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Non-wood forest products: A regional overview


Introduction
Background
The country papers
Further background information
Matters of moment
Conclusion
References


S.D. (Dennis) Richardson
Independent Forestry Advisor

Introduction

Apart from a short market study of copal gum from Irian Jaya in the 1960s, and literature reviews relating to China, I have never written anything on the subject of non-wood forest products (NWFPs). The invitation to present this review, therefore, came as both a surprise and a challenge.

I have had recourse to a strategy which comes easily to the old. That is, comparing the paradigms of the early years of my forestry career with the state-of-the-art as it appears to be at present.

The second part of my task is made easier by the availability of country papers presented to the Expert Consultation on Non-Wood Forest Products organised by the FAO Regional Office in November 1991. I shall review the material arising out of that consultation, together with additional papers on countries not represented, and other material which relates to the rapidly changing economic and cultural dimensions. I propose then to reflect upon some "matters of moment" which illustrate changes in public perceptions of forestry (and of foresters) since the 1940s when I began my studies.

At the outset, let it be said that in the urban culture of my youth in England, my only direct exposure to NWFPs (it was quite literally that) was to a species of rattan! Times and customs have changed.

Background

In the present context, two memories dominate my recollection of the formative years of my forestry education. The first is of the remarkable annotations of the uses of non-wood tree products contained in "Silva: or a discourse of forest trees together with an historical account of the sacredness and use of standing groves," presented by John Evelyn to the Royal Society in London in 1662 (the like of which, I believe, has never been matched). The second, in a different era, is the series of catalogues representing the useful products of plants in tropical countries, collated sometimes by anonymous priests and by humble and dedicated public servants, which was one of the least reprehensible features of colonization. For India, there was the "Dictionary of Economic Products..." begun in 1884 and completed 9 years later, and selectively updated as "Commercial Products of India" in 1900. For Malaysia and much of Southeast Asia, Burkhill's (1935) four-volume "A Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula," published in London, aptly describes the NWFPs. In the Philippines, W.H. Brown's (1918, 1921) "Minor Products of Philippine Forests" - two volumes, published in Manila, is the major work. In the Pacific, it is E.D. Merrill's (1945) "Plant Life of the Pacific World." In China (see Richardson, 1966, 1990), the anecdotal treasuries of the 19th Century plant hunters and the French missionaries such as David, Delavy, Soulie and Ducloux are important (see also Cox, 1945, and Wilson, 1913). A recent account of tropical ethnobotany (Joyce, 1994) includes brief histories of the eccentric Richard Spruce (the Victorian finder of quinine) and Richard Schultes (the American expert on hallucinogens). There were doubtless many more, but these are memorable for their dedication.

It must be noted that none of the early reporters is referenced in the country papers presented to the 1991 Consultation; yet there is not one natural plant product noted in the consultation proceedings that is not documented - usually in far greater detail in these earlier writings. I am on less sure ground in speaking of herbals and pharmacopoeia. But my medical colleagues assure me that there is no proven therapeutic plant substance - whether in what we call traditional or alternative healing, that is not documented in the early English and French Herbals, the Ayurveda of the Indian Subcontinent, and the many provincial pharmacopoeia of China (excluding the immunosuppressant Cyclosporin, the anthelminthic agent Invermectin, and some other antibiotics, because they derive from fungi, which arguably are not plants).

A notable feature of the early catalogues is their objectivity, which stands in contrast to the special pleading of many present-day advocates of particular non-wood forest products. Although they used the term "economic," it was not intended to imply "commercial" but, rather, "amenable to use." As we shall see, the consultation papers are heavily weighted in favour of products which are either commercially viable or have some commercial potential. Inevitably, the social and cultural dimensions are under-played.

The 1991 Consultation has been described and the proceedings summarised by Rao (1991) in Forest News. A table indicating the importance of non-wood forest products in the eleven countries which submitted country papers is reproduced in this overview since it takes the place of extensive narrative (table 1). The table is a remarkable synthesis and checklist of commercial priorities which bears testimony to the knowledge and industry of the late Dr. Rao. Rao makes the point that the forests of the world and the people living near them form a natural ecosystem, the sustainability of which is realizable only when local communities perceive and benefit from conservation and the utilization of the resources around them. Only by achieving security of tenure will the users recognise a vested interest in their perpetuation. To this extent, foresters and conservationists form a natural alliance. It is woefully in need of consummation.

The Conclusions and Recommendations of the Consultation may appropriately be paraphrased here. A classification of NWFPs was proposed comprising 6 categories: fibre products and food products (plant food products and animal food products); medicinal and cosmetic products; extractive products; animals and animal products other than food; and miscellaneous products. It also recommended that governments should consider implementing specially designed NWFPs programmes having nation-wide coverage. Characteristically, perhaps, it is implied that state-controlled organizations would assume the dominant responsibilities (despite the fact that successful development of NWFPs depends, in virtually all countries, on the private sector). The consultation recommended consultation with a wide cross-section of people, and for FAO to catalyse national action to carry out comprehensive surveys.

The Consultation suggested zonation of "protected" NWFP forests (to compensate forest dwellers for employment foregone by logging bans), the development of holistic management systems, plantations of various kinds, and noted a potential role for tissue culture. Research issues were discussed and projects of particular concern to China, India, Malaysia and Thailand were noted. Some NWFP species were said to be on the verge of extinction "due to over-exploitation," although this claim is nowhere documented and will be contested later in this paper. Equally contentious are the suggestions that bureaucrats become involved with marketing.

