Non-Wood News


Download complete document (pdf )

Guest article - (Pdf )

• How can we shed light on the hidden world of NWFPs? Some ideas from Italy

Special Features - (Pdf )

NWFPs and their role in food security and health care

    • NWFPs for food and medicine
    • Honey is both a superfood and medicine
    • Medicinal and aromatic plants andtheir role in attaining food security in the high hills of Nepal
    • Ramón nut: a little nut with big possibilities
    • Mushrooms for food and medicine
    • NWFPs and food security
    • Major wild edible plants in India
    • Edible insects "rediscovered" in Central Africa
    • Food from the forests of tropical Asia
    • Evaluating underexploited indigenous fruits to improve food security
    • A vegetable fern, Diplaziume sculentum – potential for food security and socio-economic development in the Himalayas
    • Biodiversity for human health

• Bamboo: its potential role in climate change

    • Bamboo in climate change and poverty alleviation
    • Bamboo to help house tsunami-struck Samoans
    • Engaging rural bamboo growers in northwest Viet Nam with carbon finance: a joint mission to northwest Viet Nam
    • Bamboo huts on stilts win climate award
    • Bamboo as carbon sink – fact or fiction?

News and Notes - (Pdf )

• Acacia tree can boost crops across Africa

• AfricaAdapt launches new fund for innovative knowledge sharing

• Are NTFPs a way out of poverty?

• Beer brewed with NTFPs promotes forestry certification

• Bioprospecting/benefit-sharing or biopiracy

  • India in talks with the United States of America for granting access to TK data to curb biopiracy
  • Medicinal plants face greater risk of biopiracy in Thailand after H1N1 outbreak
  • Peru's patent win strikes blow against biopiracy

•Blending indigenous knowledge and modern technology

•Cinderella fruit: wild delicacies become cash crops

•Development agencies call for indigenous people to play a role in forest management

•FairWild Foundation

• Gender dimensions of forest management

• Gestion de la faune sauvage et de la nature en Afrique: évolution et success

• Laws and policies for sustainable and equitable NTFP use

• Localizing products: a sustainable approach for natural and cultural diversity in the South?

• Non-profit organizations and NGOs

• Crops for the Future
• Food Plants International
• Resources Himalaya

• Processing and marketing of NWFPs: potential impacts and challenges in Africa

• Protecting forests to preserve the medical knowledge of rain forest shamans

• Protein buster from common tree

• Using modern tools to protect biodiversity

• Indigenous peoples protect the rainforest with hi-tech tools
• Indigenous tribe teams with Google to make a stand in the Amazon
• Protecting forests with barcodes
• Rare gorillas make Facebook debut

Products and Markets - (Pdf )

• Agarwood, Brazil nuts, Bushmeat, Ecotourism, Forest cosmetics, Handicrafts, Lac, Medicinal plants, Mushrooms, Palms, Sea buckthorn, Shea nut, Wildlife

Country Compass - (Pdf )

• Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Ghana, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Rwanda, Uganda, United States of America, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

Econook - (Pdf )

Biodiversity loss accelerating, UN target will be missed
Can NTFPs help conserve the Amazon?
Countries that invest in conservation will see higher financial returns, argues report
Pan-European Biodiversity Conference focused on ecosystem services, climate change impacts
Forest funding agreement
The world’s three major tropical forest regions agree on collaboration
UN experts advance plans for West African biodiversity corridor
Wilderness congress calls for linking climate and biodiversity crises
Woody plants adapted to past climate change more slowly than herbs
World's last great forest under threat

International Action - (Pdf )

• FAO, The XIII World Forestry Congress, International Year of Biodiversity

Recent and Forthcoming Events - (Pdf )

Publications of Interest - (Pdf )

Web sites - (Pdf )

Readers' Response - (Pdf )

Back Cover - (Pdf )

Non-Wood News 20

An information bulletin on Non-Wood Forest Products

January 2010


The editorial for this issue of Non-Wood News has been written by Tina Etherington.

