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We have decided to forfeit our Energy Corner in Non-Wood News to create a sister newsletter: Forest Energy Forum.

The development of wood energy initiatives involves many disciplines, including the forestry and energy sectors and the areas of climatic change and rural development. With Forest Energy Forum, we hope to create a constructive dialogue among the main actors of the different wood energy sectors and disciplines.

FAO, through the Wood Energy Programme of its Forestry Department, has been actively involved in this process for many decades. It has provided technical assistance to member countries for the promotion of sustainable production, equitable market structures and rational utilization of wood fuels as a renewable, locally available source of energy for use in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. Through Forest Energy Forum, we are pleased to continue with our efforts and our contribution to the development of this old, but completely renovated, source which is gradually receiving the attention it deserves.

In this way, the experience shared with our colleagues of Non-Wood News, through the four issues published since 1994, is consolidated and expanded through Forest Energy Forum in the hope of reinforcing our contribution and making a new energy and forestry order which is more in tune with society’s needs – an aim we all desire.

We would like Forest Energy Forum to become a regular meeting point every six months. Meanwhile, between one issue and another, we wish to maintain contact. Please send your comments, ideas, new experiences, projects and information either through our Internet web page, or by e-mail, fax or just simply by letter to the address below. We look forward to hearing from you!

M.A. Trossero, Senior Forestry Officer (Wood Energy), Wood and Non-Wood Products Utilization Branch, Forest Products Division, Forestry Department, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. Fax: (+39 6) 570 55618; e-mail:

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The latest edition of the biennial FAO overview, State of the World’s Forests (SOFO), was published in 1997.

State of the World’s Forests 1997 presents information on the current status of the world’s forests, major developments over the reporting period (1995-1997) and recent trends and future directions in the forestry sector.

NWFPs are dealt with in SOFO 1997. The following paragraph is extracted from the executive summary:

"While wood is the predominant commercial product from forests, recently increased attention has been paid to the actual and potential economic role of non-wood forest products (NWFPs). Although their use is poorly quantified and their value is generally underestimated in national accounts, the importance of NWFPs to household and local economies, particularly among the poor in developing countries, is increasingly recognized, as is their potential for greater commercialization. Currently at least 150 NWFPs are significant in international trade, for a total estimated value of US$11 100 million. Expanding trade in NWFPs would favour developing countries, which are the main suppliers to international markets. Consistent policies and governmental support needed for sustainable commercial development of NWFPs, however, are still lacking in most countries."

For copies of State of the World’s Forests 1997, please contact Sales and Marketing Group, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.
Fax: (+39 6) 570 53152;

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The IUCN/SSC Medicinal Plant Specialist Group has recently published the first volume of the Medical plant conservation bibliography. The bibliography includes 774 references and 71 reviews, and is indexed by general, geographic and taxonomic keywords (see also Non-Wood News No. 4). The bibliography is available as printed copy and on diskette.

For orders, please contact Dr Andreas Groeger, c/o Bundesamt für Naturschutz, Konstantinstrasse 110, D 53179, Bonn, Germany.
Fax: (+49 228) 9543470;
IUCN Publications Services Unit, 219c Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, CB3 0DL, UK.
Fax: (+44 1223) 277175.

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The IUCN/SSC Medicinal Plant Specialist group has published, jointly with the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, the Directory for medicinal plant conservation. The directory, edited by M. Kasparek, A. Groeger and U. Schippmann, provides information on more than 200 networks, organizations and projects worldwide, dealing with research, management, policy-making and conservation of medicinal plants. Key journals and databases in the field are highlighted. (Source: Biological Conservation Newsletter No. 167.)

The directory is available from the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation at BfN-Schriftenvertrieb, im Landwirtschaftverlag GmbH, Postfach 48 02 49, D 48079, Münster, Germany.
Fax: (+49 2501) 801204.


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There have been very few studies on the use of medicinal plants for treating animals. One such study is Traditional veterinary practice in Africa in which the traditional veterinary use of about 900 plant species in various parts of the continent is detailed. This book is based on the evaluation of existing and hitherto scattered literature and is also useful for human medicine (especially for field studies), since the vernacular names of many species that are also used for treating humans are included. A further book, African medicinal plants – ethnoveterinary uses, biological, pharmacological, toxicological and chemical properties, which is likewise useful for both human and veterinary medicine, is due to be published soon. This is a reference work of over 1 000 African medicinal plants used in traditional human as well as veterinary medicine. The two books have been sponsored by the German Technical Agency (GTZ), with additional sponsorship for the second book by the Berlin Free University.

For more information, please contact the editor, Dr Nsekuye Bizimana, Grainauerstrasse 13, 10777 Berlin, Germany.
Tel./fax: (+49 30) 211 35 99.


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The African Ethnobotany Network was officially launched at the 15th Association for the Taxonomic Study of the Flora of Tropical Africa (AETFAT) Conference in Harare, Zimbabwe, in early 1997. One of the aims of the network is the promotion of dialogue and action among individual ethnobotanists and small groups of active researchers and managers.

Both African researchers and interested researchers and managers from overseas who have close working relationships with groups in Africa are invited to join and contribute to the network.

People who are interested in knowing more about activities related to ethnobotany and the sustainable use of plant resources in Africa may join this network by sending a brief note to UNESCO.
Please contact:
People and Plants Team, Division of Ecological Sciences, Man and the Biosphere Programme, UNESCO, 7 place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris Cedex 07 SP, France.
Fax: (+33 1) 45685804;


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On 30 September 1997, the European Patent Office (EPO) delivered a favourable interim judgement on the challenge made by Dr Vandana Shiva (Director of the Research Foundation), Ms Magda Alvoet (leader of the Green Group of the European Parliament), and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) of the Neem Campaign, to a European patent on the fungicidal effects of neem oil owned by W. R. Grace & Co. For India, this optimistic development comes close on the heels of the repeal of the Turmeric patent (No. 5 401504) on 23 August 1997, after the United States Patent Office found the claim to novelty to be false.

