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The world of forestry

Honey trees in the tropics
Indonesian wood processing expands
How to improve grazing on arid lands is object of 10-year US study
Forestry report on developing countries
Kenya: The population explodes and fuelwood disappears
Wood energy in Sweden
Kenya's Panafrican paper mills expand
Bangladesh seeks regional pulp and paper role
Plan to expand Picop in the Philippines

Honey trees in the tropics

A large proportion of the honey produced in tropical areas comes from trees. The eucalypts are possibly the single greatest producers of honey in Australia, but only certain species are good for this purpose. The introduction of Prosopis juliflora, sometimes called Prosopis pallida, into Hawaii made this area the world's largest producers of honey in the early 1930s. The Miombo Woodlands, in eastern Africa in particular, are well known for this honey production from species of Acacia brachystegia and A. julbernardia. While the more temperate areas of the world produce most of their honey from forage crops, there are exceptionally valuable honey-producing trees as well, including the black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) and the basswoods (Tilia sp.).

In recent years there has been considerable emphasis placed on the use of trees for the dry-zone areas of the tropics to provide food and fodder and to control desertification. In many of these very areas where this reforestation is being considered, bee-keeping has been practiced traditionally for thousands of years, and at one time for many of the tribes was a major part of their economy. Unfortunately in the choice of plants to use in these areas, little consideration has been given to honey production. There is evidence to show that bee-keeping has increased the income of many people in Kenya by two to three times since it was promoted in that country. Serious consideration should be given to the selection of trees and species which are of value for honey production, as well as other uses, when tropical reforestation is considered. This applies particularly to selection of species of Acacia, Eucalyptus, and Prosopis. Many of the best producers are legumes with nitrogen-fixing properties. The recommended varieties are as follows:

Prosopis - of the Algaroba group, particularly P. juliflora;

Acacia - A. mellifera, A. tortilis and A. Senegal for dry areas and A. xanthophloea and A. drepanolobium for the wet areas:

Eucalyptus - E. melliodora, E. sideroxylon, E. citriodora, E. robusta.

There are many other suitable trees found in other areas and often recommended for honey production, including Dombeya goetzenii, Croton megalocarpus, Grevillea robusta, Nephilium litchi, Calliandra calothyrsus.

It is generally recognized that what is needed most in the desert or semi-desert areas of the tropics is a plant that will grow under difficult conditions and with low water requirements - something that will grow quite fast and will have a multiple use. No plant suits this purpose better than Prosopis juliflora. It is still recognized as the most important plant that was ever introduced into Hawaii. This variety should not be confused with Prosopis glandulosa, P. velutina and P. ruscifolia, which are considered to be damaging weeds in grassland areas of the southern United States.

Prosopis species, particularly P. juliflora, are capable of producing fuel, fodder, honey and beeswax. The Indians in America used the fruit of Prosopis for flour. Its root system will penetrate up to 30 m or more thus making use of subsoil moisture.

Under ideal conditions it can be producing seed within three years of seeding. It can be reproduced by seed, or vegetatively from root suckers and stem cuttings. Seedlings of Prosopis juliflora have, for the first four weeks, more rapidly penetrating roots than Acacia tortilis, thus helping its establishment. In the Sudan it was shown that Prosopis juliflora was found to develop a deep taproot system in other plants.

A rather interesting development programme, using this species, has been introduced into Chile in the coastal desert of Piura. At the time the report was written, over 1000 hectares of Prosopis juliflora had been established. For the greatest production of both seeds and honey it is recommended that the plants be established approximately 16-17 m apart. Since Prosopis alone is not the best source of food for livestock, it is suggested that between the plantings drought-resistant grasses should also be planted. Grasses grow well under Prosopis as it provides both humus and nitrogen. In the Chilean situation, land containing the planting was turned over to the families living on the project site within three years of its establishment. It was estimated that the project would be in full production by the fifth year. Besides the harvesting of the crops as a fodder and food, colonies of bees were moved onto the project for commercial honey production, and the plants were also grazed by the sheep or goats, preferably sheep, after the trees had grown to a size where the loss of their small branches would not interfere with the production of the pods. There are two harvests a year for the seed, the principal one occurring in December through to March with the second, a lighter harvest, in August and correspondingly two crops for honey and wax. A number of glowing reports and recommendations for the use of this plant as a multiple-use reforestation item for desert areas have been printed, but apparently little attention has been paid to them, possibly because varieties of Prosopis found in the southern United States are considered as a serious weed in the livestock-producing areas. There are, however, some 44 species of Prosopis found throughout the world, and they do not all carry these weed characteristics, many forming a large tree such as Prosopis juliflora, particularly if pruned during the first two to three years of growth.

