corruption, drug trafficking, and violence all contribute to the suffering of these indigenous peoples.

Uncontrolled logging has taken 99 percent of their forests, destroyed vital high-altitude watersheds and threatened the forest plants they depend on for food, medicine, and ceremonies, as well as a number of endemic and endangered species.

The Sierra Madre Alliance and our Mexican partners have been working to improve the environmental and social conditions in the Sierra for more than ten years, with indigenous community participation. We focus on conservation-priority areas in the Sierra, where both endangered species and endangered communities struggle for survival. (Source: SMA Update, 4 December 2003.)

For more information, please contact:
Sierra Madre Alliance, 1650 Sioux Dr. CH44-119, El Paso, TX 79925, USA.
or
Chihuahua, Mexico Field Office.
Fax: +11 52 614 4160861;
e-mail: info@sierramadrealliance.org;
www.sierramadrealliance.org/index.shtml

Namibia

Marula can bear fruit for Namibia

FThe government has recognized the economic potential of the marula tree fruit and its by-products. As a result it has funded the establishment of community projects such as the Eudafano Women’s Cooperative in the north.

Addressing a crowd of people from all over the country at the recent Omagongo Cultural Festival 2003, including King Shikongo Taapopi of Uukwaluudhi, President Sam Nujoma said marula trees, or “omugongo” as they are known by indigenous people, play a critical role in the lives of many Namibian communities especially in the north. He said the Eudafano Women’s Cooperative is involved in the commercial production and marketing of several kinds of products derived from marula fruit. These products, Nujoma said, include various types of cosmetic products, refreshments, wine and cooking oil.

The president suggested that in addition to marula fruit, the economic potential and viability of other indigenous fruit and plants can be investigated with a view to exporting them on a commercial basis. He said it is important for traditional communities to utilize their knowledge of local natural resources as a way of maximizing benefits from Namibia’s wealth of biodiversity for all the people. Omugongo fruit is traditionally used as a source of wine (omagongo), juice (oshinwa) and cooking oil (odjove). The by-products that remain after the extraction of cooking oil and manufacturing of cosmetics are used to make different types of soap. “I would like to emphasize the fact that our people can only derive benefits from our flora and fauna if we continue to promote the conservation of our environment and the utilization of our natural resources in a sustainable manner,” he said.

The president called on communities to plant many indigenous trees so that they can provide the country with fruit, shade and timber as well as prevent further desertification which threatens many areas countrywide. (Source: The Namibian [Windhoek], 30 April 2003.)

Nigeria

Jigawa boosts gum arabic production

A joint initiative between the United States-based African Development Foundation and the Jigawa State government has raised N 280 million for the provision of five million seedlings of Acacia sp. to produce gum arabic to boost the production of the product and reduce the menace of desertification. The joint effort would see to the provision of 100 ha of land to develop a special programme on drought and desertification protection through the establishment of gum arabic centres.

Disclosing this to journalists, the director-general of the state research institute, Dr Hilton Gommes, said 200 farmers were used to nursing the five million seedlings. He said that the farmers had already been provided with free seedlings for gum arabic and will be given N 3 for each seedling nursed. Dr Hilton added that the farmers are also provided with free seedlings to grow on their farms.

He disclosed that officials of the African Development Foundation, led by Dr Nathaniel Fuse, have already visited the state to study the success of the initiative.

Dr Hilton Gommes described the institute’s achievement as a revolutionary idea to improve agriculture and better the state’s socio-economic well-being. (Source: Daily Trust [Abuja], 19 November 2003.)

Jigawa to spend US$1 million on gum arabic development

Jigawa State government and the African Development Foundation (ADF) are to spend US$1 million to develop gum arabic production in the state. During a visit to the state research institute at Kazaure, governor Saminu Turaki said that the ADF would provide US$700 000, while the Jigawa government would invest US$300 000 in the project.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the money from the ADF would be from a US$5 million grant offered to the state two years ago, of which only US$1 million were utilized for community empowerment projects.

Turaki, who led ADF president Nathaniel Fields to the institute, said the Jigawa government had spent more than US$300 000 on enhancing gum arabic production in the state. The secretary of the institute, Malam Ma’amun Aliyu, had earlier disclosed that some five million tree seedlings had been raised last year as part of efforts to boost the economic potential of communities in the state. He said that while most of the seedlings were planted by farmers across the state, the institute on its own had set up 100 ha of gum arabic plantation in three locations in the state.

