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The gross income from NWFPs represented some 20 percent of the total revenue of the Armenian State Forest Service (Hayantar) in 1995/96. Even if this percentage is distorted owing to the artificially low stumpage revenues, it still indicates the importance of NWFPs. The main income, in order of income generated, came from haymaking, livestock farming, forest fruits, Christmas trees, honey, medicinal plants and hunting.

NWFPs constitute an important source of income and employment. These activities are part of Hayantar’s management and give permanent employment to 26 percent of its permanent staff. In some forest enterprises (FEs), NWFPs represent more than 50 percent of the total income. Each FE is allowed to organize its own sale of these products on conditions set by the central administration concerning minimum prices and permitted quantities.

Experience in the NWFP sector suggests that the liberalization of pricing and decentralization of decision-making could also have a positive influence on the forestry sector. Three major reasons have been identified for the relative importance of NWFPs compared with wood products: the comparatively free pricing system, the possibility to retain income and the lower degree of central planning.


Total area

2 947 000 ha
Land area 2 845 000 ha
Location Transcaucasus
Borders Turkey, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan
Population 3.7 million, of which 67 percent urban
Climate Dry continental type
Forest area 335 000 ha
Dominant species Oak, beech, hornbeam
Total flora 3 500 species of which 260 arborescent
Total medicinal plants 2 000 species
Most collected 40 species
Wild fruits, berries and nuts 50 species (possible annual harvest 12 000 tonnes)
Mushrooms 150 edible species, of which only three are widely collected
Other products Honey, tragacanthgum, silk

The following table shows a breakdown of the earnings from agricultural and non-wood forest products in 1996. It can be seen that together with meat and forest fruit production, Christmas tree selling and hay collection account for two-thirds of the subsector’s income.

Forest fruits and nuts are produced in the forests on an estimated area of 15 000 ha and are considered the property of Hayantar. They accounted for one-tenth of all non-wood incomes in 1996. Paid at a fixed price to the workers who collect them, they are transported to collection centres where they are sorted (by quality and size) and sold. Some forest fruits are processed to make juices or concentrates for the domestic market as well as for export. High-value fruits include various kinds of berries (raspberries, blackberries, etc.). Where fruit production is important, particular attention is given to the management of the forest to ensure good growth of the understorey fruit bushes. Some of the berries are also grown by Hayantar as plantation crops. At present, most of the resources are underutilized, but there is a lack of reliable and updated information on the resources. In addition, there is no proper monitoring of the utilization of NWFPs with a risk, therefore, of non-sustainable utilization with negative effects on their genetic resources.







Grain (tonnes)


13 951


Hay (tonnes)

3 170

19 883


Forest fruits and berries (tonnes)


10 739


Honey (kg)

2 015

6 280


Meat (kg)

31 800

18 883

Milk (kg)

146 800

11 158



2 000



Christmas trees

20 000

20 000


Wool (kg)

2 200



Vegetables (kg)

28 000

2 545



103 594


Note: 500 drams = US$1.
(Source: Hayantar.)

The following wild fruit and nut species are of substantial interest both for market production and for conservation of the genetic resources: apple (Malus orientalis); pear (Pyrus caucasica); mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia); hawthorn (Crataegus caucasica); plum (Prunus divaricata); apricot (Armeniaca vulgaris); almond (Amygdalus fenzliana); cherry (Cerasus avium); hazel (Corylus avellana); walnut (Juglans regia); cornelian cherry (Cornus mas); sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides); rose (Rosa spp.); and medlar (Mespilus germanica).

The NWFP sector is interesting since Armenia has a comparative advantage in most of these products compared with Western European countries. The gradual transition to a market economy is likely to support these opportunities.

The following are the priority issues for the development of the NWFP sector: medicinal plant resources are not sufficiently well known; the potential of fruit- and nut-trees is at present underutilized; and scarce budget resources do not permit an appropriate research programme on genetic resources of the wild fruits, berries and nuts.

With the assistance of FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme, a preliminary assessment of NWFPs in Armenia was carried out. The following aspects were found to be of the highest priority: information, networking among stakeholders, policies and strategies, technology transfer and cooperation with the private sector. (Based on a contribution by: Mrs Gayane Ter-Ghazaryana and Dr Karen Ter-Ghazaryanb).

The authors’ addresses are:
a Plant Taxonomist, Institute of Botany, Armenian National Academy of Sciences, 375063, Yerevan, Armenia.
Tel.: (+374 2) 624 142.
b Chief, Division of Forestry Research and International Relations, Armenian State Forest Service, 35 Moskovian Street, 375002 Yerevan, Armenia.
Tel.: (+374 2) 53 07 52;


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In 1997, within the framework of FAO project Integrated Resource Development of the Sundarbans Reserved Forests, a case study was commissioned entitled "Integrated management of wood and non-wood forest resources of the Sundarbans". The study was carried out by two Bangladesh consultant firms, Development Design Consultants Limited (DDC) and Multidisciplinary Action Research Centre (MARC). An in-depth review of the status of the non-wood forest resources was made to analyse the impact on these resources of fuelwood and timber management and the silvicultural systems being applied in the Sundarbans.

The Sundarbans is the world’s largest mangrove forest, covering some 1 million ha of land and water, approximately two-thirds of which lie in the southwestern corner of Bangladesh and the remainder in West Bengal, India.

In recent years, NWFPs have dominated the annual harvest from the Sundarbans Reserved Forests (SFRs) in Bangladesh. Over US$250 million worth of NWFPs were produced and nearly half a million people derived substantial parts of their livelihood from the SFRs in 1994/95.

Ever since it obtained its reserved forest status, this forest has been managed by foresters who are essentially silviculturists and who treated the NWFPs, comprising mainly honey and golpata (Nypa fruticans), as minor forest produce. As a result, very little is known about their true biological and ecological status, no scientific harvesting plans exist and overexploitation is threatening the sustainability of the entire forest.

The study aimed to bridge this gap and presents firsthand information on 16 selected NWFPs, seven of plant origin: golpata, hantal (Phoenix paludosa), malia grass (Cyperus javanicus), nal khagra (Eriochloa procera), ulu grass (Imperata cylindrica), bark, medicinal plants; and eight of animal origin: shrimp fry, hilsa, dried fish, shells, crabs, otter, honey and beeswax, and tiger. Ecotourism was also analysed.

Two action programmes stemming from the review addressing, among other subjects, legal, administrative and investment needs, were recommended by the study.

For more information, please contact FAO Representative, PO Box 5039 (New Market), Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Fax: (+880 2) 813446;


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A project entitled "Non-wood tropical forest products: processing, trade and collection" focuses on the Amazonian forest near Santarém in the State of Pará. The project, which started in 1993, is a joint initiative of the University of Brasilia and the Pro-Nature Foundation (Funatura), with funding from the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO).

