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Forest Products Division

NWFP home page
Our NWFP programme endeavours to promote and develop non-wood forest products with the aim of enhancing the sustainable utilization of NWFPs in order to contribute to the wise management of the world's forests and the conservation of their biodiversity, and to improve food security for rural people.
We have created our own home page as a small step towards this goal. You will be able to find information on various NTFP issues:

Our intention is to update the home page on a regular basis (which has not been possible up to now owing to the lack of human resources - we are a small team), incorporating your ideas and activities in our Highlights page. Please visit us and give us your ideas and comments (http://www.fao. org/waicent/faoinfo/forestry/nwfp/nonwood.htm).



Dr Wulf Killmann joined FAO in January 1999 as the new director of the Forestry Department's Forest Products Division [see Dr Killmann's editorial].
Mr Sven Walter joined the Forest Products Division's NWFP team on 6 December 1998 as an Associate Professional Officer. In addition to assisting the NWFP team in its regular programme activities, Sven will be particularly involved in data collection on NWFPs within the framework of the EU-FAO Partnership Programme, Data Collection and Analysis for Sustainable Forest Management in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries: Linking National and International Efforts, as well as for FAO Forest Resource Assessment 2000.
Congratulations to our NWFP Forestry Officer Laura Russo on the birth of her son on 26 October 1998.


Non-Wood Forest Products Information System

The identification, evaluation and sustainable utilization of non-wood forest products requires having detailed information on: the natural resource system where they originate; biological and chemical properties; geographical distribution; potential uses and values; harvesting and processing methods; the market situation; and so on. However, the information base of NWFPs is still weak. Existing information sources are dispersed and a standardized system for compiling data on NWFPs is still lacking.

In an effort to overcome this deficiency and to facilitate the free flow of information on NWFPs, FAO is developing a Non-Wood Forest Products Information System. This activity is being tackled thanks to a Trust Fund supported by the Netherlands. The overall objective of the information system is to provide information on a multitude of NWFPs either by country (specific country briefs) or by product (information on gums, resins, etc.).

The NWFP Information System at present consists of three components:

The interactive database available on the Internet allows the user to access the following information: address and contacts of organizations and individuals; type of organization by status (governmental, non-governmental, national, international, etc.); type of activity carried out by the organization (research, education, information gathering, etc.); field of interest (resource management, harvesting, processing, marketing, etc.); geographical coverage of activities; and a list of the NWFPs on which FAO focuses.

It is hoped that the Information System constructed in this way will help FAO to identify partners who could be involved in the task of data collection for the compilation of global statistics on NWFPs.

If you would like your organization to be included in this database, please contact the NWFP group at the address given on the first page or at the e-mail address:

Data collection on NWFPs

Despite recognition of the importance of NWFPs at the local, national and international levels, there is a serious lack of basic statistical information on NWFPs. Much of the existing information is only available in case studies carried out at the local level. Trade statistics, when they are compiled, do not always give a realistic picture and have to be treated with caution. Underreporting, double counting, grouping of NWFPs among themselves and other products as well as the use of unrealistic prices are among the systematic shortcomings of these statistics.

FAO's contribution to improving statistical data on NWFPs is currently being developed along two main lines.

First, NWFP data are incorporated in the research carried out in the Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) programme which focuses on the global assessment and systematic observation of forest resources and the sustainable management of forests in cooperation with international, regional, subregional and national institutions. Improved statistical information will both clarify the economic significance of NWFPs and their trends, and provide essential information for management purposes.

Second, FAO has joined forces with the European Union to develop the EU-FAO Partnership Programme, Data Collection and Analysis for Sustainable Forest Management in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries: Linking National and International Efforts. This project, which is funded by the EU, aims to:

With regard to the NWFP component of this initiative, FAO is preparing country reports which identify and describe the most important NWFPs in each country. The findings of these studies are discussed in regional workshops with experts and representatives of the participating countries. Workshops of East and southern Africa were held in Kenya (October 1998) and Zimbabwe (December 1998) with interesting results. In 1999, workshops will take place in Gabon and Côte d'Ivoire for the francophone African countries, as well as in Barbados for the Caribbean countries.

