Send your comments to: non-wood-News@fao.org
Forest Products Division
In 1997, two new titles were added to the Non-Wood Forest Products Series: No. 9, Domestication and commercialization of non-wood forest productspalms. Non-Wood Forest Products Series No. and No. 10, Tropical 11,and health care, a joint publication with a United Kingdom NGO, Gifts of Medicinal plants for forest conservation Health, and No. 12, NWFPs from conifers, will be published in 1998.
Replies from questionnaires sent in 1997 were entered in a database. The first result, a directory on NWFPs, is being prepared and will be published in 1998. The directory will also be available on the Internet.
Within the context of FAO activities on the Model Code of Forest Harvesting Practice, the development of guidelines for Environmentally Sound Harvesting Modes for NWFPs has been initiated to complement this ongoing review. As a first step, a series of case studies will be commissioned to document and critically review prevailing harvesting modes and regulations of NWFPs in selected regions of the world. Tentatively, the following key regions are proposed for review through regional case studies: the Indian subcontinent, Central Africa and the Amazon region. Other regions, such as dry tropical or temperate, may be added at a later stage. The findings and recommendations originating from these regional case studies could serve as a basis for the compilation and synthesis of Guidelines of Forest Harvesting Practices. The first case study covering the Indian subcontinent is being carried out by the Centre for Minor Forest Products, Dehra Dun, India.
A number of meetings are being organized or planned in 1998 by FAO in partnership with other organizations:
- NWFPs for the Boreal and Cold Temperate Zone, January 1998, Joensuu, Finland, organized together with the European Forestry Institute and the Ministry of Forestry of Finland;
- Workshop on the Promotion of Non-Wood Forest Products in North America, 16-18 November 1998, Villahermosa, Mexico, in conjunction with the 19th Session of the North America Forestry Commission (planned);
- NWFPs in the Congo Basin, May 1998, Cameroon, in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service within the framework of the Central African Regional Programme for the Environment (CARPE).
For more details, please see under the section Forthcoming Events.
For more information, please contact Mr Paul Vantomme, Forest Products Division, Forestry Department, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.
Fax: (+39 6) 57055618;
In collaboration with the Institute of Natural Resources, Scottsville, a case study was carried out to document the marketing of indigenous medicinal plants gathered from wild sources on forests and rangelands in South Africa. The case study will be published in 1998.
For more information, please contact Mr L. Lintu, Forest Products Division, Forestry Department, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.
Fax: (+39 6) 57055618;
Forestry Policy And Planning Division
The Policy and Planning Division of the Forestry Department and the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific have coordinated an outlook study for forestry with horizon year 2010 in the Asia and Pacific region.
The aim of the study is to look at the main external and sectoral developments in policies, programmes and institutions that will affect the forestry sector, to assess the likely direction of its evolution and to present its likely situation in 2010. The study involves not only the assessment of the current status but also trends from the past, and the main forces which are shaping those trends, and then builds on this to explore future prospects.
A working paper on NWFPs was prepared, as one of the many contributions that feed into the Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector outlook study, for consideration by ministers and senior policy-makers in the region. The study on NWFPs investigates their economic, environmental and social significance. Major trends in NWFP management are analysed, including collection, processing, utilization and trade in NWFPs, and the implications of these trends for demand and supply. Considering current trends and a range of emerging management and policy scenarios, the study suggests changes that may occur during the intervening period, and the projected status of NWFPs in the Asia and the Pacific region by the year 2010.
For more information, please contact Mr Mafa Chipeta, Senior Forestry Officer, Policy and Planning Division, Forestry Department, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome, 00100, Italy.
Fax: (+39 6) 57055514;
Mr Patrick Durst, Regional Forestry Officer, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Maliwan Mansion, Phra Atit Road, Bangkok 10200, Thailand.
Fax: (+66 2) 2800445;
The Community Forestry Unit of FAO is working on a Manual on market analysis and development an approach to planning sustainable tree and forest product enterprises. Often insufficient attention is given to the process and methods of identifying income-generating enterprises. As growing numbers of rural households are becoming more involved in producing for the market, it is necessary to shift the focus of planning from subsistence to what will provide the household with income. In many instances this requires not only considering what is currently being produced and how it is marketed, but also looking critically at the current and future markets (including export) and then considering whether a potential product is suitable for development.
The forthcoming manual is based on the market analysis and development (MA&D) approach to planning sustainable tree and forest product enterprises. MA&D follows the products from the place of extraction/production to their final destination, the last consumer. Before improving existing products, or before developing a new product or a new market, important information on the trade and market situation can be identified through the use of the MA&D approach.