The Neem Campaign, consisting of a group of NGOs and individuals, was initiated in 1993 in India to mobilize worldwide support to protect indigenous knowledge systems and resources from piracy, particularly in light of the emerging threats from intellectual property rights regimes under the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The neem patent became the first case to challenge European and United States patents on grounds of biopiracy. (Source: Extracted from a message from Dr Vandana Shiva in: ntfp-biocultural-digest, 31 October 1997, Vol. 01, No. 065.)


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The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) is a centre of excellence for research in insect science and its application in the tropics with a focus on Africa. The centre’s mandate includes the protection and utilization of commercial insects for the sustainable development of small-scale farmers, particularly women. ICIPE is working towards the development of technologies to provide additional food sources and to increase rural incomes in Africa. In addition, it acts as a nucleus for research which addresses basic problems in commercial insect production and utilization while seeking to conserve the genetic diversity of insects in Africa, serves as a clearing house for pertinent information on commercial insects and provides assistance to local governments in research and development efforts. The centre also organizes workshops on the conservation and utilization of commercial insects.

For more information, please contact Mr Hans R. Herren, Convenor and Director General, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), PO Box 30772, Nairobi, Kenya.
Fax: (+254 2) 860110/803360;


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The purpose of this list is to promote the advancement of knowledge about human dimensions of worldwide non-timber forest product (NTFP) use. The list invites the participation of natural and social scientists, temperate and tropical interests, governmental and non-governmental organizations, commercial and non-commercial sectors, and any other entity with an interest in NTFP issues. It can be used to share research materials, event announcements, funding, job and training opportunities, relevant newsletters and news in general regarding non-timber forest products. Postings are conveniently digested and distributed as single e-mails to your account. Although NTFP businesses are encouraged to participate in discussions, the list is not to be used for promoting and selling goods and services.

All messages are archived and can be retrieved by any list member. There is no cost to join.

To subscribe to this list send a message to: and in the body of the message put:
subscribe ntfp-biocultural-digest <your e-mail>. Should you encounter any problems, please contact Mr Eric Jones at:


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The International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO) Research Group 4.02 (Forest Resources Inventory and Monitoring) is developing a set of guidelines for designing multiple resource inventories. The work is supported by the European Forest Institute, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, and the city of Joensuu (Finland), in addition to IUFRO. Multiple resource inventories are those designed to meet the information needs of two or more sectors, such as forestry and wildlife, forestry and agriculture (including agroforestry and non-timber forest products), wildfire and livestock needs.

As part of the development, a worldwide survey is being conducted of people who are either using multiple resource inventories or who are interested in doing so.

For more information, please contact Mr H. Gyde Lund, Research Forester, 8221 Thornwood Ct, Manassas, VA 20110-4627, USA.
Tel.: (+1 703) 368 7219;


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The Nuriuan project in the Meseta P’urepecha in north-central Mexico, sponsored by the Centro Regionale d’Intervento per la Cooperazione (CRIC), an NGO based in southern Italy, helps the P’urepecha indigenous community to achieve food and medical self-sufficiency by following sustainable practices, respecting the environment and their traditional culture. The project has created a live-in college for indigenous students. The college, which has about 100 students, has started biological farming activities to produce staple foods (maize, cereals and pulses) and forage to sustain both the students and part of the community.

One important activity of the project has concentrated on traditional medicine practised by the community. After a survey was carried out to find out what plants the community used to cure their health problems, the project made an inventory of pharmacological resources available in the area around the college. A working group, consisting of three students (attending their last year at the college) working as nurses and three Nahuas healers, has investigated the most common diseases in the area and has started to produce galenic medicines (26 products – creams, balms, syrups, dried plants and others) obtained from plants collected around the school and the village. This activity has been quite successful and the school laboratory has rapidly become a health centre for the village, filling an important gap left by poorly functioning local health centres.

For more information on the Nuriuan project, please contact Mr Fulvio Oate Gioanetto,
Centro Regionale d’Intervento per la Cooperazione (CRIC), 12 Via Monsolini, 89100 Reggio Calabria, Italy.
Fax: (+39 965) 812560;


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The Applied Environmental Research Foundation (AERF) is an Indian NGO founded by research scientists from various disciplines (ethnobotany, genetics, geography, ecology, agronomy and social science), together with non-scientists. AERF’s current projects are:

• Studies on Sacred Groves of Northern Western Ghats, India, to develop a sustainable forest management model through people’s participation. This is part of AERF’s work on traditional forest conservation methods in India.

• Nagaland Economic Development Project through people’s participation. This is a joint project of the Government of Nagaland and the India-Canada Environmental Facility. An extensive biodiversity survey of Nagaland is being carried out as well as the training of local people for a better understanding and sustainable use of natural resources.

• Ethnobiological studies of primitive Konyak Nagas from northern Nagaland.

In addition, AERF is developing cultivation methods for various wild medicinal plants and multipurpose trees.

For more information, please contact Mr Archana Godbole, Applied Environmental Research Foundation, Ganga – Tara Apt, 917/7, Ganesh Wadi, near British Council Library, Pune 411 004, India.
Fax: (+91 212) 639203.


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A new undergraduate B.Sc. course, Natural Products and Materials, has been developed at the Bangor School of Agricultural and Forest Sciences in the United Kingdom. The Natural Products and Materials degree course is an applied science discipline with strengths in both the biological and the chemical science disciplines and is ideal for those interested in environmentally sound uses of natural resources. The course is offered by the School of Agricultural and Forest Sciences but is a combined course which also includes the strengths of the School of Biological Sciences and the Department of Chemistry. Students take a number of courses from all three but can choose to specialize in a biological science-rich or a chemistry-rich degree.

