Until the early 1990s, Albania had a large, well-developed set of state enterprises based on several NTFPs. These enterprises were geared solely for export: for medicinal plants especially, Albania was the largest exporter in Europe. Primary production areas and processing facilities stretched across the country and involved a large segment of the population. Each district had its own collection depots and processing enterprises. Raw materials and processed goods were all sent to Tirana for export. The structure of the sector as a whole was like a pyramid. The main enterprises included: medicinal, aromatic and spice plants (raw materials and essential oils); willows, hay and other grasses (raw materials and processed articles such as baskets and furniture); nuts (chestnuts and hazelnuts for export, acorns and walnuts for domestic use); tannins; pine resin; wildlife products (frogs, snails, skins, meat, and sport hunting); and honey (produced in artificial hives placed in forest areas).

Raw material production for each category came from a mix of cultivated and wild sources, depending on the category. For example, willow stems and nuts were wild-harvested and cultivated in plantations; tannins and resins all came from wild sources. For medicinal, aromatic and spice plants, only rosemary, thyme, fennel, coriander, basil, lavender and laurel were cultivated in some quantity, in addition to growing wild. All others (approximately 130 different species) were collected solely from the wild. Of these, sage (Salvia officinalis) and juniper (Juniperus communis and J. oxycedrus) were harvested in the largest volumes.

With the political reforms that started in Albania in 1990-91, many people involved in this sector became private entrepreneurs. As such, the level of technical background and the extent of internal linkages that exist today are quite high. The main industries are still export-oriented, and include: medicinal and spice plants (raw materials); essential oils; and a small amount of wicker goods.

The number and type of enterprises have dropped dramatically. There is still localized production of chestnuts (domestic), frogs and snails (domestic and export) and honey (domestic), but nothing like the scale that existed previously. Mushroom harvesting, on the other hand, is a new enterprise. There is no tradition of collecting or eating mushrooms in Albania, and only one person is involved as an exporter.

In terms of having the greatest impact on rural economies and forest resources, medicinal and spice plants (for export and essential oil production) are the most important. The volume of raw materials harvested from the wild is still quite high (thousands of tonnes/year), some value-added processing (essential oils) is already taking place and the number of people involved, especially small farmer-harvester-primary processors, is large. Of these, the vast majority are women.

The NTFP sector in Albania has a long and highly developed history. This situation is very different from most non-industrialized countries seeking to improve their NTFP sector, where historically the industry operated along informal and unorganized lines. The primary need in Albania is to revitalize the sector by (in order of importance):

USAID's Albania Private Forestry Development Project (APFDP) is facilitating the return of forest and meadowland to their former owners and traditional community control. It provides policy advice and demonstration management projects that will inculcate sustainable forest management practices at the local and national level. Through an inter-agency agreement with the Peace Corps, APFDP promotes private, on_farm agroforestry development through the Peace Corps' Private Farm Forestry Project, complementing a broader World Bank effort to develop a formal agricultural extension system. In addition, APFDP has held workshops to assess possible improvements to the restitution process.

(Edited from a contribution by Ms Maureen DeCoursey, APFDP, Albania.)

For more information, please contact: APFDP, Elbasen Street, Villa 13, PO Box 2417, Tirana, Albania.



La Base de datos sobre productos forestales no madereros de especie nativas, fue realizada en 1999 por la Dirección de Recursos Forestales Nativos, que depende de la Secretaría de Recursos Naturales y Desarrollo Sustentable.

Para más información, dirigirse a:
Ing. Cristina Résico o Lic. Inés Kasulin,

San Martín 459, Oficina 243

1004 Buenos Aires, Argentina

Fax: (+54 11) 43488486
correo electrónico:

Un estudio sobre los recursos alimenticios derivados de la caza, pesca y recolección de los Wichi (cazadores-recolectores) del Río Pilcomayo (provincia de Salta, noroeste de Argentina), fue realizado en noviembre de 1998. Los recursos alimenticios tradicionales de los Wichi fueron inventariados mediante prospección en el terreno, técnicas de observación participativa y entrevistas semiestructuradas. El estudio identificó las especies vegetales y animales más utilizadas, y formuló propuestas para reglamentar la caza de subsistencia y asignar derecho de uso a los pobladores locales.

Para más información, dirigirse a:
Sr. Francisco Ramón Barbarán,

Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Universidad Nacional de Salta,

Buenos Aires 177

4400 Salta, Argentina

Fax: (+54 387) 4395956

correo electrónico:



A Western Australian company has embarked on a new venture that will put the State to the fore as the leading supplier of a native oil - sandalwood. Mt. Romance Australia Pty Ltd and the Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) have signed a contract for the supply of up to 1 000 tonnes of sandalwood a year; the value of the contract is conservatively valued at $40 million over ten years. Mt. Romance was selected from a highly competitive range of proposals. The company has an active research and development programme that is continually identifying and creating new sandalwood-based products.

Although the main focus is on the cosmetic and therapeutic uses of sandalwood, the company's long-term aim is to become a major supplier of sandalwood oil to the international perfume and pharmaceutical industries. The contract also opens the way for the development of a stronger domestic market for sandalwood oil and products, not only in western Australia, but also in Australia as a whole. Essentially, this will be a new «market» for sandalwood products.

The contract represents the realization of a policy of value adding to WA sandalwood wherever possible and would also complement the State's traditional markets in Asia. In addition, the contract is expected to provide an additional incentive for farmers to incorporate sandalwood into their tree crops programme.

CALM has developed new techniques that make it possible to grow sandalwood as a tree crop. It is now one of the major supplementary species the Department is offering to farmers who are establishing maritime pines under the State Salinity Action Plan.

Apart from its economic value, sandalwood planting contributes to restoring the biodiversity of the Wheatbelt, since it occurred there naturally before the area was cleared for agriculture. It is expected that a further 50 ha of sandalwood will be established this year on cleared farmland as part of CALM's maritime pines project.

(Source: Landscope, Winter 1999.)

For more information, please contact: Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM), Locked Bag 29, Bentley Delivery Centre, Western Australia 6983, Australia.



Traditional Healers' Foundation of Belize
The Traditional Healers' Foundation of Belize (THF) was founded in 1997 and is made up of bushdoctors, midwives, snake doctors, granny healers, village healers, massage therapists and spiritual healers. With the assistance of Ix Chel Tropical Research Foundation, THF produces a quarterly newsletter, Tree of Life, which provides a forum for traditional healers in Belize.The most pressing problems of the traditional healers, as outlined at the first general meeting of THF, were the preservation of traditional healing knowledge, conservation of medicinal plants and their habitats, identification of potential apprentices for healers, and cooperation with research scientists in their quest for plants with possible applications in modern medicine.

The goal of THF is to address the issue of intellectual property rights for all healers, to provide for a «Basic Need Fund» for traditional healers, and to develop programmes that further awareness of traditional healing in the public and private sector.

The THF operates solely on donations and subscriptions to Tree of Life.

For more information, please contact: Traditional Healers Foundation, c/o Ix Chel Farm, General Delivery, San Ignacio, Cayo District, Belize, Central America.


Biodiversity in Belize
Belize is a small country, but its diverse ethnicity combined with varied ecosystems, gives rise to a rich culture with respect to medicinal plants. The diverse ethnic groups have a rich culture of medicinal plant use and, in many cases (especially for the Maya and Garinagu), the use of these plants is spiritual and linked to myths, rituals and religion. The preservation of medicinal plant diversity has also been fostered by the maintenance of over 70 percent of the country under forest cover and the establishment of protected areas that cover 36 percent of the land mass. Knowledge of medicinal plants in Belize is as rich and diverse as the biotic resources that are used.

Various studies, surveys and plant collection expeditions have been conducted in Belize, the earliest and most extensive collection being that of Morton E. Peck in 1905-1907. From these studies, a total of 3 409 plant species have been recorded. However, only a few of the 52 vegetation types have been studied in sufficient detail and apart from species listings, there are very little quantitative data available. In addition, the distribution of plants shows a clear bias towards sites where collection efforts have been concentrated. The northwest and extreme northeast of Belize, and the highest peaks of the Maya Mountains, remain poorly inventoried. It is believed that the country has about 4 000 plant species, including 25-30 endemic ones.

Medicinal plant diversity is a valuable resource to both traditional healers and the pharmaceutical industry. The monetary value of medicinal plants that can be harvested from one hectare of forest in Belize was assessed in 1992 to be US$726-3 327. More important is the relatively untapped pharmaceutical value of tropical plants in treating both known and unknown diseases.

The task of conserving medicinal plant diversity is being guided by Belize's National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, a comprehensive plan prepared by the Government of Belize with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme.

(Source: Extracted from an article «Biodiversity in Belize» by Hugh O'Brien in Tree of Life, Vol. 1, issue 3, November 1998)

PFNM en Belice
En Belice hay una gran variedad de productos forestales no madereros (PFNM) provenientes de las diferentes áreas boscosas. A continuación se presenta una descripción de los usos, métodos de aprovechamiento, valor económico y aspectos legales relacionados con los más importantes productos no maderables del bosque.

El producto forestal no maderero más importante es la producción de chicle proveniente del látex (savia) del árbol de chicle o sapodilla (Manilkara zapota). Esta industria tuvo un auge considerable hace unas décadas, luego decayó y parece que recientemente se está de nuevo recuperando. El chicle se cosecha durante la época de lluvias, generalmente desde julio hasta enero o febrero. El producto obtenido del látex se exporta para la producción de goma de mascar, aunque se está tratando de que se procese y utilice a nivel local en la fabricación artesanal de chicle para el mercado del ecoturismo.




$ EE.UU.


43 636



28 440

65 000


59 106

119 000


8 077

25 000


14 543

62 500

(Fuente: Estadísticas del Ministerio de Desarrollo Económico - 1998)

En Belice, como en muchos otros países, los bosques siguen siendo fuente de materiales de construcción. Las palmas Sabal mexicana y Sabal mauritiiformis (botán o bayleaf) se cosechan ampliamente en todo el país para hacer el techo de casas y ranchos. Las hojas de botán tienen un precio superior al de las otras especies por ser más durables y manejables; también el tallo de esta especie se utiliza como pilar de muelles y embarcaderos debido a su resistencia a los organismos marinos y al agua salada, y para fabricación de barreras de protección en los ríos. El precio aproximado de cada tronco es de 35 dólares EE.UU. El meristemo apical de la planta se consume como «palmito».

Entre las diferentes expresiones artesanales de Belice se destaca el trabajo que realizan los artesanos sobre temas de la naturaleza, siendo una de las actividades más importantes la talla de madera caída. El árbol de zericote (Cordia dodecandra) está protegido, por lo que no se puede utilizar como madera, pero sí para la producción de artesanías, en cuya forma parece tener un importante mercado. También se producen esculturas y platos con la madera de rosewood (Dalbergia stevensonii), caoba (Swietenia macrophylla) y santamaría (Calophyllum brasiliense).