The project has compiled data on NWFPs extracted from the forest for the years 1980 to 1993. Data were collected by product category and for the whole Amazonian region, the State of Pará and the municipality of Santarém. The source of the data was the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE) survey on vegetal extractivism. The seven product categories are: rubber; non-elastic gums; tanning extracts; oleaginous products; fibres; edible products; and aromatics, medicinals, toxics and dyes.

The project has also assembled data on the production-to-trade chain for the main products and the potential means for the dissemination of new technologies to producers living in the forest.

One of the conclusions reached by the project is that NWFPs are relatively weak in the national and international economy and that many of them, even those that involve a large volume of production, such as rubber, are highly vulnerable to marketplace vagaries. This is mainly linked to the generally low level of processing before the product reaches the market. The project has concentrated on ways to improve the processing technology so as to increase the value of the products to the collectors and small processors. Work has been carried out on the preparation of soap from the seeds of andiroba (Carapa guianensis), the extraction of coumarin (cumarú) from tonka beans (Dipteryx odorata); and the assessment of the real effect of sucuúba (Hymathantus sucuuba) latex in the treatment of ulcers and gastric diseases.

One of the most important results of the project will be the development of an alternative way of producing good-quality rubber.

A bibliographic survey has been conducted under the project covering 600 Amazonian botanical species with potential for non-wood production. The information has been entered in a database including: general data; botanical characteristics; plant ecology; phenological aspects; product application; use; socio-economic and cultural aspects; collection, storage and processing; occurrence and distribution; bibliographic information; glossary of botanical terms; and biochemical information. (Source: Tropical Forest Update, Vol. 6, No. 4.)

For more information, please contact Mr Floriano Pastore Jr, Technological Chemistry Laboratory,
University of Brasilia, Brazil.


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Dacryodes edulis (safoutier), Irvingia gabonensis (bush mango/mangue sauvage), Cola acuminata (cola nut/noix de cola), Ricinodendron heudelotii (njansang) are among the most important wild fruit species consumed and traded in Cameroon. A study of the markets of these four NTFPs (which represented 86 percent of the total sales recorded during the study) was conducted in 1995 in order to determine their importance in the humid forest zone of Cameroon.

The study focused on local markets and market intermediaries (traders) and confirmed the importance of these NTFPs as a source of income. In particular, it was found that the quantity of NTFPs marketed is significant, amounting to at least US$1.75 million in the first half of 1995. Marketing of the four products involve more than 1 100 traders, mainly women, who obtain marketing margins varying between 16 percent (for Dacryodes edulis) and 30 percent (for Irvingia spp.).

The study also provided useful insights into the market dynamics (structure of the markets, price formation) and the profile of traders engaged in NTFPs (age, sex, literacy and net margin captured) which help to understand the choices and opportunities of NTFP-dependent rural people. (Source: O. Ndoye, M. Ruiz Pérez and A. Eyebe [in press]. The markets of non-timber forest products in the humid zone of Cameroon.)

For more information, please contact the authors Messrs Ousseynou Ndoye and Antoine Eyebe, b/c CIFOR, IITA/HFS, BP 2008, Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Fax: (+237) 237437;
and Mr Manuel Ruiz Pérez, c/o CIFOR, PO Box 6596, JKPWB, Jakarta 10065, Indonesia.

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Jubaea chilensis (palma chilena, palma de coquito) is an important economic plant used in Chile for the production of palm wine from the sap – palm honey (miel de palma) and for the fruits, eaten as snacks. The production of the palm honey is an old tradition in the rural culture of Chile and an industrial activity based on the tapping of the palm sap started in 1878.

The species is considered to be threatened and deserving special conservation efforts (see D. Johnson. Non-wood forest products: tropical palms. Non-Wood Forest Products Series No. 10. FAO, 1997).

Its economic importance and potential in the arid zone of Chile has been recognized by the Consejo Nacional Forestal (CONAF) which, through a five-year project, will promote the intensive management of the palm among smallholders in central Chile for the production of palm honey, fruits and ornamental plants.

Research work has started on the propagation of Jubaea chilensis and on cultivation needs. Initial results look promising. Currently, under extensive management with no fertilization and no irrigation, a rotation cycle of less than 40-45 years for sap production is foreseeable, and the plants left can be exploited for fruit production after that age. In fact, sap is best tapped from young individuals not yet producing fruits, while fruit production can still be economical in older plants with reduced growth and a thinner stem. Yields of 7 tonnes of fruits per hectare with no fertilization and pesticides have been recorded under extensive management. This rotation cycle and level of production can be improved through intensive management.

Afforestation with Jubaea chilensis is seen as a means of benefiting from unutilized soils, where it can be coupled with extensive grazing, a practice quite common in this type of area in Chile. (Source: Alberto Gonzales. Draft submitted to the Eleventh World Forestry Congress.)


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The moriche palm

The moriche palm (Mauritia flexuosa) is perhaps the most abundant palm in South America, covering extensive areas in the lowlands of Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela, French Guyana and Suriname, where it dwells in poorly drained soils which are not fit for agriculture. Leaves are used to make a wide variety of articles (hammocks, mats, ropes, etc.) and their petioles may provide suitable fibre for the elaboration of paper. The fruit is suitable for animal and human consumption and oil extraction. Starch may be extracted from the inner part of the trunk, and the edible larva of beetles may also be harvested in large quantities from the inside of fallen trunks.

All these uses imply different impacts on the natural population. It is important for the management of natural populations to know in which way, and to what extent, the harvesting can be done. To help answer these questions, a demographic study was undertaken jointly by the Pontifica Universidad Javeriana and the Yamato Foundation, in the eastern plains of Colombia.

The study used a model that predicts the finite rate of population growth based on demographic parameters which characterize the growth, survival and fecundity of the individuals. Incorporating management alternatives as specific sets of demographic parameters, an evaluation can be made as to whether the proposed strategy will be sustainable or not in terms of population maintenance.

The study considered three management scenarios: i) the harvest of the tallest palms; ii) the harvest of the fruit; and iii) the harvest of the leaves and the fruit. Several important conclusions were reached:

The Postal Service of Colombia has just dedicated a stamp to one of the country’s most famous non-wood forest species – the tagua or vegetable ivory palm Phytelephas seemannii. Vegetable ivory was one of the most important NTFPs of Colombia during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the 1870s it ranked sixth among Colombian exports, accounting for over 3 percent of the nation’s foreign trade revenue. Most vegetable ivory came from four species: Phytelephas aequatorialis, P. tumacana, P. seemannii and P. schottii. With the advent of plastics, trade in vegetable ivory disappeared almost entirely, and only a small handicraft industry survived in the Andean village of Chiquinquirá based on nuts of P. schottii harvested in the Magdalena river valley. The other Colombian species, P. tumacana and P. seemannii, no longer being of importance to local people, rapidly began to decline.