The emphasis of the degree is very much on plant and microbial-based products and materials, ranging from interesting fibre and polymer sources to fine fragrances and pharmaceuticals. Transgenic products are also considered.

The course is due to start in September 1998.

For more information, please contact Dr Mike Hale, B.Sc. Natural Products and Materials, School of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, UK.
Fax: (+ 44 1248) 354997;


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An Overseas Development Administration (UK) project related to the use of bamboo in construction aims to promote its widespread and efficient use, with emphasis on the provision of shelter in developing countries.

The objectives of the project are to: i) gather and review existing information on the structural utilization of bamboo, including research and development work; ii) highlight the key aspects of bamboo used for construction purposes; iii) collate and review information on bamboo preservation and construction techniques; iv) evaluate at first hand relevant bamboo construction projects worldwide; and v) produce a guide on the use of bamboo in construction.

All information gathered, together with the project’s outputs, including the guide, will be made available to interested parties free of charge.

Inquiries and suggestions should be addressed to Mr Lionel Jayanetti, Overseas Operations, TRADA Technology Ltd, Stocking Lane, Hughenden Valley, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4ND, UK.
Fax: (+44 1494) 565487;


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Established in 1993 with the support of the MacArthur Foundation, the Andean Network linked four American organizations promoting the sustainable use of natural forest resources: Fundación Inguedé in Colombia, CIDESA in Ecuador, Alternative Trade of Non-Traditional Products and Development in Latin America (CANDELA) in Peru and Conservation International (CI). The aims were to support the development of products and markets, plus effective monitoring and evaluation systems for non-timber forest products, through information exchange and jointly managed projects. All of the participants were already active in the field; the network was an experiment in increasing effectiveness through collaboration (see also Non-Wood News No. 2.)

In the four years since 1993, each member has used the opportunity to increase its activities and strengthen its institution. The number of products coming to market has increased significantly and includes, for example, handmade paper (Fundación Inguedé), tagua palm jewellery (CIDESA), Brazil nut pod candles (CANDELA). CI provides scientific, technical and marketing support through its regional and Washington, DC, offices. The marketing environment has become more favourable each year, with an increasing preference for natural products and awareness of the impact of international trade on conservation. But a parallel trend of higher quality standards, tighter trade legislation, ever greater competition and the requirement for excellent communications and fulfilment place high demands on small-scale forest-based enterprises to respond fully to the opportunity.

The network is concentrating its emphasis on three areas where collaboration increases efficiency. The first is training. CI is planning a training course and writing a manual on how to set up a conservation enterprise. The second area is marketing. Market studies can benefit a large number of producers; and market contacts can provide opportunities for those who have an attractive offer. The third area is monitoring and evaluation. As conservation business grows, and as more and more companies make environmental claims, it is vital to develop good tools for monitoring the impact of business activity.

The specific agenda of the network has changed since it started, but the broad goals remain the same: to build enterprises which are economically sound, ecologically beneficial and socially equitable. This is what the network understands by sustainable. (Based on a contribution by: Mr Edward Millard, Coordinator, Andean Network, Conservation International, 2501 M Street, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20037, USA. Fax: (+1 202) 331 9328; e-mail:


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The Women’s Association for Natural Medicinal Therapy (WAINIMATE) is an NGO working to conserve medicinal plants, to promote the use of safe and effective traditional medicines and to ensure that indigenous traditional medicinal knowledge and practices are respected and protected.

Activities carried out by WAINIMATE in 1997 include: the organization of four Herbs for Health Workshops in Fiji; the launching of a strategic planning process which will result in the development of an Action Plan for the year 2000; and the organization of a traditional medicine display and demonstration at the Pacific Science Intercongress, which was held in July 1997 at the University of the South Pacific, Fiji.

WAINIMATE also publishes a newsletter, WAINIBULA.

For more information, please contact WAINIMATE, Private Mail Bag, Suva, Fiji.


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TRIFED is a new organizational concept for the sustainable exploitation of nature’s bounty through tribal people.

The Government of India set up TRIFED with the objective of achieving the economic welfare of tribal populations by providing remunerative prices to them for the produce they collect/cultivate. TRIFED is engaged in the marketing of agricultural and forest products collected/cultivated by tribal populations all over the country and has 15 offices all over India, as well as a network of federations at state level through which it operates.

The present turnover is approximately Rs 2.5 billion, out of which exports account for Rs 125 million (US$1 = Rs 39.2, January 1998). The following products are marketed by TRIFED:

Product lines: Niger seed (Guizotia abyssinica); cashew nuts (Anacardium occidentale); gum karaya (Sterculia urens); turmeric (Curcuma longa); shellac (Laccifer lacca); black pepper (Piper nigrum); ginger (Zingiber officinale); neem seed/oil (Azadirachta indica); tamarind (Tamarindus indica); sal seed (Shorea robusta); red chilli (Capsicum annuum).

Medicinal herbs: myrobalan (Terminalia chebula); safed musli (Asparagus adscendens); puwad seed (Cassia tora); Amla (Emblica officinalis); sarpgandha (Rauvolfia serpentina); annato seed (Bixa orellana); shikakai (Acacia concina); soap nuts (Sapindus emerginatus).

De-oiled cakes (extraction or meals) of: sal; mango kernel; soybean; rapeseed; castor seed; Niger seed, etc.

Other products: honey; castor seed; white sorghum; handicrafts.