Otros artículos artesanales son los canastos de jippy-joppy (Carludovica palmata), hechos por grupos organizados de mujeres que reciben apoyo de distintas organizaciones no gubernamentales y del Ministerio de la Mujer. También se encuentran esculturas y joyería hecha con semillas de cohune, lo mismo que una variedad de aretes confeccionados con semillas de árboles del bosque.

Entre las plantas medicinales más populares se encuentran la corteza de bálsamo (Balsamina peruviana), billy webb (Swietenia panamensis), colpachí (Crotton guatemalensis), contribo (Aristolochia trilobata), jackass bitters (Neurolaena lobata), sorosí (Momordica charantia), periwinkle (Catharantus roseus), gumbolimbo (Bursera simaruba), china root (Smilax spp.) y palo de hombre (Quassia amara).

El 85 por ciento de los jefes de familia utilizan plantas medicinales, y de ellos el 64 por ciento colecta sus propias plantas. Un 56 por ciento de las plantas provienen de bosques o áreas de cultivo abandonadas desde hace tiempo (bosques secundarios).

El 93 por ciento de los hogares colecta y consume frutas y plantas silvestres (el 31 por ciento proveniente de los bosques), estimándose que frutas y plantas representan el tercio de una comida. La carne silvestre es también importante en la alimentación, y se estima que aproximadamente un 66 por ciento de los animales cazados proviene del bosque, siendo de 8,67 dólares EE.UU. el precio promedio de un kilogramo de carne.

(Fuente: Robles Valle, G. R., Oliveira Barbosa, K. y Villalobos Soto, R. 1999. Evaluación de los productos forestales no madereros en América Central. FAO y Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), Turrialba, Costa Rica. [en prensa].)



Une étude sur l'importance des produits forestiers non ligneux comme sources de revenus pour les femmes dans le milieu rural a été conduite par l'Institut National de l'Environnement et de la Recherche Agricole (INERA) avec une contribution financière de la Fondation Internationale pour la Science (IFS).

La zone d'étude est la partie ouest du Burkina Faso, où les formations végétales sont du type savanes arborées, boisées à forêts claires. Le paysage champêtre est caractérisé par un système de parcs arborés, dominé par des espèces ligneuses à produits comestibles telles que: le Karité (Vitellaria paradoxa), le Néré (Parkia biglobosa), le Tamarinier (Tamarindus indica), le Rônier (Borassus aethiopum), etc. L'étude visait en particulier à clarifier certains enjeux des activités liées aux PFNL qui pourraient avoir des implications sur les ressources forestières et la vie dans les ménages. A travers des enquêtes effectuées auprès de femmes vendeuses sur les marchés villageois, l'étude a recueilli des informations sur les prix, les revenus de vente et les utilisations des principaux PFNL. L'influence des sources d'acquisition des produits sur la formation des prix de vente des mêmes produits a été analysée, de même que les gains monétaires par jour de vente et l'utilisation de ces revenus par les ménages.

Pour plus de détails, veuillez contacter: Niéyidouba Lamien, INERA/GRN-SP Nord-ouest, BP: 49 Tougan, Burkina Faso.



Sustainable harvesting and regeneration of the medical plant Prunus africana (Wotangu)
FAAFNET (Forestry, Agriculture, Animal and Fishery Network) is currently identifying groups interested in planting Prunus africana. The entire Prunus africana tree has uses for the local people through direct traditional uses and as a source of income. Traditionally, Prunus africana is used for the treatment of stomach ache and as a purgative; it is also used for chest pains, malaria and even madness. Farmers have also seen that the fallen leaves of Prunus africana serve as a soil improvement agent and that firewood from the dead branches produces nice "charcoal». In addition, a local company, PLANTECAM, processes the bark into an extract that is used internationally as a medicine for prostate gland disorders. In fact, Prunus africana has become so important that it is mobilizing a good number of people and resources in the Mount Cameroon region and beyond.

FAAFNET encourages the initiative of local communities to establish village organizations who are concerned with harvesting the existing Prunus africana and which will: (a) establish control mechanisms on how to harvest it sustainably; and (b) be involved in decisions on what to do with the money received from the harvest. Technical advice is given to groups and communities who establish nurseries or who plant Prunus africana as a means of regeneration.

After the recent Mount Cameroon eruption, which destroyed a large number of Prunus africana plants, coupled with the actual problem of overexploitation, FAAFNET intends to assist willing groups to plant about 10 000 trees by the year 2001. FAAFNET is inviting interested parties to assist them in this sustainability and regeneration struggle for Prunus africana, which is presently one of the most valuable NTFPs in the Mount Cameroon area.

For more information, please contact: Messrs Lyonga William Mumbe and Ndumbe Ekema Sephen, FAAFNET, Long Street Soppo, PO Box 494, BUEA, South West Province, Cameroon.

(Please see under Special Features for more information on Prunus africana.)


La Dynamique de la Filiere du Gnetum au Sud-Cameroun
Le rotin, Prunus, Irvingia, Garcinia, Cola, Paussinystalia et Gnetum sont actuellement les produits forestiers non ligneux (PFNL) les plus sollicités au Cameroun. Commencée il y a près de six années, la commercialisation poussée des feuilles de Gnetum africanum (utilisées comme légumes) au Sud-Cameroun a progressivement pris de l'ampleur au point d'atteindre aujourd'hui des dimensions forts impressionnantes. Parallèlement à cette évolution au niveau de la taille, la filière a connu des mutations significatives.

La première mutation qu'on peut relever est l'extension géographique du réseau de cueillette et de commercialisation. Vers 1994, les sites d'approvisionnement se limitaient à quelques villages très accessibles du Fako, de la Méme, de la Sanaga Maritime et de la Lékié. Depuis lors, de nouveaux sites de ravitaillement ont émergé, même dans les localités situées en retrait par rapport aux grands axes de circulation, notamment dans la Lékié, la Méfou et Afamba, le Nyong et Kellé et le Mbam et Kim. Cette extension s'est accompagnée dans les localités concernées par le renforcement des restrictions d'accès à la ressource dans les « forêts privées » et l'accélération de la compétition entre les cueilleurs dans les massifs forestiers collectivement exploités. A l'autre bout de la chaîne, on a assisté à l'apparition (ou à la confirmation) de nouveaux marchés comme Bamenda, Tiko, Buea, Mutengene, Libreville, Paris, Londres qui se sont ajoutés aux vieux centres comme Idenau, Limbé, Douala, Yaoundé, etc.

La deuxième mutation importante concerne les acteurs. La multiplication des acteurs ci-dessus évoquée s'est faite sur le plan quantitatif et qualitatif dans les villages, la cueillette ne concernait que quelques femmes. Au fil des années, beaucoup de femmes, d'enfants et même d'hommes se sont impliqués (de façon isolée ou en équipe) dans cette activité.

En aval, le nombre de collecteurs-revendeurs s'est aussi accru de façon notable et de nouvelles catégories d'intervenants sont arrivées dans la filière. Il s'agit de petits intermédiaires villageois, d'une foule de femmes revendeuses qui achètent et découpent le « eru »(Gnetum ), d'agents de remodelage des paquets, de chargeurs, de correspondants commerciaux et surtout de gros collecteurs nationaux (cette tâche revenait jadis aux Nigérians) qui alimentent le principal point d'exportation qu'est Idenau. Enfin, il y a lieu de relever la professionnalisation de certains acteurs qui jusque là n'intervenaient que de façon temporaire.

Le troisième point saillant de la dynamique de la filière qu'on peut relever porte sur les prix et les quantités. Les prix ont augmenté de façon très sensible au cours de la période d'observation. Ainsi par exemple, de 1993 à 1999, on est passé d'un prix moyen de 65 Fcfa par paquet (800 à 1000 gr. environ) à 175 Fcfa au Mfoundi et de 265 Fcfa à 325 Fcfa à Idenau. Pour ce qui est des quantités de Gnetum commercialisées, l'augmentation a été aussi fulgurante. Par exemple, Limbé reçoit en 1999 en moyenne près de 5 000 paquets par semaine contre 200 environ en 1994; l'offre physique hebdomadaire à Idenau a été multiplié par 7,5 environ en quatre années.

Le dernier élément important de la dynamique qu'il importe de mentionner a trait au schéma d'approvisionnement et de distribution. Peu avant 1995/1996, ce schéma n'était pas aussi organisé et étendu qu'il l'est aujourd'hui. Les circuits se sont étoffés et bien rodés en un laps de temps relativement court. Ils font même appel à quelques pratiques modernes de distribution.

Ces mutations sont imputables aux principaux facteurs ci-après : la crise des cultures de rente traditionnelles, l'accentuation de la récession économique, les opportunités intéressantes de revenus qu'offre Gnetum, la spéculation, l'augmentation de la demande, l'augmentation des charges liées à la commercialisation et la volonté des revendeurs de réaliser des bénéfices toujours plus substantiels.

Comme on le constate, ces mutations ont été assez profondes. Le défi qui interpelle les acteurs de développement concernés par les PFNL est celui de savoir maîtriser et orienter cette dynamique afin de l'utiliser efficacement dans la réalisation de l'objectif hautement prioritaire qu'est la gestion durable de ces ressources.

Contribution de: Louis Defo, Programme Avenir des Peuples des Forêts Tropicales, Université de Yaoundé I (Cameroun) et Mounchigan Mama, Université de Yaoundé II (Cameroun), B. P. 8297 Yaoundé, Cameroun.
Fax. +237-22-94-21
E-mail: and


Korup Forest Dynamics Plot
The first enumeration of the Korup Forest Dynamics Plot (KFDP) was completed in July 1999. Botanical identification will continue for the next two years, as plot staff collect fertile samples from trees within the plot.

The KFDP staff have initiated a number of complementary projects within the plot that will continue after its first census. One project involves measuring canopy height every 5 m along the plot grid in the hope of relating light gaps to the distribution, growth and mortality of saplings and understorey plants. Nine of the most common species in the plot are also being studied, six of which are canopy species and three understorey species. Two of the species have medicinal uses, and three others have other local uses.

KFDP researchers are also mapping all individuals of Afromoum sp., a perennial understorey plant with high medicinal value, in order to determine its distribution pattern and habitat preference. A botany student from the University of Douala is working in the plot to study the seedling demography of Garcinia caonrauna (Clusiaceae), an important medicinal species and the most common monoecieous canopy species. He will concentrate his analysis on the relationship between seedling survivorship and seedling density, distance from mother tree, and other microsite habitat effects. Another student (from the University of Florida) is conducting a year-long socio-economic study in the Korup area. His research concentrates on how shocks, such as drought, earthquakes, or robbery, affect the extent to which people collect forest products. The results from this research will help forest mangers create more appropriate forest management plans.

(Source: Inside CTFS, Summer 1999.)


