Download complete document (pdf )

Guest article - (Pdf )

• A community approach to forest
conservation and sustainable
development: the NTFP-EP

Special Features - (Pdf )

Edible insects

    • The contribution of edible forest insects to human nutrition
    • Nigerian researchers explore nutritional value of local insects
    • Insects proving food for thought
    • Scientists “grow” edible insects in Costa Rica
    • Author holds “insect-tasting sessions” across Japan
    • Critter cuisine could feed a nation
    • Combining traditional knowledge and approaches with modern science and understanding
    • Edible insect taste test: from ant candy to bacon and cheese cricket
    • Governor in the southern Russian Federation hopes to make a delicacy of locusts
    • Bugalicious: chefs mix it up for adventurous diners with worms, ants and scorpions

• Medicinal plants and herbs

    • Helping African farmers to help themselves
    • Vets turn to African herbs as animal drugs stop working
    • Application of ISSC-MAP for Cambodian plants
    • Recognition of traditional medicine by governments

News and Notes - (Pdf )

• Biomonitoring: bees help monitor air quality at German airports

•Bioprospecting/benefit-sharing or biopiracy?

    • Africa considers equitable access to genetic resources
    • Denmark to help Africa fight biopiracy
    • Tensions remain over biological access protocol
    • Iniciativa andino-amazónica de prevención de la biopiratería

• Companies fund projects to preserve
Amazon rain forest

• Congo Basin forests at a “critical
turning point”

• Forest Footprint Disclosure Annual

• Forests may depend on survival of
local communities

• Jeweller creates rings embedded with
live plants

• Networks emerge as key actors in
community forestry

• Non-profit organizations and NGOs

• Amazon Watch
• American Botanical Council, United States of America
• Keystone, India

• Protecting rain forests shown to
reduce poverty

• The relationship between indigenous
people and forests

• The sticky truth: weighing the sugar

• Tree products: a resource base for
sustainable agriculture

• Underutilized foods and nutritional
indicators for biodiversity

Products and Markets - (Pdf )

• Agarwood, Bamboo, Berries, Bushmeat, Carissa, Cork, Ferns, Frankincense, Honey and bee products, Maple syrup, Maya nut, Moringa oleifera, Mushrooms, Palms, Rattan, Saffron, Sea buckthorn, Shea nut, Stevia, Truffles, Wattle, Wildlife

Country Compass - (Pdf )

• Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Cameroon, Ecuador, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Liberia, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, South Africa, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America, Viet Nam, Zambia

Econook - (Pdf )

ACTO debate action plan to protect
China, Nepal reach historic biodiversity agreement
Ecologists unveil plan for “barometer of life”
Extinction of seed dispersers threat to forests and forest communities
“Rewilding” the world: a bright spot for biodiversity
The keys to forest conservation

International Action - (Pdf )


Recent and Forthcoming Events - (Pdf )

Publications of Interest - (Pdf )

Web sites - (Pdf )

Readers' Response - (Pdf )

Back Cover - (Pdf )

Non-Wood News 21

An information bulletin on Non-Wood Forest Products

October 2010


The editorial for this issue of Non-Wood News has been written by Gillian Allard, Forestry Officer (Forest Protection and Health), who is FAO’s expert on forest pests.

My first experience of insects as a food source was not a comfortable one and has perhaps marked my own non-preference for eating cold-blooded invertebrates. At a tender age, my right of passage to join my brother and friends in their games was to eat caterpillars that had been sliced into colour-coded portions – black and yellow, species did not matter. What did matter is that I was very unwell for some days afterwards, and still was not allowed to play with the boys!

Of the known 1 700 edible insect species I, of course, had eaten a non-edible one that feeds off a poisonous plant. As an entomologist, I now know that bright colours are a warning of unpalatability to predators – not least of all human ones – and that not all insects are edible! Subsequently, my career has taken me to several countries where edible insects form the acceptable staple protein diet source.

Edible insects are an important NWFP and are the focus of the Special Feature in this issue of Non-Wood News. The articles included report on the contribution of edible insects to human nutrition, “insect-tasting sessions”, and the importance of combining traditional knowledge with modern science. The back cover of the issue covers the same theme and highlights the role of edible insects around the world.

In many countries, edible insects are regarded both as delicacies and subsistence food, and not just in times of food insecurity. Children, in fact, are encouraged from a very early age to enjoy both live and cooked insects and to collect them from the forest during peak harvest times. Families move into temporary shelters to be close to insect food sources and some even damage trees and palms to create a suitable environment for their preferred insect.

The majority of countries in Asia, Africa and South America have ingrained knowledge passed on through the generations about the most nutritious insects, and cultural tradition eliminates the need to disguise what is being eaten.

This is far removed from Europe and North America where edible insects have recently received media interest, mainly as a result of the craze for bizarre gourmet foods served with the slight shudder factor; reality TV programmes thrive on celebrities having to eat live insects on camera. Chocolate-coated ants and mealworm-covered toffee apples are some of the gourmet delights available and many restaurants serve insects to tickle the taste buds at hugely inflated prices.



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, Anouchka Lazarev 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 January 2011, to:
FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy

FAO home page:

All Internet links cited were checked on 14 September 2010. Articles express the views of their authors, not necessarily those of FAO. Authors may be contacted directly for their reference sources. The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression 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 the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.