For more information, please contact Mr Amit Bhatnagar (Export Manager), TRIFED, N.C.U.I. Building, 2nd Floor,
3 Siri Institutional Area, Khel Gaon Marg, New Delhi 110016, India.
Fax: (+91 11) 6866149.


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Following the successful workshop on Ziziphus mauritiana held in conjunction with the Semi-Arid Lands of West Africa (SALWA) centre of the International Center for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) in Bamako, Mali, in June 1997, a second workshop on Ziziphus is being planned for southern/eastern Africa in June 1998. The workshop leader will be Dr B.B. Vashishta of the Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI) in Jodhpur, India, who over the last 30 years has bred a number of varieties which yield large quantities of high-quality fruits.

For further information, please contact Mr Arnie Schlissel, Administrative Coordinator, International Programme for Arid Land Crops (IPALAC), c/o Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, PO Box 653, Beer Sheva, Israel 84105.
Fax: (+972 7) 647 2984;


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The Asia Forest Network supports the role of communities in the protection and sustainable use of the region’s natural forests. The network comprises a coalition of Asia’s planners, foresters and scientists from government agencies, universities and NGOs. The network’s research emphasis includes the ecology of natural regeneration, the economics of NTFP systems and community organizations and institutional arrangements that support participatory management. Lessons stemming from this research are used to update field implementation procedures, reorient training and guide policy reform. (Source: Rural Development Forestry Network Newsletter, Winter 1996/97.)

For more information, please contact Center for Southeast Asia Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 2223 Fulton Street #617, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
Fax: (+1 510) 643 7062.


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The Standard NTFP classification and documentation manual has been prepared by the Centre for Minor Forest Products (COMFORPTS) in Dehra Dun, India. The manual is the result of three years’ work by COMFORPTS and was finalized during the South and East Asian NTFP Network (SEANN) Workshop, organized by COMFORPTS in November 1996. The classification and documentation manual is meant for use by all people involved in NTFPs. The manual will soon be available on the Internet.

For more information, please contact Dr M.P. Shiva, President and Managing Director, Centre of Minor Forest Products, HIG-2, No. 8, Indirapuram, PO Majra, Dehra Dun 248 171, India.
Fax: (+91 0135) 629936;


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The main aim of the Seed Savers’ Network (featured in Non-Wood News No. 4) is to preserve agricultural biological diversity in collaboration with individual farmers, gardeners and community groups. In this way, Seed Savers has helped put the conservation of original useful plants (fruits and medicinal plants, among others) on the public agenda. Seed Savers recently organized training in Cambodia for village, district and provincial trainers on how to conserve traditional varieties of useful plants; they also conducted a seminar in Phnom Penh for government and NGO staff on community seed banking and community-based seed production. As a result, training programmes with both government and NGO agencies and strategies for improving seed collection, storage and distribution methods are being devised with the collaboration of several NGOs which have established programmes on community development, sustainable agriculture and forest protection.

The Seed Savers’ Network held its Tenth Annual Conference on 25-26 October 1997, followed by a six-day Plant Diversity Survival Course for seed savers, bankers and development workers, 27 October - 1 November, at Byron Bay, Australia.

For more information, please contact Seed Savers’ Network, Box 975, Byron Bay, NSW 2481, Australia.
Tel./fax: (+61 266) 856 624;


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The recent FAO publication Non-wood forest products: tropical palms, Non-Wood Forest Products Series No. 10, is entirely devoted to this important category of non-wood forest product-yielding species. The publication, prepared by Dennis Johnson, also includes a directory of palm specialists worldwide.

FAO, within its mandate as the global centre for technical information exchange and networking on sustainable development, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, will establish a Global Palm Network on the Internet. This electronic network will represent a forum whereby all institutions, private firms, organizations or individuals doing research on the various aspects of palms will be able to share information on their projects, publications, events, etc. In the initial phase, the current proposal is that the network would include ten interactive databases: researchers; institutions; herbarium collections; living collections; DNA samples; events; literature; ongoing projects; discussion fora; and images.

The need to share updated information on ongoing palm research has been evident for a long time. For the most important palms, some networks and associations already exist, including the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC), the Tsukuba Sago Fund and the Bureau for the Development of Research on Tropical Perennial Oil Crops: Oil Palm and Coconut (BUROTROP). The International Palm Society and several smaller societies include a number of palm researchers among their members.

Whereas all these organizations offer a good scenario for scientists to share information in their specific fields, no forum exists today where all researchers dealing with the multiple aspects of palms can meet.

The network will be accessible through the FAO home page on the World Wide Web:

For more information on the network, please contact Mr Manuel Sánchez, Animal Production Officer, Animal Production and Health Division, Agriculture Department, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100, Rome, Italy.
Fax: (+39 6) 570 56088;


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The Netherlands Committee for the World Conservation Union (NC-IUCN) administers funds received from the Netherlands Ministry of Development Cooperation (DGIS) for small grants for NGOs to implement the Tropical Rainforest Programme of the Netherlands Government.

These funds are specifically intended to support projects in the field of conservation and sustainable management of tropical rain forests, set up and implemented by NGOs, preferably from rain forest countries.

Since the programme’s inception (now approximately three years), IUCN has received several hundred project proposals and the programme has been able to support approximately 200 of them. Most are small-scale, local, forest conservation initiatives.

Project proposals have to comply with established criteria and format; in addition, projects will be allocated respecting a balanced division of funds between regions and priority themes. Deadlines for the receipt of proposals are: 1 January, 1 May and 1 September.

For more information, please contact Netherlands Committee for IUCN/Tropical Rainforest Programme,
TRP Secretariat, Plantage Middenlaan 2B, 1018 DD Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Fax: (+31 20) 626 1732;


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The Netherlands Committee for the World Conservation Union (NC-IUCN) has recently produced a publication entitled Non-timber forest products from the tropical forests of Africa: a bibliography. With this publication (which provides an overview of literature available on NTFPs up to January 1997), NC-IUCN hopes to facilitate and encourage the work of government institutions, NGOs and others who wish to engage in studies or activities on NTFPs in tropical Africa.