Multiple use of the rain forests in Cameroon
A recent study in the tropical rain forests of southern Cameroon revealed that local communities rely heavily on the use of forest products for their subsistence. More than 500 plant species and 280 animal species are used. About 20 non-timber forest products make it to the local market and contribute considerably to the income of the rural people. A few rare but important NTFP-producing trees also yield valuable timber, but otherwise logging has little impact on the availability of NTFPs derived from plants.

These are some of the conclusions that can be found in the first publication in the Tropenbos-Cameroon Series: Non-timber forest products in the Bipindi-Akom II Region, Cameroon. A socio-economic and ecological assessment. The study was carried out by Johanna van Dijk, a biologist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, who specifically looked at how NTFPs can contribute to multiple-use forest management. Actual forestry practices in tropical rainforests focus mainly on the exploitation of timber, since this generates high income in the short term. However, policymakers and forest managers must not underestimate the value of NTFPs for local communities. In sustainable forest management, the interests of local people, and the role of other forest products, must be taken into account.

The plant species collected by the local people are used for some 1 100 different purposes, including medicinal use. The animal species are used almost exclusively for food. Secondary forests and cocoa plantations are more important as collection areas for NTFPs than primary forests.

The study, which started in 1996, was executed within the framework of the Tropenbos-Cameroon Programme (TCP). Tropenbos works closely with Wageningen University and other Dutch and Cameroonian universities and research institutes. The TCP's main objective is to develop methods and strategies for sustainable management of natural forest. The perspectives of local people and indigenous communities are important aspects of the programme. Land use in the research area is mainly timber exploitation, shifting cultivation, and hunting/gathering by local people.

(Source: Press Release, Tropenbos, Wageningen, 2 December 1999.)

For further information and to receive a copy of the publication, please contact: Tropenbos International, PO Box 232, 6700 AE Wageningen, the Netherlands.
Fax: +31-317-423024



Conservation of plant diversity in western Cameroon
A three-year Darwin Initiative project entitled «Conservation of Plant Diversity in Western Cameroon» began on 1 November 1999. Involving the National Herbarium of Cameroon and Kew, and funded by the Earthwatch Institute, the project will conduct botanical inventories in the area to provide data for conservation management. The focus is on three protected areas managed by NGOs.

(Source: Kew Scientist, Issue 16, October 1999.)



Importancia socioeconómica de los productos forestales no madereros
Ha sido de gran importancia, y lo sigue siendo en el país, el uso de los productos forestales no madereros (PFNM), especialmente entre los estratos sociales con menores ingresos. En Chile, al igual que en muchos otros países del mundo, los PFNM tienen un gran significado socioeconómico, sobre todo porque requieren de una fuerte incorporación de mano de obra no calificada para su recolección y procesamiento, cuando es necesario. Adicionalmente, la mayor colecta y utilización de PFNM se realiza a nivel de comunidades rurales, a nivel de comunidades campesinas y de personas de bajos ingresos.

Además, desde el punto de vista social, proporciona fuentes de trabajo a ancianos, mujeres y niños, en determinados períodos del año, especialmente en aquellas épocas en las que la demanda de trabajos de temporada está deprimida.

A pesar del generalizado uso de la medicina formal, que cubre a la población mediante los sistemas nacionales de salud pública, un porcentaje que se estima en no menos de un 50 por ciento, emplea plantas medicinales como principal medio de atención primaria para la salud. Esto conlleva su comercialización a nivel nacional, por lo general en estado deshidratado, a precios accesibles para el grueso de la población. En estos últimos años, este «herbolario nacional» se ha visto enriquecido con la importación de PFNM para uso medicinal procedentes del Perú y Bolivia, especialmente uña de gato, bálsamo del Perú y otros.

La gama de PFNM en Chile es bastante variada. Es posible que haya menos cantidad de especies que en las zonas tropicales, debido a la gran biodiversidad que existe en éstas, sin embargo las que existen son de gran valor, sea por el alto grado de endemismo existente que por la gran variabilidad de condiciones climatológicas existentes; una variabilidad que depende de la extensa geografía chilena que cubre varios grados de latitud y extremas condiciones de clima y altura.

En el país existe casi toda la gama de PFNM enumeradas en cualquiera clasificación, y abarca alimentos, flores, plantas medicinales y comestibles, aromas, esencias, fibras y productos de origen animal.

(Fuente: Productos forestales no madereros en Chile. 1998. Serie Forestal N° 10, RLC/FAO.)



Mapping and monitoring Costa Rica's biodiversity: the ECOMAPAS Project.
In September 1998, the Costa Rican ECOMAPAS Project officially entered its implementation phase, starting the mapping and subsequent monitoring of Costa Rica's biodiversity, and in particular its ecosystems. This Netherlands-funded Project is a joint effort of Costa Rica's National Biodiversity Institute (INBio) and the National Conservation Areas System (SINAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE). In accordance with INBio and SINAC's mission of saving, knowing and sustainably using tropical biodiversity, and as a follow-up to the 1998 approved national Biodiversity Law, the ECOMAPAS Project will contribute in an advanced and innovative manner to the development of knowledge and wise use of Costa Rica's biodiversity.

For more information, please contact: Maarten Kappelle, Proyecto ECOMAPAS, INBio, Apartado Postal 22-3100, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica.
Fax: +506-2442816




En Cuba los bosques representan el 21 por ciento del territorio del país y ocupan una superficie de 2 402 900 hectáreas, de las cuales 1 954 400 hectáreas corresponden a bosques naturales y 448 500 hectáreas a plantaciones forestales. En los últimos cuatro decenios, la política forestal nacional ha estado orientada a la protección de los bosques naturales existentes, así como a incrementar las áreas cubiertas de bosques mediante programas de forestación y reforestación. Esta política se está reformulando en el marco del Programa de Desarrollo Forestal hasta 2015, aprobado en 1997, con el objetivo de garantizar el manejo sostenible de los bosques del país y el establecimiento de plantaciones como primera opción para la obtención de maderas.

Hasta el pasado reciente, gran parte de los bosques pertenecían a entidades estatales y, en pequeña escala, al sector cooperativo y al privado. Sin embargo, en los últimos años ha tenido lugar un proceso de transformación de la tenencia de la tierra. Hoy en día, el sector privado es usufructuario de alrededor del 10 por ciento de las tierras forestales. Este proceso conlleva consecuencias importantes, tales como el incremento de los poseedores de tierras con bosques, la diversificación de los usos y de las funciones de los mismos, el aumento de la presión sobre los recursos y los ecosistemas, y la ampliación del numero de participantes en las actividades forestales.

En el contexto de los cambios en las funciones de los organismos de la Administración Central del Estado y en aras del fortalecimiento institucional del sector forestal, en 1995 el Ministerio de Agricultura creó la Dirección Forestal, cuya misión esencial es aplicar y supervisar la política forestal nacional en vista del desarrollo sostenible de los bosques del país. Con este cambio institucional, las funciones de la autoridad estatal se han separado de la actividad económica empresarial.

Como consecuencia del proceso señalado, también se hizo inminente la necesidad de reformar el régimen legislativo forestal. En julio de 1998, se promulgó una nueva Ley Forestal, en cuya preparación la FAO brindó apoyo técnico a través del proyecto TCP/CUB/5612, y que derogó la precedente normativa, es decir, el Decreto-Ley de marzo de 1993 sobre el Patrimonio Forestal y la Fauna Silvestre. Asimismo, en julio de 1997, la nueva Ley del Medio Ambiente sustituyó la Ley de enero de 1981 de Protección del Medio Ambiente y del Uso Racional de los Recursos Naturales.

Para el efectivo cumplimiento de la Ley Forestal, hace falta un conjunto de disposiciones reglamentarias complementarias que el Gobierno ha preparado últimamente (el Reglamento de la Ley Forestal, el Decreto de Contravenciones a las Regulaciones Forestales y el Reglamento del Registro Forestal), que deberían ser completadas y aprobadas por las autoridades competentes durante el presente año. Para el estudio, evaluación y revisión de las mencionadas disposiciones reglamentarias, el Gobierno solicitó asistencia de la FAO, que la ha brindado a través del proyecto TCP/CUB/8925.

El Reglamento de la Ley Forestal incluye capítulos sobre el aprovechamiento de productos forestales no madereros, por ejemplo, los productos de las palmaceas.

(Fuente: Documentos de la FAO.)

Para más información, dirigirse a:
Sr. M. Paveri,
Jefe de la
Subdirección de Políticas e Instituciones Forestales, Departamento de Montes de la FAO
correo electrónico:
 al Dr. A. Mekouar, Oficial jurídico superior,

Oficina Jurídica de la FAO

correo electrónico:



En El Salvador se identificaron 476 especies de plantas utilizadas como medicamentos de origen botánico, pertenecientes a 134 familias. Del total de especies, 345 plantas son nativas y 131 exóticas (naturalizadas, no naturalizadas e importadas), y se usan para tratar un total de 224 enfermedades. De las 40 especies más utilizadas y aceptadas por su eficacia terapéutica, al menos 21 son nativas.

En el país hay por lo menos ocho empresas que transforman productos vegetales para producir aceites esenciales o extractos para la fabricación de medicinas, a partir de materia prima cultivada. Una de ellas ha reportado la producción de 2 500 libras de extracto de bálsamo en un período de seis meses.

La Estrategia Nacional de Biodiversidad de El Salvador (1999, sin publicar) identifica 109 especies de plantas nativas, de 44 familias botánicas, que producen frutos o poseen partes que son aprovechadas como alimento. De estas, unas 19 plantas son cultivadas, mientras que el resto provienen de áreas silvestres y bosques.

El bálsamo (Myroxylon balsamum (L.) Harms) pertenece a la familia Fabaceae. Es una leguminosa arbórea, con un fuste de más de 30 metros de alto, de cuya corteza se obtiene una oleorresina que constituye una materia prima producida casi exclusivamente en El Salvador.

La oleorresina se utiliza en forma industrial para elaborar perfumes, jabones y barnices, así como para la preparación de los óleos sacramentales que usa la Iglesia Católica. También se utiliza como base para la fabricación de cremas acondicionadoras del cabello y como fijador en distintos compuestos químicos. La semilla macerada se usa en la industria farmacéutica para la producción de medicinas que sirven para la expulsión de cálculos renales, antihistéricos y astringentes, así como para la eliminación de manchas y suavizante de arrugas en el rostro. La madera tiene varios usos por sus buenas cualidades y dureza. El bálsamo se comercializa a nivel nacional e internacional.

Las semillas de varias especies del bosque se utilizan con diferentes fines. La semilla de copinol (Himenea courbaril), se utiliza en la fabricación de artesanías; la de aceituno negro (Simaruba glauca), sirve para fabricar un tipo de jabón suave, utilizado en las zonas rurales; la de nacascolo (Caesalpinia coriaria), se utiliza en la curtiembre de pieles.

