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Center for international forestry research (CIFOR)
International centre for himalayan biodiversity (ICHB)


FAO’s Forestry Branch Library

The Forestry Branch Library (FOBL), a branch of the FAO David Lubin Memorial Library, provides FAO personnel and external users with timely and accurate information about forestry and related areas. It houses more than 3 500 books and over 600 current periodical titles, yearbooks and other serial titles on forestry and related areas. It also has a large collection of “grey literature” – including documentation on FAO forestry projects and papers and reports from various FAO meetings – much of which is not readily available anywhere else. Additional forest-related publications, including the special collections on forestry meetings, which include World Forestry Congresses since 1985, are accessible on request.

The library provides multilingual service (English, French, Spanish, Italian) including reference and information assistance, bibliographic searches, photocopies and, through the David Lubin Memorial Library, interlibrary loan services are provided.

For more information, please contact:
Ms Vanda Ferreira dos Santos, Librarian, FAO–Forestry Library,
00100 Rome, Italy.
Fax: +39 0657055137;

Forest Products and Economics Division

Travel of NWFP officers

Mr Paul Vantomme travelled to Canada as one of FAO’s representatives at the World Forestry Congress [see Special Features for more information]. During the Congress, Mr Vantomme had the role of FAO Technical Secretary for three sessions: i) A2C Efficient use and processing of resources; ii) A5A Best management practices, certification; and iii) B4B Management for non-timber forest products. He made the following presentations: i) Towards improved classification of NWFP through the existing international product classification schemes; ii) Opportunities and challenges for non-wood forest product certification (written together with Sven Walter); and iii) Trade opportunities for non wood forest products in niche markets.


Mr Sven Walter travelled to Viet Nam and Papua New Guinea in November 2003 to discuss issues regarding agarwood. In Viet Nam, he attended the First International Agarwood Conference and in Papua New Guinea he met with national personnel regarding the FAO-financed Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) project “Eaglewood Management Project”, TCP/PNG/2901(A), which became operational in October 2003. [Please see FAO in the Field for more information on this TCP project. ]

The First International Agarwood Conference “Wood of the Gods” was held from 10 to15 November in Ho Chi Minh City and An Giang Province. It was co-organized by the Tropical Rainforest Project (TRP) Foundation, the National University of Ho Chi Minh City, the An Giang University and the University of Minnesota; the main sponsor was the European Union.

Some 70 participants from 20 countries participated in the conference and exchanged views on the:
• ecology and cultivation of Aquilaria (botany, geography and ecology of Aquilaria genus, propagation and management of Aquilaria trees);
• sustainable production technologies (mechanisms of agarwood formation in nature, artificial inducement of resin in plantation-grown trees, chemistry of agarwood);
• conservation and legal status (protection of natural Aquilaria stands and legal issues, community participation in sustainable agarwood production);
• manufacturing and sale of sustainable agarwood products (world markets for agarwood products, price trends, marketing strategy, extraction technology and value-added product development, packing, labelling and product promotion).

Some 30 presentations were made on the above issues. A field trip to An Giang Province was organized in order to show participants the activities of the TRP project, with regard to the establishment of Aquilaria crassna plantations, the research carried out on inducement techniques and the establishment of tree nurseries. Finally, working group sessions were held in order to discuss further the following key issues: i) Management of agarwood plantations and propagation of agarwood producing species; ii) Linking demands with supplies; iii) Trade and legislation; iv) Cultivation of agarwood and impacts of agarwood domestication; and v) International cooperation in agarwood research.

Mr Walter made a presentation on “The impact of certification on the sustainable use of NWFP – Potential implications for the sustainable use of agarwood” and chaired the working group on “Linking demands with supplies”. In addition, Mr Walter organized an informal round table with experts dealing with agarwood issues in Papua New Guinea.

For further background information on the conference and the TRP project, visit the Web site ( ). Information from experimental agarwood trials at NuiGiai Mountain, An Giang Province, Viet Nam, carried out during the First International Agarwood Conference field trip, can be found at:

In Papua New Guinea, Mr Walter met with the National Project Coordinator and other representatives from governmental and non-governmental organizations as well as the private sector, in order to discuss issues with regard to agarwood management and utilization in Papua New Guinea in general, with particular emphasis on the implementation of TCP/PNG/2901. In addition, Mr Walter assisted in the preparations and participated in the 5th Inter-agency Committee Meeting on Agarwood. During the meeting, the results of the international agarwood conference were shared and the TCP project presented and discussed.