The bibliography is restricted to the tropical forests of Africa: the tropical lowland forests, swamp forests, montane forests and mangroves of West, Central and East Africa and Madagascar.

The bibliography is divided into three parts: references relevant to i) the African continent and supranational regions;
ii) specific countries; and iii) to the subject in general.

For more information, and for copies of the bibliography, please contact Mr Wim Bergmans, Secretary NC-IUCN, Plantage Middenlaan 2B, 1018 DD Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Fax: (+31 20) 627 9349;


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Imataca is a forest reserve of 3.6 million ha located at the foot of the Guayana Shield in northeastern Venezuela. It is covered with rich, pristine tropical forests, but is also rich in gold, diamonds, iron ore, bauxite, manganese, and other minerals. Its wealth of ecosystems, biodiversity and genetic resources is rivalled by few places on earth and is one of the key legacies to future generations of Venezuelans.

Its protection is a matter of national interest. A Venezuelan Government plan to start mining within the Imataca Forest Reserve has generated a heated national debate, owing to resistance encountered among the general public, political and academic circles and environmental and social groups. In an unprecedented measure, the Executive Branch of Government distributed the lands of the Forest Reserve of Imataca to loggers and miners, condemning local indigenous people to be prisoners in their own terrain, violating national regulations and international agreements on human rights and environmental protection. The case is before the Supreme Court of Justice. (Source: Julio Cesar Centeno, Las Tapias, Edif. Carreto, Pent House, PO Box 750, Mérida, Venezuela.
Fax: (+58 74) 714576; e-mail:

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An article in TRAFFIC Bulletin reports on two Trade Records and Analysis of Flora and Fauna in Commerce (TRAFFIC) studies covering the burgeoning trade in native North American medicinal plants and the potential implications of such trade for the long-term survival of wild plant populations in the United States and Canada.

One of the studies is reviewing the harvest, trade, conservation status and management of wild American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) in the United States and Canada. Despite regulatory controls, wild American ginseng is heavily exploited and the efficacy of state protection programmes has been questioned. During the first phase of the project, production and trade data will be collected and analysed and a review of state compliance with federal requirements for the exports of ginseng will be made.

The second project, carried out together with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), focuses on other native North American medicinal plants sold in the United States and Canada. It involves two phases: the compilation of baseline market information, and the preparation of a priority list of commercially important taxa that are at risk from overcollection, habitat loss or both. (Source: TRAFFIC Bulletin, Vol. 16, No. 3, 1997.)

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The first edition of the Bibliographic Bulletin of the National Forest Programmes was issued in September 1997 by the Documentation and Information Centre of the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide updated information on forest policies and national priority issues in Latin America and the Caribbean, thus contributing to the achievement of sustainable forest management in the region. The bulletin aims to inform the actors involved in the national forest programmes on the documentation available, where to find it and from whom to request it.

The bulletin also includes a list of contact persons for the National Forest Programmes in all countries of the region.

For more information, please contact Ms Sari Sirviö, Associate Professional Officer, or Ms Patricia Legües, Librarian, Documentation and Information Centre of the National Forest Programmes of the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (CDIRLC), Project GCP/RLA/127/NET, Avenida Dag Hammarskjöld 3241, Vitacura, Casilla 10095,
Santiago, Chile.
Fax: (+56 2) 3372101;


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The Indonesia Network for Plant Conservation (INetPC) was established in April 1994 as a Kebun Raya Indonesia (KRI-Indonesian Botanic Gardens) task force to facilitate communication and cooperation between conservation organizations, groups, institutions and individuals working in Indonesia and their international counterparts. The INetPC provides the following services: triennial newsletter, Eksplorasi; membership database; resource library; annual conferences, seminars, workshops and informal meetings; cooperative research; publication and translation.

For more information, please contact INetPC-Indonesia, Kebun Raya Bogor, PO Box 309, Bogor 16003, Indonesia.
Fax: (+62 251) 322 187;


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The Western Oregon Special Forest Products Council (WOSFPC) was created in 1991 to identify and address issues, concerns and opportunities regarding the harvesting and management of special forest products on public lands, primarily in Oregon, United States. WOSPFC is open to all.

For more information, please contact Mr John Davis, Zigzag Ranger District, 70220 E Hwy, Zigzag,
OR 97049, USA.
Tel.: (+1 503) 622 3191.


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In an effort to reduce the risks of "biopiracy" from companies prospecting for biological diversity in the Philippines, a Presidential Executive Order was issued in May 1997 which set rules to regulate the activities of local and foreign companies in this sensitive field. The guidelines issued are meant to enforce the articles of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Companies are required to seek "prior informed consent" from cultural communities and from residents of areas where the specimens are to be collected. Bioprospectors are also required to secure an endorsement from the Inter-agency Committee on Biological and Genetic Resources, which processes applications for research agreements, and to inform the government and affected local and indigenous cultural communities of all "discoveries" arising from their bioprospecting.

In the case of indigenous species, "technology must be made available to a designated Philippine institution and can be used commercially and locally without paying collector or principal".

The Philippines is the only country so far in the nine-member ASEAN to issue guidelines on bioprospecting. Other ASEAN members are: Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Laos, Viet Nam and Myanmar. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila, 17 September 1997.)

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A travelling exhibition, Rainforests for Health: the Health Consequences of Rainforest Degradation, will be distributed in Ghana and India in 1998 by the Rainforest Medical Foundation. The exhibition will be hosted by the Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine in Mampong-Akwapim (Ghana) and the Foundation for the Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT) in Bangalore, India.