Together with information collected in Asia and Latin America, the EU-FAO Partnership Programme will enable FAO for the first time to include data on NWFPs in its Forest Resource Assessment, which will be published in 2000. In addition, country reports on NWFPs will be made available on the FAO Forestry Web site in 1999.

Travel of NWFP officers

Mr Paul Vantomme travelled to Finland in January 1998 to participate in and represent FAO at the International Expert Workshop on the Sustainable Development of Non-wood Goods and Benefits from Boreal and Cold Temperate Forests, which was organized by the European Forestry Institute (EFI) and the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, in cooperation with FAO and the Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE). The meeting was attended by approximately 30 experts from the boreal and cold temperate forest regions and included senior government staff of relevant agencies, technical experts covering various NWFP-related disciplines and representatives of NGOs and governmental agencies for forestry and rural development. The purpose of the workshop was to provide a forum for researchers and administrators to discuss issues on the utilization of NWFPs in the boreal and cold temperate region and to formulate recommendations for their sustainable management.

Mr Vantomme gave a presentation of FAO's activities in the field of NWFPs and held discussions with the participants on the status of NWFPs in their countries as well as on possible collaboration with FAO in this area.

The workshop's recommendations fell into three categories: policy, research and institutional strengthening. Implementation of these recommendations was proposed through the strengthening of the coordination and interaction between ongoing research and development programmes, activities and projects on NWFPs in, and relevant to, the region.

The proceedings of the workshop have been published as a joint EFI-FAO publication under the EFI publication series, and include the papers presented, key findings and the full set of the workshop's recommendations. [See under Publications of Interest, Lund, Pajari and Korhonen, 1998.]

The results of the workshop will be brought to the attention of any relevant fora, including the Temporal and Boreal Forest Resource Assessment (TBFRA) - 2000 Process, the European Forestry Commission, the Helsinki/Montreal Secretariats on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management, as well as national forest agencies, to ensure appropriate follow-up and to promote implementation of the proposals and recommendations.

Mr Paul Vantomme travelled to India in February 1998 to participate in and represent FAO at the International Conference on Medicinal Plants, which was organized by the Foundation for the Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT). The purpose of this international conference was to take stock of the progress made on medicinal plant conservation during the ten years since the Chiang Mai Declaration on Medicinal Plants (1988) and to bring together a large international audience from diverse disciplines to focus global attention on medicinal plants and promote regional and international collaboration that will influence policies and promote strategic actions on medicinal plants. A wide range of national and international agencies cosponsored the conference, which was attended by some 350 participants (of whom approximately 100 were from outside India), including: senior government officials, researchers, technical experts, representatives

of NGOs and the private sector. During the meeting, Mr Vantomme held technical discussions with many participants on the status of medicinal plants in their countries as well as on possible collaboration with FAO in this area.

The conference outcome, the Bangalore Plan of Action - Medicinal Plants for Survival, includes: a set of guidelines for the design of national and global medicinal plant conservation efforts; and initiatives for global and regional cooperation among medicinal plant activities related to primary health care, databases, enterprises, cultivation, indigenous knowledge systems and traditional knowledge and resource rights. The proceedings will be published by FRLHT and a draft of the papers presented and the conference outcome will be available on their home page (

Ms Laura Russo travelled to Portugal in April 1998 to attend the First International Meeting of Aromatic and Medicinal Mediterranean Plants, which was organized by the University of Coimbra. The meeting was attended by 280 participants from 21 countries, including representatives of international organizations, and provided a good opportunity to gain a better understanding of the issues related to medicinal and aromatic plants in the Mediterranean. Ms Russo presented an overview of the activities of FAO's Forestry Department in the field of NWFPs, and particularly those of the Forest Products Division. The latest publication in FAO's NWFP series, Medicinal plants for health care and forest conservation, was presented. The objectives and the conclusions of the International Workshop on Medicinal, Culinary and Aromatic Plants in the Near East, organized jointly by FOP and RNE in May 1997, were also presented to the participants.