Research into policy, legislation, economic and social aspects was recommended. The point was stressed that these are research areas unfamiliar to the conventionally oriented forest research institutes: "It is necessary for foresters to seek the assistance of institutes outside their system." It is equally necessary, of course, that foresters involve non-foresters within their system. The extension of research received emphasis. Finally, the Consultation strongly recommended the funding of a regional program on NWFPs under the sponsorship of FAO for at least five years, involving NWFP surveys; research monographs; technology transfer; study tours; regional seminars; meetings of subject matter task forces; and information exchange.

The country papers

The Country Papers vary in depth of coverage and in their approach to the "opportunities and constraints" relating to non-wood forest products. Since they were all prepared by, or for, senior public servants, they reflect official interpretations of available data. They concentrate on projects for which traditional forestry institutions are responsible (through the issuing of permits or collection of royalties) and which reflect the constraints of increasing forest depletion, rather than opportunities which may be provided by changing perceptions of social forestry and integrated resource management.

Several papers provide no statistical data; others illustrate discrepancies (acknowledged or not) which call into question the conclusions deriving from them. Thus, the submission from the Philippines notes that in 1990, 19 million linear meters of rattan were cut, but 139 million linear meters were exported! Similarly, from 1981 to 1990, no Manila elemi (Canarium resin) was produced, but 3 million kilograms were exported. Revenues accruing to government from sales of NWFPs were USE 63,000-purportedly 10 percent of the market value. Yet, another agency, reports 250,000 people to be involved in forestry and hunting, 150,000 in backyard furniture making and 100,000 in rattan manufacture - from which 1990 exports yielded USE 121 million! Other papers are much less frank about discrepancies in data but a few non-credible statistics cast doubt upon all the rest.

The quality of bibliographies attached (or not) to the Country Papers is variable and may also be interpreted as indicating the mind-set of the authors. Some reflect awareness of regional, and even global, developments; others, largely confined to unpublished departmental reports, imply parochialism.

Such considerations add interest to the approach adopted for the present workshop, calling for submissions along thematic and issue lines, rather than traditional country reports. The themes, covering economic, socio-political, and cultural dimensions of NWFPs, call for broader and more innovative approaches and involvement from beyond the public services.

The involvement of the private sector with NWFPs is a minitheme in several country reports. But there are few realistic suggestions as to how it might be achieved, and no case studies of success. Bangladesh suggests links with participatory forestry projects, but gives no indication of the modus operandi. The China submission does not mention the variety of agroforestry management incentives and the exciting experiments in land tenure and management systems which are taking place there. India has attempted to organise marketing through the Tribal Development Federation but, with State-level Federations and Forest Development Corporations becoming involved in the marketing of NWFPs procured from tribals, and the establishment of marketing federations (MARKED) and large-scale multi-purpose Co-operative Societies (LAMPS), appears to be increasing bureaucratic involvement rather than lessening it. In India, too, there are proud claims of having nationalised forest contractors and of substituting "middlemen" with Forest Corporations. However, there appear to be no studies of the cost-effectiveness or the relative success or failure of different systems in different States. The submission from Pakistan notes excessive State control and the need for a free market in NWFPs, but makes no reference to free markets which do exist (e.g., in medicinal products and silk cocoons). Against the trend of the country submissions but in line with political changes - the Philippines commends the role of middlemen, arguing that excessive regulation is responsible for much illegal harvesting. Thailand, too, remarks on the extent of illegal collection of NWFPs, but implies that monitoring and regulation are made difficult by the practice of allowing product collection for personal use - an unenforceable control. Vietnam reports extensive corporatisation (which is regarded as semi-privatization) and realistic approaches to rights of usufruct with respect to the settlement of shifting cultivators, but it may be too early to evaluate success. These models have much in common with some Chinese practices which have produced good results.

All country reports express or imply concern over the low returns which accrue to NWFP collectors, but the figures presented vary from 10 percent of the market price for resin in Nepal, to three times that level in India, and much, much, more for illegally-gathered items (especially wildlife). Hard data are hard to come by and prices are distorted in some cases by the need to provide gratuities for government officials. The whole question of profit distribution within marketing chains is one that urgently needs detailed and fearless analysis. In the case of rainforest timbers this is being done, but non-wood forest products do not have high priority. In any event, studies are unlikely to appear on programmes of forestry departments in the near future. Perhaps there are universities with the necessary courage.

All country papers express interest in artificial propagation of species yielding NWFPs. Some countries, indeed, have a long and honorable history of growing rattan and bamboo in plantations and others (e.g., Malaysia, Sri Lanka) are skilled in raising economic plants in home gardens. It seems probable that studies in other countries would reveal similar expertise which may be unrecorded and unrewarded.

Undoubtedly, considerations of space impose restrictions on the contributors to country papers. Perhaps for this reason, the emphasis is perceived to be on commercial prospects which implies levels of organization and intervention which may not be appropriate to many forest-dependent communities. This remains an issue to be addressed. Similarly, lack of specialist knowledge (and, perhaps, the reluctance of departments to seek it outside) prevents the adequate treatment of medicinal products. Since formal proposals have been made to establish phyto-chemical screening facilities ("chemical prospecting") in areas rich in genetic resources, such problems should be addressed by this workshop (see e.g. Eisner, 1992). It may be noted in passing that although all 1991 country reports make a brief reference to medicinals and to the value and importance of traditional medicine, there are no references whatever to health.