Además, se fabrican artesanías y muebles de mimbre (nombre que se le da a la fibra proveniente de las raíces aéreas de varias especies de la familia Araceae: Heteropsis spp., Philodendron spp., Monstera spp.), que actualmente se importa de Guatemala y Honduras, debido a la desaparición casi total de los bosques salvadoreños y de estas plantas que crecen sobre los árboles del bosque.

Además de existir una arraigada tradición de cacería entre la población salvadoreña, la pobreza obliga a una alta proporción de la población al uso de la vida silvestre animal como complemento de proteína.

(Fuente: Robles Valle, G. R., Oliveira Barbosa, K. y Villalobos Soto, R. 1999. Evaluación de los productos forestales no madereros en América Central. FAO y Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), Turrialba, Costa Rica. [en prensa].)



In August 1999, the Ghana Ministry of Lands and Forestry (MLF), with funds from the World Bank GEF/PDF-B programme, held a Medicinal Plants Conservation, Management and Sustainable Utilization in the Northern Savanna Region of Ghana workshop at Tamale, Northern Region. It brought together 42 traditional healers from the three regions, NGOs and government representatives. The healers unanimously endorsed 18 recommendations that form the basis of a government project concept proposal to be considered under the Natural Resources Management Programme. The healers, meeting in three regional-based discussion groups, identified the 15 most commonly treated human (11) and livestock (4) diseases and the medicinal plants used in their treatment. Approximately 40 percent of the medicinal plants recorded at the workshop were classified by the healers as currently locally threatened. The healers collectively expressed their willingness to collaborate with research scientists and NGOs to identify ways and means of identifying medicinal plants, and accessing and maintaining future supplies through cultivation and sustained harvesting practices of wild sources.

Medicinal plants are not seen as the only important resource of the savannah woodlands. However, because of their importance to health and the biodiversity of the savannahs they are seen as the linchpin whereby communities would see the benefits of investing time and energy to conserve and manage such resources more effectively. Annual burning, inappropriate farming practices, and livestock grazing pressure are community practices that threaten the northern savannah woodland zone. The Government of Ghana is committed to pursuing a participatory approach to the development of improved savannah resource management. As traditional healers are recognized as leaders within their communities they have shown firm commitment to work with their chiefs to play a more active role in the management process. In addition, the MLF will work with the Ministry of Health, and other organizations in the country to facilitate greater collaboration, especially in the provision of quality medicinal plant raw materials used by traditional healers, birth attendants and mothers in the home for healthcare needs.

A medicinal plant database will be established at the Savannah Resources Management Centre at Tamale as part of the Savannah Management Information System (SMIS). The SMIS will provide a means to manage medicinal plants and other non-timber forest products. Database development will include activities to enhance the participation of regional Traditional Healer's Associations (THAs), traditional healers, and communities in the development of sustainable resource management practices. Depositories of data and information on flora and fauna, especially on medicinal plants in the country will be linked to the Savannah Resources Management Centre to augment the Centre's database.

(Source: John Lambert, The World Bank, Washington DC, USA.)

For more information, please contact: Mr. John Lambert, Medicinal Plant Specialist, AFTR2, The World Bank, Washington, DC, USA.



En Guatemala hay una gran variedad de productos forestales no madereros (PFNM) provenientes de las áreas boscosas compuestas principalmente por bosque latifoliado, muy extenso y rico de especies. Los principales productos se agrupan en las categorías de ornamentales, resinas, especias y medicinales.

El xate es el nombre común de tres especies de palma de porte pequeño (Chamadorea elegans, xate hembra; Chamadorea oblongata, xate macho; y Chamadorea erumpens, cambray), que crecen en condiciones de sombra bajo el bosque latifoliado. Sus hojas se recolectan y exportan a Estados Unidos, Holanda y Alemania, donde se utilizan en la industria ornamental para la confección de arreglos florales. La principal zona de extracción la constituyen las áreas de uso múltiple de la Reserva de la Biosfera Maya.

A pesar de la disminución en la producción, las exportaciones de xate generan un ingreso que se mantiene entre 300 000 y los 500 000 dólares EE.UU. por año. En 1997, el valor de las exportaciones alcanzó a 1 490 057 dólares.

El pinabete (Abies guatemalensis) es un árbol de porte pequeño, endémico del altiplano de Guatemala, donde se encuentran los bosques de coníferas del país. Por ser una especie endémica en peligro de extinción, está incluida en el Apéndice I de la Convención sobre el comercio internacional de especies amenazadas de fauna y flora silvestres (CITES). El pinabete se utiliza para la confección de árboles navideños, ya que tiene una fragancia mejor, se mantiene verde por un período más prolongado y la forma de su copa es más piramidal que la de otras coníferas usadas como árboles navideños, por ejemplo, el ciprés (Cupressus spp.). Las ramas del pinabete son cortadas en los bosques del altiplano y traídas a la capital (Ciudad de Guatemala), donde se confeccionan los árboles de navidad, fijando las ramas a un tallo central de madera.

El chicle que proviene del látex (savia) de los árboles de chicozapote (Manilkara zapota), que crece en el bosque latifoliado de América Tropical. En Guatemala, la especie se encuentra principalmente en el Petén, y se exporta a Estados Unidos y el Japón, donde se emplea en la industria de goma de mascar y pegamentos industriales.

Entre 1940 y 1970, la producción promedio anual de chicle superó las 1 000 toneladas por año. En la actualidad, se mantiene en alrededor de 500 toneladas; y la reducción se debe principalmente al agotamiento del recurso y a la existencia de sustitutos sintéticos. En cuanto al precio, en los últimos años se ha mantenido estable, entre 3,90 y 4,35 dólares EE.UU. por kg. Con base en este precio y en la producción promedio anual, se estima que el ingreso bruto generado por las exportaciones de chicle en Guatemala supera los 2 000 000 de dólares por año.

La pimienta gorda, también conocida como allspice, es la semilla del árbol de pimienta (Pimienta dioica), nativa de los bosques tropicales latifoliados. En Guatemala, la pimienta se recolecta en su totalidad en la región noroeste del departamento del Petén. Se estima que el potencial de producción de pimienta gorda en Guatemala está alrededor de 500 000 kg por año. En total, se estima que el mercado de la pimienta gorda genera un ingreso bruto de alrededor de 365 000 dólares por año.

Las plantas medicinales más importantes de Guatemala, por su volumen comercializado y valor económico, son la zarzaparrilla (Smilax spp.) y la calahuala (Polypodium leucotomus). También importantes, pero en menor escala, son la apacia o zorrillo (Petiveria alliacea), la yerba de toro (Tridax procumbens) y el tepescohuite (Mimosa tenuiflora).

(Fuente: Robles Valle, G. R., Oliveira Barbosa, K. y Villalobos Soto, R. 1999. Evaluación de los productos forestales no madereros en América Central. FAO y Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), Turrialba, Costa Rica. [en prensa].)



Mangrove bark
Mangrove bark is used in the leather craft industry for leather tanning. Mangrove bark production was 35 762 kg for 1998; there was no declared production in 1997. In the fourth quarter of 1998 mangrove amounted to 21 534 kg, representing a 99 percent increase over the previous quarter. The increase of declared mangrove bark production was the result of an increased extraction of mangrove bark from state forest in response to greater demand from the leather industry. Mangrove bark is also produced outside State forests boundaries.

(Source: Forestry in Guyana, Quarterly Market Report _ 4th Quarter 1998, April 1999.)

Palm heart harvesting in Guyana's northwest district
Palm heart from Euterpe oleracea supplies a canning industry worth US$2 million annually in export value and is the most important NTFP of Guyana's northwest district. The multistemmed palm species occurs in large quantities in brackish swamps along the coast. To assess the sustainability of current palm heart extraction by the French-Guyanese company Amazon Caribbean Limited (AMCAR), a four-month pilot study was carried out. Vegetation structure, regeneration and mortality were compared between areas with high and low harvest intensity. A previously undisturbed area was taken as a control. In Euterpe populations that had been harvested for several years, stems were significantly smaller in size and diameter than in areas harvested only once or twice.

Maintaining a minimum diameter for palm heart appeared to be a powerful method to prevent extraction of immature stems, which has led to severe overharvesting in Brazil. A detailed management plan is needed to ensure the future supply of palm hearts, since sustainable harvest of this resource is of vital importance to the country's well-being. A large-scale rotation system that allows vulnerable areas to regenerate, while intensifying extraction in undisturbed palm stands, will be used by the company in the near future.

The abundance and rapid growth of Euterpe oleracea offers good opportunities for sustainable extraction. Since the potential for other land uses (commercial agriculture, mining or logging) is minimal, extraction of NTFP seems to be the most viable form of land use in the coastal northwest district of Guyana.

(Source: Extracted from the abstract of a report by T.R. van Andel, P.E. Huyskens and K.C.A. Bröker, ETFRN News, 27/99.)

For more information or to receive a copy of this report, please contact: Mr Tinde van Andel, Herbariium, Utrecht University, PO Box 80102, 3508 TC Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Euterpe oleracea is processed, thinned and largely exported as a delicacy to markets in Europe. A very small percentage of the end products is sold on the local market. In 1998, there was a record high for manicole palm production (6 936 983 stems). In the fourth quarter of 1998, however, a 3 percent decline was noted relative to 1997 production. The decline was mainly a result of slower export markets associated with recessions in many countries and the producer, AMCAR, has had to cut back on production levels in light of market changes. Export prices for the end product remained stable at US$18.50 for 24 small cans or 12 large cans, FOB Georgetown.

(Source: Forestry in Guyana, Quarterly Market Report _ 4th Quarter 1998, April 1999.)



En Honduras la resinación se practica desde los años 40 en las zonas central y oriental del país, con diferentes especies de pino (Pinus spp.) y de liquidambar (Liquidambar styraciflua). Esta actividad es muy importante para millares de familias en el contexto del sistema social forestal.

En Honduras se aprovechan cerca de 700 plantas medicinales. Pero las plantas medicinales provenientes de los bosques están amenazadas por la destrucción de su hábitat. Plantas como el hombre grande (Quassia amara) y chichimora (Fevillea cordifolia), solamente se encuentran dentro del bosque tropical y cada día son más escasas; la zarzaparrilla (Smilax spp.), ha sido explotada por más de 150 años y hoy en día es bastante escasa. Otras plantas muy utilizadas y en peligro son la escalera de mico (Bahuinia guieensis), taray (Eysenhardtia adenostylis), cuculmeca (Smilax spinosa), y sangre de drago (Machaerium cirrhiferum y M. isadelphum).

Productos como plantas, nueces, gomas comestibles, tubérculos, semillas o frutas complementan el abastecimiento de alimento y mejoran la seguridad alimentaria de la población.

Una de las tradiciones de Honduras es el trabajo artesanal con productos de bambú, coco, calabaza, caña, y el entretejido de haces de hebras vegetales con las que se forman estrellas, espirales, calados y cordones utilizados en la confección de sombreros de excelente calidad, canastos para pan, abanicos y hasta tejidos de mimbre utilizados en la confección de muebles.