Jigawa, which has about 900 ha of gum arabic plantations, has established a laboratory to process the product, and entered into an agreement with some United States companies to export the commodity. However, inadequate funds had affected the procurement of the commodity from the farmers, while staff of the Gum Arabic Processing Company have been left without salaries for ten months. Turaki, however, said he believed the injection of the capital from the ADF would facilitate the increased production capacity of the farmers and the status of the company, as well as provide for a greater expansion of the total production capacity of the state. (Source: Daily Trust [Abuja], 20 January 2004.)

Pakistan

Review of non-timber forest products (excluding medicinal plants) in Pakistan

Pakistan’s forest cover is 4.8 percent and comprises four floristic regions, which are rich in floral diversity. About 80 percent of rural people are dependent in one way or another on non timber forest products (NTFPs) for their domestic as well as commercial use.

Local people use their traditional knowledge for the collection, processing, packing, drying, marketing and consumption of various NTFPs. The most important NTFPs produced in Pakistan are: morels (Morchella esculenta, M. conica, M. vulgarus, etc.), honey (Apis cerana, A. dorsa, A. forea, A. mellifera, etc.), fruits and nuts (pine nut or chalghoza, walnuts, wild persimmon, mulberry, wild fig, jujube, pear, gur gura, etc.), vegetables (kachnal), condiments and spices (wild pomegranate), mazri palm, silk cocoons and many others. These are not only a source that fulfils the domestic needs of local people, but are also a source of income for their livelihood. About 34 percent of local people are dependent on NTFPs for income generation. During the study, about 131 species were cited in the literature but there are actually more than that. Exports of selected NTFPs, such as morels, fruits and nuts, mazri, silk cocoons, etc., amounted to PRs 1 507.60 million in 2000/01. In 1991/92, the total production was 89 568.3 tonnes. There is a 60 to 70 percent increase in the prices of various NTFPs from 1991/92 to 2001/02.

These products, after collection and processing, are sold to the entrepreneur and then reach the main market. There are wide fluctuations in both the supply and production of these products; 65 percent is lost on its way to the main market and then in exporting. There are problems, such as lack of awareness about collection and processing of various products among local collectors, in sufficient research and development, market trends and monopolies, wastage and unsustainability during the different steps of processing, and the government’s attitude towards NTFPs.

The literature available was studied in order to compile data related to NTFPs (excluding medicinal plants) and it was assessed that Pakistan has a great potential for NTFPs but that there is need for research on each individual product using a bottom-up approach for proper planning, better levels of production, sustainable income through sustainable utilization, training and capacity building of related personnel and the community for the conservation of different forest resources. (Source: Abstract of a paper by Abdul Latif, Researcher, Ethnobotany Project, WWF-Pakistan, Peshawar, Pakistan [e-mail: latifepm78@yahoo.co.uk].)

Peru

Saving polylepis forests

The Andean condor usually takes the credit as the flagship species for the mountain range that runs the length of South America. However, several less-known Andean species can make similarly impressive claims to fame. One of these is polylepis, a group of tree species in the rose family, which wins the prize for being the highest altitude woody plant in the world. In many ways polylepis is a retiring tree, growing slowly and quietly in sheltered valleys close to the high Andean grasslands called paramo or puna. In a vista that features large open expanses punctuated by towering snow-capped volcanoes, polylepis can easily be overlooked.

However, as a result of a reduction in polylepis throughout its range, it is now receiving significant attention in the Cusco Department of southern Peru. One of the reasons is that the forests in this region contain three of South America’s endangered birds: royal cinclodes, ash-breasted tit-tyrants and white-browed tit-spinetails.

Polylepis forests, sometimes called “enchanted forests” because of their low canopy, twisted growth pattern and striking red peely bark, are relicts from pre-Colombian times. Polylepis protects fragile soils from erosion, replenishes watersheds and harbours plants used by local people.

Outside the ancient city of Cusco, polylepis is a mainstay for existence. The trees provide fuelwood, construction materials and medicinal plants to Quechua-speaking people who maintain much of their centuries-old lifestyle and tradition. Nevertheless, current consumption patterns, along with burning of surrounding grasslands to create pasture for cattle and sheep, are threatening the resource. While community members are well aware that their survival depends on maintaining these forests, they have had few options until recently.

