Giving palms their due
Non-wood forest products: tropical palms. 1997. FAO. Non-Wood Forest Products No. 10. Bangkok, FAO.
Palms are among the most common plants in tropical countries, where they often dominate the rural landscape. All palms belong to the Arecaceae family (previously called the Palmae family), which comprises some 2200 species, distributed mainly throughout the tropics and subtropics. The palm family is highly variable and exhibits a tremendous morphological diversity. Palms are found in a wide range of tropical and subtropical ecological zones, but they are most common in the understorey of tropical humid forests.
Since ancient times, humankind has derived an impressive assortment of products from palm trees for food, construction, fibre and fuel. In terms of utility of the products derived from the forest, the palm family ranks third in the world (after the Gramineae and Leguminosae families), and its role is even more obvious when focusing on the tropical regions.
However, despite their frequent occurrence in tropical forests and the vast array of products derived from them, foresters have so far dedicated little attention to palms when designing and implementing forest management plans. Usually, wild palm trees in a forest are considered more of a nuisance than an asset.
The purpose of this study is to remedy this situation by providing basic information on palms as an important forest resource and to present a comprehensive coverage of the variety of non-wood forest products which can be obtained from them. Palm products are considered at both the subsistence and commercial levels, and particular attention is given to the potential for further development of some palm products. A geographic approach is employed to focus on palms in the different regions of the tropics. The prospective audience includes foresters, rural development workers and policy-makers, and international conservation and development agencies. Through the use of this document, it will be possible to assess better the contribution of palm products to sustain the livelihood of rural people and to evaluate the contribution of palms to sustainable forestry and agroforestry development.
Non-wood forest products: tropical palms was developed jointly by the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and the Forest Products Division of the FAO Forestry Department at FAO headquarters. The draft of the document was prepared by Dennis V. Johnson, under the guidance of Patrick B. Durst and Paul Vantomme.
Updated ICRAF tree seed supplier directory
Tree seed suppliers directory: sources of seeds and microsymbionts. 1997. R. Kindt with S. Muasya, J. Kimotho and A. Waruhiu. Nairobi, ICRAF.
In 1991, the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) published a directory of seeds and microsymbionts, Multipurpose trees and shrubs - sources of seeds and inoculants. The objective of that directory was to provide users with contacts of potential seed or microsymbiont suppliers for agroforestry tree taxa and to provide a basis for selecting among those suppliers.
Since then, new suppliers have come into being, and the directory needed updating. Therefore, in collaboration with FAO, the DANIDA Forest Seed Centre and the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations, and with funding from the British Department for International Development, the German Bundesministerium für Wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung and the Flemish Office for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance, ICRAF decided to review the suppliers and produce a new directory.
This directory is intended to contribute to the informed us of tree germplasm, which is an essential component of sustainable forestry and agroforestry practices, and promote wider use of quality germplasm. Quality has both a genetic and a physiological component, both of which are described in the directory.
The directory also highlights the importance of biosafety issues and presents biosafety information that suppliers have provided.
Although the directory focuses on tree taxa of importance in the tropics, it lists temperate taxa as well. It does not discriminate between taxa used for agroforestry and forestry. The purpose is to ensure that the information is useful to a wide range of users.
Information from this directory is also available electronically on the Internet: (http://www.cigar.org/icraf).
Surveying long-term forest research plots in India
Long term research sites in tropical forests of India. 1996 S. N. Rai. New Delhi, UNESCO.
Frequently, much of the scientific investment in research does not reflect the use that is made of a specific undertaking and the information that can be drawn from it. An example is the long-term research plots that have been established in many parts of the humid tropics. Forest plots have been established but scientific and practical results have often not been commensurate with the time and money invested in them,
India is perhaps the tropical country with the widest range of long-term forest plots, in terms of forest types and diverse environmental conditions. Some of these plots date back to the early part of the century, for example, in Karnataka State four stands of Hopea parviflora were established between 1911 and 1920.
This publication presents a review, synthesis and documentation of data on long-term forest research stands, undertaken through extensive travel within India and from records available in the State Forest Departments and in the Forest Research institute at Debra Dun. The study was undertaken with a view to describing the current ecological and management status of long-term ecological research stands in the tropical forests of India. The information generated through the study would be of high value for tropical forest research and conservation in India, and for the international community.
The study results from a meeting convened by the Center for International Forestry Research in Bogor, Indonesia, in 1993, and a presentation at that meeting by Dr S. N. Rai, Director of Forest Survey of India, Dehra Dun. The study was supported by UNESCO under a German Funds-in-Trust Project.
Two considerations of forest products certification
Certification of forest products: issues and perspectives. 1996. V.M. Viana, J. Ervin, R.Z. Donovan. C. Elliott. H. Gholz, eds. Washington, DC, Island Press.
This volume presents an overview of the mechanics, background and implications of voluntary certification programmes, it features perspectives from all parties involved, from both Southern and Northern Hemispheres, including the forest products industry, indigenous communities, academics, biologists, certifiers, policy-makers, environmental activists and retailers.
Among the topics considered are: the development of market-based conservation initiatives; elements involved in certification, from forest to retail product; biological aspects of forest auditing; implications of forest product certification; and the importance of the cooperation of all involved parties.
Certification of forest products traces the history of certification and the various certification programmes currently under way. It includes a valuable discussion and analysis of the social and political context in which certification must function.
Certified tropical timber and consumer behaviour 1996 K. L. Brockmann, J. Hemmelskamp end O Hohmeyer. Environmental and Resource Economics Series, Centre for European Economic Research. Heidelberg, Germany, Physica-Verlag.
This study examines the impact of a certification scheme on German demand for tropical timber. As the focus is on the demand side, an already established, functioning certification scheme is taken as a starting point. By focusing attention on analysing the reaction of consumer demand, the study extends the scientific discussion of certification schemes for timber, which so far has been primarily concerned with questions of standards, feasibility and costs.
The procedure adopted is to calculate different long-term scenarios (quality and price development) under various assumptions about the supply of sustainably produced tropical timber and the reaction of the German demand in response to a certification scheme.
The study is divided into three main parts: the first describes the general setting of a certification scheme and basic assumptions; the second qualitatively and quantitatively analyses the distribution and utilization trends for tropical timber in Germany, deriving basic scenarios for certification of timber in Germany; and the third part includes price effects and calculates extended scenarios with various assumptions regarding supply and demand.
The study concludes that a credible certification scheme could significantly expand demand for sustainably produced tropical timber in Germany, and suggests that such an approach could be valid for an OECD-wide programme as well.