Muchas especies se utilizan en la construcción de casas. Por ejemplo, las hojas de capuca (Calyptrogyne ghiesbreghtiana) y de algunas especies de Geonoma en la costa norte. El corozo (Orbingya cohune), suyate (Brahea dulcis), tique (Acoelorrhaphe wrightii) y manaca (Scheelea macrocarpa), se emplean para la construcción de techos.

Otra actividad comercial importante está relacionada con las semillas, ya que se comercializan semillas seleccionadas de varias especies de pino (Pinus caribaea, P. maximinoi y P. tecunumanii). El promedio anual recolectado de semillas de pino es de 1 800 kg, de los cuales el 55 por ciento se destina a la exportación.

En Honduras, es común comer animales silvestres como fuente de proteína animal.

(Fuente: Robles Valle, G. R., Oliveira Barbosa, K. y Villalobos Soto, R. 1999. Evaluación de los productos forestales no madereros en América Central. FAO y Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), Turrialba, Costa Rica. [en prensa].)



Economic importance of non-wood forest products in Hungary
Before 1990, the management of NWFPs in Hungary was carried out by specialized government companies, as in other central-eastern European countries. After political changes, the state companies were taken out of this economic area and their responsibilities were taken over by small private companies. This was the beginning of the complete liberalization of NWFP management, which opened economic markets and resulted in new dynamic privately owned companies, as well as the decentralization of decision-making in forestry management.

At present, the most important products in state-owned forestry management are charcoal, Christmas trees and ornamental foliage. However, the income from these products is as little as 1 percent of the total state forestry activities, with the remaining 99 percent coming from wood lumbering and other activities. In spite of this, state enterprises do deal with these three NWFPs.

Besides charcoal, which is the most important product in state-owned forests, medicinal plants are important. In fact, in Hungary there are currently about 400 companies interested in medicinal plant management. These companies are primarily privately owned. The revival of this industry, through increased export activity, has resulted in the creation of several jobs.

For NWFPs to continue to grow, additional emphasis needs to be placed on information network systems, the implementation of special strategies and policies, and increased cooperation between the private and public sector.

Previously, little research was conducted on NWFPs in Hungary. In a report by the University of Sopron, several new trends were examined with respect to the economics of forestry. Significant quantities of data were collected and the resulting trends were critically reviewed.

For more information, please contact: Attila Hegedus and Zoltan Szentesi, University of Sopron, Department of Forestry Policy and Forestry Economics, 5 Ady, 9400 Sopron, Hungary.
Fax: (36)/99-329-911

E-mail: or



Developing a model participatory management programme for conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of non-wood forest products in Kerala
This study is the second phase of the completed project on NWFPs and its sustainable use, in the Kerala part of Western Ghats. At present a number of institutions and people, including the State Forest Department and tribals (interest groups), are involved in the management of NWFPs in Kerala. The first phase of the study indicated that decisions regarding various aspects are taken from above and thrust upon the various parties at local level. The tribal people and societies, who have to implement various management decisions at the grassroots level, have no say in NWFP management and, consequently, show little interest in protecting biodiversity. This finding necessitated the adoption of a better and alternative system of NWFP management, giving more emphasis to the transfer of power to groups at the grassroots level.

The main purpose of this project is to develop a model participatory management system for conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of NWFPs. In addition, an attempt will be made to examine the impacts of participatory management on biodiversity, vegetation structure and dynamics and collection and marketing of NWFPs. Project work consists of two main parts: (a) to facilitate the interest groups to implement participatory management in the study area; and (b) to carry out research on biodiversity and the impact of participatory management on biodiversity and sustainable use of NWFPs. As a facilitator, it is proposed to help various interest groups to constitute resource management committees, prepare micro plans, organize training programmes, and evaluate the progress of the participatory management of NWFPs. As part of the research work, an attempt will be made to undertake a detailed resource survey with the help of gatherers of NWFPs for preparing micro plans. Attempts will also be made to address ecological issues, such as ecologically optimal rates of use for given NWFPs, and to ascertain the economic and ecological difference in the given management practice.

Assessing the impact of participatory management on the socio-economic conditions of the gatherers, and developing planting stock for enrichment planting, are some of the other activities of the project. From the ecological and economic standpoint, one of the most essential ingredients required to achieve a sustainable level of resource use is information. The study will generate information on changes of biodiversity and sustainable use of NWFPs that have occurred as a result of the implementation of participatory management.

(Contributed by: Dr P.K. Muraleedharan, Kerala Forest Research Institute, India.)

For more information, please contact: Dr. P.K. Muraleedharan, Forest Economist, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi, Trichur -680 653, Kerala, India.
Fax: +91-487-782249



Silver Jubilee of Tata Energy Research Institute
For the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), the new millennium brings added significance as it celebrates its Silver Jubilee in February 2000. A series of conferences will be held from 19 to 21 February 2000 in New Delhi on Global Sustainable Development in the twenty-first century: Directions for Innovation and Change. Conference themes embody local, regional and global perspectives:

The President of India, Shri K R Narayanan, will inaugurate the conferences. The conferences will feature deliberations by four former Prime Ministers, two Nobel laureates, chairpersons of international companies such as Royal Dutch/Shell and Unocal, and heads of UN agencies.

This series of conferences will help in developing a common global agenda for the twenty-first century that embodies the economic and social interests of people around the world, while at the same time ensuring the sustainability of natural resources and protection of the environment.


For more information, please contact: Silver Jubilee Conference Secretariat or Mr Parijat Sinha, Tata Energy Research Institute, Darbari Seth Block, Habitat Place, Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110003, India.
Fax: +91-11-462-1770/463-2609



Museum on non-timber forest produce
The Minor Forest Produce Division in Siliguri, Darjeeling, West Bengal, has plans to open a small museum on non-timber forest produce in the Sukna District of Darjeeling, in order to increase people's awareness on the various roles and uses of NTFPs. The museum will also house a small library.

For more information, please contact: Mr P.K. Pandit, Divisional Forest Officer, Minor Forest Produce Division, Hakimpara (Near Children Part), PO Siliguri, Dist. Darjeeling 734401, West Bengal, India.



Zingiberaceae medicinal plants in the teak wood forest of Java
Several kinds of medicinal plants from the Zingiberaceae family can be found in the teak wood forest of Java, especially mid-Java and on the border of east Java. These plants grow wild under the shade of teak wood trees. The villagers who live near the forest use these plants by collecting the tubers and using them as raw materials for traditional herbal medicines.

Tubers are collected when the plants are withering _ at the beginning of the dry season or at the end of May/early June. These tubers are dug, washed, sliced and dried in the sun and then sold to the Herbal Medicines Factory. Villagers do not cultivate these plants; they only collect them, something that they have been doing since 1910.

One of the few threats faced by these plants is if the teak wood trees disappear (through wild cutting by the villagers), then the plants that grow under the shade of these trees will also cease to exist. Another danger is if the villagers do not leave the side tubers (entik) behind (which can sometimes happen for economic reasons), there will be no tubers left to collect in the coming years.

For these reasons, Perum Perhutani (the Indonesian State-owned Forest Enterprise) has tried to protect the existence of these plants by educating the villagers around the forest and by cultivating these plants under the shade of the teak wood trees.

Below is a list of some of the plants that are used in traditional herbal medicines:

Contributed by: A.S. Purwono and B. Maruto, PT. Air Mancur, Solo, Indonesia.

E-mail: or



In Europe today «multifunctionality» is the key concept in any sustainable practice applied to mountain forest resources. Easy to say and hard to implement, this concept is gaining importance within other practices, namely agriculture. Multifunctionality means balancing all values. Another commonly used expression is "patrimonial value", which in a way stresses the heritage character of forests and has a look at the historical and cultural roots of the past.

The following two examples from Italy provide useful examples.

NWFPs from Val di Taro, Parma
The local communities of Val di Taro have a long tradition in the collection of mushrooms (mainly Boletus sp., flap mushrooms, but also many others) and other edible fruits from their mountain forests that have a limited commercial value for wood.

Formerly, collection was carried out by families for their own use or for sale in markets as far away as Genova, on a free-right legal basis within the communities of the valley. Methods of drying the products have been developed and mushrooms have created opportunities for celebrations and solidarity amongst the people of different villages.

In the 1980s, the mayor of the main village proposed to give official recognition to the boletus from the Val di Taro and obtained a national label for the dry mushrooms, which have a commercial value of ten times that of fresh products. An important added value pushed families to organize the collection, preparation and trade, on a small enterprise basis. This trade, under an internationally recognized label, reaches New York, Edinburgh and Paris with companies and restaurants giving good employment opportunities to people from the valley. The average revenue per family, in the local collection and transformation, is estimated to be US$2 000/year. Celebrations and solidarity exist on a global scale and the members of the Associations of the Inhabitants of Val di Taro worldwide meet regularly.

(Contact: Mr Pier Luigi Ferrari, Federforeste, Via Cesare Battisti, I-43043 Borgotaro (Parma), Italy

Fax: +39-0525-90 507 or +39-0525-96-218.)

Non-wood forest products from `Il bosco di Orgia', Siena
In the area of the "Montagnola senese", forests have been for centuries sources of food, small trade and spiritual values in the shade of an agricultural métayage system (a system by which farmers pay rent in kind). This system is known as an agricultural-based land use, but a joint initiative between a local community and the Anthropology Chair of the University of Siena showed that the main identity and livelihood source has always been the forest. Forest products, tangible and non-tangible ones, contributed largely to the identity of local people under an apparent agricultural system, which only provided products and inputs to large landowners and to outside economic actors. The system was actually a forest socio-economic fabric in which biodiversity, solidarity, sacred and symbolic forces and cultural values were interacting.

A small local laboratory-museum was set up ten years ago, and the many oral testimonies available give evidence of a forest community. Schools, families, researchers are all participating to the success of the initiative which each year brings a significant number of visitors and helps the sustainability of local activities.

The proceedings of a IUFRO Workshop on Forest History, held in Florence in 1998, contain information about this initiative.

(Contact: Mr M. Agnoletti, University of Florence, Faculty of Forestry, Via San Bonaventura, Quaracchi, 50100 Florence, Italy.)

In some of the available examples of multifunctional local forest systems in mountain areas (many of them have unfortunately disappeared), there is no evidence of major conflicts within the communities in balancing economic and other values.

Recently, the head of forest and rural development at the European Commission declared that "during centuries forests and local communities have been living in a symbiosis". We are living today the inevitable crisis of a lost symbiosis with the forests.