That is where the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and the Peruvian Association for the Conservation of Andean Ecosystems (ECOAN) come in. The two organizations have teamed up with support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) to work together with three local villages to protect the forests and develop alternatives for fuelwood and timber. Their Polylepis Project fits perfectly into CEPF’s strategic approach in the tropical Andes to encourage community-based biodiversity conservation and natural resource management to offset threats and ensure durable change.

The key to successful conservation of these endangered birds and their habitats is solving the problem of unsustainable wood consumption. The Polylepis Project aims to develop a local non-governmental organization presence in the communities, provide data on and monitor biodiversity, include indigenous people in conservation, engage villagers and policy-makers in biodiversity conservation, raise community awareness of conservation, make rural development more compatible with biodiversity conservation and build a constituency for conservation.

As part of the CEPF-supported part of the project, in the village of Abra Malanga, 86 community members, together with 13 young British volunteers and members of ECOAN, expanded polylepis forest by replanting 5 000 saplings. At an altitude of 4 200 m above sea level, it was no easy task. In nearby Cancha Cancha, where

3 000 polylepis saplings were planted, residents had to trek more than 11 km uphill with an elevation gain of 1 000 m to reach their planting site. In another of the communities, Huacahuasi, the closest polylepis forest is more than 12 km away from the village. ECOAN has determined that if the 170 families continue their annual pilgrimage to harvest trees for fuelwood and construction, the entire resource will be gone within 30 years. Other sources of fuel are needed. Through the Polylepis Project residents have planted 10 000 eucalyptus trees on degraded lands far from native forests and close to the community.

One of the major positive outcomes of the project is that the villagers are becoming aware of the need to manage their lands in order to ensure its productivity into the future. Previously, some simply cut whatever they could find, without heed as to where the polylepis were coming from or the long-term impacts.

ECOAN is also working to help these communities gain title to their traditional lands, an important move towards providing incentive for sustainable management. One of the steps in the process is the development of conservation action plans, including limiting harvesting, reforestation and fencing replanted forests to protect them from grazing animals.

Birdwatchers will travel far to see such endangered species as the royal cinclodes or the tit-spinetail. If these birds are provided with the necessary habitat and active measures are taken to ensure their survival, villagers may eventually be able to host visitors, taking them to see the fruits of their conservation labours and gaining some income at the same time.

In the meantime, a survey and monitoring programme for polylepis forest species is underway. It has already paid off with unexpected and happy news. Recently ECOAN discovered a 6.5 ha polylepis forest fragment with eight pairs of previously unrecorded royal cinclodes. (Source: Extracted from an article by Abigail Rome in September 2003 CEPF

E-News www.cepf.net/xp/cepf/in_focus/current_issue.xml.)

Philippines

NFTPs in the Philippines

Camilla Mitchell, a University of Edinburgh M.Sc. student, recently explored the use of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in the North Negros Forest Reserve in the Philippines (Negros Occidental). Her thesis revealed a variety of NFTP uses in the surveyed regions and extensive local knowledge on affected species, despite minimal economic reliance on them.

The research was conducted in collaboration with the United Kingdom-based Coral Cay Conservation, an esteemed tropical reef and rain forest conservation non-governmental organization (NGO), and the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation Inc. (NFEFI). The project surveyed the use of NFTPs derived from the area as well as their subsistence and commercial value. Interest was sparked owing to concerns of prevalent deforestation, especially in a reserve that contains a large proportion of the remaining rain forest of Negros Island – part of a forest ecoregion identified by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as the eighth most vulnerable in the world. NFTP use was investigated in two local communities as well as species-based information and attitudes towards NFTP use.

Ethnobotanical methodologies were used in the villages of Campuestohan and Patag, mountain communities of similar forest types (lower montane). Campuestohan, the principal survey site, was selected owing to its strong links with an environmental NGO (Coral Cay Conservation). Patag, a larger region outside the NFEFI project area, was picked to increase the validity of any conclusions, having suffered less ecological destruction (i.e. by logging). Data were collected utilizing various methods including interviews, questionnaires, workshops and surveys both in the field and in more formal surroundings with the village residents.

The uses of species were classified into the following subcategories: environmental, food, material, medicinal and social. Communities, habitat types and gender knowledge discrepancies were also compared for the two regions. All the resulting information on NTFP plants was subsequently shared with the Biodiversity Information Centre of the National Museum of the Philippines.