MA&D continuously monitors and evaluates progress through a step-by-step process of gathering knowledge on opportunities and constraints, reflecting on the significance of the findings and proposing hypotheses. Hypotheses are tested on the cost-benefits of a product and conclusions are reached with the acquired knowledge from which recommendations about a product, market and means of marketing development can be given. The importance of this approach is that constraints are identified before resources, such as time and finances, are wasted on the wrong product, so that instead they can be invested in more profitable products and strategies.
The manual is meant for facilitators assisting tree and forest product entrepreneurs with a step-by-step practical framework that can be adapted to a wide variety of potential real-life situations. The ultimate purpose of the MA&D approach is to develop the skills needed for providing income and benefits to tree and forest product entrepreneurs, within the context of sustainable forest utilization and rural development.
The manual will be field-tested in different regions and is scheduled to be published by late 1998.
For more information, please contact Ms Helle Qwist-Hoffmann, Community Forestry Unit, Forestry Policy and Institutions Branch, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.
Fax: (+39 6) 570 55514;
Food And Nutrition Division
In 1996, FAO assisted gum arabic-producing countries through a regional project, Quality Control of Gum Arabic, under the Technical Cooperation Programme. In 1997, FAO cosponsored a regional conference for Africa on the conservation, management and utilization of plant gums, resins and essential oils (see under Recent Events, p. 53). As a follow-up to these activities, the Food and Nutrition Division is planning to assist gum arabic-producing countries to create a subregional network on gum arabic.
The network will have the objective of helping the countries develop their system of sustainable production and marketing and improve their product to meet international standards. The network should promote the relationship between primary producer, processor and end users. The main activity of the network should be related to the elaboration of a basic training manual for gum arabic production and primary quality control; the development of education and training programmes and of national quality control systems from production to end product; the establishment of a survey system in the region; and the development of research in nutrition and food technology for utilization of the product not only as an additive but also as a food ingredient.
For more information, please contact Mr Enrico Casadei, Nutrition Officer, Food and Nutrition Division (ESN), FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.
Fax: (+39 6) 570 54593;
Fao In The Field
The FAO/Italy project, Forestry and Food Security in the Mediterranean and in the Near East Region (GCP/INT/539/ITA), operating in Jordan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey, is a long-term programme aimed at developing integrated resources management models, with the participation of the local people, and promoting food security for the rural populations. In its first phase (1992-94, US$2 599 000), the project took action to improve agroforestry and community forestry, and also identified the most promising NWFPs. Now in its second phase (1995-97, US$2 507 000), the project is evaluating whether Agaricus bisporus could be a promising income-generating activity. Such activities have been implemented in the three countries with support from national consultants specialized in Agaricus cultivation. Beekeeping was also promoted with very satisfactory results in all areas of the project.
In order to show the villagers that mushrooms can play an important role in raising their standard of living and that edible mushroom cultivation could be a useful and sustainable income-generating activity for their family, the cultivation of Agaricus bisporus was initiated, first in Turkey and then in Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic. The following are some of the conclusions drawn from the analysis of the data collected:
- Two groups of edible mushrooms can be easily cultivated at village level in the region: Pleurotus spp. (P. ostreatus, P. pulmonarius, P. cornucopiae) and Agaricus spp. (A. bisporus, A. bitorquis, etc.). Among such species, the project started to cultivate only Agaricus bisporus, which is the best known "domesticated" mushroom cultivated worldwide and is well known in the three countries. However, some other species belonging to the genera Pleurotus and Lentinus could also be easily cultivated with satisfactory results.
- Results showed that the cultivation of Agaricus bisporus at the village level in Turkey can increase the income of a rural family by approximately US$1 500 per year. It would be important, once the cultivation is widespread, to follow up on market demand and prices; however, it would appear that production could be increased by at least four to five times without causing any problem to the market.
- It is interesting to evaluate the villagers attitude in Turkey, the country where Agaricus cultivation is more widespread, and not just in the project area. From the data collected during the projects first phase, approximately 66 percent of the mushrooms produced were eaten at family level and only 34 percent were sold. In only one case (Beykavagi village) did a group of three to four people decide to produce a large amount of mushrooms for sale. Something similar also happened in Syrian villages in 1996, but the number of participants was relatively low.
- Within a general strategy aiming to reduce human and animal pressure on forest and range resources, edible mushroom cultivation in forest villages is certainly a very helpful tool which has not yet been completely developed at the regional level. A network for exchanging reciprocal information on the results achieved with different methodologies and edible mushroom species would be extremely useful.