Since 1991, Fundación Inguedé, an NGO working for community-based conservation on the Pacific coast of Colombia, has supported a programme of conservation of the Chocó vegetable ivory palm Phytelephas seemannii through its use by local artisans. Vegetable ivory carvings have become one of the most reputed items among local handicrafts, and an increasing number of families make their living out of them. Vegetable ivory carvings are now regularly exhibited at the National Handicraft Fair in Bogotá (see back cover photos) and two of the carvers have received national awards. The palm, which six years ago was almost forgotten, is now a focus of local awareness in the Chocó Department. Vegetable ivory itself has gained nationwide attention. Institutions such as the MacArthur Foundation, Conservation International and Artesanias de Colombia have been sponsors of this project.

The work of Fundación Inguedé with vegetable ivory has been supported by biological research on the vegetable ivory palm, carried out by Dr Rodrigo Bernal of the National University of Colombia. Thanks to Dr Bernal’s research on this species, vital information is now available on several ecological aspects of the palm, including a modelling of the harvest intensity that the palm population could tolerate in the long term. As a matter of fact, more is probably now known about the biology of this species than of any other Colombian plant used for handicraft production.

Thus, the honour that the Postal Service has made to this promising palm is well deserved. (Based on a contribution by: Mr Jaime A. Salazar M., Executive Director, Fundación Inguedé, Cra. 50 No 27-70, Mod. 6C, Of. 703, Bogotá, Colombia. E-mail:

For more information on the tagua palm, see also under Panama, p. 35, and Non-Wood News No. 2.

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Dans le cadre du Réseau Africain Bioressources-Energie-Développement-Environnement (RABEDE), une étude est en cours de réalisation à Brazzaville, sur les produits des oléagineux non conventionnels et des plantes aromatiques. L’étude vise l’identification de la filière, les évolutions en cours et les recherches qui pourraient être utiles. Elle comprend deux volets:

i) La caractérisation de la filière (inventaire des unités de fabrication artisanale de savon à Brazzaville); et la description et l’analyse détaillées de la structuration et du fonctionnement de 10 à 20 unités représentatives (approvisionnement, stockage des matières premières, fabrication du savon, commercialisation et stockage des produits). Une attention particulière sera accordée au calcul de la rentabilité.

ii) L’analyse technologique des procédés de fabrication en relation avec la qualité du savon obtenu (identification des lacunes nécessitant une activité de formation).

Après Brazzaville, la méthodologie pourra être appliquée à l’étude des savonneries artisanales d’autres pays.

Un nouveau projet du RABEDE procède à des essais pilotes sur la stabilisation de l’huile de safou (voir section Products and Markets). Les résultats de ces essais pourront servir de base à l’amélioration de la conservation d’autres huiles importantes en Afrique, tel le beurre de karité. (Source: Bulletin africain Bioressources-Energie-Développement- Environnement, juillet 1997.)

Pour plus d’informations, contacter Enda Energie, BP 3370, Dakar, Sénégal.
Télécopie: (+221 21) 75 95;

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A field study from 1992 to 1995 of the rain forests in the northern Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, has elucidated the potential of economic non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in this area as well as other remarkable features of the forests. The study was the basis for a Ph.D. degree dissertation at the Faculty of Natural Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Based on samples of 4 ha of mature forest, 2.78 ha of selectively logged forest (diameter at breast height [DBH] limit 10 cm) and of 92 ha of mature forest in other regions of the Osa (DBH limit 40 cm), the study revealed that the mature forests in the Osa are characterized by very large trees. Basal areas of 38 m2/ha and canopy heights of 65 m are typical.

The species diversity in the Osa is high, around 152 species per 500 stems. Selective logging appeared to lower the density and the basal area of trees considerably, but not necessarily the diversity of species nor the relative importance of species providing economic NTFPs.

Field studies and literature reviews showed that of 313 plot species, 19 were used for commercial NTFPs in Costa Rica and 51 somewhere in the neotropics. From this information it can be extrapolated that at least 163 woody species in the Osa may be potential sources of marketable NTFPs. The product types were many, but medicinals and fruits for consumption were clearly the two most important. Edible fruits were subject to much predation, probably owing to the abundance of frugivores, such as monkeys and toucans, and are in most cases unlikely to be harvested. Therefore, medicinal barks and resins may be the best candidates for successful extraction.

It is believed that combinations of extraction of timber and NTFPs can be developed in the region of this study. In particular, methodologies combining harvesting of timber and bark products would be worth investigating. However, some species should be spared during logging. Provided that it is spared in future logging schemes, the large emergent Hymenaea courbaril is a particularly strong candidate for sustainable production of several economic NTFPs, including fruits and resin. Also Copaifera camibar is a timber species that should be spared because of its valuable resin. (Based on a contribution by: Dr Karsten Thomsen, Botanical Museum, Gothersgade 130, DK-1123K, Copenhagen, Denmark. E-mail:

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The effects of chopped twig wood (CTW) of tree species have been studied on maize growth and yield on acrisols in central Côte d’Ivoire in experiments with Acacia auriculiformis, Tectona grandis, Gliricidia sepium, Senna siamea and Azadirachta indica. The application of CTW was followed by increases in all yield components compared with plots without CTW: dry grain, stalk dry matter mass and total dry matter mass. A. indica and G. sepium prompted the greatest yield increases, followed by S. siamea and T. grandis. On the other hand, adding A. auriculiformis CTW did not significantly increase maize growth and yields compared with control plants.

These results could mainly be attributed to the nutrient quality and Ca content of CTW changing the topsoil pH. No significant difference was detected between fertilized and non-fertilized plots. CTW can be considered, when and where it is possible, a valuable green manure source for maize growth. (Contributed by: Ms Sylvie Despatie, 5970 Dolbeau, Montreal, Quebec H3S 2G2, Canada. Fax: (+1 514) 344 0366; e-mail:

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En el marco del Proyecto Desarrollo Forestal Campesino en los Andes del Ecuador están experimentándose en el campo alternativas de manejo con el objectivo que cuando se disponga de datos suficientes sobre su viabilidad ecológica, técnicas, social y económica, estas serán consideradas como «modelos técnicos de manejo para bosques nativos». Unas de la alternativas que están probándose incluyen el manejo de los productos forestales no madereros (PFNM): aprovechamiento de orquídeas, aprovechamiento de plantas medicinales, aprovechamiento de bambúes (Aulonemia queko, Chusquea sp. y Aulonemia sp.).

El Desarrollo Forestal Campesino en los Andes del Ecuador es un proyecto ejecutado por la FAO con financiación del Gobierno de los Países Bajos.

Para más información, dirigirse a: Proyecto Desarrollo Forestal Campesino, Centro Forestal Conocoto, P.O. Box 17-21-0190, Quito, Ecuador.
Fax: (+593 2) 342 007;
correo electrónico:


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The Essential Oils Research Centre (EORC) evolved in 1992 from the essential oils R&D unit of the ex-National Chemical Cooperation (NCC). Currently, it is under the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The centre is supported by the Ministry of Finance but also receives research grants from the Ethiopian Science and Technology Commission and the Swedish Agency for Research Cooperation with Developing Countries/Swedish International Development Authority (SAREC/SIDA).