Mr Walter carried out a backstopping mission to Cameroon from 8 to 13 December 2003 in the context of TCP/CMR/2905 “Institutional support and sustainable management of non-wood forest products”, in order to: i) establish contacts with the implementing agency (Ministry of Environment and Forests [MINEF]); ii) elaborate a work plan together with the project team; and iii) analyse the information available on NWFPs in Cameroon. [Please see FAO in the Field below for more information on this TCP project. ]

During the mission, several project team meetings were organized in order to inform collaborators about project objectives and procedures, to clarify the tasks of each partner (FAO, MINEF and consultants) and to discuss administrative as well as technical aspects.


Report from Daniela Göhler, who worked as a volunteer with FAO’s NWFP Programme.

The FAO volunteer programme is a very good chance for young people to gain an insight into the work of international organizations and to have firsthand experience in the UN system. It is just as important to find financial support for such an internship. An excellent opportunity is the Carlo Schmid Programme of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which provides scholarships for students and graduates.

I worked as an intern in the Forest Products Service from September to December 2003 under the supervision of Olman Serrano and Paul Vantomme. The main task was to contribute a paper to the NWFP Programme about the role of edible forest insects, mainly caterpillars, to food security in central Africa. Based on four case studies carried out by national experts, I prepared a synthesis that consolidates key information and recommendations, and outlines fields of further research. Additional literature was reviewed to complement some information to specific topics. Numerous discussions with Paul Vantomme and Sven Walter, but also remarks and suggestions of other colleagues, such as entomologists, contributed a lot to my work. [An article by Daniela on this subject has been included in Special Features.]

The final Working Paper, which will be published in the spring of 2004, includes the synthesis as well as the case studies. In addition, an article on the subject will be produced (ODI Wildlife Policy Briefing) focusing more on policy issues. I also had the opportunity to attend several presentations and conferences on various topics, and to work in another of my fields of interest, the international forest regime. Under the supervision of Christian Mersmann, I reviewed a document summarizing forest-related institutions and processes at the global and regional levels.

I regard the internship with FAO as a very important step in my professional career and very much appreciate the open-minded conversations with my colleagues. (Contributed by: Daniela Göhler, M.Sc. in Forestry [Technical University of Dresden].)


FAO’s NWFP Programme has been producing the NWFP-Digest-L since April 2000. The goal of this free e-mail journal is to link NWFP interests worldwide, share information, foster discussion pertaining to NWFPs, promote regionally oriented e-mail lists and Web sites, and complement existing NWFP awareness networks. Diverse views and materials relevant to NWFPs are encouraged.

To join the list, please send an e-mail to: , with the message: subscribe NWFP-Digest-L

To make a contribution once on the list, please send an e-mail to the following address:

Back issues of the Digest may be found on FAO’s NWFP home page: 1

FAO in the field

Cameroon: sustainable use and management of non-wood forest products

FAO was requested to assist the Government of Cameroon in the development of their non-wood forest product (NWFP) sector.

FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme project “Institutional support to promote the sustainable use and management of non-wood forest products in Cameroon” (TCP/CMR/2905[A]) will analyse the NWFP sector, elaborate recommendations for the sustainable management and use of selected products and will contribute to the elaboration and implementation of a national strategy and action plan. The FAO NWFP Programme is the lead technical unit responsible for the technical implementation of the project.

Many households in Cameroon depend on NWFPs as a source of food, construction material, medicines and income. Fruits (e.g. Irvingia gabonensis), leaves (e.g. Gnetum spp.) and spices (e.g. Ricinodendron heudelotii) are among the most relevant edible NWFPs. Other important NWFPs include medicinal plants (e.g. Prunus africana) and rattan (e.g. Laccosperma secundiflorum). Despite the actual and potential benefits of using NWFPs for both subsistence and trade, various legal and institutional constraints hinder the sustainable use of NWFPs, including the inappropriate management of resources providing NWFP and unclear tenure systems.

The Government of Cameroon recognizes the important role of NWFPs in poverty alleviation, particularly in rural areas. In 1998, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MINEF) created a Subdivision for the Promotion and Processing of NWFPs (Sous-direction de la promotion et de la transformation des produits forestiers non ligneux [SDNL]) in order to promote the sustainable use of NWFPs.

In November 2001, the University of Yaoundé and FAO co-organized a seminar on “NWFP in Cameroon: Potentials, Constraints and Perspectives” (, which was followed by a national workshop organized by MINEF in January 2002 on “The Status of the NWFP Sector in Cameroon”. These workshops analysed the NWFP sector and identified key challenges faced by NWFP producers, consumers and traders. Furthermore, the workshops acknowledged the efforts made by governmental organizations and their partners such as the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the Department for International Development (DFID) and FAO to promote the sustainable use of NWFPs.