Welcome to the twentieth issue of Non-Wood News. This anniversary provides us not only with an opportunity to reflect on what has happened in the world of Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFPs) since the first issue of Non-Wood News was published in 1994, but also gives us a chance to look towards the future.

Over the years, Non-Wood News has proved to be a unique vehicle through which to share with you the most recent thinking and information on NWFP-related activities around the globe. We have consistently highlighted the growing potential of NWFPs, which we believe is reflected in this issue – another issue full of the ideas, initiatives and research of our growing group of readers.

Dr C. Chandrasekharan, the founder of this newsletter, fully recognized the significant role of NWFPs in addressing the food security and health needs of many rural and forest-dependent populations. With over one billion people suffering from hunger in the world today, NWFPs provide a significant safety net. One of the Special Features in the present issue focuses on this important role and presents a broad picture of how a variety of different NWFPs (plants and ferns, nuts, mushrooms, berries, honey and edible insects) are alleviating malnutrition and improving diets for many people, as well as meeting their health care needs. Our NWFP Programme is at present looking into the growing potential of edible insects with the aim of “rediscovering” them and raising awareness about them as an excellent source of protein for both humans and livestock.

A recent new aspect of Non-Wood News has been the inclusion of a guest article written by a leading scientist. This issue’s guest article has been written by Dr Antonio Brunori, who specifically looks at the huge potential for novel uses of NWFPs. Recent research in his native Italy has led Dr Brunori to uncover a hidden world of NWFPs. His article highlights the potential of applying creativity to a variety of NWFPs to produce innovative and marketable products, such as cloth from cork, or medicines from the slime of forest snails.

NWFPs have a huge potential for health care. Traditional medicine relies predominantly on medicinal plants and herbs, but breakthroughs have occurred with the discovery of medicinal properties in other NWFPs, such as the use of honey in wound dressings and to fight bacteria, and the cancer-fighting properties of mushrooms. In addition, the multimillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry bases much of its research on medicinal plants and their traditional uses. Our section on bioprospecting/biopiracy (another regular feature over the years), shows how countries, recognizing the enormous economic potential involved, are now taking steps to protect their traditional knowledge through patents and digital libraries.

The second Special Feature highlights the potential of bamboo within the climate change debate. Bamboo has often been called the “poor man’s timber”; in his article, however, Jukka Tissari argues that bamboo has further potential to become the “poor man’s carbon credits”. Moreover, bamboo has the potential to provide emergency housing during natural disasters.

There is also a growing potential to engage modern technological tools to safeguard biodiversity as can be seen from articles in this issue ranging from the use of Google Earth images by indigenous tribes in the Amazon to protecting forests with barcodes.

Finally, we would like to thank you for your many e-mails of encouragement and support, and also for generously sharing your research, sending us news from your countries, or informing us of meetings you are organizing. We have greatly benefited over the years from you, our readers.


is compiled and coordinated by Tina Etherington, Forest Products and Industries Team of FAO’s Forest Economics,Policy and Products Division. For this issue, editing support was provided by Giulia Muir; copy and language editingby Roberta Mitchell, Josiane Bonomi and Deliana Fanego; design, graphics and desktop publishing by Claudia Tonini.

Non-Wood News is open to contributions by readers. Contributions are welcomed in English, French and Spanishand may be edited to fit the appropriate size and focus of the bulletin.If you have any material that could be included in the next issue of Non-Wood News for the benefit of other readers,kindly send it, before 15 May 2010, to:
FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy

FAO home page:



Non-wood forest products (NWFPs) are goods of biological origin other than wood, derived from forests, other wooded land and trees outside forests. Non-timber forest products (NTFPs), another term frequently used to cover this vast array of animal and plant products, also includes small wood and fuelwood. However, these two terms are used synonymously throughout this bulletin. Other terms, such as “minor”, “secondary” or “speciality” forest products, are sometimes used to keep original names and/or titles.


All Internet links cited were checked on 30 January 2010. Articles express the views of their authors, not necessarilythose of FAO. The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply theexpression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO) concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning thedelimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers,whether or not these have been patented, does not imply that these have been endorsed or recommended byFAO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.