Each year, when preparing Non-Wood News, we are guided by our intention of including information from as many different sources as possible. Through the articles, reports, notes and announcements that we have received and collected over the past year from many people in many countries, we believe that this issue of Non-Wood News once again covers a wide range of issues related to NWFP development worldwide. Among emerging issues and more classical ones, you will read about conservation enterprises in the South Pacific, research on markets and marketing in Africa, economic valuation, non-market values of NWFPs, attempts to regulate bioprospecting and to protect indigenous knowledge from biopiracy, the gender perspective in NWFP management, the question of cultivation and domestication, mushroom research in the United States and mushroom cultivation in the Near East, research on forest ecology and the impact of NWFP harvesting and ecotourism and its impact on indigenous people.
Since we started this bulletin in 1994, the amount of information available on NWFPs has increased each year. We are optimistic that the growing number of scientific and technical activities reflects the increased attention given to NWFPs in sustainable forest management and development. However, besides some positive developments, some main obstacles to the sustainable development of NWFPs are far from being removed. Of the greatest importance is the current weakness of available data on the NWFP sector as a whole, including figures on supply and demand and on the extent and production capacity of non-wood forest resources. FAO places particular emphasis on the need for standardized methodologies for data collection on NWFPs and on the various support activities essential to carry out statistical work.
With the aim of continuing and improving the exchange of ideas and information on NWFPs, and to take advantage of the opportunities offered by an interactive medium such as the Internet, we have expanded our Web site to create an NWFP home page within the FAO Web site. This page presents our programme and activities, but it is also meant to stimulate discussions and reflections on important topics. In a section called "Bulletin board", we invite everybody to participate in the discussion and propose topics. However, for those without access to the Internet, a digest of the most interesting topics discussed will be presented in the next issue of Non-Wood News.
We have received a large number of replies from readers to the survey we carried out last year on organizations and professionals involved in NWFPs worldwide. A directory is under preparation and will be available soon. We hope that this will represent another step towards the building of better partnerships among us all.
For those of you who did not reply to the questionnaire last year, please do not forget to fill in the form included in this issue and return it to us (you may also send your details by e-mail). This will ensure that you continue receiving Non-Wood News and will help us to update our mailing list and thus make the best use of our resources.
Please continue to send your comments, ideas, new experiences and information either through our Internet web page, or by e-mail, fax or simply by letter. We look forward to hearing from you.
Non-Wood News 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 1998, to:
NON-WOOD NEWS - FOPW
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy
home page: www.fao.org
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.
Non-wood forest products (NWFP) are goods of biological origin other than wood, derived from forests, other wooded land and trees outside forests. Non-timber forest products (NTFP), another term frequently used to cover this vast array of animal and plant products, also includes small wood and fuelwood. However, these two terms are used synonymously throughout this bulletin. Other terms, such as “minor”, “secondary” or “speciality” forest products, are sometimes used to keep original names and/or titles.