Further background information

Only 11 countries are represented in the contributions to the 1991 Consultation. Given the burgeoning interest in non-wood forest products in the region, there have been a number of other publications which are important, and there are countries with experience to contribute which were absent in 1991. In all countries there are communities of "highlands, islands and margins" with special needs that tend to be neglected. They can teach the rest of us many things if only about the constraints which ecology imposes on human society.

The following paragraphs present an essentially personal selection of perceived relevant information.

Trade

A paper by Iqbal on "International Trade in Non-Wood Forest Products: An Overview" issued by FAO in 1993, presents trade statistics derived from official sources (the limitations of which are acknowledged by the author). Some 120 non-wood forest products are covered, including 26 essential oils and a limited list of medicinals, from which it may be inferred that some 500-600 plant derivatives enter international trade. With respect to medicinals, the paper relies heavily on a WWF International Plant Programme/IUCN Review of Imports into Europe by Lewington (1993). Since China alone uses more than 5,000 species in its various traditional medicine systems, the recorded trade value of some $1 billion is a mere trifle. Iqbal's compendium is valuable for its bibliography and for practical recommendations relating to information, dissemination and research. He notes that the statistics available provide a starting point for data collection, not the end of it.

Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand

In 1989, the Dutch Committee for IUCN, together with WWF, commissioned a report by de Beer and McDermott to provide an economic, as distinct from commercial, evaluation of non-timber forest products in Southeast Asia. Since the approach is rather different from the Consultation Country Reports, it is worth some consideration during this workshop. The starting point for the study is the claim that at least 29 million people (the approximate number of forest dwellers in Southeast Asia) are critically dependent on non-wood forest products, but many others derive benefits amounting to several billion dollars in annual world trade. Despite this magnitude, the authors argue that ultimately, the rural populations within the forest and its surrounds may be important in contributing to sustainable forest management, and thus counter incentives for deforestation. Moreover, without traditional access to NWFPs, the welfare of forest-dependent peoples will suffer and unique cultures may disappear. There are, thus, conflicting interests, the resolution of which will not be achieved by neo-classical economics. It is argued that there is an ethical as well as an economic dimension here (see also Borman et al., 1992; Richardson, 1994) and a responsibility to adopt policies which both conserve and restore the natural resource base, building on traditional management systems; to supplement the natural resource base with smallholder cultivation of presently or potentially over-exploited forest products; to implement measures to improve the harvesting, processing and marketing of non-timber forest products; and to retain more added value at the rural level. Few would disagree with these objectives - or that the policies are more easily stated than achieved. Nonetheless, the report makes a rare (and much needed) attempt to document household economies among forest-dependent peoples both non-market aspects as well as trade in the household economy. Further research of this kind may at least enable some improvement in accuracy of the statistical data which underlie policy decisions. The report is, perhaps, naive in some of its assumptions relating to land tenure and rights of usufruct. The variety of "adat," or custom, and its legal implications are generally poorly understood despite its particular significance in Melanesia. de Beer and McDermott have also undertaken studies of non-wood forest products in Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines (Palawan). Value rests in their documentation of early published records (e.g., Petelot, 1952; Maurnd, 1943; Crevost and Lemarie, 1924; and the classic encyclopaedic volumes published by Heyne in 1913, in Dutch, and translated into Bahasa in 1947).

In all countries, the cultural dimension is particularly difficult. It is seldom in the interest of forest dwellers to remain in non-market economies, nor is it the policy of any government to classify their cultures. The commercialization of NWFPs may ease the transition from non-market to market economies which, however much it may be deprecated by naturists, is an inevitable part of socio-economic development. Architects of change need to understand the significance of NWFPs and the opportunities they may offer. Usually this does not call for large commodity volumes (as is the case with timber) and, given purposeful protection, sustainability is easier to achieve and harvesting is more ecologically friendly than is the case with other wood products.

Compared with the amount of research that has gone into identifying and measuring technical properties of lesser-known species, with a view to their exploitation, little has been done by foresters to identify and record their other uses. It is time to rectify that deficiency, not only from anecdotal history, but from specific case studies subjected to rigorous scientific and economic analyses. de Beer and McDermott emphasise caveats to the effect that acceleration of commercialization of NWFPs may not always be in the interests of rural welfare if it attracts too many "outsiders." Their recommendations are well intentioned and unexceptional. But there is a tacit assumption behind many of them that bureaucratic intervention and regulation serve the interests of conservation in forest dwelling communities. Unfortunately, the track record in Asia is far from exemplary. Joint initiatives of public and private sectors may better serve those interests.

India

Recent developments in India may overtake the country report presented to the 1991 Consultation. A UNDP-assisted project aims to strengthen and develop the work of the Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education (ICFRE). Some innovative proposals have been made with respect to NWFPs and research priorities. A proposal has been made to establish a Centre for NWFP within the Tropical Forest Research Institute at Jabalpur, to be staffed by a multidisciplinary team of researchers co-opted from existing divisions of Non-Wood Forest Products, Chemistry of Forest Produce, Forest Resources, Economics and Forest Botany.

The goals to be set for this Centre include the establishment of an international collaborative research group on NWFPs with divisions of bamboo, canes and fibres; edible plants; rare and endangered plants; medicinal plants; oils, gums, resins, tannins and dyes; and other products. The model would be the International Research Group on Wood Preservation, established 30 years ago, and which now has a Permanent Secretariat and membership from over 40 countries

The Centre would develop technology "packages" for the cultivation of selected non-wood forest products, along the lines developed at Jabalpur for agroforestry.