The meeting had three thematic sessions: i) scientific knowledge of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) and research in these fields (botany, phytochemistry, pharmacology, biotechnology); ii) multiple traditional uses, phytotherapy and other potential uses of MAPs; and iii) cultural techniques, production, preservation and commercialization of MAPs and other natural products, their contribution to nature conservation and rural development, marketing strategies and means of cooperation.

The subjects covered by the invited speakers included many important and more general aspects related to MAP use, conservation and development, including: the importance of the taxonomic identification and genetic characterization of MAPs; the importance of traditional knowledge and practices of MAPs for improved health care in the Mediterranean; wild MAP resources of the Mediterranean; the current international environmental policy, with particular reference to the EU; requirements and techniques for industrial processing of MAPs; herbal drugs in Turkey; Mediterranean plants in the global market of phytotherapy; and international conventions protecting MAPs in Portugal. In many Mediterranean countries, MAPs are still collected from the wild and represent a very important NWFP.

Mr Paul Vantomme travelled to Cameroon in May 1998 to participate in and represent FAO at the International Expert Workshop on Non-Wood Forest Products in Central Africa, organized by the Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE), in technical collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service (USDA-FS) and FAO. The workshop was attended by 62 participants from countries of the Congo basin, as well as Nigeria, Kenya, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands and France, including senior government officials, researchers, technical experts, representatives of local and international NGOs and the private sector. The following international agencies were also represented: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), World Conservation Union (IUCN), International Center for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

During the workshop, Mr Vantomme presented a keynote address on FAO's NWFP activities and acted as moderator for the discussion session on "Information sharing and networks". He also had many technical discussions with the participants on the promotion and development of NWFPs, in general, and on exploring potential collaboration activities with FOPW's programme on NWFPs (publications, contributions to Non-Wood News, the NWFP directory and the identification of partners for improving NWFP statistics in the region).

The workshop was highly successful and provided a forum for researchers, conservationists, administrators and the private sector to meet each other, exchange information and discuss issues and proposals for follow-up action for better utilization and conservation of NWFPs in Central Africa. Key NWFPs reviewed were bush mango, forest vegetables (Gnetum spp.), Cola, rattan, nuts, forest fruits and medicinal plants.

The workshop also demonstrated the progress made in the development and implementation of practical and efficient methodologies for the integration of NWFP utilization into agroforestry and forestry practices and created greater awareness among the participants of the development potential of NWFPs for rural areas. An appeal was also made for FAO to assist the countries in the region in their development activities dealing with NWFPs and to increase networking among the countries in order to share information and data and learn from each other's experiences. In this respect the meeting recognized that FAO's newsletter, Non-Wood News, is a very appropriate forum for information sharing and networking, and recommended that FAO include a special section on NWFPs from Central Africa in a future issue.

The workshop proceedings will be published, in both English and French, as a joint FAO/CARPE/USDA-FS publication, with the major part of the funding being provided by CARPE, and will be available in 1999. [See under Special Features for more information on CARPE.]


In April 1998, FAO's Food and Nutrition Division hosted a three-day meeting on karité (Vitellaria paradoxa). The objective of the workshop was to bring together some 30 participants with different perspectives on V. paradoxa - producers, harvesters, processors, traders, marketers, conservationists, end users, scientists and donors - in order to discuss ways to increase the nutritional and economic contribution of this natural resource to those who collect and process its fruits and ensure its continued ecological/genetic health in its distribution region.

During the first two days, four sessions were held dealing with: germplasm and ethnobotany; processing and product utilization; tree science; and quality control and marketing.

On the last day, two working groups were established:

For more information, please contact
Dr Enrico Casadei, Nutrition Officer,
Food Quality and Standards Service, Food and Nutrition Division, FAO,
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome.
Fax: (+39) 06 5705 4593;



The list of microprojects funded by the TeleFood Special Fund continues to grow. As of mid-February 1999, 250 projects worth US$1 971 043 had been launched in 87 countries. These can be found in 31 countries in Africa, 22 countries in Latin America, 14 countries in Asia, nine countries in the Near East and North Africa, six countries in the South Pacific and five countries in Europe.



Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP)

A report, entitled Leasing degraded forest land: an innovative way to integrate forest and livestock development in Nepal, has recently been published by FAO-RAP.