(Source: Mountain Forum e-mail conference )

For more information, please contact: Pier Carlo Zingari, Observatoire Européen de la Forêt de Montagne - OEFM, European Observatory of Mountain Forest - EOMF, Les Thermes, F 73230 Saint-Jean d'Arvey, France.
Fax ++33.4-79-28-40-58



Black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) was introduced into the Kenyan farming system long before contemporary notions of social forestry were in vogue. During the period from 1915 to 1919, 4 000 ha of plantations were established on «European» farms and later also on African ones, after encouragement from the government aiming to reduce the pressure on indigenous trees. Partly as an impact of planting campaigns, the total area under wattle increased. In a single year (1935) the area nearly doubled from the previous year, from 18 000 to 40 000 ha. The reason why planting of wattle was widely adopted by farmers, after initial resistance, was first and foremost its income-generating potential (linked to the bark trade), and the fact that African farmers were excluded from most other opportunities for growing cash crops.

High in tannins, the bark of black wattle was used in the tanning extract industry from 1915, although the capacity to process the bark in the development of the industry was scarce. The most part was exported, but as tanning extract factories were opened in the early 1930s and an increased access to bark markets took place, the popularity of the bark as a smallholder crop increased.

Wattle planting had also implications for land tenure. Within the context of a precarious land tenure situation, and emerging wage labour markets, planting wattle represented a means for African farmers to retain customary land-use rights asserted through cultivation of wattle, and consequently extensive areas of high potential agricultural land were planted with wattle. Until land reform and independence in the early 1960s, wattle was the only cash crop which Africans were encouraged to cultivate. Following the land reform, and as new land-use opportunities became possible after independence, many wattle areas were cleared and more lucrative cash crops, such as coffee and tea, were planted. Rather than disappearing altogether, markets for products from wattle became more diverse, including charcoal and building timber.

The exploitation of these markets involved different tree management approaches. Strategies for bark production and for charcoal differ widely. Best tannins are processed from trees that are at least seven years old, whereas charcoal can be produced from relatively small (younger) trees. While the production of high quality wattle bark depends on a relatively low density of older trees in a woodlot, returns to charcoal production can be maximized by the management of very dense stands of trees on a short rotation. Since bark prices fell (by 50 percent between 1955 and 1962) and prices for charcoal increased, farmers tended to shorten their rotation and this resulted in a reduction of bark production.

In the 1990s, wattle was planted on some woodlots and covered around 6 000 ha of good quality farmland in Murangà, compared with 10 000 ha under tea and 40 000 ha under coffee. By 1990, a hectare of mature wattle when harvested after eight years, could produce around KSh 3 870 for its bark and KSh 28 810 for charcoal sold on the roadside (a total of around US$1 100 at prevailing 1990 exchange rates).

At present, wattle is extensively managed with few labour or capital inputs and is regarded as a productive way of maintaining land fallow until other cropping possibilities and sources of capital and labour would encourage households to alter their land-use practices.

(Extracted and edited from Dewees, Peter A. and Saxena, N.C. Black wattle woodlots in Kenya. In J.E. Michael Arnold & Peter Dewees (ed.). Farms, trees and farmers, 1997.)

New NTFP forest users association started in Kenya
The Kenya Association of Forest Users (KAFU) is a newly founded association, whose mission is to unlock trade opportunities for NTFPs, conservation and organic products. KAFU aims at putting in place a Kenyan movement for certification and marketing of these products. One of KAFU's main objectives is to facilitate linkages among relevant local, national and international institutions and systems dealing with production, certification and marketing of NTFPs, conservation and organic products. KAFU is currently focusing on certification of NTFPs, an area which so far has been little addressed in the country.

For more information, please contact: Ms Lucy Kirimi, Programme Officer, Kenya Association of Forest Users (KAFU), c/o Forest Action Network, PO Box 21428, Nairobi, Kenya.
Fax: +254-2-714406




NTFP Project - Supporting the sustainable use of non-timber forest products
In Lao People's Democratic Republic, the most important use of NTFPs is for subsistence. Ninety percent of the Lao population live in rural areas and rely heavily on forest products for food, shelter and as a source of income. Local people consider edible bamboo shoots, fish, vegetables and wildlife as the most important products derived from forests. NTFPs also contribute to the national economy through export.

The NTFP Project aims to identify the present use of NTFPs in Lao People's Democratic Republic and to promote the sustainable use of NTFPs for rural development and forest conservation. Executed by IUCN and the Department of Forestry of Lao People's Democratic Republic, with support from the Netherlands, the project started in 1995 and will run through 2000. It is an integrated conservation and development project (ICDP).

Within the framework of the project, a discussion paper entitled «Guiding the development of the NTFP subsector in Lao People's Democratic Republic: towards a long-term strategy» was prepared. The paper provides a brief description of the nature of the NTFP subsector in the country. This is followed by a review of the key issues involved in guiding and supporting the subsector. The Government's current NTFP programmes are reviewed and assessed against the key issues.

(Source: Ingles, A.W, Foppes, J. & Ketphanh S. 1998. Guiding the development of the NTFP subsector in Lao People's Democratic Republic: towards a long-term strategy. Project discussion paper 1/98.)

For more information, please contact: NTFP Project (DoF/IUCN), PO Box 4340, Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic.
Fax: +856 21 222861

Rattans in Lao People's Democratic Republic
Rattans in Lao People's Democratic Republic are utilized, as elsewhere in the region, for furniture and local handicrafts but, uniquely in Lao People's Democratic Republic and neighbouring northeast Thailand, they are also cultivated for their edible shoots. Little is known about Lao rattans; only three species were recorded in old colonial floras but at least 30 were collected recently by the Lao Forest Department. Sorting out their taxonomy is important so that rattan technology can be correctly applied in Lao People's Democratic Republic.

In a Darwin Initiative project, Tom Evans is researching Lao rattans under the supervision of Drs John Dransfield and Nick Brown of Oxford Forestry Institute, in order to provide a firm basis for sustainable development. Three officers of the Forest Research Centre in Vientiane are also studying rattan taxonomy at Kew (UK) so as to name the recently collected rattans.

For more information, please contact: Mr John Dransfield, Herbarium, Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AE, UK.
Fax: + 44 181 332 5278



Development of medicinal plant industries in Malaysia
Speaking at the opening of the seminar on medicinal plants organized by the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) on 22-23 June 1999, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Primary Industries said that the Government was formulating an action plan that would establish Malaysia in the world as an important producer of herbal products by optimizing the utilization of herbal plant resources in the country.

Research and development must focus on plants that have specific biological potential. To meet the raw material requirements of local herbal industries, domestication and cultivation of medicinal plants of economic value on a plantation scale is needed. He stressed the need for local herbal products industries to comply with the good manufacturing practice criteria set by the government, so as to ensure product quality. Currently, some 100 companies engaged in traditional medicine have achieved this. In addition to the issues of continuous and sustainable raw material supply and product quality, the representative of the Ministry underlined the importance of addressing issues such as intellectual property rights and ownership of herbal plants.

FRIM's research on medicinal plants is focusing on species with a high potential for manufacturing products with a commercial value. FRIM is approaching this research in an integrated way, drawing on various disciplines, including ethnobotany, agronomy, genetics, phytochemistry, pharmacology, processing, quality control and marketing.

In June 1999, Malaysia's First Herbal Monograph was published. The monograph was prepared by a committee comprising representatives from the Health Ministry, research institutions, universities and the industries.

(Source: Malaysian Timber Bulletin, Vol. 5 No. 4/1999.)

For more information, please contact: Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), 52109 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Fax: +603 6365687/6367753


(Please see under Events for more information.)



La Société Malienne de Phytothérapie (SMP), la section malienne de la Société Africaine de Phytothérapie, crée en 1998, a pour objectifs principaux:



A wide range of NTFPs are produced and marketed by rural communities in Mozambique. These include: (i) fuelwood and charcoal; (ii) medicinal products; (iii) bamboo; (iv) grass and reed mats; (v) veldt foods such as wild fruit, roots and tubers; (v) non-timber construction material; and (vi) "little wood" products and handicrafts.

The Direccáo nacional de florestas e fauna bravia (DNFFB)/FAO project GCP/MOZ/056/NET "Support for Community Forestry and Wildlife Management" was launched in 1997 to implement the component of the Agriculture Development Programme (PROAGRI) related to Community Based Natural Resources Management. The project development objectives are: (i) to improve the standard of living of rural communities through increased access to forest and wildlife products for household needs and marketing, as well as generation of income from employment, small industries and hunting fees; and (ii) to ensure that the resource base of forests, wildlife and agriculture is managed and utilized in a rational way by local communities.

The project is operating in three main pilot areas: Goba (Maputo Province), Sanhóte and Niviria (Nampula Province).

In the project area, in years of favourable climatic conditions, households manage to draw from their agricultural land enough products to satisfy their annual food requirements and sometimes a surplus that is sold to satisfy other primary necessities. However, in years of limited rainfall, households lack food for about four to five months/year. During this period of food shortage, the families of these three communities principally resort to charcoal and firewood production activities in order to obtain the necessary cash to buy food. The continuous exploitation of the forest for these purposes is leading to the rapid degradation of the natural resource base with serious consequences for the environment and the welfare of the community inhabitants.

Project GCP/MOZ/056/NET has launched various initiatives in an effort to counteract this negative development trend. Examples of this effort include: the creation of apiculture, horticulture, carpentry and clothes-maker groups; the formation of forest "supervisors" to monitor the exploitation of trees growing on community land; and the organization of courses on sustainable timber extraction, control of forest fires, and more efficient charcoal-burning techniques.

The study on NTFP of Goba, Sanhóte and Niviria, which aims to identify NTFPs that can be produced and marketed for the benefit of these communities, represents an additional input in this process of encouraging community members to start income-generating activities that do not impact negatively on the natural resource base.

The specific objectives of the study include:

a.) The first phase (linked to objectives 1 and 2) is an exploratory phase that aims to identify existing NTFPs in community areas, with a special focus on NTFPs already involved in some form of trade. The two main activities of this phase include: (i) interviews of NTFP producers; and (ii) qualitative assessment (high, moderate, low) of the availability of NTFP species in community areas.

b.) The second phase (linked to objective 3) concentrates on gathering detailed information on market, technological, social/institutional and ecological aspects of products identified in the first phase, in order to choose a selected number of NTFPs that have potential to be marketed at the local, national or international level. The main activities of this stage include: (i) market research for community products at the community, district, provincial national and international level; and (ii) integration of local knowledge on use of NTFP with information obtained through literature review and contacts with related organizations (e.g. "Impacto", IUCN, "Miombo Forum", "Aid to Artisans") and private companies (e.g. Medimoc, Casa Ada).

c.) The third phase (linked to objective 4) involves designing a strategy for the promotion and commercialization of products selected in the second phase.

Where appropriate, the study follows the guidelines contained in the Market Analysis and Development (MA&D) Manual on Planning Sustainable Tree and Forest Product Enterprises developed by the Community Forestry Group of the Forestry Department of FAO, Rome. A number of the methods included in the manual (with related activities, suggestions and checklists) have been adopted to guide the study on NTFPs of the pilot areas of the DNFFB/FAO project.