One hundred and two distinct taxa were identified as NFTPs with 51 different uses (43 percent had more than one use, 27 percent existed in both areas), more than half of which were medicinal in purpose. Ornamental plants represented the largest group in the environmental subcategory, reflecting the regions’ biodiversity and protective designation. Most species were distinct to either forest or village habitats; knowledge of forest species was considerable despite exploitation of these species being lower. Results also suggest that the information held by women was limited to village plants while men had knowledge on species of both habitats; this probably relates to the dominance of medicinal plants in the villages, and the exploration of areas beyond tenancy by men.

Significantly it was found that NGO-led education has increased awareness of the importance of forest conservation and the potential for herbal medicines. The greater medicinal use is affiliated with socio-economic needs rather than any commercial exploitation, extended by the involvement of the Dutch Alternative Indigenous Scheme (AID) foundation.

The vulnerability of this rain forest owing to logging and agricultural clearance has further deterred the promotion of NFTPs as a commercial venture. Although less environmentally intrusive than logging, the thesis acknowledged that sustainable NFTP extraction could not exist without yield management initiatives. Instead, sustainable agricultural practices are being encouraged to protect the area and inhabitants of the North Negros Forest Reserve, with support only for NFTP enterprises that complement forest regeneration. The research is the first of its kind in Negros and has set a strong precedent for future work, which may aid the development of sustainable management initiatives concerning NFTPs. (Full reference: Mitchell, C. 2002. A survey of non-timber forest product use in the North Negros Forest Reserve, Negros Occidental, Philippines. M.Sc. thesis, University of Edinburgh. Available from Coral Cay Conservation forest@coralcay.org.) (Contributed by: Saritha Visvalingam, Research Intern, Coral Cay Conservation Ltd, The Tower, 125 High Street, Colliers Wood, London SW19 2JG, UK e-mail: sv@coralcay.org.)

Market development for non-timber forest products: the case of Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

Market development for the non-timber forest products (NTFPs) of Palawan province, particularly in the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP), has been identified as one of the thrusts of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD). This is implemented through the Palawan Tropical Forestry Protection Programme (PTFPP), a special project supported by the European Union starting in 1995. PTFPP seeks to improve the living conditions and incomes of rural communities in priority catchment areas. One of these is the Cabayugan River Catchment which is part of PPSRNP.

PPSRNP, which is classified within the scope of the National Integrated Protected Areas System Law of 1992, covers a total area of 22 202 ha of terrestrial reservation that includes the three villages of Cabayugan, Marufinas and Tagabinet. It is richly endowed with diverse plants and animals, and protects old growth forests with more than 800 plant species. Most of the area is timberland although the buffer zone portions subjected to human habitation and encroachment have been farmed, with the inhabitants employing traditional agricultural practices. The primary feature of PPSRNP is the 8.2 km long underground river flowing through a spectacular karst formation with the dome-shaped Mount St Paul being the highest point. Because of its unique natural characteristic and outstanding universal value, it is among those included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Until 2000, park visitors averaged about 30 000 annually.

There are several reasons why marketing of NTFPs is given importance. First is the recognition that NTFPs, which are currently utilized and marketed, have considerable potential in providing livelihoods for the buffer communities, given their abundance in the area and that timber production is prohibited. Second is that it is through improvement in marketing that such potential can actually be realized considering the difficulties that the communities are experiencing in the disposal of their products. Third is that the economic benefits created through efficient marketing provide the most tangible incentives for sustaining production activities as well as enrichment, renewal and protection of the natural resource/raw material base. And fourth is that NTFPs provide opportunities for the local people to participate in the development of their communities.

NTFPs in PPSRNP include rattan, almaciga resin, bamboo, honey, nipa shingles, nito, tikog, pandan, buri, vines, medicinal plants, orchids and ornamentals. Rattan, almaciga resin, honey and bamboo are gathered in commercial quantities and sold by the local people individually through entrepreneurs, largely in raw, unprocessed forms, hence they do not get the most favourable economic returns possible. Many kinds of handicraft items can be made from other NTFPs but currently the supply of finished products is limited and irregular while their quality is not competitive with those made elsewhere.