The main themes of the exhibition are: i) the significance (and loss) of medicinal plants for both traditional health care and Western medicine;
ii) "diseases" of deforestation, such as malaria, human monkeypox and logging casualties; and iii) the fate of the forest peoples, as illustrated, for example, by the case of the Yanomami Indians. Some emphasis is being put on attempts to harmonize traditional and Western health care systems.

Medicinal plants are also being considered as an important component of the economically valuable NTFPs. The concept of biodiversity prospecting is viewed as a means of collaboration between the North and the South. Indigenous property rights and profit sharing represent important issues. Data are provided to confirm the World Health Organization’s postulate that herbal medicines can be less expensive than their pharmaceutical equivalents.

The India tour started in February 1998 at FRLHT’s International Conference on Medicinal Plants (see under Recent Events, p. 56). The Ghana exhibition is expected to start in April 1998 and, it is hoped, will also make a stop in Uganda. Both tours will last about six months.

For more information, please contact Rainforest Medical Foundation, Einthovenlaan 8, 2105 TJ Heemstede, the Netherlands.
Tel./fax: (+3 23) 5280081;


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Plantas do Nordeste (PNE) is a multidisciplinary research programme which contributes to the identification and sustainable use of plant resources in northeastern Brazil (see also previous editions of Non-Wood News). PNE combines conservation and improvement of ecosystems with positive socio-economic benefits to the local community.

PNE has recently produced the following publications: Forage plants of caatinga: use and potential (by José Luciano de Lima); Improvement management system of the caatinga, Coppicing in the caatinga, Pollarding in the caatinga and Multiple use of trees in the caatinga (by João Ambrósio de Araújo Filho); Forage plants of Bacia do Paraíba: uses and chemical composition (by Maria do P. Socorro C. Bona do Nascimento); Make your own medicinal plant garden as well as illustrated folders on eight medicinal plants (by Francisco José de Abreu Matos); Medicinal plants of Cariris Velho – the common species (by Maria Fátima Agra).

For copies of these publications, please contact Plantas do Nordeste (PNE), Avenida Gen. Martín, 1371 IPA, Bloco 7, Bonji, 50761-000 Recife, PE, Brazil.
Tel./fax: (+55 81) 445 3003;


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The French newspaper Le Monde has reported an action by the environmentalist association, Robin des Bois, against the French firm, Chanel. Robin des Bois, which is known for its campaign against the use of tropical timbers, is now active in the protection of tropical fragrances. Robin des Bois has asked Chanel to stop using the rosewood oil (obtained from pau rosa Aniba duckei, see also Non-Wood News No. 2) in its famous perfume Chanel No. 5. The association has threatened to launch a boycott campaign against Chanel if it does not guarantee to stop using rosewood oil. Aniba duckei, a forest species of the Amazonia, is on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. (Source: Le Monde, October 1997.)

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Researchers at the USDA Pacific Northwest Research Station are conducting studies on the biology and ecology of mushrooms aimed to provide managers and harvesters with the tools, information and understanding needed to manage this resource efficiently. Research topics include:

• Estimates of mushroom production. This is needed to ensure that harvests are sustainable and to determine the influence of forest management practices on fruiting and long-term population viability. The description of annual variation in productivity and seasonal abundance as related to macro- or micro-environmental factors will facilitate local and seasonal management of the commercial harvest. Characterization of productivity by habitat type will allow long-term regional planning for continued mushroom harvests as the mosaic of forest ages and composition shifts across the landscape.

• The effect of harvests and methods of harvest and associated activities such as raking, trampling and removing of wood debris on subsequent mushroom fruiting.

Research will also focus on further understanding the physiology, habitat requirements, reproductive biology, genetic diversity, population dynamics, ectomycorrhizal host interaction and ecosystem role of edible forest fungi. (Source:

For more information, please contact Mr Randy Molina, Team Leader, Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station, US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, 3200 Jefferson Way, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.


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The People and Plants Initiative of WWF, UNESCO and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is now in its second phase. This phase, running from 1996 to 2000, includes programmes on applied ethnobotany in Africa, the Himalayas, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Issue No. 3 of the People and plants handbook – on community and environmental education – has been published. Issue No. 4 is under preparation, with the focus on methods of assessing biological resources and local knowledge.

For more information, please contact Mr Gary Martin, People and Plants Initiative, BP 262 Marrakesh –
Medina, Morocco.
Fax: (+212 4) 301511;


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Fundación AMBIO is an NGO based in San José, Costa Rica, whose main goal is to create environmental consciousness and responsibility in civil society. In order to achieve this task, AMBIO has encouraged agricultural producers and foresters to perform environmentally sound practices in order to reduce the ecological, economic and social impact these activities generate. In addition, AMBIO has participated in a national process that developed sustainable forest management standards. Since these standards focus mainly on wood products, AMBIO is also encouraging the development of sustainable management standards for national NTFPs.

Each NTFP presents a unique reality; therefore, in order to achieve effective and adequate standards, AMBIO will focus first on one or two products. Because of this, the first step to be taken is to scan the reality of NTFPs in Costa Rica by analysing which products exist, what are the levels of extraction, what is the level of commercialization (local, national or international), if they are naturally extracted or plantation grown, what is the social context, etc. This will enable AMBIO to determine which products are most suited for the development of sustainable management standards. The development of standards would be performed by an interdisciplinary group involving universities, governmental institutions and NGOs representing civil society and producers. (Based on a contribution by: Mr Felipe Carazo, Fundación AMBIO, Apdo. 1487-1002, Sv. 10 y 10 bis, Calle 23, San José, Costa Rica. E-mail:


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The first issue of MEDUSA Newsletter was published in June 1997. MEDUSA (featured in Non-Wood News No. 4) is a network of the Mediterranean region established by the Centre International de Hautes Etudes Agronomiques Méditérranéennes (CIHEAM) and the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICh), with the support of the EU Directorate General I, for the identification, conservation and sustainable use of the wild plants of the region.