The research centre started with a pilot distillation unit and farm land of approximately 80 ha at Wondo Genete, about 260 km south of Addis Ababa.

The centre is primarily engaged in applied research. Its activity is not only limited to essential oils but also focuses on other plants whose derivatives could be used by the industry as a source of raw materials, medicines, coagulants, insecticides, tannins, fixed oils, etc. The objectives of the centre are: conducting agronomic, biological and chemical studies; developing technological packages; and carrying out pilot-scale tests. Its major activities fall into two categories: research and pilot-scale production.

The centre has a laboratory in Addis Ababa, which caters for the quantity and quality analysis of various products of plant origin. The agricultural trials, preliminary analysis and pilot-scale production of three types of essential oil are carried out at Wondo Genete. In addition to these, over 150 plant species (including exotic species) are studied.

The unique nature of the centre is its involvement from the collection of potential plant species up to product development.

Future plans include: i) the establishment of agricultural trial sites at different agro-ecological zones, at least at three additional sites (i.e. lowland, highland and hot humid areas) with agricultural trial plots, sample distillation units and mini-laboratory extraction units for the plant chemicals; and ii) intensifying the collection of indigenous species, and the introduction of exotic ones, with high potential for extraction of chemicals.

For more information, please contact Dr Tadele Worku, Head, Research Centre, Essential Oils Research Centre,
PO Box 5747, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Fax: (+251 1) 611764.


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The most widely collected NTFPs from the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) – an area of lowland semi-deciduous subtropical moist forest – in Petén, Guatemala, are those traditionally exported for the international market: allspice berries (Pimenta dioica), the xate palm (Chamaedorea elegans and C. oblongata) for floral arrangements and chicle (Manilkara zapota) for natural chewing gum base.

The local communities dependent on these forest products suffer financial hardship as a result of fluctuations in natural supply and/or market prices. In addition to these uncertainties, independent studies show that allspice, xate and chicle populations, which have been harvested for 30 to 70 years, are declining as a result of overharvesting (it must be said, however, that collectors have a benign effect on Petén’s forests compared with slash-and-burn agriculturists). Local NGOs, therefore, are employing a variety of strategies to improve the ecological and economic sustainability of NTFP extraction in order to provide incentives for more people to switch from agriculture to NTFP collection.

One approach for stabilizing income derived from NTFPs is to increase the number of NTFPs available to collectors by establishing markets for new products. To this end, a variety of new products are currently under investigation (i) or at some stage of development (d). These new products include: essential oils from allspice leaves (Pimenta dioica) (i); natural soaps from jaboncillo (Sapindus saponaria) (d); logwood (Haematoxylum campechianum) dyes (i); rain forest potpourri (d); and various medicinal plants (i/d).

In view of the overharvesting of the traditional NTFPs, what will save new products from the same fate? NTFPs can be integrated into management plans for community forestry concessions in the multiple-use zone of the MBR. It is hoped that legal security of land tenure, via the establishment of concessions, will provide an incentive for sustainable management of NTFPs by collectors. Integrated resource management, however, presents a serious challenge – how can NTFPs, wood and tourism be integrated to maximize economic returns without damaging the forest? Increasingly, management plans include monitoring studies to assess NTFP yields under different harvest regimes and evaluations of the impact of the harvest of one product on the survival of others and on forest ecosystems. Future studies should, therefore, reveal whether NTFP populations in these concessions are better managed and healthier than those present in open access situations. (Based on a contribution by: Messrs Simon Comerford and Kevin Gould, Investigaciones Científicas de ProPeten, ProPeten, Flores, Petén, Guatemala. Fax: (+502) 926 0495; e-mail:


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Iwokrama’s mission includes the development of new sustainable uses for tropical moist forests to encourage their conservation. NTFPs and resources offer great potential for this. (See also previous issues of Non-Wood News for more information on the Iwokrama international rain forest programmes.) Iwokrama is constructing a computerized NTFP database. All available relevant information will be compiled and entered. NTFPs warranting market assessments will be listed against the following criteria: supply, previous or current use in Guyana and elsewhere, processing technology required, trade figures, existing markets and price structure. Assessments will be performed on this list of promising NTFPs and special inventories to determine supply of selected NTFPs will be carried out as required. Outputs will include an inventory of Guyanese NTFPs with as much information on them as is available. The information will be used to develop Iwokrama’s forest utilization programme. As the system is set in place, additional subdatabases will be added as pertinent.

For each species the database contains fields on identification, description, distribution, ecology, abundance, uses, markets and bibliographic references, among other items. Georeferencing will allow interfacing with Iwokrama’s functioning geographic information system. Additionally, Iwokrama is considering creating Internet links from its own database system to other institutions that have NTFP databases.

For more information, please contact Mr David Cassells, Director-General; or Mr Felix Girard,
National Project Manager, Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development,
41 Brickdam, PO Box 1074, Georgetown, Guyana.
Fax: (+592 2) 59199;


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Jordan, Turkey and the Syrian Arab Republic are the three countries covered by the FAO project, Forestry and Food Security in the Mediterranean and Near East Region, funded by the Government of Italy.

During the first phase, the project had stressed the training component, creating the opportunity for the key local staff to acquire community forestry tools and to learn from relevant experiences in other countries of the region. The project is now in its second phase, during which it aims to develop sustainable models of integrated natural resources management with the participation of local populations in selected areas of the beneficiary countries.

One approach taken by the project to reach this aim is to initiate, together with forest villagers, sustainable income-generating activities (such as forest mushroom cultivation and beekeeping) as an alternative to grazing around the forests, in an effort to reduce the negative effects of overgrazing.

The two districts identified for project activities are Jerash and Ajloun, both located in the northern part of Jordan. Both districts have limited remaining forest resources and are good examples of the serious conflicts existing between forestry organizations and local villagers. In selected villages of the two districts, a programme to improve edible mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) cultivation was designed. The project organized training courses on mushroom cultivation techniques for villagers and for the local staff of the Ministry of Agriculture.

A short manual on mushroom cultivation was prepared to illustrate the techniques and methodologies to be followed, and support was provided for improving the production, packaging, storage and marketing techniques. (Source: Naiwa Naajab, Rural Development Specialist, Project "Forestry and Food Security in the Mediterranean and Near East Region", Amman, Jordan.)

For more information on the work of this project,
see also under International Action, p. 46.


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Dans le cadre du Programme de coopération technique de la FAO avec Madagascar, une étude ayant pour titre Assistance à l’exportation des produits forestiers a été menée en 1997. L’étude est riche en données techniques, en particulier sur le commerce des principaux produits forestiers. Des sections importantes traitent des produits forestiers non ligneux et constituent une source très utile d’informations sur ces produits et leur commerce à l’échelle nationale et mondiale. (Source: J. Aubé et B.D. Ratsimbazafy. Juin 1997. Rapport technique Assistance à l’exportation des produits forestiers, Antananarivo.)


