Arriving at the fourth issue of Non-Wood News, we are very much impressed by the positive response and growing success that our news bulletin has received so far from its readers. Since the first issue of Non-Wood News in 1994, our mailing list for dispatching the newsletter, as well as publications in the Non-Wood Forest Products series, has grown to more than one thousand two hundred addresses world-wide, and each day we continue to receive new requests from all parts of the world for inclusion in our mailing list, either by mail or through our Web home page.

The remarkable success of Non-Wood News encourages us to continue our efforts to bring people together and to inform them on recent developments in the field of NWFP. However, this bulletin would never have existed without your contributions. Non-Wood News is mainly compiled from voluntary contributions received from readers, and its purpose is to provide information on the potentials of Non-Wood Forest Products and their contribution to sustainable development. Readers from around the world send us information on their on-going NWFP activities, initiatives and research work. In addition, updates are included on the NWFP activities (at both national and international levels) of governmental or non-governmental organizations and networks, including reports on recent and forthcoming meetings and publications related to NWFP. In fact, we could say that Non-Wood News is 'owned' by its readers, since it is made by the readers for the readers. We feel that you are all part of its success and may therefore be proud of 'your' bulletin. I would herewith like to thank all those who have sent in contributions and, at the same time, wish to encourage all of you to send us your inputs on issues or activities which you feel are important.

We are considering the inclusion of a new section in future issues of Non-Wood News, which we have tentatively called "Bulletin Board". This would deal with requests received from readers for technical advice on specific matters, and in fact, we have two examples of such requests in this issue: one is from a student in Myanmar asking for technical information regarding briquetting equipment in the use of rice waste for energy production; the other comes from Guyana requesting advice on the design and planning of an inventory of non-wood forest resources. If you feel this could be a useful opportunity for you, please let us have your requests for inclusion in the 'Bulletin Board' section. Also, we plan to update our Non-Wood News Web page more frequently in order to better serve our readers and to provide increased networking opportunities. Please feel free to send us your comments and suggestions on what you think should be included, as well as the specific NWFP topics on which you would like us to expand, or focus upon, in a future publication in the Non-Wood Forest Products series. In this regard, please take a look at our objectives and workplan for NWFP development under the section 'International Action', and let us know, through your comments and contributions, the issues you would like FAO to focus upon in its NWFP programme.

In an effort to better know who our readers are, in October 1996 we sent out a questionnaire to everyone on our mailing list at that time. We have received an overwhelming response, and I would like to thank all those who filled in and returned the questionnaire. For those readers who have not received a questionnaire, we plan to send out a second batch of questionnaires to all the addresses added to our mailing list since the last dispatch.

Processing the replies will enable us to develop a compre-hensive database on the different agencies, companies, and individuals who are involved in one way or another with the promotion and development of Non-Wood Forest Products. Based on this a 'Directory on Who's Who on NWFP' will be prepared. This database of agencies will serve as a basis for the development of a comprehensive and global information network on NWFP production and trade data. This data will be analysed and compiled for inclusion in FAO's yearly Forestry Statistics, so as to contribute towards a precise appraisal of the full socio-economic contribution of NWFP.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that following Mr Chandrasekharan's retirement in late 1995, a new team is now firmly in place at FAO HQ to run Non-Wood News and the Non-Wood Forest Products programme. The publication of Non-Wood News would not have been possible without the dedicated services of Mrs Tina Etherington and Mrs Laura Russo. Tina has now been with the NWFP programme for a year, while Laura has assisted on a temporary basis with the compilation of this issue. I have been coordinating FAO's NWFP programme since March 1996, and I am very pleased to tell you all that so far it has been a most challenging and rewarding professional experience. Through the Forest Products Division, our small team is fully dedicated to improving FAO's assistance to its member countries as a 'service centre of excellence' to promote the role of NWFP, in order to contribute to the wise management of the world's forests and to the conservation of their biodiversity.

Paul Vantomme
Non-Wood Forest Products Officer.


is compiled by Laura Russo, Tina Etherington and Paul Vantomme, Wood and Non-Wood Products Utilization Branch (FOPW) of the FAO Forest Products Division.

If you have any material that could be included in the next issue of Non-Wood News for the benefit of other readers, kindly send it, before 30 September 1997, to:

FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome
E-mail: non-wood-News@fao.org
URL: http://www.fao.org/waicent/faoinfo/forestry/NWNews

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.