They relate to fruit and leaves; rhizomes; flowers; and aromatic grasses. Cultivation of bamboos, medicinal plants, etc. are also included. The most innovative proposal is that joint public/private sector-funded research co-operatives be established to work on projects identified by the private sector and carried out by scientists recruited to the co-operatives on short-term, performance-based, contracts. Since they would lose the security of tenure which the State now provides, their emoluments would be high, but seniority would play no part in determining salary. It remains to be seen whether this innovation proceeds. But in a country the size of India, there is scope for experimentation in the privatization of research and development and the close involvement of the private sector in government research.

Other less developed countries (LDCs)

The writ of the Regional Office of FAO extends through the Pacific, as well as Asia. Ecological, ethnic and cultural differences are readily identified, both between and within the two sub-regions. In the present context, it is highly desirable to include an independent representative of Melanesia. Within any Melanesian country, there is enormous diversity of custom and of culture, deriving from original rights of usufruct and inheritance. The impact of forest harvesting in these circumstances has, more often than not, been devastating. And nowhere is there a clearer demonstration of the impacts of NWFPs on the course of history than the havoc caused by the search for sandalwood to satisfy the demands of China and India. It is no part of this workshop to identify - let alone resolve- the manifold legal and cultural problems of customary usufruct, but it is appropriate to acknowledge an awareness that they are real and no less traumatic because of their confinement to island States.

There have been extensive ethno-botanical studies in Papua New Guinea, and uses are recorded for over a thousand species within the rainforests, including over 250 gathered or cultivated for food (Powell, 1976). Hamilton and King (1983) identified 32 generic uses of forest products in Papua New Guinea based on work by Lea (1975), ranging from contraceptives, beverages and condiments to fish intoxicants and musical instruments. Holdgate (1993) makes the point that hunters and gatherers, and shifting cultivators who establish forest gardens of useful species, form an ecosystem with a comparable structure to that of the natural forest, but with a grossly modified proportionality of species. Some would argue that even very drastic modification of forest ecosystems is relatively neutral with respect to the diversity of tree species. I have for a long time taken issue with the prophets (profiteers?) of doom who claim that annually, thousands of species are lost permanently from the global rainforests. I have on two occasions offered a prize of US$ 100 to anybody who can document the extinction of a single tree species through the activities of man. If thousands of species are driven to extinction, most of them must be spiders, other insects, viruses etc. with a very short life cycle and rapid mutation - together with edible animals and a few herbs. The only records we have of extinct trees relate to cataclysmic prehistoric volcanic activity and climatic change. This is not surprising. Trees are large, long-lived, and throughout their lives subjected to many environmental vicissitudes. It will take more than the worst excesses that man may contrive to achieve their doom.

It has been noted that the Country Papers for the Consultation appear to avoid serious discussion of medicinal plants as non-wood forest products and that health is nowhere discussed. It is pleasing to note, therefore, a superbly produced book from one of our Region's smallest countries, Brunei Darussalam, forming Part I of the illustrated "Medicinal Plants," together with an index of traditional prescriptions. Some 300 species are said to be used in traditional medicines in Brunei Darussalam. In this first volume 100 are presented. The project is under the direction of a professional forester, who is also Director of Agriculture.

"Industrialised" Oceania and Asia

Nowadays, we frequently read of "one world forestry." And we should expect, therefore, submissions to this workshop from the industrialised and rich countries of our Region, exemplified by Japan, Australia and New Zealand. I am embarrassed to admit that I know virtually nothing about the NWFPs of Japan. I do know that in the 1920s, Japan was active in ethno-botanical studies in the Asia-Pacific region, and in the study of food plants within the Pacific. I cannot believe that there is not an extensive literature of NWFP in Japan, and I would be delighted if there is someone at this workshop who can tell us a little about it.

I do know a little of the growing interest in Australia in traditional Aboriginal uses of trees for artifacts and (particularly) their seeds for food in the dry heart of Australia. Dry zone acacias have a particular importance and are being tested in Sahelian countries (House and Harwood, 1992).

Studies of non-wood forest products in New Zealand have recently taken on a new lease of life. A significant industry has developed in the harvesting, processing and export of sphagnum moss from the moist forests of the West Coast of the South Island, which are now virtually closed for logging. It helps to provide for another kind of forest-dependent people. And there is renewed interest in research into the utilisation of bark residues and wastes from the greatly increased logging of the exotic pine plantations. Research is sponsored by private industry and seeks to isolate chemical extractives and to employ pyrolysis technologies using bark, to produce liquid fuels and/or chemicals. Steam explosion of radiate pine bark offers a new technology for sterilising bark and binding its phenolic compounds, preventing leaching. It is also being tested as an absorbent of viral protein.

Matters of moment

The rest of my paper lays no claim to originality: it has all been said before - most of it by me. There have been three fundamental and inter-related changes during my professional lifetime which have influenced the personal and professional lives of all of us - and which may at first appear to have no conceivable connection to NWFPs.