For more information, please contact Mr B. Cavalcaselle, Chief Technical Adviser, GCP/INT/539/ITA, PO Box 10709, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic.
Fax: (+963 11) 3330429;
Return to top of page
IFAD has formulated a project in Zambia which aims to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable groups through the development of forest products as a major source of income. The duration of the project is six years and the areas selected for project activities are the North-Western Province and the Luapula Province. The institution responsible for the implementation of the project will be the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. A major component of the project is beekeeping. The project will also support the development and sustainable utilization of a range of products and processes: bamboo, rattan, mushrooms, caterpillars, pitsawing and local wild food products such as chikanda (a snack food obtained from the tubers of the orchids Satyria siva, Disa and Habernaria) and munkoyo (a popular cereal beverage obtained from the roots of munkoyo, derived from the Leguminosae Rynchosia heterophylla and R. insignis).
For more information, please contact Mr Phillips Young, Project Controller, IFAD, Via del Serafico 107,
00142 Rome, Italy.
Fax: (+39 6) 5043463;
Return to top of page
The Centre for Minor Forest Products has created an MFP Database of approximately 2 000 species. The MFP Database lists NTFPs of different categories according to uses, viz. edible plants, medicinal plants, aromatic plants, fatty oil-yielding plants, gum and resin-exuding plants, tan and dye-yielding plants, fibre and floss-yielding plants, bamboo and canes, fodder, charcoal and briquette making and miscellaneous uses. The database also provides information on common and trade names of the species, graded according to importance and distribution (statewise and according to agro-ecological region, ecofloristic zones, forest types). The database is helpful for various purposes, particularly for the identification of NWFP species which can be grown in different climatic zones by any country.
COMFORPTS is planning a workshop in 1998 in Dehra Dun on the theme "NTFP-oriented Need-based Sustainable Forest Management". Donor agencies have been contacted to cover travel and other expenditures of the South and East Asian NTFP Network (SEANN) participants for socio-economic and biodiversity conservation. Those working on NTFPs from the member countries of SEANN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan Province of China, Thailand and Viet Nam) are invited to send their biodata and area of expertise on NTFPs.
A branch of SEANN is likely to be created in Nepal in order to strengthen activities in the country (contact: Mr A.K. Das, Acting Dean, Institute of Forestry, Pokhara, Nepal. E-mail: email@example.com).
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;
Return to top of page
CIFOR is working on research opportunities to generate income from secondary forests in Latin America and on trends and opportunities for NTFP utilization among low-income groups. The centre is collaborating with Perus Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales and USAIDs Global Environment Center in designing regulations for the harvesting and trade of "uña de gato" (Uncaria tomentosa and U. guyanensis).
"Uña de gato" are liana that grow in lower and medium altitude rain forests of several South American countries, and also in disturbed vegetation or secondary forests. The plant contains alkaloids and acid glycosides, several of which have immunostimulatory, anti-inflammatory and antimutagenic properties. Based on early testing, the healing potential of "uña de gato" seems promising. In 1995, 726 tonnes of the bark were exported from Peru. (Source: CIFOR News, March 1997.)
Return to top of page
In the Asia and the Pacific region, CI is collaborating with governments, the business sector and other conservation agencies to advance conservation policies in both strategic planning and implementation of development programmes. Among the conservation tools that are proving important in the region are the Biological Rapid Assessment Program and the Priority Setting Workshop which have been relatively successful in Latin America and Madagascar.
Within six country programmes in Asia and the Pacific, CI is trying to demonstrate the viability of economic alternatives to mitigate, if not counteract, the threats to biodiversity conservation in the region. Enterprise projects which include ecotourism and non-wood forest products are integrated into strategic planning for conservation and development.
In the Solomon Islands, CI works in partnership with the Solomon Islands Development Trust and the Maruia Society in developing and marketing ngali nut (Canarium indicum) oil for the personal care industry. The project has an annual capacity of more than 4 000 litres of ngali nut oil but is currently producing only 1 000 litres annually for Croda Australia and Body Shop UK. Production began in 1994 and benefits 60 villages within a declared conservation area. The project is seeking other markets.
A nine-day trekking package for ecotourists is also being offered on a limited basis; only three trips per year of not more than 15 tourists per trip are available. Interested parties can visit the CI Web site at: www.ecotour.org or send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Similar ecotourism packages and visitor programmes are being developed in the Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea with local fishing communities, as well as with indigenous peoples. Meanwhile, a cashew nut processing and marketing project involving the Tagbanwas of Palawan in the Philippines has been started to raise funds for community conservation and sustainable marine management efforts.