The appropriate marketing strategy therefore must be anchored on activities that will i) directly increase the sa les and income of households; ii) direct marketing efforts through strong and reactivated cooperatives and local associations; and iii) support the enrichment and regeneration of the NTFP raw material base. The first criterion is aimed at increasing the marketable surplus and product value through the diversification of products and markets; value-adding activities via processing/product transformation, quality improvement and product labelling; and having shorter market channels through direct marketing. The second entails providing the necessary support services (financial, infrastructure, marketing linkages and price information) to strengthen and reactivate existing local organizations, thus enabling them to market their products efficiently and collectively. These are needed to lower their transaction and marketing costs as well as minimize product losses and to ensure delivery of their products at the right time, place, and form according to the requirements of buyers and markets. Eventually, the high economic surplus to be gained by the cooperatives will be distributed to the members according to basic cooperative principles. The third criterion is intended not only to achieve environmental goals but also to ensure the long-term competitiveness of PPSRNP NTFPs via the inherent advantage of having a continuous supply of quality raw materials. (Contributed by: Isabelita M. Pabuayon, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, College of Economics and Management, University of the Philippines Los Baños, College, Laguna, 4031 Philippines e-mail: Isabelitapabuayon@hotmail.com.)

[Dr Pabuayon served as NTFP Marketing Consultant for PTFPP for the period April–October 2001.]

Russian federation

NTFP small business development project in the Russian far east

Over the past three years the IUCN-CIS Forest Conservation Programme has been involved with a community economic development project focused on the Kamchatka Peninsula and Sakhalin Island. (This project is one component of the larger project “Building Partnerships for Forest Conservation and Management in Russia” funded by the Canadian International Development Agency [CIDA] and managed by IUCN-World Conservation Union.)

The activities in the Russian far east are aimed at assisting remote communities of the region to develop their non-timber forest product resources sustainably. With 29 active volcanoes and the largest surviving populations of wild salmon and brown bear, Kamchatka has a richly deserved reputation as a wild and relatively untouched land. Apart from the difficulties presented by living in a remote area with a harsh environment, many of Kamchatka’s residents are facing new challenges brought on by the collapse of the Soviet regime. Since the early 1990s, communities on Kamchatka (and elsewhere in the country) have experienced economic decline made worse by the withdrawal of federal support to outlying regions and traditional resource use such as reindeer herding.

In our project, NTFPs are viewed as one part of a local sustainable livelihood strategy (including tourism, cultural activities, hunting, herding). We provide business and legal issues training, consultation on small business and community-based enterprise development, and support for sustainability and monitoring programmes. It is the hope of project participants that the successful development of these opportunities will decrease the pressure to move forward with potentially damaging resource exploitation activities, such as gold mining and oil extraction within or close to the World Heritage Sites.

The project is focusing on groups of people who have not normally had the chance to participate in small business or natural resource management – indigenous people and women. It is the intention of all involved that, over time, local community groups will take over production and marketing activities. Four family and cooperative NTFP-based businesses have already been started by native communities on Kamchatka with the assistance of the project. Started from scratch, these businesses are now marketing their products – so far these are herbal teas, dried wild berries and birch bark souvenirs within the Russian Federation and abroad. The Kamchatka Herbal Tea Community Association successfully fundraised for the new drying equipment.

About 400 people are involved as experts, trainees and participants of other project activities. We hope that the project will make a contribution to the development and implementation of the global approaches to sustainable community development and poverty alleviation. (Contributed by: Nikolay Shmatkov, NTFP Component Coordinator, IUCN-CIS and Tim Brigham, NTFP Business Development Consultant, Canada.)

For more information, please contact:
Nikolay Shmatkov, NTFP Component Coordinator, IUCN-CIDA Project,
IUCN-World Conservation Union,
Office for Russia and CIS,
17 Marshal Vasilevski St, 123 182 Moscow, Russian Federation.
Fax: +7 95 4905818;
e-mail: shmatkov@iucn.ru;
www.iucn.ru or www.iucn-cida.ru;
or
Tim Brigham, NTFP Small Business Development Consultant, 3878 Cowichan Lake Road, Duncan,
BC, Canada V9L 6K1.
Fax: +1 250 7483582;
e-mail: tbrigham@islandnet.com

South africa

Reaping new medicines from old cures

Samson Mvubu’s corner of the bustling Faraday Market is crammed with bundles of bark, roots, bulbs and animal parts used to treat all manner of maladies. Mvubu is an “inyanga”, a traditional herbalist. He spent years learning to treat illnesses using plants found in the fields and forests surrounding his village. Visitors to this market come to Mvubu for cures from the countryside. Among them are a small but growing number of scientists, who show up armed with notebooks and ask lots of questions. “The traders here are not happy about them,” he says of the scientists. “They just run away with our plants under their arm and they don’t come back.”

