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Is agriculture responsible for deforestation? In discussions of forest conservation, the debate over the impact of forest clearing by smallholder farmers is of long standing. While some argue that the effects of traditional agriculture are mild and reversible, others suggest that smallholder forest clearing – especially in the context of population expansion – has drastic negative impacts on ecosystem integrity. Recently, the dimensions of this debate have expanded in the light of research showing that large-scale agricultural development projects, including plantation farming and ranching, may be changing the world’s forest cover with previously unacknowledged speed and extent. Faced with the linked challenges of livelihood maintenance, forest degradation and sustainable development, what is a modern-day tropical forester to do?

Can initiatives along the agricultural frontier contribute to the ongoing and sustainable use of forest resources? In recent years, initiatives integrating agricultural production and forest management have proliferated in the tropics. Projects grounded in agroforestry and the management and harvest of timber and non-timber forest products have been offered up as compromises between the challenges of poverty, development and sustainable forest management. However, challenges remain, not only in assessing the effectiveness of these initiatives, but also in determining where, when, and how their lessons can best be scaled up in policy, legislation, and practice.

The Yale Chapter of the International Society of Tropical Foresters hopes that the conference will stimulate debate on a range of topics, including but not limited to such questions as the following.

• How can timber and non-timber forest product harvesting be integrated into agricultural management schemes? What impact do markets for these products have on ecosystems and livelihoods?

• Do income-generation schemes integrating agriculture and forest management have the potential to reduce poverty? Or do they further trap resource users inside the poverty net?

• What potential do agroforestry systems hold as a “middle ground” between agriculture and forest conservation? What institutional strategies have successfully motivated farmers to implement agroforestry systems?

• How does the legitimacy of biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes vary among actors, across regions, and across systems of government? What role does perceived legitimacy play in conflicts on the agricultural frontier?

• What methods exist to pinpoint the collateral effects of agriculture-related activities indirectly threatening biodiversity conservation, such as local development plans, market liberalization, and/or illicit crop production?

• How do local communities measure success at integrating conservation and agriculture? How do these standards compare with guidelines generated by policy-makers, researchers, conservationists or other communities?

Training workshop on poverty alleviation through bamboo-based development: policies, strategies and stakeholders

18–28 APRIL 2006

Over the past 15 years, China has achieved great progress in the development of the bamboo sector. A series of bamboo panel products of higher quality than wood have been developed. Bamboo curtains, mats and carpets appear on the international market. New products based on bamboo charcoal, vinegar and extracts of bamboo leaves, including medicinal products, natural pesticides, beverages and daily toiletries have great development potential. Bamboo shoots also have huge market potential as a natural high-fibre food.

The workshop will be carried out jointly by the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) and the Bamboo Industry Associations of Lin’an and Anji counties in Zhejiang Province, China. It will focus on policies and case studies from the two counties, where impressive developments have taken place in recent years.

International conference on the role of forests in rural development and environmental sustainability

19–21 APRIL 2006

Forests are the world’s predominant vegetation and play an important role in rural poverty alleviation, rural development and environmental sustainability. Rural communities have accumulated considerable knowledge and experience on managing and utilizing forest resources scientifically in order to coexist harmoniously with nature. They have also developed and established creatively many technical models that have produced good practical results.

The goals of the conference are to share and exchange these experiences and technologies, to promote the development of relevant disciplines and to enhance the sustainable utilization of forest resources.

The conference, sponsored by the Chinese Society of Forestry, the Korean Forest Society and the Japanese Forest Society, has as its theme “the role of forests in rural development and environmental sustainability”.

Topics to be covered include:

• forests in developing rural economy: renewable wood and non-wood products;

• forests and livelihoods, indigenous agroforestry, forestry trade and economy;

• social forestry: participatory forestry, information dissemination and communication technology and forestry policy;

• forest environmental services: soil and water conservation, biodiversity conservation and restoration and combating desertification.

The first ifoam conference on organic wild production

3–4 MAY 2006

There is significant trade in organic wild products, including products for direct consumption, such as berries, mushrooms and a wide variety of herbs. There is also a growing interest in organic wild products by the body care medicinal herb sector. Statistics for this type of production are vague and parallel to the organic market; other concepts such as the NTFP scheme of the Forest Stewardship Council and other company-specific schemes have been developed.

This conference will focus on the harvesting of wild vegetable products from forests, natural lands, pastures and uncultivated land in the agriculture landscape. It will concentrate on current production that enters the organic market stream, but will also extend to other concepts, such as fair trade, sustainable forest management certification and good manufacturing practices.