For more information about Conservation International, please visit: www.conservation.org
Return to top of page
ELCI is an international NGO which groups together more than 900 organizations in more than 100 countries. It was established in 1974 with the aim of strengthening communication and cooperation between NGOs and local communities, providing liaison between NGO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and encouraging the advisory role of NGOs through the organs of the United Nations. The topics covered by the activities of ELCI include biodiversity, forestry, natural pesticides and medicinal plants.
The Medicinal Plants and Local Communities Project was started in 1997 and has a duration of four years. The primary objective of the project is to encourage the conservation of biodiversity by helping the local communities to make the best possible use of their knowledge and their practices regarding traditional medicines, pharmacopoeia and local medicinal plants. The approach of the project is based on community participatory research results supported by networking between NGOs, local communities and researchers involved in the sector. The project has pilot activities in a number of countries in North, West, southern and central Africa. The countries were selected to reflect the different characteristics of the great ecozones of Africa.
The Medicinal Plants and Local Communities Project receives financial support from the International Research Centre (IDRC), Canada, and from the governments of the Netherlands and Denmark.
For more information, please contact Mr Ernest Rukangira, Principal Researcher and Programme Coordinator, Environment Liaison Centre International, PO Box 72461, Nairobi, Kenya.
Fax: (+254 2) 562175;
Return to top of page
IPALAC was formally recognized by UNESCO in November 1994 and became operative in January 1996. Its focus is on working with poor countries particularly in Africa where the need to improve food security in drylands is existential.
In addition to UNESCOs support, regular financial support for IPALAC is provided by Finlands Department of International Cooperation, Israels Center for International Cooperation (MASHAV) and the Dibner Fund of the United States. Support for specific activities comes from many additional sources.
IPALAC operates via a number of channels. It organizes events, such as conferences, symposia and workshops, whose purpose is to create an awareness of its approach, and courses aimed at contributing to human resource development. IPALAC develops specific plant-based solutions for arid land situations and plans of action for testing and evaluating them. It also promotes research to help tap the potential of arid land plant species. The various activities are frequently mutually reinforcing. A symposium will discuss a project concept and develop a plan for a pilot project; a training workshop will then be organized for those responsible for establishing and implementing it. It may also be accompanied by a research component.
The synthesis of the factors delineated above has resulted in the initiation of the different projects, including: African Silk, which is the tentative name of a project whose goal is to determine whether silk production can become an important economic activity in semi-arid Africa, and to help promote its development if the evidence suggests that it is feasible; and Plant Domestication and/or Improvement, which is an ongoing activity at the IPALAC host institution, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Beer Sheva, Israel. The university has experience with jojoba and other industrial plants, ornamentals, afforestation and honey-producing species, and fruit- and nut-trees. IPALAC was established to serve as the tool for expanding its international cooperation efforts in these activities.
In addition, IPALAC was involved in the organization of the Date Palm Conference which took place from 30 June to 2 July 1997 in Niamey, the Niger, and is now organizing Silk: An Opportunity for Economic Development in Semi-Arid Africa, to be held in Dakar, Senegal, during the autumn of 1998, and a workshop on Ziziphus mauritiana, to be held in southern/eastern Africa in June 1998 (please see under Recent and Forthcoming Events for detailed information on these meetings).
For more information, please contact Mr Arnie Schlissel, Administrative Coordinator, International Programme for Arid Land Crops, c/o Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, PO Box 653, Beer Sheva, Israel 84105.
Fax: (+972 7) 647 2984;
Return to top of page
NRI is collaborating with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on a project funded by the Overseas Development Administration (UK) to explore the domestic market potential for tree products from farms and rural communities. Fieldwork is being conducted in Cameroon and Brazil.
The objectives of the project are to: i) highlight the constraints to the development of markets for traditional and emerging agroforestry and forestry products; ii) assess markets, and market channels for tree products, in two case study areas, identifying key constraints and opportunities for future market development; and iii) develop practical methodologies to assess markets for farm tree products.
Fieldwork was conducted in 1995-96 with NRI working in Cameroon and IFPRI working in Brazil.
A partial inventory of NTFPs in Cameroon has recently been published (V. Papadopulos and A. Gordon. 1997. Non-timber tree products: a partial inventory of products available in the Mount Cameroon area. NRI Socio-economic Series No. 11.) This is the product of the initial fieldwork which took place in 1995 in the South West Province of Cameroon, where Mount Cameroon is located an area which is recognized globally for its biodiversity.
For more information, please contact Natural Resources Institute, Central Avenue,
Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, UK.
Return to top of page
The Tropenbos Foundation in the Netherlands was founded in 1988 in order to continue and expand the international Tropenbos Programme which was set up by the Netherlands Government in 1986.
