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A basic list of medicinal plants in arid zones
All about tools
Toward sawmilling quality
Hurricane research
Maximizing small log production
Arboriculture in early America
How to plant eucalypts
Designing wood stoves
How to conserve rare plants
Thinking about erosion
Ways to interpret the environment
Nepal and its wildlife
Ornithology: Borneo
Tropical plantation forestry

A basic list of medicinal plants in arid zones

Plants for medicinal uses with special reference to arid zones (from Arid Land Plant Resources. Ed. J.R. Goodin and D.I. Worthington) a paper published by the Office of Biological Conservation, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20560. Available free from Smithsonian Institution.

This paper consists mainly of a list of 443 species in 64 flowering plant families that have medicinal value and occur in various arid regions of the world. An example of just one plant in the list will demonstrate its usefulness at once.

Rauwolfia vomitoria Afzel. Life form: shrub, small tree to 20 ft. Area: Africa-Senegal to Zaire, Uganda and E. Africa. Chemical constituents: A large number of indole alkaloids similar to R. serpentina: major commercial source of reserpine. Uses: Same as above (i.e. R. serpentina Benth. established drug having tranquillizing and hypotensive activity) plus emetic, yaws, dizziness, measles, erysipelas, lice, sprains, swellings, fever, sedative, purgative, indigestion, diarrhoea, colic, jaundice, vertigo, abortion, snake bite, leprosy, gonorrhoea, urethral discharge. Reference: A5062, Unesco, MPWA.

Reprints of references are available by citing the number and writing to the International Center for Arid and Semi-arid Land Studies, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas 79409.

This paper was undoubtedly prepared with public health authorities and physicians of semiarid tropical countries chiefly in mind. It is an effort to make them more aware of the many valuable medicinal plants that exist all about them. It is perhaps more important that foresters in these countries, who are the main authorities in charge of not only forestry, but "marginal lands" and semi-deserts, should be aware of another valuable resource that is theirs to manage and conserve. The easy-to-use list in this paper can be a basic piece of reference for them. It is only now, as a result of the energy consciousness that grew out of the oil price increases starting in 1973, that fuelwood has come to be treated with the seriousness that it deserves by those who deal with forestry and energy questions. Indeed, the fuelwood uses of semi-desert areas are being given priority for management and conservation planning. An awareness of the many valuable medicinal plants that grow in the same kind of environment can help the foresters to further establish the importance of semi-desert areas.

Dr Edward S. Ayensu, a Ghanaian scientist who is Director of the Office of Biological Conservation of the Smithsonian Institution, prefaces the list with a refreshingly candid essay on the importance of herbal medicine, and therefore of the importance to husband these valuable resources.

"The task that confronts people who are interested in public health," he says, "particularly those living in rural and remote areas of the underdeveloped world, is to attract the attention of the many western-trained medical doctors who show total disregard and disdain for the importance that herbal medicine plays in the world's health situation. I am particularly disturbed by those western-trained doctors, originating from developing countries, who are even antagonistic to ancient folk remedies on which their own survival, while as infants, had relied... Many of these same doctors are even unaware that the major pharmaceutical houses in some countries are constantly searching for new active compounds of pharmacological interest and are maintaining natural product programmes in their establishments where continuous plant screening research is conducted."

Dr Ayensu cites the creation of a Division for Traditional Medicine at the World Health Organization as another evidence of the new awareness of herbal medicine.

The "wise-women" or "witch-doctors" who use fungi, flowers, fruits and roots are no longer being sneered at by scientists. They are being consulted seriously as primary sources of information for the pharmacopoeia of the overdeveloped world.


All about tools

The modern black-smith. A.G. Weygers. London, Van Nostrand Reinhold. 1981. 112 p. Price: UK£5.20.

The making of tools. A.G. Weygers. London, Van Nostrand Reinhold. 1981. 93 p. Price: UK£5.20.

The recycling, use and repair of tools. A.G. Weygers. London, Van Nostrand Reinhold. 1981. Price: UK£4.85.