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A study on Ziziphus mauritiana is being conducted with the overall goal to assess the impact of domestication of indigenous fruit-trees (IFTs) on rural communities in Malawi. The domestication and commercialization of IFTs has the potential to make an impact on the "critical triangle" of growth, poverty alleviation and natural resource management. The study seeks to evaluate the economic and nutritional role IFTs play in rural communities in the Miombo woodlands of Malawi, with a focus on Z. mauritiana.

A production-to-consumption framework will be developed to examine the entire chain of activities, from the production of Z. mauritiana, through the various stages of intermediate sales and processing, to the consumer of the final product. The objectives of the study are:

i) To describe the existing local production to consumption system of Z. mauritiana, in terms of the technologies households use in managing, producing, processing and utilizing the fruits, and the social, political and economic factors that affect their decision-making.

ii) To assess the contribution of Z. mauritiana fruits to household nutrition and income, and to characterize households that are most likely to benefit from the domestication initiative.

iii) To examine the existing market for Z. mauritiana, in terms of the efficiency of different market channels, the price mark-up along the channels, the gross-margins farmers receive, market size and the potential for market expansion.

iv) Finally, to evaluate the conditions under which domestication and commercialization of indigenous fruit-trees can enhance the welfare of poor rural communities.

The fieldwork was conducted in three rural development projects (RDPs): Salima, Mangochi and Chikwawa (an RDP is the equivalent of a district; however, the divisions are based on administrative agricultural areas). Villages were selected on the basis of differences in utilization patterns, access to markets, culture and livelihood strategies. Data were collected using both informal and formal methodologies.

Participatory rural appraisal (PRA) techniques were used to collect data that provided an overall picture of the community, the importance of IFTs and the products they harvest from the forests. The PRA tools used were resource mapping, seasonal calendars, matrix ranking and wealth ranking. Key informant and women group interviews were also used to collect data on processing of Z. mauritiana in Chikwawa RDP.

Formal surveys were conducted in Salima and Mangochi RDPs at the household and market levels. Household surveys were used to obtain more in-depth information on Z. mauritiana production, management, utilization and marketing strategies at the household level. Market surveys were conducted in four markets: Lilongwe and Limbe markets (urban markets) and Salima and Monkey Bay (rural markets). Data were also collected on a weekly basis throughout the harvesting season at both the household and market levels.

The following analysis of these data will be carried out:

• develop a production-to-consumption system of Z. mauritiana, showing all the different market channels and looking at the efficiency of each channel in terms of gross margins to households, intermediaries and vendors at each level;

• compare different markets (identifying the mark-ups as the product moves from different sources all the way to the final consumer) and seasonal price variations at different markets;

• describe the processing of Z. mauritiana and all the different products farmers are able to obtain from fruits, especially kachasu (local alcoholic beverage) made and sold in Chikwawa. The value added by making alcohol from Z. mauritiana and the profits from making kachasu will also be assessed. This will be compared with the profit made from selling the fruits fresh; and

• develop a logistic regression to characterize households that are most dependent on Z. mauritiana for their livelihood, with an assumption that these are the households most likely to domesticate the fruits.

This study is being conducted in collaboration with the International Center for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) in Malawi and Kenya. The fieldwork data collection was conducted between August 1996 and September 1997. Data analysis and preparation for the final report (Ph.D. thesis) is now in process; the expected date of completion of the study is June 1998. (Based on a contribution by: Ms Susan Kaaria, University of Minnesota, Forest Resources Department, 115 Green Hall, 1530 N. Cleveland Avenue, St Paul, MN 55108, USA. E-mail:


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The Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) is primarily involved in forestry research which provides technical support to the forestry departments, private concession holders and wood industries in the country. The institute currently has a total of 470 staff, 113 of whom are researchers. Many of the divisions of the institute deal with NWFPs:

• the Natural Forest Division is involved in the silviculture and management of a variety of forest types and investigates issues of sustainable production of non-timber resources such as rattan and bamboo;

• the Forest Plantation Division investigates problems regarding the silviculture and management of plantation forests. These main tasks are backed by research in tree improvement, nursery and seed and plant propagation;

• the Environmental Science Division covers forest biological diversity, forest biology, plant protection, park management and urban forestry;

• the Forest Products Division investigates both timber and non-timber products properties; a specialization in forest products R&D is the processing of rattan and bamboo;

• the Chemical Division looks into the transformation of wood into products, and much research has gone into wood-based panels, oil palm trunk utilization and energy from biomass; the extraction of chemicals from wood has been receiving more attention recently;

• the Medicinal Plant Division conducts research in the field of medicinal plants (especially those from forests);

• the Techno-Economic Division conducts research on economic issues related to forestry and so far has concentrated on the evaluation of forests and their uses; and

• the Corporate Affairs Division is responsible for monitoring and evaluating research, coordination of external projects, technology transfer and consultancies.

The research activities in FRIM are further enhanced through collaboration with other agencies and institutions, both local and international.

Potential research issues are subjected to an elaborate prioritization process through which priority research projects are identified. In this process, priority is given to research that has relevance to the clients and users, and to that with commercial potential.

Many of FRIM’s findings are disseminated to clients through a variety of methods, including through direct training. Two internationally refereed journals provide the channel for publication, together with in-house publications.

Apart from research, FRIM also provides technical services and consultancies in a variety of specialities.

For more information, please contact Forest Research Institute of Malaysia,
Kepong, 52109 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


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El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) is a Mexican federal government research and training centre. ECOSUR offers M.Sc. courses and carries out research on health issues, sustainable resource use and conservation of natural resources. Some of these areas touch on various aspects of NTFPs (bromeliads and medicinal plants, for example).

ECOSUR is at present involved in a project to design and implement sustainable management techniques for the production of ornamental bromeliads in Chiapas. The project’s overall objective is to conserve threatened populations of bromeliads in Chiapas. Appreciation of the value of bromeliads as non-timber forest crops may provide economic incentives to preserve otherwise unprotected forested areas in which bromeliads occur. In order to meet its objective, the project will:

• develop techniques for assessing the status of populations of bromeliads;

• develop methodologies for reintroducing bromeliads in areas of woodland from which they have been lost or seriously reduced in number;

• develop methodologies for producing native species of bromeliads, either through sustainable harvesting as non-timber forest crops or through cultivation;

• produce management plans in order to allow the sustainable harvesting of ornamental bromeliads and provide assessment of the sustainability of bromeliad harvesting; and

• assist in finding new markets for sustainably produced bromeliads.