It is envisaged that a complete food economy could be built up in some of the desert areas around the growing of this plant, particularly if some of the drought-resistant grasses could be grown along with it. It could provide, in a very short time, sometimes within three years, fodder and feed from the pods, honey and beeswax, which are in great demand as food and export items and are readily saleable. Thinning could produce charcoal and firewood; the livestock which it could support, particularly sheep or goats, could provide milk and meat. It is time that serious consideration was given to the use of this plant, as there are few that can provide so well in similar circumstances.

Department of Environmental Biology University of Guelph
Ontario, Canada
(from The Newsletter, International Council for Research in Agro-forestry, Nairobi)

Indonesian wood processing expands

A State-owned forestry corporation in the Indonesian Province of East Kalimantan is embarking on a $560 million project to establish an integrated wood industry as part of the Government's plan of balancing Indonesia's wood exports equally between logs and processed timber. In 1979, processed wood accounted for only 16.5 percent of the country's total wood exports, and the Government recently imposed export quotas on log exports to stimulate domestic wood processing.

The State company, P.T. Inhutani, will utilize wood wastes from local sawmills. The first stage of a feasibility study made by a Finnish consulting firm indicates that the plant could have an annual production capacity of 42000 tonnes of paper, 16000 tonnes of pulp, 6300 m3 of veneer, 81500 m3 of plywood and 62000 m3 of sawn timber in the integrated operation. Financing would be assisted by a joint venture with foreign firms.

This is probably only the beginning. Inhutani, according to Indonesia Development News, currently owns 2.5 million of the 11.5 million ha of commercial forests in East Kalimantan, which has 20 percent of Indonesia's commercial forest reserves. Besides Inhutani, there are, in East Kalimantan, 92 forest concession holders, 29 large sawmills, 230 smaller milling facilities, 4 plywood mills and 1 chip mill. By 1984, the Government wants to add 16 new wood-based industries in East Kalimantan, thereby doubling the present processing capacity from 2.5 to 5.0 million m3 per year.

How to improve grazing on arid lands is object of 10-year US study

A cattle ranch in the arid southwestern state of Nevada has been selected by the United States Department of Agriculture for a 10-year study of how livestock grazing in semi-desert conditions can be improved. It appears to be the first long-term study on a large area to determine exactly what happens to soil, vegetation, water resources and wildlife when cattle graze on natural vegetation - sagebrush in an arid ecosystem. In addition to environmental factors, economic information is being sought.

The Saval Ranch in northeastern Nevada at North Fork will be the laboratory. It includes around 86000 ha of land, about a third privately owned, the rest leased from the Government.

The Department said goals of the research will be to:

· Increase growth of forage plants to free more grain fed to livestock for human consumption.

· Safeguard streams for trout and other wildlife.

· Develop grazing schedules and alternative grazing sites for maximum environmental and economic benefits.

· Study grazing habits of deer and other wildlife to prevent competition for forage between cattle and wildlife.

· Measure effects of grazing on streams and water quality and reduce soil erosion.

· Determine how much livestock and wildlife range sites can support.

Forestry report on developing countries

A new US Department of Agriculture report entitled "Forestry activities and deforestation problems in developing countries" is now available from: US Government Printing Office, stock No. 1980-654-358, Washington, D.C. The report, prepared for the US Agency for International Development and completed in July 1980, summarizes recently completed, current and proposed forestry projects and related activities in developing countries by major international donors. It includes ecological impacts, constraints, examples of successes and failures, and possibilities for research, demonstration, training and institution-building.

Kenya: The population explodes and fuelwood disappears

In 1962, about 20 of every 100 children born in Kenya died before their first birthday; in 1970, the infant mortality rate had dropped to about 12 per 100; by 1980, it was down to 7.5 per 100. Those figures indicate tremendous advances in almost all areas of public health - better health services, better levels of nutrition, and higher standards of living in general.

But they also reveal the problem that almost inevitably follows such advances: Kenya, a largely agricultural country with strictly limited resources, now has the highest rate of population growth in the world. At present rates, the population - currently 16 million - will double in only 17 years.

The rising population is putting pressure on fuelwood supplies - a major source of energy in Kenya. About 90 percent of the Kenyan population lives in the rural areas, where wood is the main fuel. Kenyans use more than 20 million tonnes of wood per year, yet the country's forest cover is only 2.5 percent.