Both woodworking and metalworking tools are considered in these three books by Alexander G. Weygers, a self-taught craftsman. Weygers emphasizes the gradual development of skills in using tools as well as in making them. Beginning with such basic tools as the anvil and forge, Weygers works his way up to more complicated tools such as power drills, saws, grinders and hammers.

All three books are suitable for beginners, though it is best to read them in the order listed above. In each book, simple but comprehensive instructions are accompanied by the author's hand-drawn sketches. A particular feature throughout is the emphasis on using scrap materials wherever possible.

A BLACKSMITH'S SHOP IN TOGO - learning about tools begins early

The first part of The modern blacksmith describes a smithy and suggests how one might construct a working model of such a workshop merely from equipment at hand. Then, through a series of exercises, it moves into basic metalworking methods. The second half of the book contains descriptions of how to make a variety of forged tools and other equipment.

There is more emphasis on power tools in The making of tools than in the previous book, but again the dominant theme is that it is possible for a beginner, with the proper materials and equipment, to make an improvised version of even a complicated tool. Metalworking tools here arc given greater weight than woodworking tools.

The most comprehensive of the three books, The recycling, use and repair of tools, deals mainly with woodworking tools. Instructions arc given, for example, for the manufacture of a wood-turning lathe. The author assumes that some of the basic techniques in the other two books have been mastered.

Intermediate Technology,
Vol. 8, No. I

Toward sawmilling quality

Quality control in lumber manufacturing, ed. Terence D. Brown. Miller Freeman Publications, San Francisco, California. 288 p. Illustrated. Price: US$55 hard cover, US$44.50 soft cover.

Quality control in lumber manufacturing, just released by the publishers, gives mill-proven systems and methods for using quality control to save money in every operation. Edited by Dr Terence D. Brown of Oregon State University, it includes contributions by 15 industry professionals knowledgeable in various aspects of quality control.

In seven sections and 20 chapters, the book provides the kind of practical examples and technical information needed by mill owners, managers and quality control personnel to start or improve successful quality control programmes.

The first section shows how to organize quality control programmes. It explains systems, staffing, reporting and how to gain the cooperation of personnel in mills of every type.

The next sections proceed step-by-step through the manufacturing process, from woods through the mill to drying, planing and shipping. Here Brown and the contributors present efficient, standardized procedures for monitoring machinery and evaluating personnel. Lumber size control - - the heart of recovery maximization - is clearly and completely explained. The uses of finished lumber evaluation - to troubleshoot mill problems and assure customer satisfaction - are fully covered.

The last part of the book gives case studies of actual quality control programmes in a southern pine mill, a medium-sized mill and a large mill. The final chapter looks at future opportunities for even greater control of the manufacturing process.

The 288-page book is illustrated with 145 photographs, diagrams, check-lists and tables. In addition, five appendixes provide time-saving tables and sample documents: shrinkage tables, sampling charts' calculator programmes, checklists and an example quality control handbook. A comprehensive index and contributor biographies are also included.

WORKERS AT A SAWMILL - intermediate technology has its place

Hurricane research

Tropical cyclones: their evolution structure and effects. Richardt A. Anthes. Boston American Meteorological Society, 1982. Meteorological Monographs, Vol. 19, No. 41. Illustrated. 208 p. Price: US$40.

This new book by Richardt Anthes summarizes the research and knowledge accumulated about hurricanes beginning in the early 19th century, through the work of William Redfield, up until about 1980. Anthes also analyses the strong and weak points in our understanding of hurricanes and suggests what might be accomplished in the future.

Of particular interest is a section on the structure and life cycle of tropical cyclones. Considered are the physical processes in tropical cyclones, simulation by numerical models, hurricane modification experiments and theory, interaction between ocean and atmosphere, and forecasting of the movement of the tropical cyclones.

References given are complete and very representative of the good tropical cyclone research reports in the last 40 years. The illustrations include many outstanding photographs of hurricanes and hurricane damage.