For more information, please contact Sr. Duncan Golicher, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR),
Apartado Postal 63, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.
Fax: (+967) 8 23 22;
e-mail: dgoliche@master.sclc.ecosur. mx;


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One reason for the increased interest in understanding indigenous knowledge and resource management systems is to address the conflict in the resource use under conditions of increased human pressure on the resources. The upland communities in Balochistan depend largely on natural resources for their needs: forage for their livestock, fuel for cooking and heating, for shelter and for medicinal plants.

The use of medicinal plants has played a very important role in Balochistan since the prehistoric era. The dry, vast desert of the province has been a source of plant stock with a higher content of active chemicals than the tropical rainy areas of the subcontinent. More than 70 percent of the local communities depend on medicinal plants and the local people have their own plant classification according to the use and effects on health. Indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants forms the basis for health care in the local communities.

The FAO Interregional Participatory Upland Conservation and Development Project has been working in the Kanak Valley, Mastung, since 1992. Work on the collection of indigenous knowledge and the documentation of medicinal and aromatic plants for local use and for research started in 1995. As a first step, a participatory approach to the collection of information on the most commonly used medicinal plants was initiated. This exercise, carried out with women (who are, in fact, the real users), proved very interesting. Women from six village associations in the Noza subwatershed were persuaded to speak on the local use of medicinal plants.

The ethnobotanical information is based on interviews, observations and guided field walks/transect walks. Plants with medicinal use have been collected, pressed and preserved. A photographic inventory of medicinal plants is also being carried out. Recipes and prescriptions for the use of these plants have also been collected.

Together with the participatory ethnobotanical work, the project is carrying out activities which contribute to the rehabilitation of the vegetation (including medicinal plants), for example, plantations, reseeding, water harvesting, improved rangeland management and protection. (Source: Indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants documentation through community participation, by Shah Rehman and Marilee Kane, FAO/Italy Interregional Project for Participatory Upland Conservation and Development, Pakistan.)


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In January 1997, the Panamanian Government’s National Institute for Renewable Natural Resources (INRENARE) and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) initiated a project called "Proyecto Manejo de Cativales y Productos No Maderables con Comunidades Campesinas e Indígenas en Darién", with funding from the International Tropical Timber Organization. The goal of the four-year project is to manage a timber resource, cativo (Prioria copaifera) and NTFPs in Darién, generating information to improve the living conditions of local people and strengthening their ability to manage natural resources and conserve the natural patrimony of the region.

The NTFP component of the project is focused on two tree species with artisanal use: tagua (Phytelephas seemannii) and cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa). Both species are used for making intricate carvings, largely by the Emberá and Wounaan indigenous peoples of Darién Province. The ultimate goal is to promote sustainable management of these species based on sound scientific and socio-economic data.

The seeds of Panama’s tagua palm are used for carving. Like other phytelephantoid palms, the seeds of this tagua palm are a form of vegetable ivory. The endosperm is very hard with an ivory colour which makes it a wonderful carving medium. It also takes dyes and paints very well. Since the mid-1980s, Darién’s Emberá and Wounaan have created a domestic tagua carving industry. Largely based on the Wounaan carving tradition, carvers elaborate very detailed figures of animals and plants which are sold to a national market. Prices for an individual carving of three-glued seeds can exceed US$100.

The wood of cocobolo, a rosewood, is also carved. Cocobolo is not extracted for its timber; instead, branches and roots are used by indigenous people for carving and as a dye source (particularly for baskets of Astrocaryum standleyanum). Long preceding the artisanal tagua industry, cocobolo carving seems to have evolved from traditional Emberá and Wounaan carvings of shaman’s tools and household implements. Carvers of tagua and cocobolo are often the same individuals. Cocobolo carvings of plants and animals are mostly sold in Panama. The prices for an individual piece about 0.5 m in height can be several hundred US dollars.

Although the carving industry has grown dramatically over the past decade, little is known about the natural resources on which it is based in Darién Province. This first year of the project is focusing on the establishment of research plots in tagua groves and marking individual cocobolo trees. Over the course of the project, data will be collected on demography, growth, productivity, seed germination, seed dispersion and soils within the research sites. In subsequent years of the project, greater emphasis will be given to analysing the household and business economies of the carving industry as well as establishing artisanal gardens, estimating sustainable harvest, training artisans on marketing and mapping the resources throughout the province, all with the coordination of a local sociologist. In the fourth year, all the data will be summarized in a tagua and cocobolo management manual for Darién communities. In addition, these data will be presented in a regional conference on NTFPs.

The project’s ultimate success relies on training people of the region. In addition to the aforementioned studies, the project also supports training of local parabiologists, involving Panamanian students who are carrying out their theses in Darién, and increasing local artistry and marketing skills (if extraction of these NTFPs is sustainable). Also, the creation of a Consulting Committee by the project assures that local residents will guide and evaluate the effectiveness of the work in Darién. (Based on a contribution by: Ms Julia Velásquez Runk, Coordinadora Científica de Productos No Maderables, Proyecto Manejo de Cativales y Productos No Maderables con Comunidades Campesinas e Indígenas en Darién, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado 2072, Balboa, Panama. Fax: (+507) 232 5978; e-mail:

For more information on the tagua palm, see also under Colombia, p. 29, and Non-Wood News No. 2.


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Después de 16 años de trabajo en la recopilación de información de campo y bibliográfica sobre las plantas nativas utilizadas en el Perú se han obtenido los siguientes resultados:

• Del Perú se conocen alrededor de 25 000 especies de plantas, de 4 230 especies se conocen sus usos para 48 fines diversos. Los usos más importantes son para alimento, medicina, leña, madera, abono, chamanismo, tintes, colorantes, pesticidas naturales, aceites, ictiotóxicos y ornamentales, entre otros.

• Se conocen 787 especies de plantas nativas de uso como alimento, unas 1 300 para medicina tradicional y 1 608 especies como plantas ornamentales.

• La agricultura peruana depende en un 65 por ciento de recursos genéticos nativos, donde se destacan 9 especies de papas (Solanum spp.), el camote (Ipomoea batatas), granos andinos (Chenopodium spp. y Amaranthus), raíces andinas (Arracacia, Pachyrhizus, Oxalis, Ullucus, Tropaeolum), y numerosos frutales. El maíz, un cultivo muy importante, fue traído al Perú hace unos 6 000 años desde América Central y se han desarrollado numerosas variedades locales.

• La ganadería peruana depende en un 95 por ciento de plantas forrajeras nativas, y la ganadería altoandina, especialmente la de camélidos sudamericanos (llama, alpaca, vicuña), depende exclusivamente de los pastos naturales de la puna.

• Cerca del 40 por ciento de la población peruana depende de las plantas nativas medicinales, dado que por las distancias y la pobreza no tiene acceso a los medicamentos modernos.