The Technical Cooperation Programme project TCP/CMR/2905(A) will build on these and will support MINEF and SDNL in their efforts to promote the sustainable use of NWFPs. In this context, the project will collaborate with key stakeholders and organizations, including the Forests and Environment Sector Programme (Programme sectoriel des forêts et de l’environnement [PSFE]).

The project’s main outputs will be:

• An assessment of the production and market chain of key NWFPs, including economic, ecological, social, technical, legal and institutional aspects.

• Strategies for the sustainable management, consumption and commercialization of two selected NWFPs.

• A proposed national strategy for the development of the entire NWFP sector.

Project activities will start with a rapid appraisal of the NWFP sector in Cameroon, followed by the in-depth assessment of two selected NWFPs and their production, consumption and trade patterns.

For further information, please contact:
Ms D. Diallo Ba, FAO Representative, PO Box 281, Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Fax: +237 2204811;
Mr Sven Walter, Forestry Officer,
NWFP Programme, FAO, Rome, Italy.

Papua New Guinea: Eaglewood Management Project

Upon request of the Government of Papua New Guinea, FAO is assisting the Papua New Guinea Forest Authority in the sustainable management and commercialization of eaglewood (Gyrinops ledermanii, also known as agarwood, aloeswood or gaharu) through its Technical Cooperation Programme “Eaglewood Management Project” TCP/PNG/2901(A).

Eaglewood is a valuable non-wood forest product that has been commercially exploited in Papua New Guinea for approximately ten years. High external demand combined with low national capacities with regard to eaglewood production and commercialization has resulted in uncontrolled exploitation and inappropriate trade structures which marginalize local producers. Rough estimates indicate that if unsustainable harvest and trade continue, eaglewood resources in certain areas will be totally depleted by 2005 not only threatening the tree species but also leading to substantial economic losses.

The objectives of the 20-month project, which started in October 2003, are: i) to strengthen institutional capacities of technical staff from governmental and non-governmental organizations at the national level and the management capacities of local resource owners and producers at the grassroots level; and ii) to assist the governmental organizations concerned in the elaboration of a national eaglewood conservation and management strategy. This strategy will be based on the assessment of the ecological and socio-economic impact of eaglewood production and the identification of appropriate processing and harvesting technologies, including inoculation techniques to promote oleorosin production. Collaboration among all stakeholders concerned will be enhanced.

Expected project outputs are:

• Sustainable management strategies, guidelines and policy measures on eaglewood as part of the ecoforestry policy are formulated.

• The extension and regulatory capacity of governmental and non-governmental organizations is strengthened.

• Effective training and awareness campaigns on eaglewood management are carried out at the grassroots level.

• Workable community-based eaglewood management models on customary land in three selected areas are designed and undertaken.

• Promising extraction methods are tested.

• Cost-effective fungal inoculation techniques adapted to Papua New Guinea conditions are developed.

As a result, it is expected that the assistance will contribute to sustaining the management of eaglewood resources and the livelihoods of people using eaglewood resources.

For further information please contact:
Mr Michael Avosa, National Project Coordinator, PNG Forest Authority,
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
Mr Sven Walter, Forestry Officer,
NWFP Programme, FAO, Rome, Italy.

[Please see under Products and Markets for more information on Agarwood.]

Center for international forestry research (CIFOR)

CIFOR was created in 1993 to promote a different type of forestry research – research that would find solutions to the challenges facing our forests and those who use or depend on them. The vision was for a “centre without walls”, creating new spaces for scientists from national institutions around the world to work with each other and to build closer ties with the policy community and with local people. To celebrate ten years of activity, CIFOR has produced Forests and people: research that makes a difference, which highlights some of CIFOR’s key achievements in its first decade of research. A chapter “Beyond timber” is dedicated to CIFOR’s work with non-wood forest products.

For further information, please contact:
CIFOR, PO Box 6596, JKPWB,
Jakarta 10065, Indonesia.
Fax: +62 251 622100;
e-mail: cifor@cgiar.or

International centre for himalayan biodiversity (ichb)

The Himalayan region is the largest, highest and most populous mountain chain in the world, and it is one of the world’s richest ecosystems in terms of biological diversity. Extreme variations in altitude, aspect, geology and soils over short distances have resulted in a wealth of natural ecosystems. The Himalayas are home to hundreds of endemic plant species and some of the world’s rarest wildlife species. These rich biological resources have traditionally served as the foundation for the economic and cultural life of mountain people.