From Science, Vol. 217, No. 4557,
23 July 1982. p. 347.

Maximizing small log production

Small log sawmills. Ed M. Williston. San Francisco, Miller Freeman Publications, Inc., 1982. 301 pictures, diagrams, graphs and tables. 368 p. Price: US$52.50 hard cover, US$42.50 soft cover.

There are various types of small-log sawmills: stud, random, length, clears and others. Each requires its own special systems and equipment. For each there is a particular method of increasing productivity, recovery and value in the mill.

This book by Ed M. Williston, who is a lumber industry consultant worldwide and an affiliate professor at the College of Forest Resources, University of Washington (Seattle), USA. is a practical manual for technical and operating personnel. The focus is on specific details rather than theoretical principles.

There are chapters on the following topics: the wood supply, selecting the product line, types of small-log mills, performance of popular small-log processing systems, analysis of log geometry to maximize product line value, maximizing profitability at the edge and trimmer, low-cost methods for improving timber recovery, design and operation considerations for single-length and random-length small-log mills, and exemplary mills. In addition there are a number of different reference tables and appendixes giving yields, figures, nomenclature, etc.

Arboriculture in early America

Maya subsistence: studies in memory of Dennis E. Puleston, ed. Kent V. Flannery. Papers from a Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, October 1979. New York, Academic Press, 1982. Illustrated. 372 p. Price: US$34.50.

An essay by G.D. Jones in this collection of essays focusing on Maya agricultural practices notes that there is documented evidence of the fact that the 16th-century Maya practiced short-fallow cultivation and arboriculture. Orchard-garden type foods, Jones says, contributed "handsomely" to Maya subsistence.

Dennis E. Puleston, to whom the volume - and the conference on which it is based - - is dedicated, was a student of Maya prehistory. His work helped to bring about a shift in thinking about the Maya. Evidence which began to be accumulated during the 1970s suggested that the Maya were a densely settled populace supported by multiple types of agriculture and other means of intensive food procurement. The present volume expands, refines and sometimes challenges this new view of the Maya.

Among the subjects discussed are the Maya use of wetlands for agriculture by channelization and field raising. One essay recapitulates lowland and highland Maya waterworks, compares various methods of pre-Hispanic wetland cultivation in the New World and evaluates the Maya experimental raised field agriculture in Mexico. An essay by W.T. Sanders and C.N. Murdy shows that Maya farmers operated within short-term economic frameworks and should not be seen romantically as conservationists interested in long-term stability.

The essays here are of interest to both the specialist and the generalist and provide interesting insights and comparisons for modern agricultural and agro-silvicultural practices.

How to plant eucalypts

Eucalyptus seed. D.J. Boland, M.I.H. Brocker and J.W. Turnbull with Scanning electron microscopy by D.A. Kleinig, Division of Forest Research, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Canberra, 1980. 191 p. (B5 Casebound ISBN 0-643-02583-3). Price: $A18.00.

Eucalypts are the world's most widely planted hardwoods and large industries have been built up around them. Seeds are still the best means of regenerating eucalypt forest and raising nursery stock, and this book has been written by scientists at the CSIRO Division of Forest Research in Canberra in response to the many requests they have received from all over the world for information on seed and the choice of species for planting.

This book begins with a description of the reproductive structures, pollination, seed maturation and dispersal of eucalypts, linen goes on to deal with the use of seed morphology in species identification, aided by scanning electron micrographs of over 150 species, a major feature of the book. The literature on managed seed production is reviewed, together with methods used to improve the genetic quality of seed as a means of producing better trees. The book continues with a discussion of the principles and methods of collecting, testing and germinating seed, and raising small numbers of seedlings.

The clearly written text is copiously illustrated with more than 70 line drawings and photographs, has 150 scanning electron micrographs, and is supplemented by an up-to-date bibliography, glossary, and exhaustive subject index.

