Works in progress: FAO annotated bibliography on urban forestry
Are the cranes flying?
The dramatic increase of urban populations in developing countries, with the corresponding rise in demand for food, fuel and shelter as well as the need for improving the quality of life in the cities, calls for strategies in which multipurpose forestry plays an important role. The Forest Resources Division of FAO is preparing an annotated bibliography on urban forestry as part of a larger effort to identify promising approaches that could form the basis of future activities.
The bibliography is not an exhaustive selection of the literature, but rather a selection of significant publications (most of them available in the FAO Library) that discuss efforts in the field. Although a large number of international organizations were approached for references, only a few were able to provide assistance. Nonetheless, the bibliography includes references from a wide range of subject areas including forestry, agriculture, nutrition, arboriculture, horticulture, city planning and landscape architecture. References are arranged alphabetically by author and a brief summary of each publication is included. Geographic and subject indexes are also being prepared.
There is a great deal of potential in urban and peri-urban forestry development projects. Planners are increasingly aware of the multiple benefits associated with urban and peri-urban tree-planting, extending far beyond the traditional aesthetic role. Home garden projects, when tailored to an urban setting, have the potential to augment the production of food and fuel. Peri-urban plantations and green belts also appear to offer promise in increasing production and improving quality of life. The use of trees to mitigate heat and atmospheric pollution is also being increasingly recognized. The successes and failures of existing projects need to be taken into account when planning new efforts.
Therefore, the annotated bibliography will also include selective listings of urban forestry projects and programmes; and conferences, symposia and workshops.
Copies of the working version of the bibliography may be obtained by writing to the Forest Resources Division, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. Additions to the database are actively solicited and may be sent to the same address.
The International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems (ISME) was established in 1990 to promote research and surveys and to cooperate with other organizations in promoting the conservation, rational management and sustainable use of mangroves; and to create and manage an international data bank on mangrove ecosystems.
Based in Okinawa, Japan, at the University of the Ryukyus, the ISME now has 259 members from 46 countries. Current activities of the society include publication of the quarterly newsletter, Mangroves; regional projects covering mangrove ecosystems in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa; preparation of a manual for mangrove vegetation planting; organization of a database and a mangrove information network; and publication of research papers.
The ISME recently adopted a Charter for Mangroves. The charter is intended to complement the World Charter for Nature, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982. The Charter for Mangroves sets out general principles, functions and means for their implementation.
Mangrove ecosystems should be conserved and managed to achieve sustainable development, i.e. sustainable productivity with the integrity of other ecosystems with which they coexist. The acquisition and dissemination of knowledge on the structure, function and management of mangrove ecosystems will be encouraged by all possible means, including international research and technical cooperation.
Decisions on the management of mangrove ecosystems shall be based on biological components and physical characteristics of each specific area; the needs of people; the significance of the resource to coastal stability; and fisheries, education, recreational and aesthetic values. Also taken into consideration are rehabilitation and compensation mechanisms to mitigate the impact of non-sustainable mangrove use. Regulatory measures are also foreseen.
Resources, programmes and administrative structures should be provided to achieve sustainable use of mangrove ecosystems. All parties, including governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and individuals should cooperate fully to achieve sustainable mangrove ecosystem management.
Further information may be obtained by writing to the ISME Secretariat, c/o College of Agriculture, University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, Okinawa 903-01, Japan.
There are 15 species of crane (Gruidae) of which seven are considered endangered. The Siberian crane (Grus leucogeranos), a handsome and shy white bird with a pink face and black wing primaries and coverts (the latter are only visible in flight), is perhaps the most endangered.
One population breeds in the Russian Far East and is relatively healthy. Up to 2500 individuals have been reported from its breeding grounds in a recent year. About 1953 individuals were counted on its wintering grounds at Lake Poyang in China in 1991/92.
The western Siberian population is now so small, however, that it may no longer be viable. Only six individuals were counted in 1991/92 at its wintering ground in Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur in Rajasthan, indict, and none were seen this winter. Further west, only ten have been seen in Iran.
The western Siberian population has tailed to breed sufficiently to maintain its numbers. Its migration path over Iran and Afghanistan has subjected it to various pressures - hunting, drought and war.
Attempts are being made to revive the western Siberian population through artificial hatching and releases into the wild. Tagging of chicks and subsequent satellite tracking has been used successfully to follow one eastern population crane to its Chinese wintering grounds. In western Siberia, a crane chick, named Asha, was tagged in June 1992; by October, it had been tracked to near the Afghan border.
Any reports or sightings of Siberian cranes, particularly from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (other than Bharatpur), should be made known to the International Crane Foundation, Wisconsin, USA. Fax USA 608-356-9465.
N. S. Malcolm
Unasylva announces with regret the death, on 27 December 1992, of Mr Ricardo Ortiz Vásquez, principal translator for the Spanish edition of the journal. Born in Badajoz, Spain in 1918, Mr Ortiz had made his home in Rome since 1962. The scrupulously correct and elegant translations produced by Mr Ortiz helped to ensure the value of Unasylva to thousands of Spanish-speaking readers. He will be sincerely missed, on a professional as well as a personal level.