Wild harvested production as a concept is very broad, and also encompasses commodities used for fibrous or industrial production. The term “wild” is not fully appropriate, since many so-called wild products are collected in areas such as pastures, commons and marginal or uncultivated agricultural land. Additionally, the concept of “wild” implies a lack of management, although in reality almost all land is managed, and the collection of wild products themselves should be subject to sustainable management. Nevertheless, for lack of better alternatives, the term wild harvested production is used here and is also a term used in the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) basic standards. Other systems use other terms to describe similar production, such as natural/biodiversity products, NTFPs, NWFPs and MFPs. Some products that are wild can also be cultivated. This conference will not focus on such cultivation, although it will be addressed in a future session.

General objectives of the conference

• Establishment of the state of the art in organic wild production, the volumes, the participating countries and communities.

• Clarification of terms and definitions.

• Increasing understanding of the various initiatives for NTFPs, NWFPs, wild collection, etc.

• Exploring the possibilities of bringing initiatives together.

• Identification of challenges and opportunities for the sector.

• Information exchange and networking between actors in the sector, including forging commercial links.

• Increased visibility of wild production.

• Addressing sustainability in wild harvesting.

• Initiating further development of quality assurance and standards.

• Assisting IFOAM to develop further the concept of wild harvested production.

The future for wild harvests in scotland

10–11 MAY 2006

This NTFP seminar will bring together land managers, collectors, buyers, processors, researchers, funders and policy-makers to develop a picture of the whole sector and discuss what can be done to help it develop.

Cultural heritage and sustainable forest management: the role of traditional knowledge

8–10 JUNE 2006

This conference is being organized by the IUFRO Research Group of Forest and Woodland History and the IUFRO Task Force on Traditional Forest Knowledge.

Conference themes include the following.

• History of traditional forest knowledge and its landscape.

• Historical context of scientific forestry and traditional forest knowledge with respect to forest management.

• Conservation of traditional knowledge and cultural landscapes.

• Planning, management and monitoring methodologies for the conservation of cultural forest landscapes.

• Objectives and actions in European rural and environmental policies to preserve and support traditional knowledge.

• Good practices for including both traditional and scientific forest-related knowledge in forestry education, research and forest management activities in Europe.

• Exchange of information between traditional and formal (scientific) forest-related knowledge in European forest management.

• Application of traditional forest-related knowledge to forest ecosystems and biodiversity assessments and management.

• Conflicts regarding traditional forest knowedge in relation to forest science and forest management, and lessons learned from experiences/case studies in Europe on ways to avoid/resolve these conflicts.

• Benefits of social and cultural dimensions in sustainable forest management by maintenance/ development of the material (wood in architecture, medicinal plants, traditional practices) and non-material aspects (recreation, well-being and health).

International training workshop on bamboo and rattan sustainable management in developing countries

12–22 JUNE 2006

This training workshop will combine courses with field visits and operational practices. The main courses will include:

• bamboo and rattan biodiversity and their utilization

• bamboo and rattan propagation and nursing technologies

• bamboo and rattan plantation and cultivation technologies, including plantations for shoot purposes

• an outline of rattan processing technologies and industrial utilizations of tropical bamboo species

• China’s policy system supporting the bamboo and rattan sector and sustainable development strategies.

Spirit of healing: traditional medicine, fair trade and health for all

16–18 JUNE 2006

This conference is being cosponsored by Herbalists Without Borders and Penn State’s Interinstitutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge. It will explore the role of herbal medicine in primary health care and poverty alleviation. How can traditional medicine serve the primary health care needs of the majority of people who have little or no access to conventional medicine? How can medicinal plants bring in more income for poor communities? What type of regulatory and policy approaches help or hinder the provision of health care and a higher standard of living for the poor?

International conference on forests, trees, human health and well-being

28–30 JUNE 2006

Traditional medical and public health approaches to illness and health are among the successes of modern science. However, society today is faced with the increasing incidence of various forms of poor health related to modern lifestyles. Contributing factors have been identified as an increasingly sedentary population, levels of psychological stress related to urban living and contemporary work practices, and exposure to environmental hazards such as air pollution. These problems encourage new thinking about ways to prevent disease and promote health. Natural spaces and elements such as forests and trees have been seen as providing opportunities to ameliorate such trends.

IX congreso latinoamericano de botánica

19-25 DE JUNIO 2006

Study tour on community-based forest cottage industries

20 JUNE–3 JULY 2006 (AND 19 JUNE–2 JULY 2007)

The study tour aims to provide participants with the necessary exposure to the different community-based forest cottage industries and related project sites in the Philippines.

The field visit to selected sites will focus on the following subjects: current strategies of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and recent developments in the implementation of the community-based forest management programme; small-scale handmade papermaking; household-based wooden novelty manufacture; rattan craft, bamboo craft, vine craft and other forest-based craft industries; small- to medium-scale furniture industries; cottage-based woodcarving; community-based and medium-scale industries for specialized wood products; and ecotourism.

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