Five years ago, few scientists bothered to visit Mvubu and his fellow healers. Now, however, it seems the world is waking up to the vast untapped potential of biological and indigenous resources. Bioprospecting – searching nature for plants and animals with commercially useful properties – is a booming field. Traditional healers like Mvubu, who tend to come from poor, marginalized communities, are increasingly perceived as the ones who might lead scientists to important discoveries. “Everyone wants access to biodiversity,” says Dr Marthinus Horak, manager of bioprospecting at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which is sponsored by the South African Government.

With 24 000 plant species, the biodiversity of this country is almost unparalleled. And with almost 300 000 traditional healers nationwide, local knowledge of plants and their uses is equally abundant. Increasingly, CSIR scientists tap into the knowledge of traditional healers, who have helped to identify hundreds of the plants that researchers are studying now. However, in South Africa – where at least

70 percent of people rely on traditional remedies – no major drug has yet been developed. Dr Namrita Lall, a botanist at the University of Pretoria, is one of many hoping to change that. Working with a traditional healer, she has found what could be a promising alternative treatment for tuberculosis.

The potential rewards of this type of cooperation are considerable for both scientists and traditional healers, Horak says. But collaboration also raises troubling issues. Operating in a legal vacuum, researchers and corporations historically have laid claim to indigenous resources without compensating communities or obtaining their consent.

Even now, rich countries have resisted demands from the developing world that traditional knowledge be recognized under international patent laws. And while the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity recognizes the need for stronger regulatory mechanisms, many developing countries rich in biodiversity have yet to pass their own laws protecting biological and indigenous resources.

Meanwhile, Mvubu at the Faraday Market says he has stopped speaking to scientists because he mistrusts their motives.

In a major breakthrough earlier this year, however, CSIR announced an agreement with the San of the Kalahari Desert to share in the profits of a potential blockbuster weight-loss drug. However, just how much the San will benefit financially remains to be seen. The pharmacological giant Pfizer recently pulled out of the deal, and any drug that may yet be developed from “hoodia” is still years away. (Source: Extracted from www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,61090,00.html?tw=wn_techhead_1, cited in GRAIN Los Baños grain@baylink.mozcom.com, 11 November 2003.)

Turkey

Non-wood forest products in the Black Sea region

Non-wood forest products (NWFPs), which provide different possibilities such as food security, health and employment, are neglected in Turkey, especially in the Black Sea region. NWFPs have an important role in the economy of the country as well as rural areas. In this region, very few NWFPs are used in trade. The social, economic and environmental functions of NWFPs are not taken into consideration in Turkey and therefore national forestry policy does not consider these products important enough.

The need for natural resources increases daily owing to a growing population and industrial development. Because of this situation, people are now undertaking research into non-wood forest products to ascertain their utilization possibilities. The Black Sea region is rich in natural resources, especially plant species diversity. For example, Rosa canina, Digitalis ferruginea subsp. schischkinii, Orchis tridentata, Thymus pubescens, which are grown in this region, are NWFPs. Unfortunately, however, in Turkey there has not yet been an extensive inventory to realize that potential.

This study will now take place in Hamsiköy (located in Trabzon city in the northern Black Sea region) and will be carried out as part of my Ph.D. thesis. In future phases, we want to spread the study to the entire region and then the whole country.

In this study, our aims are:

• to determine which NWFPs have an economic value;

• to inventory them;

• to research actual and potential market possibilities;

• to stop exploiting nature heedlessly and to produce a plan;

• to determine alternative plants for agriculture; and

• in this context, to use forest areas in which trees do not grow.

(Contributed by: Prof. Dr Zafer Cemal Özkan and Res. Ass. Sefa Akbulut, Karadeniz Technical University, Department of Forest Botany, 61080 Trabzon, Turkey e-mail: sakbulut@risc0.ktu.edu.tr.)

Uganda

Uganda’s biodiversity under threat

UGANDA’s biological wealth is under serious threat with an increased rate of destruction from 10 to 15 percent per decade, leading to a decline in food security. This rate of loss of biodiversity was referred to as “high” by the report released by the Makerere University Institute of Environment and Natural Resources. The report, The state of Uganda’s biological diversity 2002, claims that forests, soils and wildlife located outside protected areas are in danger.

The degradation of biological resources undermines the tourism potential, the availability of medicinal plants and the well-being of the human population. (Source: New Vision [Kampala], 15 April 2003.)

United States gum arabic buyer eyes Karamoja district

A United States company is in Karamoja district to collect samples of gum arabic, a tree sap used in the manufacture of soft drinks. President Yoweri Museveni wants to have the region listed among the top foreign suppliers to the American market.