The report describes how community-based leasehold forestry works. Leasehold forestry complements community forestry, reaching more marginal people and helping greatly in reducing acute poverty while enhancing environmental rehabilitation. The Hills Leasehold Forestry and Forage Development Project operates through the participation of FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Nepal. The project's aim is to improve living conditions and raise the incomes of people living below the poverty line, and also to improve degraded ecological conditions in the mid hills of Nepal's central and western regions by leasing blocks of degraded and barren forest lands to poor farmers. Income-generating activities represent one of the major project components in achieving poverty alleviation. Early on in the project's operation, a study identified promising income-generating activities, with special emphasis on NWFPs. In total, 21 activities were singled out and detailed proposals were made for apiculture, angora and meat rabbit farming, bamboo (Dendrocalamus spp.) and nigalo (Arundinaria spp.) cultivation, amriso (Thysanolaena maxima) production, chiuri (Bassia butyraceae) collection and production, lapsi (Choerospondias axillaris) collection and production, ginger production and cultivation of tumeric plants.

Activities were started and training was provided on the various options. Certain plants such as ginger and tumeric could only be cultivated on fertile land. Beekeeping was taken up and rabbits were distributed for angora rabbit rearing. Cultivation of medicinal plants is still rare, hampered by farmers' unfamilarity with them. Additional training and credit facilities have been suggested as remedies to the slow progress as well as further studies of feasibility and risks associated with these various income-generating opportunities.

For copies of this publication, please contact
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific,
39 Phra Atit Road, Bangkok 10200, Thailand.
Fax: (+66 2) 280 0445;

Regional Office for the Near East (RNE)

Follow-up meeting for the development and coordination of regional activities on NWFPs in the Near East countries. In May 1997, FAO headquarters and RNE jointly organized, in Cairo, the International Expert Meeting on Medicinal, Culinary and Aromatic Plants in the Near East. The meeting discussed the importance of NWFPs and the potential that the promotion of their wise use has for the development of the region. A number of priority actions were identified for the development of NWFPs in the region, and it was recommended that FAO follow up on them and prepare a proposal for a regional project on NWFPs in the Near East region, to be submitted to interested donors.

Since the expert meeting, other activities in the field of NWFPs have taken place or have been planned in various parts of the region by FAO and other organizations. For example, FAO, in the framework of Silva Mediterranea, has worked on a project idea for the establishment of a NWFP research network for the Mediterranean region; the Network on the Identification, Conservation and Use of Wild Plants in the Mediterranean Region (MEDUSA) has held its second regional workshop in Tunisia; and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Mediterranean office is working towards the establishment of a network for the sustainable use of NWFPs in the Mediterranean.

In order to maintain the momentum generated by the expert meeting, a second international meeting on NWFPs is being organized - The Promotion and Development of NWFPs. The objectives of this meeting will be: to provide a forum for further discussions, as well as an exchange of ideas and experiences among all actors involved in NWFPs in the region; and to present a draft proposal for a regional project on NWFP development in the Near East and to seek inputs and consensus from the participants.

The meeting will take place in Lebanon in May 1999 and will be attended by representatives of government and non-governmental organizations from countries in the Near East region, international NGOs and representatives of regional and international donor agencies.

The RNE office is expected to play an active role in these activities.

For more information, please contact
Mr A. Al-Fares, Forestry Officer,
FAO Regional Office for the Near East (RNE),
PO Box 2223, Cairo, Egypt.
Fax: (+20 2) 3495981;

Apoyo al fortalecimiento de la Secretaría pro tempore del Tratado de Cooperación Amazónica - Fase II (GCP/RLA128/NET)

Dentro del marco del Proyecto GCP/RLA/128/NET se ha producido un CD-ROM que contiene una selección de 37 publicaciones que fueron preparadas para la Secretaría del Tratado de Cooperación Amazónica bajo la asistencia de dicho proyecto. Este CD-ROM está en vías de amplia distribución; sin embargo, toda la información contenida en el CD-ROM está también disponible en Internet a la dirección siguiente:

Para más información, dirigirse a
Sr. Victor Palma, FAO Representante a.i.,
Apartado Postal 17-200,
Av. Lecuna, Parque Central, Torre Este Piso 10,
Caracas 1010, Venezuela.
Correo electrónico:; o

Improved Benzoin Production (TCP/LAO/6611) - Lao People's Democratic Republic

Benzoin is a balsamic resin which is obtained from the tree, Styrax tonkinensis. Benzoin production has a long history in the Lao People's Democratic Republic and benzoin is of considerable economic value, both as an export commodity and as a source of cash income for the mountainous communities of the northern provinces who collect it.