Designing wood stoves

Wood-conserving cook-stoves: a design guide. Volunteers in Technical Assistance, 3706 Rhode Island Ave. Mt Rainier, Maryland 20822. USA. 1980. 111 p. Drawings, dictionary of terms, bibliography.

The promotion of inexpensive, culturally suitable and environmentally sound wood stoves and cooking methods is the goal of this book. It has an abundance of practical drawings and explanations and is suitable for direct use in the work place. It aims to help the reader to choose appropriate stoves, maximize wood-burning potential, make stoves more efficient and construct four types of stoves.

A chapter on stove efficiency includes sections on conserving heat, improving traditional stoves and the better utilization of stove-building materials such as cast iron, steel plate, sheet metal, ceramics, mud and brick. The four stoves considered in detail are the Lorena stove, developed in Guatemala, the smokeless Chula, whose design is based on research published in 1953 by the Hyderabad (India) Research Laboratory, the Singer stove, which is similar to India's smokeless Chula, and the sawdust cook-stove.

"The reason for the lack of data on wood stoves." write the editors in an introduction, "seems to be that planners have for years assumed that people advanced from wood fires to an electric or gas range, not to an improved wood-burning cook-stove. It was just not considered necessary to think very hard about a better cooking system based on wood usage."

Two factors have changed this situation. One is the virtual disappearance of wood in many developing countries, a fact that puts a high premium on better utilization of the available wood. The second is that the energy crisis, in both industrialized and developing countries, is changing the automatic assumption that gas and electricity are ultimately the best kinds of stoves. Indeed, in several parts of North America there has been a dramatic resurgence in the use of wood stoves for both cooking and heating even in high-income areas.


THE "SMOKELESS CHULA" - uses less energy than the open fire

LEARNING NEW COOKING TECHNOLOGIES IN RURAL MEXICO - more women extension workers would increase wood-stove use

How to conserve rare plants

The biological aspects of rare plant conservation. Ed. H. Synge. Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, UK. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 1981. 586 p. Price: US$84.00 or UK£30.00.

Plant conservation is a young subject which grew out of the concern by taxonomic botanists that many of the plants they were studying and classifying were not only rare, but in danger of extinction. The book, based on an international conference entitled Biology of Rare Plant Conservation, stresses the role biological sciences have to play in conserving plant resources. Ecologists, phytosociologists, plant-population biologists and nature conservators can all contribute to a more complete knowledge of why a plant is endangered, how it responds throughout its life cycle and what constitutes its ecological requirements. This information can then serve as a basis for a conservation programme.

Royalties from the sales of the book are to be assigned to plant conservation projects sponsored by The Fauna and Flora Preservation Society.

Thinking about erosion

Erosion and sediment transport measurement. Proceedings of an international symposium on Erosion and Sediment Transport Measurement, held on 22-25 June 1981 in Florence, Italy. International Association of Hydrological sciences (IAHS) publication No. 133. 53 papers in English, 2 in French, with short abstracts in both languages. Figures and tables, xii + 527 p. Order from: Office of the Treasurer, IAHS, 2000 Florida Av., NW Washington, D.C. 20004, USA. or IUGG Publications Office, 39ter rue Gay-Lussac, F-75005, Paris, France. Price: US$54.

More than 50 papers are included from the proceedings of the symposium, sponsored by the Italian National Research Council and the IAHS International Commission on Continental Erosion. They cover developments and experiences with many erosion and sediment transport measurement techniques in a variety of environments. The papers reflect progress in recent decades in instrumentation, methodology and strategy.

Specific subjects treated are: measurement of bed-load transport; suspended sediment concentrations, suspended sediment sampling and its apparatus: the reliability of sediment load data; laboratory experimentation and measurement of debris flow and mass movement; design of data-collection programmes; measurement of rainfall erosivity and splash erosion: rainfall simulators and laboratory experiments; erosion plot studies; and field measurement of erosion.