The first is the disillusionment with science and technology, reflected in the explosion of concern about environmental deterioration and the overuse of resources; and it stems from the apparent irrelevance of science to society. In a lecture to the Royal Society in 1971, Eric Ashby invoked the paradox that disillusionment with science and technology reached a peak at the precise time at which successful moon landings were demonstrated; and the significant feature of the criticism was that it was aimed not at the scientific skills deployed but at- the goal itself. The essence of the criticism is contained in the question: "If going to the moon represents the power of science and technology organised on so grand a scale, why was it mobilised at such enormous cost for a purpose so socially irrelevant?" This became known as the "moon-ghetto factor:" we can go to the moon but we cannot solve the problems of the ghettos or, indeed, of forest ecosystems.

It is this challenge which drives the armies of protest against the foresters' failure to achieve sustainability and the conservation of biodiversity, and to which our stakeholders' pre-occupation with NWFPs is a response.

The second seminal change is the broadening base of stakeholders. At one time, forestry was about managing resources for the provision of goods and services for people within particular (and limited) constituencies. It required skills, but they were skills that had been practised for centuries, and they were not particularly difficult to learn. Now, it is otherwise. The sciences we have to learn and the technologies we have to use, the models we build, and the sheer breadth of expertise that is applied in forestry, call for multidisciplinary inputs and cooperation between men and women experienced in, and with interests beyond, anything I could have imagined 50 years ago. Again, these demands come from the fact that the number of stakeholders has multiplied as the issues of forestry have globalised. If forestry agencies are not to be overtaken and swamped by their burgeoning constituency, we have to increase our concern for non-technical issues in forestry, involve others from a wide range of disciplines in forest policy-making and management, and renew our commitment to a professional ethic that transcends our immediate loyalties. These imperatives, too, are reflected in our workshop programme.

The third change is far from complete, and its effects are yet to be experienced in many countries. I refer to the move from command to guidance planning in economies, sometimes extending to privatisation, and calling for innovation and experiment in organisations which often are without experience in either.

I now want to offer particular comment on three items of our programmes: medicinal plants; land tenure; and "economics and ethics."

Medicinal plants and intellectual property rights

The growing demand and increasing value of pharmaceuticals enlivens the debate about "plant rights" and the intellectual property which rests in indigenous knowledge. In the industrialised countries, there is growing acceptance that engineered or improved genotypes may be patented, and their products obtain commercial gain without sharing it with countries in which the parent material may have originated. There is a distinction in patent law between "discovery" and "invention." Thus, unlike inventions, discoveries are not regarded as the unique property of the discoverer, whatever their potential for development.

As with the economic evaluation of natural forests vis-a-vis plantations, science is a "free good" but technology is not! Sedjo (1986), with others, has argued that since technological innovation now makes possible the clear and unambiguous definition of plant species, it should allow for the allocation of property rights to naturally occurring genotypes. This would allow poor countries to profit directly from the ownership of genetic resources and would, provide a financial incentive to protect ecosystems in which rare and as yet unknown species might be found.

The proposal, of course, runs counter to the 1983 FAO International undertaking (resolution 8/83) which argues that plant genetic resources in nature are a "common heritage." Sedjo argues that property rights in natural germplasm could be reserved by the State (as is often the case with minerals) or could be assigned to the owners of the land on which they arose. And the possibility of discovering a previously unknown resource with commercial potential would provide some incentive to preserve the habitat.

Recently, (Raynor, 1993) the drug company Merck, persuaded Costa Rica's Institute of Biodiversity (INBIO) to undertake the role of a shaman, testing plants for drugs. Ten percent of the initial subscription of US$ 1 million, plus 50 percent of any royalties, will go directly to conservation activities.

In New Zealand, the issue is highly controversial since there is a wealth of endemic species and an economy based entirely on exotic introductions! There are no native mammals; everything that is grown commercially has been introduced. What should rule? The accident of Tangate Whenua (the first immigrants), or the ecological democracy presented by the prodigious planters of European settlement?

The patenting of germplasm is an issue that goes well beyond conservation, and the economic anomaly of distinguishing between discovery and invention is not merely academic. Whatever the solution, we should perhaps work to provide non-altruistic, self-interested incentives for the preservation of biodiversity (Cairncross, 1991), which at present are absent from most conservation appeals. And it is perhaps time that FAO re-visited the high-sounding, but discriminatory, resolution No. 8 of 1983.

Land tenure and usufruct

The distinction between "right to own" and "right to use" seems useful. As far as lands and forests are concerned, it is the right to use that is important: ownership merely confers a right to disposal and implies cessation of usage.

When I first worked in Irian Jaya 30 years ago, I assumed (naively, as it turned out) that recognition of usufruct, as distinct from possession, offered a simple solution to most land conflicts. After all, the government had nationalised the land and "the people" therefore were the owners. But such actions need not interfere with the recognition of traditional rights of use. In most of Irian Jaya, it did not, since there was an abundance of land and some rights of usufruct were recognised. I suspect that in many simple societies, usufruct is- still very important and claims to "own" land are bewildering.

I was reminded of this when I came across a remarkable speech by His Majesty, the King of Thailand, delivered in 1973. In it, the King appears to be delivering a gentle reprimand to his Legislature, when he directed his audience (the University Law Faculty) to address what must surely have been a moot point. He said:

"In forests designated and delineated by the authorities as reserved or restricted, there were people there already at the time of the delineation. It seems rather odd for us to enforce the Reserve Forest Law on the people in the forest, which became reserved only subsequently by the mere drawing of lines on pieces of paper. The problem arises inasmuch as, with the delineation done, these people became violators of the law. From the viewpoint of law, it is a violation because the law was duly enacted, but according to natural law, the violator of the law is he who drew the lines, because the people who had been in the forest previously possessed the rights of man, meaning that the authorities had encroached upon individuals and not individuals transgressing the law of the land.