Benzoin production is integrated into a shifting cultivation cycle. Seedlings of S. tonkinensis are grown in combination with agricultural crops, mainly upland rice. When the rice has been harvested, the area is abandoned for fallow with a predominance of S. tonkinensis. Resin tapping starts in the sixth or seventh year and continues for three to four years, or until production drops. Subsequently, the stands are cleared and burnt to make room for crop cultivation. No systematic and methodological silvicultural treatment was previously applied to these trees.

However, growing pressure on land and forest resources from rapid population growth has reduced the fallow periods for benzoin production. Reducing the fallow cycle has several drawbacks: more time is required to restore soil fertility, causing an inevitable drop in yields of rice crops; fewer trees will be tapped; and there will be low resin yields from the trees that are tapped. The serious consequences for both the local and national economy are obvious.

Therefore, to assist the government in minimizing shifting cultivation and in improving the production and marketing of benzoin, an FAO Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) project, Improved Benzoin Production, was formulated and started in 1996. Its objectives had three main components: silviculture, processing and marketing of benzoin.

In May 1998, a workshop was held at the Luang Prabang Forestry Section to disseminate and discuss the findings and results of the TCP project and presented the following main results:

Silviculture. The silviculture component had made satisfactory progress. The two provenance trials planted in July 1997 showed interesting results: clear provenance differences in survival and height growth and high mortality at the low-altitude site. Both rice and mung bean crops were doing well at the agroforestry trial. It was agreed that field trials should be continued and measured until meaningful results could be obtained, including resin tapping in the sixth or seventh year.

Various resin tapping methods were tried during the project. A comparison of these methods showed that the Lao, Indonesian and V-shape methods were more effective than the Malaysian methods. It was proposed that these three methods be repeated. Optimum times for tapping were also debated. Participants from Ban Kachet suggested that villagers tap large trees in July and smaller ones in August or September. Although not fully explained, this practice deserves further attention.

Production. Studies of the relationship between tree growth and resin production demonstrated that larger trees were likely to produce more resin than smaller ones. There also appeared to be a tendency to higher resin yields from notches higher up the stem.

Marketing. This component examined marketing infrastructures and trade constraints for benzoin on domestic and foreign markets. There seemed to be a lack of information on potential markets for exports, and administrative procedures for exporting benzoin are very complicated. Furthermore, there is no free market access in the benzoin trade, since local authorities fix quotas and benzoin buying is more or less divided up among a few traders. Poor physical infrastructure in the Lao People's Democratic Republic also means that the marketing chain is inevitably long, involving entrepreneurs, export agents, etc. Concrete follow-up action by the government was recommended to simplify export procedures and to ensure a national strategy for expanding foreign markets and developing domestic benzoin production and trade. (Source: Various field documents of project TCP/LAO/6611.)

Revaluation of Siam benzoin in the Lao People's Democratic Republic

Natural resins, gums and latex are extensively used in industry worldwide. According to a recent estimate (limited to food uses), the world market for these products exceeds US$10 billion. Moreover, most of the natural raw materials provide a very significant and often the sole source of income for indigenous people in the producing countries, which sometimes are still "underdeveloped" and predominantly agrarian. In addition, most of the natural resins, gums and latex belong to the NWFP range, with all the advantages of such products for the environment and for ecology.