The published proceedings are a valuable, compilation of diverse experience gained in the measurement of erosion and sediment transport, even if all the recent advances in these fields are not included. The publication should be useful to research workers as well as to those working in the field of operational hydrology.

From a review by LONG YUQIAN
in World Meteorological Organization Bulletin,
Vol. 31, No. 2.

Ways to interpret the environment

Guidelines and techniques for environmental interpretation. K. Berkmuller. Supported by the van Tienhoven Foundation (the Netherlands), the International Union for the Conservation, of Nature and Natural Resources, and the integrative Studies Center at the University of Michigan. 1981. Price: US$15.00 plus postage.

EROSION DAMAGE IN ETHIOPIA - FAO is assisting reafforestation efforts

This volume considers the conceptual framework and practical means necessary for implementation of low-cost programmes that interpret nature for the public. Based on findings from developing countries, the book discusses the theory of nature interpretation, nature trails, outdoor signs, displays, advanced facilities using audiovisual materials and public relations. Appendixes contain lists of guides, bibliographies and useful addresses.

For further information, contact Mr Klaus Berkmuller, c/o Behavior and Environment Program, School of Natural Resources, the University of Michigan, Samuel Trask Dana Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.

Nepal and its wildlife

Wildlife in Nepal. T.K. Shrestha. Tribhuvan University. 1981. 200 photographs and 15 drawings. Available from the Tribhuvan University Bookshop, Basant Purl Kathmandu, Nepal. Price: US$13.00 plus postage.

This book is the product of more than a decade of study and photography by Dr T.K. Shrestha and records the beauty of Nepalese animals and their precarious existence. It offers a panorama of the Himalayan natural heritage and its sanctuaries, the behaviour of the animals that inhabit them and the men who have laboured to preserve them. The whole spectrum of fauna and their survival status is illustrated: the relatively safe spiny babbler and trans-Himalayan pheasant, the rhinoceros, the elephant, the wild buffalo and swamp-deer; the threatened tiger, leopard, blue sheep of Dolpo, muskdeer and blackbuck: the nearly extinct Gangetic dolphin and Indian bustard. Throughout the book the author underlines the need and opportunity for research in environmental management and calls for a rational land- and water-use policy. Appendixes summarize the distribution and status of principal and peripheral wildlife in Nepal. There is also a comprehensive list of common, scientific and Nepalese animal names.

GUJARAT'S SOCIAL FORESTRY PROGRAMME - involving local villagers in forest management

Ornithology: Borneo

The birds of Borneo. B.E. Smythies. 3rd revised edition prepared by the Earl of Cranbrook. The Sabah Society/The Malayan Nature Society. 1981. cat 500 p.. 47 colour plates. Price: US$60.00 postpaid.

Smythies' classic work, The birds of Borneo, is now available in a third revised edition. The introductory section appears in abbreviated form, with the original chapters 1-6 distilled into a brief essay. The main text, annotated by the Earl of Cranbrook who is an expert on the birds of the area, includes material published since the last edition of 1968 and a bibliography. As Borneo is not covered in the standard handbook of the region by King. Woodcock and Dickinson, A field guide to the birds of Southeast Asia, this manual is especially welcome in its updated form.

Tropical plantation forestry

Plantation forestry in the tropics. J. Evans. Oxford. UK, Oxford University Press. 1982. 460 p. Illustrations. Price: UK£35.00.

Julian Evans, formerly a senior lecturer in silviculture at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology, devotes his book to silviculture in the widest sense of the term. Although technical aspects of tropical plantation forestry are considered, Evans also deals with the reasons why plantations are needed, the social and economic factors behind them and how plantation forestry can be integrated with such other land uses as agroforestry and forest preserves. Examples are included from South America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

Following an introductory chapter, the book treats land, social and economic factors in the second chapter. The third chapter examines the techniques of plantation silviculture, covering 11 different topics such as thinning, stand growth, forest nurseries and plantation maintenance. The final chapter treats impacts, interactions and integration of plantation forestry.

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