The commercialization strategy gives indications for advertising, for the setting up of "sales points" and identifies likely consumers. Details of a brochure describing community NTFPs are given, to be distributed at key points in Maputo and Nampula. Information on radio advertising with costs is set out and suggestions for informative labelling of products, and free sampling at appropriate times, is also provided.

The importance of pinpointing likely consumers, and also the places where community products can be purchased, is emphasized. The setting up of "sales points" in the cities for marketing a collection of these products is made, and the necessity of further investigation of their outlets, such as shops, supermarkets and fairs, is underlined.

(Source: NTFPs, a source of alternative income generation for forest based communities. Report prepared by A. Baldascini, for project GCP/MOZ/056/NET «Support to community forestry and wildlife management», November 1999.)

For more information, please contact: Mr E. Mansur, CTA, FAO GCP/MOZ/056/NET, P.O. Box 1928, Maputo, Mozambique.
Fax: +258-1-460060




An assessment of the current problems and opportunities in the management of natural resources in Nepal
Users of NTFPs have potential at the local level to form a foundation for potential income- generating activities contributing to the goal of community development. This potential is largely underdeveloped to date. The major obstacles are the lack of market information and linkages between collectors, processors and buyers, which has resulted in a heavily biased market. Consequently, the Nepal Agroforestry Foundation (NAF) is assisting in the establishment of a cooperative, linking various forest user groups (FUGs), for the development of marketing, collecting and processing skills for NTFPs. Members of the FUG network will be trained in the necessary technical and organizational skills that may help to address the current problems and encourage the further development of NTFPs. The District Forest Office and NAF staff have jointly facilitated the revision of operational plans for each FUG in such a way that each FUG is also legally represented within the network. The establishment and strengthening of this local network will contribute towards sustainable forest management.

The empowerment of women through group formation and initiatives in agroforestry development is one of the more tangible benefits evident from the various foreign-funded programmes in natural resource management within the hill forests of Nepal. However, there is a risk that male members of target communities may become increasingly excluded from future development initiatives as the natural resource sector becomes perceived as a women's issue. While the emphasis on women's empowerment is certainly appropriate and, indeed, effective in the present context, measures should be taken to include men in the development process, especially those who show a constructive interest in natural resource management. In addition, the training of women in resource management and income-generating skills has not affected the balance of other household duties. The additional duties of nursery management, attending training and group meetings, etc. will increase women's workload in the short term. There is, therefore, a need to include men in future women's empowerment initiatives in such a way that the issue of work distribution is addressed in a holistic way.

(Source: Mountain Forum e-mail conference (

For more information, please contact: B.N. Regmi (Director), Ben Vickers (Project Advisor)
Nepal Agroforestry Foundation, PO Box 9594, Kathmandu, Nepal.




Los productos forestales no madereros (PFNM) que se extraen actualmente en Nicaragua provienen en su gran mayoría del bosque latifoliado, principalmente del área del río San Juan, de la región oriental (litoral del Atlántico), y de la región centro-norte. Estos productos se agrupan en dos grandes categorías: artesanías elaboradas a base de diversas fibras y plantas medicinales. A diferencia de Guatemala, en Nicaragua no se extraen plantas ornamentales ni resinas o látex para la exportación.

Actualmente el mercado de PFNM se limita al consumo interno. Los únicos productos exportados son ciertos tipos de artesanías y muebles de mimbre, pero a muy baja escala y hacia pocos destinos.

Precios y volúmenes comercializados de ocho de las principales plantas medicinales de Nicaragua

Nombre común

Nombre científico

Volumen (kg/año)

Precio ($EE.UU./kg)

Valor total ($EE.UU./año)


Smilax sp.

33 000


100 000


Hymenaea courbaril

27 500


90 000


Bursera simaruba

8 000


20 000


Myroxylon balsamum

16 000


112 000

Cola de caballo

Equisetum arvense

20 000


80 000

Hombre grande

Quassia amara

25 000


50 000


Petiveria alliacea

3 000


12 000



132 500


464 000

En general la población de Nicaragua consume plantas comestibles, muchas de las cuales provienen de actividades extractivas en los bosques, como la pacaya (Chamaedorea spp.) de la cual se come el palmito, y el pejibaye (Bactris gasipaes) del cual se come el fruto. Existe la iniciativa de sembrar pejibaye en forma comercial para vender en el mercado local y para la exportación.

El fruto del icaco (Chrysophyllum icaco), un arbusto que crece en el litoral del Atlántico y en menor grado en el del Pacífico, ya que requiere de condiciones salinas para crecer, también es muy apetecido por los nicaragüenses. Se vende en supermercados y restaurantes como postre en forma de conserva.

(Fuente: Robles Valle, G. R., Oliveira Barbosa, K. y Villalobos Soto, R. 1999. Evaluación de los productos forestales no madereros en América Central. FAO y Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), Turrialba, Costa Rica. [en prensa].)



In the Philippines, 18 million forest-dwelling people depend on NWFPs for their livelihood. In 1989, when logging was banned in the country, emphasis was put on management of the forests by these people and especially on NWFPs and their potential regarding subsistence use and commercialization.

The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) project "Utilization, Collection and Trade of Tropical Non-Wood Forest Products in the Philippines" carried out by the Forest Products Research and Development Institute of the Philippines (FPRDI), aims to promote and develop NWFPs by improving information availability. Four field sites in the following regions are involved: Aurora province, Western Samar, Surigao, and Palawan.

In the Puntabaha community in the Palawan region, information on NWFPs comes from the native people, with assistance from FPRDI, as well as from the local association of indigenous people NATRIPAL. Resin from the Almaciga tree (Agathis philippinensis) is one of the most important products and primarily, in order to enable its extraction, 15 000 ha of former forest concessions were granted to the community. When harvesting takes place between January and April, as many as 75 percent of the community are involved. The tapping cycle is nine weeks and each collector is responsible for 30 trees. The sacks of resin (45 kg/each) are sold to local exporters in Manila or Cebu at a price of 10 pesos/kg, of which the community receives 5 pesos (US$0.12). The resin is exported abroad where, in most cases, it is processed into paints and varnishes.

Rattan is another important NWFP and there are seven different species such as kalapi (Calamus ornatus Blume var. philippensis) palasan (Calamus merrillii) and Tamberangan (Calamus sp.). Bundles of rattan are transported and sold at a price of 25 pesos, of which the community receives half.

Bamboo is used by the women to make "sawali" mats, which are either used domestically (25 percent) for walls, doors and flooring, or sold in the markets (75 percent). A sawali mat of standard size (8 x 2.5m) is sold for 300 pesos (US$7.50). Another product used locally is the leaf of the forest palm Anibong (Caryota cumingii). These leaves are utilized for roofing, flooring, housing posts as well as for tool handles.

Honey is equally important economically. The best honey comes from the pukyutan bees (Apis cinerea and A. mellifera) that build their hives in maggis trees (Koompassia excelsa). The hives are lowered at night and up to four different nests can be found on the same tree. One nest yields around four litres of honey and 20 litres are sold for around 250 pesos (US$6.25).

(Source: Prebble, C., Ella, A., & Subansenee, W. ITTO: Making the most of NWFP. Tropical Forest Update, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1999.)



Local forest use in Siberia and the Russian far east
People living in the taiga of Siberia and the far east of Russia have a long tradition of using their rich natural resources in a non-destructive manner. For centuries they have collected various NTFPs for domestic consumption or trade. However, for most, the situation has changed dramatically during the last decade. While collecting for home consumption has persisted or even increased in times of crisis, selling produce locally has become substantially more difficult.

These difficulties coincided with the collapse of the NTFP trade structure during the Soviet era. This development led to hardships in many remote villages. Simultaneously, forests that until recently were unspoilt became threatened by large-scale logging operations, often involving foreign investment.

Over the years it became clear that action had to be taken. Strategies that aim at combining forest conservation with the enhancement of the well-being of local communities are currently either under discussion or being implemented in several regions. These strategies, while focusing on a broad range of NTFPs, revert to old practices while incorporating these practices into newly established structures. The structures work at combining local expertise in relation to the extraction of NTFPs, with finding markets, product development and state of the art processing.

One of the more mature initiatives in this field is the Far Eastern Association for the Use of NTFPs, which operates in both Primorsky and Khabarovsk krai, and particularly in the Ussuri taiga along the Sikhote-Alin mountain range, an area extremely rich in terms of biodiversity. The primary aims of the Association are to ensure sustainable development in the region. It supports the economies of remote forest villages through the promotion of sustainable NTFP extraction and trade. Among the Association's partners are several indigenous communities, whose lives totally revolve around hunting, fishing and NTFP extraction. Major products of the region include: mushrooms, ferns, pine nuts, birch juice, Siberian ginseng and berries, among which limonik (Schizandra chinensis). Various leaves are collected as ingredients for health teas and a high quality honey is produced.

(Source: Jenne de Beer in Taiga-news, Issue 28, August 1999.)



Une étude réalisée en 1999 pour la FAO par l'Université Cheikh A. Diop de Dakar a étudié l'importance des produits forestiers non ligneux dans la sécurité alimentaire au Sénégal.

Pour les communautés rurales la forêt constitue une source où cueillir ou ramasser les feuilles, fruits, écorces, racines et gommes en vue des multiples usages domestiques mais aussi et surtout pour s'assurer de revenus liés à la vente de ces produits. Ces produits de la forêts sont disponibles, à tout moment de l'année ou bien suivant les saisons et en particulier pendant les périodes de soudure, les populations en tirent une part assez importante de leur subsistance. Mais en de nombreuses zones du Sénégal, les peuplements naturels forestiers sont en constante dégradation et les produits qui assuraient aux populations une sécurité alimentaire ont pratiquement disparu. Les espèces comestibles les plus largement utilisées et les plus demandées par les populations sont de plus en plus rares. Il est donc important de recenser tous les produits issus de la forêt, d'en dégager l'importance aussi bien économique qu'au niveau de l'équilibre alimentaire, de voir les zones essentielles de production, de commercialisation et de consommation.

L'étude décrit les principales espèces ligneuses nourricières au Sénégal (leur contribution à l'alimentation, valeur nutritive, prix, quantités), les ecorces, racines, feuilles et autres couramment utilisées dans la pharmacopée, l'organisation de la gestion des PFNL (les différentes catégories de personnes impliquées dans la collecte, les circuits de commercialisation des produits).

(Source: document de travail préparé par Mme Dr Yaye Ken Gassama, Maître de Conférence à l'Université Cheikh A. Diop de Dakar, pour le Bureau Régional de la FAO pour l'Afrique.)

Pour plus de détails, veuillez contacter: M. Pape Koné, Forestier Principal, Bureau régional pour l'Afrique (RAF), PO Box 1628, Accra, Ghana.
Fax : +233-21-668427

E-Mail :



A case study of the East Usambara protected natural forests
Forest-adjacent communities in East Usambara depend on protected forests as sources of NTFP and this dependence gives a chance for collaborative management strategies that will improve forest management in the area.