All these considerations led the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, in Bangkok, together with the Lao authorities, to become very interested in a typical balsamic resin, Siam benzoin. Siam benzoin (which should rather be called Lao benzoin) is a pathological exudate from an indigenous tree, Styrax tonkinensis, belonging to the Styraceae family, which grows spontaneously in the northern part of the country and is exploited for its resin. For centuries, the well-known balsam extracted from it has found direct and traditional outlets, mainly through Western fragrance, flavour and pharmaceutical industries. Its chief constituents are benzoic acid and its ester derivatives, with a little vanilla. Thus, it has a really pleasant smell and taste and its curative properties are well known.

Although this benzoin is currently exported in a limited volume, about 50 tonnes, its immediate production potential in the Lao People's Democratic Republic is considerable. In fact, this activity is directly included in the Lao development policy which seeks to promote the country's natural resources. According to some studies already carried out, the potential end market for this resin may be far greater than its current market. FAO and the Lao Government are continuing their investigations, which will certainly lead to a revaluation of this cottage activity. (Based on a contribution by: Renaud Costaz, Marketing Consultant, FAO Project TCP/LAO/6611 - Improved Benzoin Production, 88 boulevard Lepic, 73100 Aix-les-Bains, France; e-mail:

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IPGRI is the world's largest organization which is devoted solely to the study and promotion of agricultural biodiversity. It is guided by the strategic principle of "diversity for development" and by the conservation priorities identified by countries in the Convention on Biological Diversity, Agenda 21 and the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Use of Plant Genetic Resources. IPGRI's mode of operation is perhaps unique in the field of international research and development. The institute does not have its own research facilities but operates primarily as a catalyst and facilitator, contracting most of its research to partner organizations. In this way, it works to enhance strategic and adaptive research aimed at solving key genetic resources problems. IPGRI is also a specialized development agency which provides direct technical support to national plant genetic resources programmes. Its way of working is based on strong linkages with many partners, a proactive bottom-up approach and needs-driven objectives. The flexibility of this approach allows the institute to respond to changing needs and circumstances and to take a broad view of biodiversity issues, in general, and the conservation and use of plant genetic resources, in particular. The institute's partners are found at all levels of genetic resources work: national plant genetic resources programmes, research institutes, international and regional organizations, universities, herbaria and botanical gardens, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and community-based organizations including farmers and women's groups.

IPGRI operates three major programmes. The Plant Genetic Resources Programme works to support the implementation of national responsibilities to conserve and use genetic resources by assisting in the development of institutional frameworks and coordination mechanisms. It promotes a firm and sustained commitment from governments to support their own national genetic resources systems. The Programme also supports global collaboration through the mechanism of crop and regional networks that bring together genetic resources practitioners with common interests; it has contributed to the development of many such networks worldwide. The Plant Genetic Resources Programme comprises five regional and two thematic groups. The regional groups are responsible for IPGRI's work in the Americas, Asia, the Pacific and Oceania, Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and Central and West Asia and North Africa. The thematic groups are responsible for documentation, information and training, and genetic resources science and technology.

A second programme, the International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain (INIBAP), works to increase the production of the world's fourth most important global food commodity on smallholdings in developing countries.

The third IPGRI programme provides support to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in the field of genetic resources. CGIAR is an informal association of 58 public and private sector members and supports a network of 16 International Agricultural Research Centres - including IPGRI - worldwide. CGIAR's mission is to contribute, through its research, to promoting sustainable agriculture for food security in developing countries.

The IPGRI programme comprises two main elements: support for CGIAR in the area of genetic resources policy and coordination of the Systemwide Genetic Resources Programme (SGRP). Established in 1994, SGRP aims to enhance the effectiveness and transparency of CGIAR's contribution to Agenda 21, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the emerging global system for genetic resources. SGRP comprises all the independently managed genetic resources programmes of the centres and includes additional elements for coordination and collaborative action. IPGRI is responsible for the facilitation, coordination and representation of SGRP.

For more information, please contact
Ms Ruth D. Raymond, Senior Scientist,
Public Awareness, International Plant Genetic Resources Institute,
Via delle Sette Chiese 142, 00145 Rome, Italy.
Fax: (+39) 06 575 309;

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The Federal Research Centre (Bundesforschungsanstalt für Forst- und Holzwirtschaft - BFH), located in Hamburg, is an independent research institution in the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry and is also closely associated with the University of Hamburg. BFH is made up of seven institutes dealing with different aspects of national and international forestry, economy, wood biology and wood technology.