• El Perú es uno de los grandes centros de origen de plantas silvestres nativas, que llegan a 128 especies, siendo las más conocidas las papas (Solanum spp.), el camote (Ipomoea batatas), la quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), la kiwicha (Amaranthus caudatus), y una diversidad de otros cultivares andinos y amazónicos. Es el principal centro mundial de diversidad genética de papas, camote, granos andinos, raíces andinas y frutales amazónicos (más de 100 especies). También es el segundo centro mundial en variedades de maíz.

• El valor actual calculado del uso de las plantas nativas llega a 4 000 millones de $EE.UU. anuales, lo que representa cerca de 200 $EE.UU. per cápita al año.

Los resultados de la investigación están siendo publicados este año y se espera que el año 1998 estén disponibles en CDROM. (Fuentes: A. Brack. Plantas alimenticias nativas del Perú, Lima, 300 págs. [en prensa]; A. Brack. Potencial botánico del Perú, Lima, 600 págs. [en prensa].)

Contribución por Dr. Antonio Brack, Lima, Perú.
Fax: (+51 1) 4790592;
correo electrónico:


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The Republic of South Africa, and specifically the Gauteng area, has an extensive medicinal plant trade. Because of the informal nature of the trade, it is difficult to estimate the total number of plants used. The Institute for Natural Resources reports that more than 7.5 million plant units (from more than 600 species) are sold annually in 50 shops in Natal. In Gauteng there are at least 200 registered shops. Studies have shown that, of the medicinal species, one is extinct and 39 are endangered or vulnerable and declining. A further 24 species are classified as vulnerable and rare. Fifty-three species are of intermediate status.

A medicinal plant project was started at the Agriculture Research Council-Roodeplaat, because of the simultaneous need for threatened medicinal species (as indicated by the local healer community) and the knowledge of the threat that utilization holds for some of the species. The existing ornamental gene bank (of which many species are used medicinally) was extended to include the important medicinal species in the area. With the help of the traditional healers of Soshanguwe, a priority list of the most needed and difficult to obtain species was drafted. Seventy new species have been introduced to the gene bank since then. The plants in the gene bank are now ready to serve as mother material for the propagation of endangered and sought-after species.

The aim of the project is to supply mother material and propagation skills to people in the community. Propagation methods and advice on which species to grow commercially will be shared. The project is currently working on optimizing mass propagation methods suitable for the small-scale farmer, strengthening its ties with the healer community and searching for funding in order to transfer the technology developed to pickers and other budding medicinal nursery people in the area. (Based on a contribution by: Ms Michele Terblanche, Private Bag X293, Pretoria, South Africa. Fax: (+27 12) 8080844; e-mail: blmmtb@igs1.

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Most of the phytochemicals with insecticidal activity are biodegradable and less harmful to mammals than synthetic insecticides. Therefore, there is a possibility of replacing synthetic insecticides with potent bio-insecticides of plant origin. At the Ceylon Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research work is carried out on the insecticidal and insect-repellent activities of Cymbopogon nardus. A study showed that the mosquito-larvicidal activity of hydrocarbon fractions of citronella oil increased threefold following fractionation of oil. It is thus possible to fractionate the hydrocarbon fraction from Ceylon citronella oil and use it as a mosquito larvicide, even if the bioactivity and stability under field conditions of the residues of fractionation should be investigated. The separation of monoterpene hydrocarbons from Ceylon citronella oil also improves its perfume quality by increasing its total geraniol content.

For more information, please contact K.R. Dayananda, Senior Research Officer, Ceylon Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, PO Box 787, 363 Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka.
Fax: (+94 1) 686567.


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Western United States

In the United States, NWFP use and management have a very long history and continue to be widespread, complex and dynamic, although often overlooked by many public and private forest land managers. A collection of papers was recently put together to address the major issues concerning NWFPs in the United States today, based largely on recent and ongoing research on NWFPs in the Pacific Northwest. The papers are the result of the joint efforts of 11 researchers with training and experience in disciplines as diverse as anthropology, ecology, economics, forestry, geography, mycology and policy science. The aim of the papers is to illustrate the important contribution of these products to post-industrial societies.

These papers will also serve as background documents for the forthcoming international workshop on NWFPs in North America which is planned to be held in November 1998 in Mexico (for more information on this workshop, see under Forthcoming Events, p. 58). A summary of the papers follows.

The cultural and economic importance of NWFPs in different cultures and regions within the United States has been documented in the past. For example, commerce in ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) began in the early 1700s, with roots harvested throughout eastern forests and sold primarily to China. This trade reached a peak of US$6 million in 1875.

The papers describe the economic trends in three major NWFP subsectors today: medicinals, floral greens and wild edibles (including berries and fruits, nuts, tree sap and fungi), as well as the economic scope of specific NWFP markets and how NWFP markets and sources of supply in the United States are tied to global economies. For example, the value of maple syrup production in 1995 was estimated at US$25 million, and the value of mushroom production in Oregon, Washington and Idaho was approximately US$41 million. This expansion in the mushroom industry in the United States is closely linked to a decline in mushroom productivity in areas that formerly supplied European and Japanese markets, and also to increased opportunities for well-capitalized foreign companies to expand into the United States’ wild mushroom markets following reductions in trade barriers with the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The entry of foreign capital has stimulated tremendous growth in the United States’ wild mushroom industry; however, the impact of this growth on United States-based companies has not been documented. Concern has been raised about the consequences of this increased demand for NWFP species and products on the sustainability of forest ecosystems.

Compared with research on timber, recreation and wildlife, NWFP research in the United States is poorly funded, fragmented and limited in scope. However, networks of scientific researchers interested in NWFPs are beginning to form in the United States. The densest node of scientific activity on NWFPs exists in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) region, an area with a large supply and variety of commercially valuable NWFPs and a highly contentious forest management context. The USDA-Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station has been one of the strongest supporters of NWFP research since 1989. Most of the research on NWFPs at the PNW Station has focused on biological studies on commercially important edible fungi and understorey plant species research. Research projects are carried out in collaboration with the National Forest System and other land-management agencies. Partnerships with industry are few, since many that interact most directly with the resource are frequently poorly capitalized and have little time or monetary resources to spare. Nevertheless, projects have been carried out with the help of enthusiastic in-kind support and have generated an array of information. Collaboration has also been established with social scientists to address the social aspects of NWFPs in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, social scientists in the United States are beginning to examine NWFPs within the context of non-traditional economies and community-based strategies for economic development – similar to research that has been going on for some time in other countries.

Some of the socio-economic aspects covered by the research projects include studies on national and international markets for NWFPs, marketing, prices and non-market values (recreational) of NWFPs; socio-economic profile of harvesters and their knowledge and role in the development of rules and regulations governing NWFP harvesting; and policy studies.

These studies have provided information on how the social composition of harvester populations changes as demand for products increases in certain parts of the country; for example, the two major new groups of harvester are Southeast Asian and Hispanic immigrants. Tenure regimes and conflicts are investigated: particular attention is paid to the tensions which have arisen between Native Americans, Euroamericans and recent immigrants over access rights to NWFPs as competition for these previously abundant resources has increased. The issue of the cultural diversity of harvesters is also discussed.

