When we embarked on Non-Wood News, a publication devoted exclusively to forest products other than wood, we were somewhat apprehensive as to how it would be received. But the response from readers has been extremely warm and most gratifying. We should like to express our sincere thanks to all those who sent good wishes and encouraging comments - some of these are given at the end of the bulletin.
The clear message of the many comments and suggestions we received is that Non-Wood News fills a felt need. It serves to keep interested institutions and individuals in touch with important developments taking place in the area of non-wood forest products and it facilitates informal and constructive contacts among those working on non-wood products.
Our efforts in assembling Non-Wood News revealed to us that much has been taking place at different levels - international, regional, national and local - in many different parts of the world, involving the private sector, NGOs and government agencies. If these activities could be coordinated, through collaborative and cooperative action, they would provide the impetus needed for phenomenal and sustainable development of the non-wood forest products sector.
In promoting such collaboration, Non-Wood News is striving to pursue its mission: to serve as an effective vehicle for the dissemination of ideas and information.
Items of information in Non-Wood News are contributed by many people and institutions. We are obliged to them and look forward to their continued support.
FAO is seeking qualified candidates to undertake a 15-month research programme on the "Valuation of forests in investment projects - review of methodologies and proposals for improvement". The selected candidates, both male and female and from developed or developing countries, are expected to be based at the University of Minnesota and to undergo attachments for research purposes at FAO headquarters in Rome as well as at the major international development banks active in forestry lending. The following summarizes the proposed study:
The André Mayer Research Fellowship study would document and analyse experiences and results of currently available methods for valuation of forests and trees during investment preparation; indicate shortcomings of current methodologies in the full valuation of forest products and services; highlight those methodologies that hold most promise for practical application and inclusion in mainstream use for investment preparation; suggest how to apply the best methods so as to bring the economic contribution of forests and trees to the same level of analytical reliability as for other land-using options.
The study would include land development programmes involving conversion of forests to other land uses as well as forestry projects themselves. Attempts would be made to cover examples from both developed and developing countries and also to include private sector approaches as they become more sensitive to public concerns over benefits to society and the environment.
Qualifications: M.Sc. or Ph.D. in Natural Resource Economics, Forestry Economics or Economics of a closely allied land-using sector but with career exposure to forestry; practical experience in investment project preparation, appraisal or evaluation, preferably with an international organization; excellent English and a working knowledge of French or Spanish.