Ongoing and recently completed NTFP projects are:
- Economic and ecological assessment of NTFPs in the Bipindi-Akon II region (Cameroon)
- Domestication of two fruit-tree species from the Taï Forest (Côte dIvoire)
- Diagnosis of commercial fishing (Colombia)
- Natural resource management with indigenous communities (Colombia)
- Non-timber forest plant resource assessment (Colombia)
- NTFPs in the North-West District and Pomerron region (Guyana)
- Amerindian as manipulators, consumers producers and actors in their natural environment (Guyana)
- Adaptive strategies of Kariña (Carib) people in the upper Cuyuni/Barama/Barima areas (Guyana)
- NTFPs in East Kalimantan (Indonesia)
- Social, economic and political aspects of Brazil nut exploitation in the Amazon region (Bolivia/Brazil)
For more information, please contact Mirjiam Ros, NTFP/Information Officer, Tropenbos Foundation, PO Box 232, NL 6700 AE Wageningen, the Netherlands.
Fax: (+31 317) 423024;
e-mail: email@example.com and M.A.F.Ros@iac.agro.nl;
Return to top of page
TRAFFIC East/Southern Africa is documenting the trade in bushmeat in eastern and southern Africa in seven very diverse target countries (Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania). A growing body of evidence suggests that the bushmeat trade is expanding and having an increasingly negative impact on wildlife populations throughout the region, including those found in protected areas. Under pressure to address this issue but faced with diminishing budgets and other resources, wildlife authorities are often unable to shift management priorities before key species or protected areas have become critically affected. The lack of information on bushmeat trade dynamics makes this situation even more acute.
The objective of the study is to document the parameters of the bushmeat trades, their importance to rural communities and economies, and their impact on wildlife species and protected areas. Issues being addressed include a review of legislation, land use practices and regulatory measures, identification of species involved, trade volumes, trade routes and other socio-economic and conservation aspects of the trade. This information will serve to highlight existing or potential conservation threats and help to establish a basis for future utilization to be sustainably managed. The study is being based on a literature review, consultation with a range of experts and extensive field research in the target countries.
The East/Southern Africa bushmeat trade study received approval for funding in September 1996 from the European Commission Directorate-General for Development, initiated implementation in October 1996, and will be completed by July 1998. During the first phase of the project an international and regional literature search was conducted to identify published and "grey" literature relating to the bushmeat trade in eastern and southern Africa. Information from the literature searches has been entered into the database PAPYRUS, which allows for the document to be readily accessed by computer and for searches to be carried out by key word(s), such as country, subject, author, title and other parameters. The bibliography on the trade in bushmeat in eastern and southern Africa now contains more than 1 600 references.
The project has implemented two focal case studies in each of the seven target countries. The priority of these case studies is to document the informal (largely illegal) utilization and trade of bushmeat that ranges from insects and birds to "plains game". The study methodologies differ considerably for each case study in order to adapt to the specific issues and factors affecting the use and trade of bushmeat in the study area. The case studies are not only identifying conservation implications but, just as important, are documenting baseline data on how bushmeat is currently contributing to food security and household economies of local communities. (Contribution by: Mr Rob Barnett, TRAFFIC East/Southern Africa Kenya Office, Box 68200, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel./fax: (+254 2) 890471; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Return to top of page
The WWF-Mediterranean Programme Office (WWF-MedPO) has started a new project entitled Towards a Network for the Sustainable Use of Non-Timber Forest Products in the Mediterranean. The aim of the project is to achieve the conservation and restoration of important forest areas in the Mediterranean region by promoting and supporting the economic development of rural communities in and around those areas through the sustainable exploitation of NTFPs.
The project objectives are to:
- set up a network of model projects for the sustainable use and conservation of non-timber forest resources;
- run the above-mentioned network and build the capacity of stakeholders (communities, cooperatives, NGOs, small enterprises) to manage the production process through all its stages growth, harvesting, manufacturing, promotion and marketing;
- raise awareness at the local and regional levels on the importance of NTFPs for the conservation and development of forest areas in the Mediterranean; and
- promote a wide participation in the project.
Options for using the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to certify sustainably managed NTFPs will also be investigated.
The pilot projects of the network will be tailor-made to the local environmental and social conditions, using a participatory approach, and within a common framework of actions, objectives and time schedule. The different identity, experience and skills of the partners will strengthen, enhance and add value to the network.
For more information, please contact Mr Pedro Regato, Forest Officer, WWF-MedPO, Via Garigliano 57,
00198 Rome, Italy.
Fax: (+39 6) 8413866;
Return to top of page