"Squatters are supposed to have violated the law, but what is really amazing is that when the reserved forests are declared open by the authorities for occupation, these squatter should turn out to be trespassers on land which now has owners, when they, as previous occupants earning their living there in a normal way, should have acquired rights.

"You may say that it is not quite the role of the Faculty of Law to amend the law, but that it should be left to the Legislature However, the Legislature, in normal circumstances, is made up of people's representatives and may number some lawyers among them, but are mostly professional Parliamentarians or Politicians voted into Parliament under Party banners. They are not really technicians for which there is a need, meaning those who make a real study of the law. If such technicians are not interested in real problems, but are preoccupied with mere legal theories, no benefits can be derived. "

It may be appropriate to take heed of His Majesty's thoughts during the coming week.

Economics and ethics - the broken circle

Anomalies of neo-classical economics which stem from market imperfections, and the fact that ordinary people do not behave like economists, increasingly affect the ways in which problems of environment and development may be addressed. The need for new approaches to escape the- constraints of short-term time horizons has led to the development of "Safe Minimum Standards" analysis, a new field of "ecological economics," sustainable development paradigms, and the holistic approach which views ecology, economics and ethics as part of a whole and inter-connected circle which at the present time appears to be broken. The inclusion of an ethical dimension, even if only humanistic, may be important.

In a recent note, which is both light-hearted and profound, Fri (1992) posed three questions: Is sustainable development more likely to thrive under some particular set of political and economic institutions than under others? Should the values that underpin this development become part of mainstream ethical systems? And, if the answer to these questions is 'yes' are we prepared to live with the results? He concludes that the political, economic, and ethical setting in which sustainability (including sustainable forestry) is pursued will determine success or otherwise.

Conclusion

Finally, may I conclude with two anecdotes which highlight the benefits of cultural exchange and the inter-dependence of all of us-rich or poor, north or south, ancient or modern.

In the jungles of Ecuador, there are fer de lance snakes, the bites of which are fatal, and for which there appears to be no botanical cure. The way the natives of Ecuador save the life of a victim is to give him several large and dangerous electric shocks from the jump-leads of an outboard motor. This de-natures the venom protein in the wound and renders it harmless (Joyce, 1994)!

The other relates to what is perhaps the most important non-wood forest product in Oceania - kava or "yaqona," an extract of the root of Piper methysticum, which is drunk ceremoniously and induces what has been described as "a happy state of complete comfort and peace, with ease of conversation and increased perceptivity, followed by restful sleep." It was reported by James Cook in 1768, and has been subject to much scientific study and its consumption is increasing. The rituals associated with its use vary from the elaborate, governed by strict protocol, to its substitution for the European habit of taking morning tea in government offices. A feature of recent Oceanic history has been the involvement of Christian missions in education, and in particular, endeavours to stamp out the consumption of alcohol (which, it must be agreed, has been damaging). It is of interest that even the fundamentalist sects which in the early days categorised kava as similar to alcohol, now accept kava as a desirable substitute!

Table 1. Important NWFP in Selected countries of the Asia-Pacific Region

Very Important: 1 Moderately
Important: 2
Less Important: 3

S.No.

NWFP

BGD

CPR

IND

INS

MAL

NEP

PAK

PHI

SRL

THA

VIE

1.

Fiber Products












1.1

Bamboos

1

1

1

2

3

3

3

1

1

1

1

Bambusa arundinacea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bambusa polymorpha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bambusa tulda












Dendrocalamus hamiltonii












Dendrocalamus strictus












Melocanna baccifera












Ochlandra travancorica












1.2

Rattans

3

3

3

1

1

3

3

1

1

1

2

1.3
































Leaf and Stem Fibres

1

2

1

2

2

2

2

1

2

2

2

Abroma augusta












Abutilon spp.












Agave sisalana












Ananas cosmosus












Antiaris toxicaria












Boehmeria nivea












Bombax ceiba












Borassus flabellifer












Cannabis sativa












Ceiba pentandra












Cordia dichotoma












Cordia rothii












Girardinia heterophylla












Grewia elastica












Grewia glabra












Grewia sp.












Hibiscus spp.












Malachra capitata












Marsdenia tenacissima












Marsdenia sp.












Oreocnide integrifolia












Phormium tenax












Sesbania bispinosa












Sida rhombifolia












Sterculia foetida












Sterculia urens












Sterculia villosa












Themeda arundinacea












Trema orientalis












Typha elephantina












Urena lobata












1.4

Grasses












1.4.1

Grasses for paper making

3

3

1

3

3

1

1

3

3

3

2

Eulaliopsis binata












1.4.2

Fodder grasses

2

3

1

3

3

1

1

3

3

3

3

Andropogon












Bothriochloa intermedia












Bothriochloa sp.












Bothriochloa pertusa












Bromus spp.












Cenchrus ciliaris












1.4.3

Grasses for matting

2

3

1

3

3

1

1

2

2

2

2

Arundo spp.












Cyperus corymbosus












Phragmites spp.