This article focuses on the Institute for World Forestry which conducts research on the structure and composition of forests and on their potential sustainable management in different climatic and economic regions worldwide. Interdependencies between forest management and its natural and socio-cultural environment, as well as interactions between forests and global climate change are evaluated. Research is concentrated on the development of strategies to preserve forests, improve their multiple functions, recultivate degraded forest lands and integrate forestry into overall regional development.

In this context, NWFPs represent an important topic covered by several recent and ongoing research projects:

The expertise of BFH has been used within the framework of FAO's Programme of Cooperation with Academic and Research Institutions.
A staff member of BFH worked at FAO headquarters for one month to contribute to the concept of pilot studies on improved methodologies for data collection on NWFPs in five African and Caribbean countries. These studies are part of a European Union-funded project, Data Collection and Analysis for Sustainable Forest Management in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries: Linking National and International Efforts. Further collaboration between the two institutions is anticipated. [See Data collection on NWFPs, p. 53, for more information on the EU-funded project.]

For more information, please contact
Bundesforschungsanstalt für Forst- und Holzwirtschaft (BFH),
Institut für Weltforstwirtschaft, Leuschnerstr. 91,
D-21031 Hamburg, Germany.
Fax: (+49 40) 72522665;

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TRAFFIC is a joint programme of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). An international network of 20 offices on five continents, TRAFFIC works to ensure that the use and trade of wild plants and animals is maintained within sustainable levels and conducted in accordance with national laws and international treaties.

The TRAFFIC network is engaged in a variety of projects related to the use and trade of NTFPs, both animals and plants. The medicinal use and trade of wildlife is currently one of TRAFFIC's four key programme themes (the others are fisheries and timber and assisting with the implementation of CITES and other trade controls). Work related to the use and trade of medicinal plants received a major boost early in 1998 through support from the German Government.

Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung - BMZ) is supporting a suite of new actions by TRAFFIC. Through a Funds in Trust Agreement with WWF International, BMZ has pledged DM1 million (US$560 000) to TRAFFIC network's medicinal plant work during 1998-2000. Much of the funding is directed towards regionally focused work in East Asia, the Indian subcontinent and South America.

In addition, BMZ is supporting TRAFFIC's efforts to build and/or strengthen links with others working on medicinal plant trade issues, enhancing the communication of TRAFFIC's research results to those who need it, from traditional medicine communities to policy-makers.

For more information, please contact
TRAFFIC International,
219c Huntingdon Road,
Cambridge CB3 3PT, UK.
Fax: (+44 1223) 277 237;;

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WWF's NTFP network for the Mediterranean

The multiple-use management of Mediterranean forests results in the production of a large number of NTFPs. The methods of NTFP production in the Mediterranean are diverse and range from simple gathering to complex management of agrosilvipastoral systems. Assessments of the function of NTFPs indicate that any attempt to address forest conservation in the Mediterranean has to consider the important role that their production plays in forest ecosystems and the socio-economic welfare of rural communities.

In pursuit of a more integrated approach to forest conservation, the Mediterranean Programme of WWF is initiating the project, Towards a Network for the Sustainable Use of NTFPs in the Mediterranean Region. This project targets the conservation of important forest areas in the Mediterranean and the promotion of rural community development by the sustainable production of NTFPs. It intends to develop a common identity for the participating areas and products, increase the technical knowledge regarding the role of particular NTFPs in Mediterranean forest conservation, promote relevant awareness and build capacity of human resources to manage NTFP production.

In January 1998, WWF organized a project workshop in Mértola, Portugal, as a first step towards the establishment of the network. Participants in the workshop reviewed the current status of NTFPs in the Mediterranean, and other parts of the world, and presented marketing and certification initiatives for NTFP promotion and production, respectively. During the workshop, the framework was built for the development of pilot projects throughout the Mediterranean.

For more information, please contact
NTFP project, WWF Mediterranean Programme,
c/o Yorgos Moussouris, Coordinator,
PO Box 18003, GR 116 10 Athens, Greece.
Fax (+30 1) 7241806;

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