Although harvester and buyer participation in public forest management decisions in the Pacific Northwest has generally been very limited, there is evidence that a variety of harvesters and buyers throughout the region are beginning to organize themselves in order to have a more effective voice in setting scientific research and policy agendas for NWFPs. (Edited and extracted from the following papers.)


Historical overview of NWFP use in the United States. Marla Emery and Shandra Fitzpatrick
NWFPs in local economies: the case of Mason County, Washington.
James Freed

An overview of NWFPs in the United States today. Susan J. Alexander and Rebecca McLain

Developing a comprehensive approach to NWFP research. Nan C. Vance

Contributions of the Pacific Northwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service to NWFP research. Nan C. Vance

Productivity and sustainable harvest of edible forest mushrooms: current biological research and new directions in federal monitoring. Dave Pilz, Mike Amaranthus and Randy Molina

Socio-economic research on NWFPs in the Pacific Northwest. Susan J. Alexander, Keith Blatner and Rebecca J. McLain

Gatherer knowledge and stewardship practices. Marla Emery

Recent trends: NWFP pickers in the Pacific Northwest. Richard Hansis, Eric T. Jones and Rebecca J. McLain

Expanding NWFP harvester/buyer participation in Pacific Northwest forest policy. Rebecca McLain and Eric Jones

Contact addresses:

Susan Alexander, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
Fax: (+1 541) 750 7329;

Mike Amaranthus, USDA-Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Grants Pass, OR 97526, USA.

Keith Blatner, Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resource Sciences, Pullman, WA 99164-6410, USA.
Fax: (+1 509) 335 7862.

Marla Emery, North East Forest Experiment Station, Aiken Forestry Sciences Laboratory, 705 Spear Street,
PO Box 968, Burlington, VT 05402-0968, USA. E-mail:

Shandra Fitzpatrick, East 60 Road of Tralee, Shelton, WA ,USA. E-mail:

James Freed, WSU Extension, 1835 Black Lake Blvd SW, Olympia WA 98512-5623, USA.
Fax: (+1 360) 956 2330;

Richard Hansis, Professor of Anthropology, Washington State University/Vancouver, 14204 NE Salmon Creek Ave., Vancouver, WA 98686, USA.

Eric T. Jones, 22 Finn Street, Northampton, MA 01060, USA.

Rebecca McLain, College of Forest Resources, Box 352100, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
Fax: (+1 206) 685 0790;

Randy Molina, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
Fax: (+1 541) 750 7329.

Dave Pilz, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
Fax: (+1 541) 750 7329;

Nan Vance, Supervisory Plant Physiologist, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, Corvallis OR 97331, USA.

Eastern United States

A programme for the development of NWFPs is being carried out in the Appalachian region, a region rich in diversity and with great potential to support a flourishing NTFP industry. Over 130 plants indigenous to the United States have been used as medicinal or dietary supplements; most of them are found in the Appalachian region.

NTFPs include edible plants, medicinal and dietary supplements, floral products and speciality wood products. Of the 76 tonnes of wild ginseng exported by the United States, 10 percent came from the State of Virginia. The total recorded value of the NTFP industry in Virginia has been estimated at US$35 million.

The objectives of the programme are to: i) increase community involvement in the management of non-timber forest resources; ii) increase the information base of current and potential uses and markets for NTFPs; and iii) increase economic opportunities for local entrepreneurs to market NTFPs on an environmentally sustained basis.

The initial phase began with a pilot study in southwestern Virginia during the winter of 1996/97. Community meetings and educational programmes will start later. The next step is to enlarge the effort to include NTFPs throughout central Appalachia. As the programme achieves full funding, market studies and resource analyses at the regional level will begin and continue during the second year of the programme. During the third year, lessons learned will be shared with the stakeholders and strategies developed at the community level for the sustainable development of NTFP resources.

The overall approach to obtain more information is to use participatory research methods based on those developed to study forest products in South and Southeast Asia. This approach integrates local community needs, concerns and participation in determining how best to manage and market NTFPs on an ecologically sustainable basis.

For more information, please contact Dr A. L. Hammett, Associate Professor, Forest Products Marketing and Coordinator of International Programs for the College, Department of Wood Science and Forest Products, 210 Cheatham Hall, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0323, USA.
Fax: (+1 540) 231 8176;


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The following article presents a case study of a conservation enterprise in the South Pacific. The term "conservation enterprise" usually refers to a business activity that is established with the primary objective of promoting the conservation of a particular resource or ecosystem, and a secondary objective of making at least a modest profit to sustain the conservation incentive and contribute to the economic well-being of the resource owners. Conservation may result either from activities that relieve pressure on the target resource or from a carefully managed use of the target resource itself. This case study is based on the latter example.

The Island Palm Products (IPP) is a conservation enterprise that exports seeds of Vanuatu palms and, in doing so, raises money for the conservation of an endangered endemic palm tree. The IPP is an initiative of the Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific International (FSPI), a regional Pacific NGO.

The target species of the programme is Carpoxylon macrospermum. The palm, endemic to Vanuatu, is listed as highly endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The palm is used and cultivated for a range of purposes including: the ripe fruit for tobacco pipes; the dead leaf tops for brooms; the leaf sheaths for bowls, shovels, mats or baby baths; the young fruit and seedlings for popular and nutritious snacks; and the bark for medicine. The fruit of the palm also serves as a source of food for land crabs and flying foxes, which in turn are eaten by villagers.

FSPI carried out population studies, both in the field and through DNA analysis, which showed the urgent need for action to save the palm and to conserve what little variability is left.

The IPP was established with a twofold objective: through the sale of Carpoxylon macrospermum seeds, to create local economic incentives and awareness that will promote the conservation and replanting of the Carpoxylon palms, and to earn profits that could subsidize in situ conservation activities for the palm.

IPP was capitalized with a total of about US$50 000 from a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grant in October 1995. Full business activities did not initiate until August 1996 when the first product shipments went overseas.

To date, the enterprise has experienced a loss of approximately US$21 000 owing to the initial start-up costs covering marketing, trials and product purchases before any product could be sold. Because of the seasonality of the Carpoxylon seeds, product lines were added to include the marketing of other palm and horticultural products, as well as novelty items such as T-shirts.

Even though the enterprise has not produced profits to date to finance conservation activities, there has been a considerable impact on the conservation of Carpoxylon macrospermum through the increased awareness, in the country and overseas, of the rarity of the palm and the importance of saving it. (Edited from a contribution by: K. Fry, S. Siwibatu and C. Clarkin, FSPI. Case study of a conservation enterprise: Island Palm Products, Ltd.)

For more information, please contact Ms Kathy Fry, Regional Manager, PO Box 951, Port Vila, Vanuatu.
Fax: (+678) 24510;

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