Saccharum munja












Typha elephantina












1.4.4






Grasses for ropes

2

3

1

3

3

1

1

2

2

2

2

Desmostachya bipinnata












Eulaliopsis binata












Saccharum munja












Saccharum spontaneum












Themeda arundinacea












1.4.5





Thatching grasses

1

3

1

3

3

1

1

2

2

2

2

Heteropogon contortus












Imperata cylindrica












Saccharum munja












Saccharum spontaneum












1.4.6



Grasses for miscellaneous uses

3

3

2

3

3

1

1

2

2

2

2

Thysanolaena maxima












Vetiveria zizanioides












2

Food Products












2.1

Plant food Products












2.1.1

Stems/shoots

3

2

3

2

3

3

2

2

1

1

1

2.1.2

Tubers/roots

3

3

3

2

2

3

3

2

2

1

1

2.1.3

Leaves

3

3

3

2

2

2

1

2

1

1

1

2.1.4

Flowers

3

3

1

2

2

2

2

3

1

1

1

2.1.5




















Fruits

3

3

1

2

2

2

1

2

1

1

1

Aegle marmelos (bel)












Amorphophallus campanulatus












Anacardium occidentale (kaju)












Annona squamosa (custard apple)












Artocarpus lakoocha (barhal)












Buchanania lanzan (chironji)












Carissa sp. (karaunda)












Dioscorea sp.












Emblica officinalis (aonla)












Feronia elephantum (kaitha)












Ipomoea aquatica












Juglans regia (akhrot)












Madhuca indica (Mahua)












Madhuca longifolia (mahua)












Moringa oleifera (drum stick)












Pinus gerardiana (chilgoza)












Syzygium cumini (jamun)












Tamarindus indica (tamarind)












Zizyphus jujuba (ber)












2.1.6

Nuts

3

2

2

2

2

2

1

2

1

2

1

2.1.7

Sap

3

3

3

1

2

3

3

2

2

2

2

2.1.8

Condiments and spices

3

3

2

1

2

2

2

2

1

2

2

2.1.9










Oil Seeds

3

1

2

1

2

1

2

2

2

2

2

Actinodaphne sp.












Azadirachta indica












Garcinia indica












Madhuca indica












Mangifera indica












Pongamia glabra












Salvadora oleoides












Schleichera trijuga












Shorea sp.












2.1.10

Mushroom

3

1

3

3

3

2

1

2

3

1

1

2.2

Animal food products

2

1

3

2

2

2

2

3

3

1

1

2.2.1

Honey












2.2.2

Bush meat












2.2.3

Fish, shells etc.












2.2.4

Edible bird nests












2.2.5

Eggs












2.2.6

Insects












3

3.1










Medicinal and cosmetic plant products












Medicinal Plants

3

2

2

1

2

1

2

1

1

2

2

Atropa acuminata (Belladona)












Cassia angustifolia (Senna)












Costus speciosus












Datura innoxia












Datura metel












Datura stramonium












Dioscorea sp.












Rauwolfia serpentina












Solanum sp.












3.2

Cosmetic plants

3

3

3

3

3

2

3

2

2

3

3

4

Extractive products












4.1












Gums

3

3

1

3

2

2

3

3

1

2

2

Acacia catechu












Acacia modesta












Acacia nilotica spp. indica












Acacia Senegal












Anogeissus latifolia












Bauhinia retusa












Cochlospermum religiosum












Lannea coromandelica












Pterocarpus marsupium












Sterculia urens












Sterculia villosa












4.2



Gum Resins

3

1

2

1

3

2

2

3

1

1

1

Commiphora mukul












Garcinia morella












4.3





Resins

3

1

1

1

3

1

1

1

1

1

1

Canarium strictum












Hopea odorata












Shorea robusta












Vateria indica












4.4





Oleoresins

3

2

2

1

3

1

1

1

1

1

1

Boswellia serrata












Dipterocarpus turbinatus












Kingiodendron pinnatum












Pinus roxburghii












4.5

Latex

3

3

2

1

1

3

3

1

1

1

1

4.6

Tans












4.6.1











Fruit tannins

2

3

2

3

3

3

2

2

1

2

2

Acacia mollisima












Acacia nilotica












Anogeissus latifolia












Carissa sp.












Cassia auriculata












Emblica officinalis












Shorea robusta












Terminalia bellerica












Terminalia chebula












Zizyphus xylocarpus












4.6.2







Bark tannins

2

3

1

2

3

3

1

3

3

3

2

Acacia mollisima












Acacia nilotica












Anogeissus latifolia












Carissa spinarum












Cassia auriculata












Shorea robusta












4.7

Dyes












4.7.1

Wood dyes

3

3

1

3

3

2

3

3

3

3

3

Acacia catechu












Artocarpus heterophyllus












Artocarpus lakoocha












Caesalpinia sappan












Pterocarpus santalinus












4.7.2










Bark dyes

3

3

2

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

Acacia concinna












Acacia farnesiana












Acacia leucophloea












Alnus spp.