The newsletter includes articles and notes about the plants, the organizations involved in their study, their utilization and conservation, projects and initiatives, news of meetings held and forthcoming as well as notices of books and relevant new literature.

For more information, please contact the Editor, Prof. Vernon H. Heywood, School of Plant Sciences, University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 221, Reading RG6 AS, UK.
Fax: (+44 118) 989 1745;


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The South Pacific Regional Initiative on Forest Genetic Resources (SPRIG) aims to strengthen the national capacity of developing countries in the South Pacific in the areas of collection, assessment, improvement and conservation of priority forest genetic resources. The project is managed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Forestry and Forest Products with major funding support being provided by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). The pilot project will run for three years and started on 1 December 1996. The project works principally with the forestry departments of four countries: Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.

Santalum was identified as a priority genus by forestry department representatives of South Pacific countries at the first SPRIG meeting held in Nadi, Fiji, in December 1996. The focus of SPRIG-supported sandalwood research is on genetic variation in the Pacific of Santalum spp., notably S. austrocaledonicum in Vanuatu and New Caledonia and S. yasi in Fiji and Tonga, but also S. macgregorii from Papua New Guinea. Santalum album has performed well in older trials in Fiji and will also be included in field trials. Sandalwood research within SPRIG will be undertaken in close collaboration with the International Cooperation Centre on Agrarian Research for Development (CIRAD-Forêt) in New Caledonia and the Pacific Islands Forest and Trees Support Programme (SPC/FAO).

Comprehensive, well-documented seed collections from throughout the natural range of each species will provide the basis for the sandalwood research in SPRIG. Once comprehensive seed collections have been assembled, field trials will be undertaken in each of the collaborating South Pacific countries. The principal objective of the field trials will be to investigate growth performance and adaptability of each of the species and provenances. At a later stage in the trials, e.g. at ten years, it is anticipated that evaluations of heartwood development and oil yield and composition will be undertaken. Field trials will also be used to assess the relative merits of different permanent host species, especially from the genera Casuarina and Acacia.

Research on genetic variation in Santalum yasi has started at the University of South Pacific. One output of the research will be the development of a strategy to conserve and manage the genetic resources in S. yasi. The Forest Conservation Unit, in the Vanuatu Forestry Department, has begun to develop a similar strategy for S. austrocaledonicum.

Another major research focus is on vegetative propagation of Santalum spp. This work is being jointly undertaken by the Queensland Forest Research Institute, which manages the vegetative propagation component of SPRIG, and the Fiji Forestry Department (for S. yasi and S. album) and Vanuatu Forestry Department (for S. austrocaledonicum).

A South Pacific Regional Database of Forest Genetic Resources is being developed within SPRIG, and this database will include comprehensive information on each of the sandalwood species naturally occurring or cultivated in the South Pacific. (Based on a contribution by: Dr Lex Thomson, Team Leader, South Pacific Regional Initiative on Forest Genetic Resources (SPRIG), CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products, PO Box E4008, Kingston, ACT 2604, Australia. Fax: (+61 6) 281 8266; e-mail:


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In India, Simarouba glauca is a non-traditional source of oil which is suitable for human consumption. The species has been found to have great potential for the rehabilitation of country wastelands and to help alleviate the edible oil shortage in such areas. In several states, e.g. Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the cultivation of Simarouba glauca has been carried out successfully.

The kernels, which form 92 percent of the seeds, yield 55 to 60 percent oil on decortication. From a well-established tree of Simarouba glauca, 0.8 to 0.9 tonnes/ha of oil yield can be obtained after seven to eight years of planting.

Seeds of Simarouba glauca can be obtained from the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, Regional Station, Akola, India. (Edited from: D.P. Patel, V.D. Verma, T.R. Loknathan, K.C. Bhatt and J.B. Mishra. Simarouba glauca: a non-traditional oil source. Indian Farming, April 1997.)


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The Regional Programme for Native Andean Forests (PROBONA), co-sponsored by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the Swiss Organization for Development and Cooperation (INTERCOOPERATION), and funded by the Swiss Government, has been working for several years towards the sustainable development of native Andean forests inhabited by local communities (indigenous and rural people and colonists) who tend to overexploit the scarce natural resources in their attempts to eke out a living.

The sustainable use of non-timber forest products is one of the most important components considered by the programme since this involves resources that are renewable in the short term, may be harvested once a year, or even more often, and are more compatible with ecosystem preservation, even though its importance can vary from one forest to another. The main objectives are to provide incentives for local consumption of non-timber-yielding products, thus contributing to the strengthening of native cultures (self-respect and dignity are powerful conditions for success), and to train the population to be ready to add the maximum value possible to the local products, through cultivation and processing.

PROBONA’s projects include the management of products for ornamental purposes (ferns and bromeliads), medicinal products (ethnomedicines), artisan products (ceramics, lianas) and nourishing products (mushrooms, traditional vegetables, native fishes and snails).

The neotropics are especially rich in endemic species; among them, PROBONA has selected ferns and bromeliads. In one of the forests, local people are working with ornamental ferns, which are sold in big cities as death crowns. Since the project began, prices have increased 200 percent, and at the same time management practices have been improved. In addition, different species of bromeliads in various forests have been selected in order to start a process of domestication in nurseries for their commercialization as ornamental plants. Nearly 80 species have been identified (ten of which are endemic) and four are being cultivated based on potential markets. PROBONA is planning a joint production of 80 000 plants per year which will feed the local markets when they have completed their growing cycle (approximately three years) at the rate of 6 000 plants per month. The sustainable "green seal" will represent an additional attraction for buyers.