Jimmy Lomakol, the coordinator of Moroto’s private sector promotion, said the Atlantic Gum Corporation has taken samples from the acacia trees in different parts of Karamoja for analysis. He said that the firm, which is funded by the American Soft Drinks Association, had identified 20 sites from which the samples had been collected and that the process of sampling could take about two years before Uganda was allowed to export the much cherished tree sap to the American and European markets.

He said that penetrating the American market required that any raw material used in the manufacture of any product should be traced to its origin. “They (the Atlantic Gum Corporation) are also particular about the output and behaviour of the trees from where the samples are picked,” Lomakol said. This was being hampered by the community who felled some of the identified trees for the construction of huts. He said that in some instances, the herders also picked and ate the sap before it was gathered for analysis. “We have therefore embarked on the sensitization of the community and are using some of the local leaders in the identification and preservation of the trees sampled for analysis,” Lomakol said.

Museveni introduced the idea of gathering gum arabic sap for the United States market during the launching of the disarmament exercise in December 2001. Museveni informed the community in Karamoja that the region could become one of the largest exporters of the sap in the world. (Source: New Vision [Kampala], 15 May 2003.)

Multinational may buy gum arabic

A variety of laboratory tests on the suitability of Uganda’s gum arabic for export and use in several industries have turned out to be positive. This was a major hurdle before Uganda could export to the United States and particularly to major buyers such as the soft drinks giant, Coca-Cola.

Local gum arabic is mainly grown in Karamoja and a few other parts of northern Uganda. President Yoweri Museveni has been closely associated with the efforts of getting an international market for the rare commodity.

Rosa Whitaker, president of the Whitaker Group (a Washington, DC-based consultancy firm), said recently that Uganda is to start shipping gum arabic to the United States market early next year, after functionality tests on its quality, durability and market potential were positive. She said that Coca-Cola, which has been paying for some of the tests, will be one of the main buyers. “There is a lot of potential in this product, which can be exploited by many people in the northern part of the country to pull themselves out of poverty,” she said. She added that growing the crop does not need much initial capital.

Whitaker, however, strongly objected to the agricultural subsidies, which are being implemented by firms from the West, saying that they are strangling the commodity prices for products from developing countries.

However, there are advantages for Uganda in developing commercial production of gum arabic because it is a major ingredient in several foods including sodas, beers, salad dressings and ice-cream. It is also used in the pharmaceutical industry.

The Sudan is the world’s leading producer. Another potential leading supplier is northern Nigeria, where two years ago USAID helped fund a new testing laboratory in Jigawa state. Importer Services Corporation, the largest gum processing firm in the United States, last October announced that it would buy the entire 2002 gum arabic crop from Jigawa state, valued at US$400 000. (Source: New Vision [Kampala], 30 December 2003.)

Norway and the European Union give forestry U Sh 25 billion

The Norwegian International Agency for Development (NORAD) and the European Union signed a joint memorandum to support the National Forestry Authority on Monday. The joint support is worth U Sh 25 billion for the next five years.

The National Forestry Authority was formed early this year to oversee the 1.4 million hectares of forests in 506 central reserves in the country. (Source: The Monitor [Kampala], 12 November 2003.)

United republic of tanzania

Spice industry potential

The spice industry should be recognized as a distinct sector with a high fast-track export potential requiring only low levels of investment, says the Board of External Trade (BET).

A spices export development strategy prepared by BET in November 2002 came up with four strategic objectives to rescue the spice sector in the country. Among them are the creation of an adequate institutional structure for sector leadership, increasing the capacity of the sector to meet technical requirements of the market and accelerated expansion of the industry.

Achieving recognition for the sector being the major strategic objective, BET discovered that this strategy is paramount because the perceived underlying problem would appear to be the awareness and recognition of the spice industry as a significant sector with a tremendous export potential.

To improve the spice sector, BET intends to create and establish an appropriate institutional framework for the sector to enable it to realize its full potential. It will take full advantage of the private and public sector smart partnership. According to BET, this strategy can only work if there is the establishment of the Tanzania Spice Producers and Exporters Association (TSPEA) and designation of the research and development responsibility to existing research institutions particularly to support smallholder producers.

Regarding increasing the capacity to meet the technical requirement of the market, BET suggested that Tanzania improve its reputation as a quality supplier in world markets since it has a good opportunity of capturing markets within Africa and overseas, e.g. in the East African Community (EAC), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Furthermore, in the expanding European Union, Tanzania has tariff-free market entry under the Everything But Arms arrangement and the huge United States market preferential treatment under the African Growth and Opportunity Act which the United Republic has Tanzania has now fully ratified.