Casuarina equisetifolia












Manilkara littoralis












Myrica esculenta












Terminalia tomentosa












Ventilago madraspatana












4.7.3









Flower and fruit dyes

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

2

Bixa orellana












Butea monosperma












Mallotus philippensis












Mammea longifolia












Nyctanthes arbortristis












Toona ciliata












Woodfordia ftoribunda












Wrightia tinctoria












4.7.4






Root dyes

3

3

2

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

Berberis aristata












Datisca cannabina












Morinda tinctoria












Punica granatum












Rubia cordifolia












4.7.5



Leaf dyes

3

3

2

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

Indigofera tinctoria












Lawsonia inermis












4.8

Oils and fats












4.8.1








Grass Oil

3

3

2

3

3

1

2

2

2

2

1

Andropogon genera












Citronella Oil












Cymbopogon genera












Ginger-Grass Oil












Lemon-Grass Oil












Palmarosa Oil












Vetiver Oil












4.8.2





Wood Oil

3

3

1

3

3

3

3

2

3

3

1

Agar Oil











-

Deodar Oil












Pine Oil












Sandalwood Oil












4.8.3







Leaf Oil

2

2

1

3

3

1

2

2

2

2

1

Camphor and Camphor Oil












Cinnamon Leaf and Bark Oils












Eucalyptus Oil from E. globulus and E. citriodora oil












Mint Oil












Pine Needle Oil












Winter Green Oil












4.8.4




Root Oils

2

2

2

3

3

2

3

3

2

3

2

Costus Oil from Saussurea lappa (Kuth)












Indian Valerian Oil from Valeriana wallichii












Shorea robusta












4.9

Essential Oils

3

2

2

1

3

1

2

2

2

2

1

5

Animal products other than food












5.1

Live animals, birds and insects

3

1

3

2

3

3

3

3

3

1

1

5.2

Hides/skins

2

3

1

3

3

2

2

3

3

2

2

5.3

Horns/tusks

3

3

3

3

3

2

2

3

3

2

3

5.4

Bones

3

3

2

3

3

2

2

3

3

2

3

5.5

Feathers

3

2

2

2

3

3

3

3

3

1

2

5.6

Fur

3

1

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

2

2

5.7

Lac

3

1

1

3

3

3

3

3

3

1

1

5.8

Sericulture

3

1

1

2

3

3

1

3

3

1

1

6

Miscellaneous products












6.1

Bidi Leaves (Diospyros melanoxylon)

-

-

1

-

-

-

-

-

2

-

-

Source: Rao, 1991

References

Borman, F.H., and S.R. Kellert (eds.) 1991. Ecology, economics, ethics: the broken circle. Yale University. New Haven.

Brown, W. H. 1918 and 1921. Minor products of the Philippine forests, Vols 1 & 2. Manila.

Burkhill, I.H. 1935. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula, Vols 1-4. London.

Cairncross, F. 1991. Costing the Earth. Economist Books. London.

Cox, E.H.M. 1945. Plant hunting in China. Collins. London.

Crevost, C., and C. Lemarie. 1924. Catalogue des produits de l'Indochine, Vols I-IV Hanoi.

de Beer, J.H. and M.J. McDermott. 1989. The economic value of non-timber forest products in South-East Asia. Amsterdam.

Eisner, T. 1991. Chemical Prospecting: A proposal for action in ecology. In F.H. Borman and S.R. Kellert (eds.) Ecology, economics, ethics. the broken circle. Yale University. New Haven.

Evelyn, J. 1662. Silva. or a discourse of forest trees ... together with an historical account of the sacredness and use of standing groves. London.

FAO. 1991. Non-wood forest products. the way ahead. Forestry Paper 97. FAO. Rome.

Fri. R.W. 1992. Questions that seem important. Resources: 15-17. Resources for the Future. Washington.

Hamilton, L.S., and P.N. King. 1983. Tropical forested watersheds. hydrologic and soils response to major uses or conversions. Western Press. Boulder.

Heyne, K. 1913. De nuttige planter van Indonesia, 2 Vols. The Hague.

Holdgate, M. 1993. Sustainability in the forest. Comm. For. Rev. 72(4): 217-225.

House, A.P.N., and C.E. Harwood. 1992. Australian dry-zone Acacias for human food. CSIRO. Melbourne.

Iqbal, M. 1993. International trade in non-wood forest products. an overview. FAO. Rome.

Joyce, C. 1994. Earthly goods. medicine hunting in the rain forest. Little Brown.

Lea, D.A.M. 1975. Human sustenance and the tropical forest. UNESCO. Canberra.

Lewington, A. 1993. A review of importation of medicinal plants and plant extracts into Europe. WWF International / IUCN. Geneva.

Maurand, P. 1943. Scientifiques et techniques, Paris. L'Indochine forestiere. Institut de Recherches Agronomique et Forestiers de l'Indochine. Hanoi.

Merrill, E.D. 1945. Plant Life of the Pacific world. New York.

Petelot, A. 1952. Les plantes medicinales du Cambodge, du Laos et du Vietnam, Vols I-IV. Recherches Agronomique au Cambodge, au Laos et au Vietnam, Centre de Recherches Scientifiques et Techniques. Paris.

Powell,J.M. 1976. Ethnobotany. In K.Paijmans (ed.) New Guinea vegetation. Amsterdam.

Rao, Y.S. 1991. Non-wood forest products in the Asia Pacific Region: an overview. Forest News, Tigerpaper. XVIII (4): 5-16.

Raynor,W. 1993. Tropical forests and pharmaceuticals. Pan Exchange 3(3).

Richardson, S.D. 1966. Forestry in Communist China. Johns Hopkins. Baltimore.

Richardson, S.D. 1990. Forests and Forestry in China. Island Press. Washington DC.

Richardson, S.D. 1994. Economics and ethics: approaches to sustainable forest management. NZ Forestry. (May): 17-20.

Sedjo, R.A. 1986. Property rights and the protection of plant genetic resources. In J. Kloppenburg (ed.) Seeds and sovereignty. Raleigh.

Wilson, E.H. 1913. A naturalist in western China, Vols 1 & 2. London.


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