The Government of Tanzania is intensifying efforts to conserve the biodiversity-rich and ecologically sensitive forests of the East Usambara, in the Muheza district of the Tanga region in the northeast of the country. The strategy applied by the Government involves control by the use of regulatory policy instruments. However, this strategy does not adequately recognize the use of NTFPs by the forest-adjacent local communities and their dependence on the protected forests as the major sources of NTFPs. Also, given the country's economic problems, such an approach to forest management can prove difficult to sustain in the long term, and may just end up favouring conflicts between the local users and the formal forest managers.

This problem has recently been research and involved collecting socio-economic and biophysical data on the gathering and use of NTFPs within four villages surrounding a block of three protected forests in East Usambara. The purpose of the research was to assess the use of NTFPs from the protected forests by the local people living around these forests and to assess their dependence on the forests as sources of NTFPs. These findings were used to see if the use of NTFPs and dependence on protected forests could play any role in improving forest management in the area.

A participatory data collection approach mainly using RRA techniques, such as semi-structured interviews, was applied to elicit information especially on socio-economic aspects.

GIS was used to process the spatial data into maps showing utilization points.

This study found that, despite government efforts to strengthen protection and conservation of natural forests in the East Usambara through regulatory policy instruments, local people still enter the forests illegally and use them in search of NTFPs for their livelihoods and for cultural services. Local people identified 378 species/types of NTFPs, more than 54 percent of which were obtained from the protected forests. The NTFPs mentioned were classified in seven categories according to purpose: medicines, foods, construction materials, fuelwood, water, seasonal indicators, and worshipping sites. Variations in village dependence resulted from availability of sources and resources, and factors such as income, which can enable people to afford alternative resources.

The positive attitudes of the local people towards the protected forests as sources of NTFP indicate the importance of the forests to them. The study found a high level of conflict between local people and forest guards.

The use of CIFOR criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management to evaluate the situation in the study area showed that the key policy instruments used for the management of the forests at the ground level were weak in addressing socio-economic issues, specifically users of the NTFPs.

The study recommended a revision of the forest policy, especially Part V, Section 15, which gives directives on protection of forests and forest products. A collaborative management approach that involves the local people in the planning, implementation, control and monitoring activities of forests that are adjacent to them, was advised.

Further studies are recommended on the assessment of the forests' capacity to supply various NTFPs at a sustained level and the need to set NTFP extraction levels. Similar studies are also recommended in the study area in the future to monitor whether the established utilization levels within the studied villages and forests are stable or dynamic.

(Source: Abstract of M.Sc. research: «Dependence of local communities on protected forests as sources of non-timber forest products and its role in forest management» contributed by: M.I.L Katigula, Tanzania.)

For more information, please contact: Mr M.I.L Katigula, Forestry office, P.O Box 1449, Tanga, Tanzania.
Fax: +255 53 43820

Prioritization of medicinal trees for domestication in Shinyanga
In the United Republic of Tanzania, trees are still the main source of medicines for traditional healers and 80 percent of rural people. Despite immense progress in modern medicine with clinics in rural areas, traditional medicine continues to flourish in the Shinyanga region of Tanzania. The traditional healer is still the medical practitioner within the reach of most people in the region. Unfortunately, local health traditions are being lost because they are communicated orally and are largely undocumented. The trees that are the main source of medicines are still considered solely as products of the wild. Deforestation and the booming local trade in traditional herbs are diminishing their supplies in the wild.

The International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) Tanzania station initiated a research programme in 1997 to document the wealth of knowledge on medicinal trees and to evaluate ways of integrating them into existing farming systems. As an initial step, ethnobotanical surveys were conducted to document indigenous knowledge on medicinal trees and to prioritize the tree species. The study also assessed the availability of these trees in the region.

Over 300 tree species were registered as medicinal plants. Analysis of the respondent preferences revealed the following ten priority species: Securidaca longipedunculata, Zanha africana, Cassia abbreviata, Entada abyssinica, Turraea fischeri, Albizia anthelmintica, Entandrophragma bussei, Combretum zeyheri, Zanthoxylum chalybeum, and Terminalia sericea. More than 100 human diseases, including AIDS, were reported to be treated effectively with the registered medicinal trees. These trees also have numerous other non-wood products and services.

Local people have shared their knowledge and experience in the hope that scientists and other partners will provide the resources and skills to assist them to grow and produce quality medicinal products from these trees. There is an urgent need to get the priority medicinal trees on to farms because the option to harvest them from the wild is diminishing daily. The direct participation of traditional healers and farmers is a vital prescription for successful domestication of these trees.

(Contributed by: Mr Bruno B. Dery, ICRAF, Tanzania.)

For more information, please contact Mr. Bruno B. Dery, Tree Domestication Unit, ICRAF-Tanzania, P. O. 797, Shinyanga, Tanzania.
Fax: +255-68-763164




Les gommeraies constituent l'une des principales ressources naturelles du Tchad. La gomme arabique est la troisième source de devise du pays après le coton et les produits d'élevage. Cependant, les sécheresses successives de ces dernières années ont sérieusement affecté la survie des peuplements gommiers. les saignées abusives, les émondages et abattages répétés pour la récolte de la gomme arabique, le fourrage aérien et le bois de chauffe contribuent également à la dégradation des gommeraies. Or, les acacias gommiers, du fait de leurs faibles exigences écologiques et de leur multiples usages, présentent des atouts non négligeables pour les populations rurales et l'environnement des zones sahéliennes.

(Source: extrait de Rahma Saleh, A.H. & N'Zala, D. 1999. Stratégies pour une gestion durable des ressources gommières au Tchad. Le Flamboyant, 51:8-10.)

Pour plus d'information, contacter les auteurs: Abdul-Hamid Rahma Saleh, BP 242 Ndjamena, Tchad, et Donatien N'Zala, Université Marien Ngouabi, Institut de Développement Rural, BP 13647 Brazzaville, Congo.



The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) "Promotion of Tropical Non-Wood Forest Products in Thailand" pre-project focus is on the use of these products by local communities. The work carried out by the Royal Forest Department of Thailand involves four field sites: Chiang Mai, Surathani, Srisaket and Kanchanaburi, all with different forest types.

The main objective is to draw up unified plans for each region as well as for the country concerning sustainable forest management implementation, based upon the sustainable economic management of NWFPs. In order to identify potential processing pathways and novel marketing opportunities, information regarding current NWFP utilization practices are gathered through interviews with community members.

In 1996, the total export value of NWFPs amounted to around 653 million Bath (US$18 million), which indicates a downward trend compared to 837 million Bath (US$23 million) in 1994. The NWFPs included are bamboo, rattan, gums and resins, medicinal plants, spices, industrial insects, agarwood, etc. The long-term sustainability of some of the NWFPs is under threat because of overexploitation, lack of proper management and illegal activities. Supply shortages also result from the conversion of forest areas to protected areas that restrict harvesting.

Bamboo and rattan, used for construction, building, furniture, weaving, handicrafts and for sustenance, are important NWFPs in all four field sites. Some species of bamboo as well as of rattan are under depletion. Rattan (Calamus caesius) even has to be imported to meet the industrial demand. On the other hand, some bamboo species are not yet promoted, such as Thyrostychus siamensis, Bambusa blumeana and Cephalostrachys pergracile. In the north edible rattan has a potential to be managed if promoted since it can be harvested for this purpose after one and a half years; after five or six years the rattan can be used for basket-making. There are even plans to develop edible rattan as an agricultural crop and the establishment of a small-scale enterprise for canning rattan shoots, which could also be used to preserve bamboo shoots, neem flowers (Azadirachta indica) and mushrooms.

Agarwood (Aquilaria sp.), an expensive aromatic wood valued for its oil, and raintrees (Samania saman), used in lac production, are other threatened NWFP resources. Agarwood trees grow alongside lac trees, especially in the Maemae forest area.

The fruit of the Sugar palm (Arenga pimata) are worth 1 000 Baht/each (US$28), but since the fruiting occurs only twice in the palm's lifetime, the palms are usually subsequently cut down. The communities are encouraged to keep the seeds of the fruit to allow future cultivation. The fruit also have potential for canning in syrup.

In the Samakae community in western Thailand, NWFPs such as edible leaves (Melientha suavis) and medicinal plants are also of great importance. Melientha suavis is profitable and thus has high priority. Sweet sedge, honey and dipterocarp leaves and spices are other products deriving from the forest. Cardamom trees (Eletteria cardamomum), productive after three years and with the possibility to be harvested for a further five years, provide a spice for which there is a high demand and which is sold at 200 Baht/kg (US$55).

(Source: Prebble, C., Ella, A., & Subansenee, W. ITTO: Making the most of NWFPs. Tropical Forest Update, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1999.)



The Non-Timber Forest Products Research Centre (NTFPRC) is a unit under the Forestry Science Institute of Viet Nam. The Centre:

· conducts research on various subjects relating to techniques of cultivation, agroforestry, harvesting and processing of NTFPs, as well as marketing and policy, with the aim to promote their production and sustainable utilization;

· transfers the results of the studies to the farmers, local extension workers and NTFP enterprises; and

· participates in the elaboration and implementation of afforestation and integrated rural development programs funded by the Vietnamese government and different international organizations.

For more information, please contact: Dr Le Thanh Chien, Director, Non-Timber Forest Products Research Centre, Forest Science Institute of Viet Nam, Hanoi, Viet Nam.
Fax: +84-4-932-09-96




Opportunities and challenges in the use of NTFPs
The Pacific Northwest Research Station in Corvallis, Oregon, the NE Research Station in Burlington, Vermont, and the Midwest Research Institute (MRI) in Kansas City, Missouri, are collaborating in a publication that will highlight opportunities and challenges in the use of NTFP for sustainable rural economic development in the United States. The new publication is expected to be completed in Spring 2001. An earlier publication (the 1992 USDA income opportunities in special forest products) was a guidebook on 16 categories of NTFPs and is still available through MRI's Web site (

The publication will attempt to present regional perspectives on the environmental, economic and social issues of NTFPs. For each region, four to five case studies will be used to integrate the "themes" of environment, economic, and social considerations.

The authors still require potential case studies of rural entrepreneurs or small businesses in each of the following five categories: (i) floral and decorative products (including cut greens and products used in arts and crafts); (ii) horticultural products (sold for transplants and landscaping); (iii) medicinal, herbal and aromatic products; (iv) other edible products (primarily seeds, nuts, berries, and mushrooms); and (v) other products (may include multiproduct enterprises, small wood products, industrial resins and derived products, honey and bees, recreation and educational products, or spiritual products, for example).

For more information, please contact: Ms Margaret Thomas, Midwest Research Institute, 425 Volker Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA.Fax: +1-816-753-0271)