The country produces well over a million tonnes of charcoal a year, but owing to inefficient charcoal production techniques, more than 9 million tonnes of wood are required to arrive at that amount of charcoal. Over 70 percent of the charcoal is consumed in urban areas, with Nairobi accounting for about 45 percent. Fuelwood and charcoal are utilized with efficiencies of around 5 to 10 percent, but efforts to promote more efficient charcoal stoves have not proved successful. Together wood and charcoal supply three quarters of Kenya's total energy demand, but supplies are becoming increasingly depleted as production falls behind consumption. By 1985, wood and charcoal will be very scarce or unobtainable in many parts of Kenya.

(in AMBIO, Journal of the Human Environment, Stockholm)

Wood energy in Sweden

Sweden, which produces just under 10 percent of its energy from wood residues, is now stepping up efforts to increase wood energy production from both residues and "energy forests." The problem, according to an article by Anne S. Fege in the January 1981 Journal of Forestry, is that mill capacities already exceed wood inventories and that Sweden, during the past five years, has had to import about 5 percent of its pulpwood. Since forest products account for 21 percent of all Swedish exports, this is an important consideration.

Five years ago the National Swedish Board for Energy Source Development created a biomass energy research programme, and over the past three years funding for it has been tripled. Its goals are: (1) to improve transportation and handling systems; (2) to increase wood supplies; (3) to conduct research into such non-wood biomass resources as agricultural residues and herbaceous and aquatic plants; and (4) to evaluate environmental and land-use effects.

Other Swedish agencies active in this effort are the Logging Research Foundation in Stockholm, the Department of Operational Efficiency at the Royal College of Forestry in Garpenberg, the Swedish Forest Service and the Southern Forest Owners' Association.

One effort under way is energy plantations of about 200 hectares using Salix spp. on drained wetlands or on lands currently unused. In some cases, mixed plantations of Alnus and Salix spp. are being tested. This programme has some urgency since inventories of 20- to 60-year-old trees in Sweden are low, and harvest volumes are expected to decline over the next 20 years, thereby increasing competition between energy and other wood uses.

Wood energy is financially attractive in Sweden, especially considering the country's present 72 percent energy dependence on oil and its decision to phase out nuclear power after the current construction programme is completed. Swedish sources estimate that it takes 5 m3 of wood to produce the equivalent amount of energy as I m3 of oil, but that the cost of wood for this purpose will be only half the cost of oil.

Kenya's Panafrican paper mills expand

Panafrican Paper Mills has arranged financing for a $26-million expansion at its mill at Webuye. The investment will raise capacity at the mill by 6000 to 35000 tonnes/yr of unbleached paper and will also provide for a 15000-tonne/yr mechanical pulp line. Start-up is set for 1983.

The success of the mill so far is shown by the share of the investment that is internally generated. Panafrican itself will provide over $12 million out of cash flow. Additional funds will come from supplier credits ($6 million), the International Finance Corporation ($5 million), the East African Development Bank ($1 million) and local financial institutions.

The mill's expanded output will be mainly for the local market but realization of the project will result in net foreign exchange benefits of $3 million per year, according to the IFC. It will also create 60 direct jobs in the mill and another 20 in forest operations.

Panafrican Paper Mills was established in 1969 by the Kenyan Government, Orient Paper and Industries of India, and the IFC. It has become one of the most important industrial concerns in the country.

Pulp and Paper International

Bangladesh seeks regional pulp and paper role

At the 10-nation "Solidarity Meeting" held in Dacca in December 1980, four nations - India, Indonesia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates - expressed interest in promoting joint industrial ventures with Bangladesh in the public and/or private sector pulp and paper industry. Bangladesh, with ample resources of raw material and labour as well as proximity to the markets of many developing countries, is poised for expansion if financial help from the outside becomes available.

Already the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corp., which owns a pulp mill and three paper mills, has agreed with the Indian Project Equipment Corp, on a $3 million expansion of the Khulna Newsprint Mills, which exports products throughout Asia.

The two companies are also discussing the possibility of building a new integrated mill in Bangladesh.

Plan to expand Picop in the Philippines

The Picop paper mill has resumed a plan for a $400 million expansion. The project had earlier been dropped because of shortage of capital and insufficient wood supply. In the new plan Picop would join with the Philippine Government and a yet-to-be-named foreign collaborator.

According to one report, capacity of the 450-tonne/day mill will be doubled. About $224 million worth of equipment will be ordered from foreign suppliers and another $45 million worth from local sources. It is hoped that a good deal of the equipment financing will be backed by the suppliers, with the remainder provided by current shareholders and the National Development Corporation.

Negotiations are also taking place for an extra $50 million for expansion of Picop's forest plantations. The current 38000 hectares of plantation would be expanded to 45000, with a possible later increase to 60000 hectares.

Pulp and Paper International

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