To acquire success in the strategic objectives, BET is expected to involve the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the Tanzania Investment Centre in order to mobilize and encourage both foreign and local investment.

The spice industry presents a major opportunity for Tanzania to exploit and reap economic benefits in the relatively short term with only a nominal input of resources and attention. Among the opportunities within the sector development are the thousands of small farmers that are already knowledgeable about spices. Thus training would not start from scratch. Others are the exchange rate and trade regimes that are liberalized. There is a growing market for derived products such as extracts and oleoresins.

The world market for spices and herbs is valued at more than US$2.3 billion. From 1995 to 1999, imports averaged 500 000 tonnes, growing at an average of 8.5 percent per annum.

However, the sector also has problems, e.g. Tanzanian spices are not branded; the majority of the products have no traceability system; and the poor image of Tanzania as a source of supply needs urgent reversal.

The spices currently being produced by Tanzania include: cardamom, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, black pepper, cloves, chilli, onions, vanilla, cumin, coriander, paprika, mustard, spring onions and nutmeg. Spice production in Tanzania is mainly carried out in areas with tropical and subtropical climate. Normally no chemical fertilizers are used.

Available data of the spice industry sector indicate that overall the sector has been growing by more than 10 percent per annum in value terms since 1997. The actual export value grew from US$1.148 million in 1997 to US$11 million in 2001. (Source: Business Times [Dar-es-Salaam], Tanzania, 11 April 2003.)

United States of America

Non-timber forest product management and biodiversity in the United States

In June 2002, the Institute for Culture and Ecology (IFCAE) received an 18-month grant from the National Commission on Science for Sustainable Forestry (NCSSF) to assess the relationships between forest management practices, NTFPs and biodiversity in the United States. This research had two objectives: i) synthesize data regarding the impact of non-timber forest product management on forest ecosystem sustainability and biodiversity; and ii) directly support the ability of forest managers to assess NTFP sustainability.

The project consisted of five interrelated components. The first involved the expansion of IFCAE’s Web-based species database used for identifying commercially harvested NTFPs in the United States. The second component expanded IFCAE’s Web-based NTFP bibliographic database that catalogues references specific to NTFP conservation, policy, management, culture and ecology (see www.ifcae.org/ntfp for both databases). The third component consisted of updating state and federal NTFP management surveys to document managers’ views on how management activities affect local biodiversity and to learn more about inventory and monitoring efforts. The fourth component involved conducting ethnographic interviews in eight ecoregions of the United States to synthesize harvester knowledge about management and biodiversity. The final component consisted of four regional workshops designed to bring together land managers, policy-makers, scientists, buyers and harvesters to discuss multistakeholder approaches to biological monitoring. Results from this research are synthesized in the document The relationship between non-timber forest product management and biodiversity in the United States.

Workshop results are analysed in the document Non-timber forest product inventory and monitoring in the United States: rationale and recommendations for a participatory approach. See also the companion report, Workshop guide and proceedings: harvester involvement in inventory and monitoring of non-timber forest products.

All of these documents are available online (www.ifcae.org/projects/ncssf1/). (Contributed by: Kathryn A. Lynch, ICFAE, USA.)

For more information, please contact:
Kathryn A. Lynch, Eric T. Jones or Rebecca McLain, Institute for Culture and Ecology, PO Box 6688, Portland, OR, USA 97228.
Tel./Fax: +1 503 3316681;
e-mail: ifcae@ifcae.org;
www.ifcae.org

Zambia

Maureen Mwanawasa Community Initiative embarks on mushroom drying projects

The Maureen Mwanawasa Community Initiative (MMCI) has embarked on two pilot projects to dry mushrooms in Kasempa and Ndola rural. First lady Maureen Mwanawasa, after touring the Technology Development and Advisory Unit (TDAU) of the University of Zambia yesterday, said that the two areas during the rainy season had a lot of mushrooms, which could be dried and preserved. This would help people to sell and achieve food security.

Maureen [Mwanawasa] said her organization had been trying to change the attitude of women’s clubs for them to do activities that gave them profit and enabled them pay for health services, send their children to school and attain food security. She said her visit to TDAU followed an enquiry for a mushroom solar drier, manufactured by the unit. (Source: The Post [Lusaka], 22 October 2003.)

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