A new year, a new look! Mr Jan Heino, the new Assistant-Director
General of the Forestry Department has written the editorial of
the restyled Non-Wood News.
I am fully aware of the social, cultural and economic importance
of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) in the lives of many people
– both in my own country, Finland, and worldwide. Over the
years, I have been impressed by how Non-Wood News has
managed to capture this importance, as well as the diversity of
NWFP actors, in its many articles, features and reader contributions.
I also fully recognize the need for further protection and promotion
of traditional forest related knowledge (TFRK), which is closely
linked with the cultural and intellectual heritage of indigenous
people and other forest dwellers.Their practices can form a significant
part of sustainable forest management. It is imperative to ensure
that they receive benefits from the use of this knowledge and
that technologies drawing from traditional forest-related knowledge
clearly acknowledge the origins of this knowledge. Many recommendations
on this topic exist internationally, but their implementation
has remained inadequate. Promotion of TFRK needs to be better
incorporated in national forest programmesas well as in forest
management planning at the local level.
This restyled Non-Wood News is one of the outcomes of
the auto-evaluation exercise that took place in 2005 and is a
direct response to the readers who commented on its format and
legibility. We hope that you like it and would welcome your comments
on this “face-lift”. In another response, which requested
more information more often, we are also increasing the frequency
of Non-Wood News to every six months.
Yet another outcome of reader participation is that we now have
a regular section covering non-profit and non-governmental organizations.
We invite NGOs and non-profit organizations that are involved
with any aspect of NWFPs (including indigenous knowledge, biodiversity,
environment and gender issues) to submit information on their
organization and the NWFP activities/projects they implement.
However, we would like to stress that behind the new-look Non-Wood
News is the usual wealth of information from the world of
NWFPs. The Special Features section covers two different aspects
of NWFPs: a specific product (bamboo) and a developing market
(cosmetics and beauty care). As you will see from the articles,
bamboo is versatile: it can be transformed, for example, into
textiles, charcoal, vinegar, green plastic or paper and can also
be used as a food source, a deodorant, an innovative building
material and to fuel power stations.
Reports indicate that natural cosmetics and beauty care are a
huge global market, with forecasts indicating an annual growth
of 9 percent through 2008. The Special Feature on “Forest
cosmetics: NWFP use in the beauty industry” builds on this
and includes information industry interest and marketing strategies
(consumers are being drawn to natural products and thus their
content is emphasized). Usually considered a predominantly female
market, it is now also increasingly becoming an important market
for men too. However, as can be seen from the articles on shea
butter in Africa and thanakha in Myanmar, many societies have
always used and benefited from natural cosmetics. In this issue
you will find other examples of traditional knowledge, such as
using the secretions of a poisonous tree frog in Brazil and the
use by the traditional healers in India of allelopathic knowledge.
Non-Wood News readers are indeed very active and participatory
and, as the new head of the Forestry Department, it is very gratifying
to learn that so many e-mails and letters are received from you.
As we have shown with the new look, increased frequency and greater
coverage of traditional knowledge and NGOs, we genuinely take
your opinions into consideration and try to act upon them.
I would particularly like to thank the many people who have contributed
to this issue; we greatly appreciate your interest and views.
I believe that this very active reader participation provides
a unique networking opportunity and is a great strength of Non-Wood