Finally, a very important topic is the dynamization of traditional ethnomedicine and the elaboration of phytomedicines based on the knowledge and ancient practices of the Andean-Amazonic indigenous peoples. The project includes the following components: social and cultural validation; ecological validation; clinical validation; and chemical validation. To date, 14 plants have been validated, and the first six experimental ethnomedicines have been elaborated. (Edited from an article by: Dr Xavier Izko in EcoForum, Vol. 21, No. 1, March 1997.)

For more information, please contact Dr Xavier Izko, National Coordinator of PROBONA and Chair of the Sustainable Use Initiative – South America (IUCN).


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The FAO-Japan-Pakistan Mithawan Watershed Management Project has worked on the introduction of new grafting techniques for ziziphus. Ziziphus (locally called ber) is found abundantly in the project area, where it is used for its fruits, for fodder and sometimes for fuelwood. The reasons for introducing grafting techniques are the need to: increase the speed of ziziphus reproduction and growth in the areas where they are reduced naturally; and, through grafting, obtain good-quality, large-sized leaves and fruits for marketing at a higher price.

Four improved varieties of ziziphus were procured from the Horticulture Research Station at Dera Ghazi and the Arid Zone Research Station, Bahawalpur.

Local residents were trained in T-grafting and Y-budding techniques, and in after-care techniques. Experiments with grafting have shown a 60 to 80 percent success rate compared with budding of ziziphus. (Edited from a contribution by: Mr Ahmad Hussain, Subdivisional Forest Officer, Mithawan Watershed Management Project.)

For further information, please contact Mr Moujahed Achouri, Chief Technical Adviser, Project GCP/PAK/083/JPN, Irrigation Offices, Circuit House Road, PO Box 3, Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan.
Fax: (+92 641) 65483.


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The gevuina nut (or avellana in Chile) is the kernel of the fruit of Gevuina avellana, a species native to Chile. The species belongs to the Proteaceae family, as does the macadamia. The avellana, in fact, is similar to the macadamia which is, however, adapted to a subtropical rather than a cool climate.

Studies carried out in Chile and New Zealand since 1970 show the multiple uses of this species, particularly for its nut production, but also for its wood, for honey production and for ornamental purposes. The nut has a local market in Chile, where it is eaten fresh or roasted.

The fruit is relatively low in fat and rich in fibres, thus making the gevuina nut an excellent health food. The protein content, after the extraction of oil, is high compared with other nuts. This high protein content makes the gevuina nut interesting for animal feed. The oil extracted from the nuts resembles olive oil in taste, but also has a good potential for the cosmetic industry (a good solar screen has been developed based on the oil). (Edited from: M. Donoso. El avellano, un productor múltiple. Chile Forestal, July 1997.)


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The Richard Evans Schultes Award is presented annually by the Healing Forest Conservancy to a scientist, practitioner or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to ethnobotany or to indigenous people’s issues related to ethnobotany. Specific recognition is given for leadership in partnering with First Nations to bring ethnobotanical knowledge to the forefront in discussions with the Government of Canada on management of the ancient, temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest.

The Healing Forest Conservancy, a non-profit foundation, is dedicated to the conservation of tropical forests, and particularly medicinal plants and their sustainable use for human health. Its focus is to deliver compensation programmes that strengthen the integrity of traditional cultures to native communities that have participated in the drug discovery process of Shaman Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Nominations for the 1998 Richard Evans Schultes Award are open until 1 May 1998. The award seeks a balance in geographic location, gender and field of study for recipients. Nominations of indigenous people or organizations active in this area are especially welcome.

Please submit nominations (of others, if non-self-nominating), together with a statement of the candidates’ qualifications, to Ms Katy Moran, Healing Forest Conservancy, 3521 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA.
Fax: (+1 202) 333 3438;


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The Center for Indigenous Knowledge for Agriculture and Rural Development (CIKARD) at Iowa State University, United States, focuses its activities on preserving and using the local knowledge of farmers and other rural people around the globe. CIKARD was established at Iowa State University in October 1987 to provide mechanisms to strengthen the capacity of domestic and international development agencies involved in projects designed to improve agricultural production and the quality of life in rural areas in cost-effective and sustainable ways. Its goal is to collect indigenous knowledge and make it available to local communities, development professionals and scientists. CIKARD concentrates on indigenous knowledge systems (such as local soil taxonomies), decision-making systems (such as knowledge of which crops are best suited to particular types of soils), organizational structures (such as farmers’ problem-solving groups) and innovations (such as local methods for pest control).

CIKARD’s activities and current programmes are based on the following objectives:

to act as a global clearing-house for collecting, documenting and disseminating information on indigenous knowledge of agriculture, natural resource management and rural development;

to develop cost-effective and reliable methodologies for recording indigenous knowledge;

to conduct training programmes and design materials on indigenous knowledge for extension and other development workers;

to prepare teaching modules based on indigenous knowledge case studies housed at CIKARD for use in primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutes and to conduct interdisciplinary research on indigenous knowledge systems;

to promote the establishment of regional and national indigenous knowledge resource centres; and

to formulate agricultural and natural resource management policies and design technical assistance programmes based on indigenous knowledge.

For more information, please contact CIKARD, 318 Curtiss Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA.
Fax: (+1 515) 294 6058;

The traveller begged for shade: the tree gave it. And then he begged for food: the tree gave it. Then the traveller felt like staying with the tree and building his home near it. He looked for an axe to fell the tree. Then he begged for a handle for his axe from the tree: the tree gave it. But when his house was built, the traveller cried and felt lonely, and left. What was a house without a tree?

Indian legend

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