Human beings use the environment heavily. Projected population growth and economic activity will mean loss of biodiversity at a greater rate. Although biological resources are renewable, their overuse is usually associated with loss of biodiversity. Among the major threats are overexploitation of forest and vegetation resources for fuel, fodder, manure, grazing, fishing and hunting, expansion of agricultural land for an ever-increasing population, and the practice of slash-and-burn agriculture in mountain regions. Biological resources are deteriorating rapidly throughout the world, primarily because of unsustainable approaches used in human activities.

Against this background, the International Conference on Himalayan Biodiversity (ICHB-2003) was organized from 26 to 28 February 2003 in Kathmandu, Nepal, on the occasion of the International Year of Mountains (IYM, 2002). The participants at the conference recognized that:

1. The Himalayan range is a unique chain of mountains with fragile ecosystems and high endemic, rare and endangered species of wild flora and fauna that fulfil basic daily needs for millions of people living in mountains and plains.

2. These mountain ecosystems are largely neglected and are greatly threatened by human pressure.

3. Exploration of flora and fauna and their habitats and mechanisms for maintenance of biological diversity are inadequate at present.

4. Degradation and loss of biological diversity are at high levels.

5. Appropriate approaches needed to address these issues are lacking, but recent developments (e.g. large-scale conservation) appear positive.

6. Traditional practices (forestry, agriculture) and indigenous technology are disappearing.

7. There is a lack of coordination and communication among scientists and a lack of partnership among scientists, planners and managers.

8. A comprehensive Red Data Book is lacking.

9. There is a need for habitat mapping using geographic information systems and global positioning system techniques.

10. There is a lack of appropriate teaching curricula and infrastructure and research capabilities in the area of biotechnology to assign and use biodiversity for the betterment of society.

As a result, the conference passed a series of resolutions in the Kathmandu Declaration of the International Conference on Himalayan Biodiversity (ICHB-2003). In considering the mandate of the ICHB-2003, as well as the ways in which governments and local, national and regional/global level organizations could help achieve a better understanding of biological diversity and its related issues and greater cooperation in ensuring the sustainable development and poverty alleviation of Himalayan regions, the International Centre for Himalayan Biodiversity (ICHB) was created by the Himalayan Resources Institute (HIRI) in close coordination, collaboration and cooperation with institutions and individuals working in education, research and training in the field of conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity supporting Himalayan people in their search for sustainable development. The centre will run as an autonomous project of HIRI.

The centre is committed to attracting students from Himalayan countries who will play leadership roles in future conservation efforts, as well as graduate students from Nepal and abroad seeking expertise in Himalayan biodiversity, systematics and conservation biology. Students associated with the centre study both the Himalayan and tropical ecosystems with particular strengths in Himalayan plant-herbivore dynamics, population biology and conservation of birds in the Himalayas, ecology of forest fragments, systematics of flowering plants, evolution of genes and genomes, population genetics of Himalayan and tropical flora and fauna. The centre in future will not only maintain state-of-the-art equipment, laboratories and Himalayan greenhouses to conduct biochemical, molecular, ecophysiological and ecological research, but will also develop research and international training programmes and activities throughout the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) and other mountain countries in the world.

The centre’s major programmes and activities include the following aspects.

The centre will:

• actively establish an information management system with the support of the various national and international organizations to meet the needs of non-governmental, rural and indigenous organizations and individuals working on biodiversity conservation in both the developed and developing countries;

• store and plot information about geographical areas and record or attach area attributes such as species’ distribution, habitats, management plans, surveys and reports;

• keep track of information on indigenous peoples, cultures and ethnic groups;

• catalogue scientific and traditional knowledge of plants and animals – species distribution, references to source materials, bibliographies, surveys, taxonomy, research, management, protective status and experts;

• publish and disseminate a newsletter of Himalayan biodiversity;

• publish a yearly International Journal of Himalayan Heritage;

• organize regular international training courses, workshops, seminars, conferences and congresses on Himalayan biodiversity;

• develop and maintain a regional and international network for future cooperation, collaboration and coordination on Himalayan biodiversity;

• develop and maintain the biodiversity Web site.

In this way, the centre will maximize the impact on “Himalayan biodiversity” by bringing together all stakeholders in a common forum to exchange expertise.

For more information, please contact:
Ram Bhandari, Coordinator, International Centre for Himalayan Biodiversity, ICHB Secretariat, Himalayan Resources Institute,
GPO Box 13880, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Fax: +977 1 4484328;
e-mail:  or

You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.

Saint Bernard

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