No. 10/07

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PRODUCTS

1. Acorn belt in the USA

Source: Danbury News Times, CT, USA, 30 September 2007

One by one, the acorns are ripening and falling. Stand under an oak tree and you'll get beaned. Stand under an oak tree on a windy day, and you'll get pelted.

But for animals, these nuts mean a season of plenty. "It's a feeding frenzy,'' said Laura Simon, field director of urban wildlife for the Humane Society of the United States.”Mice eat acorns. So do raccoon and skunks and deer."

And by and large, the one item on the menu is acorns. With the loss of the American chestnut in the first half of the 20th century, the oak has become the dominant tree of eastern U.S. forests today, and the acorn the main food supply in the crucial months before winter sets in.

Rodent populations rise and fall because of acorns -- good nut years, good squirrel years. A plentiful supply of acorns helped the wild turkey to recover spectacularly from extinction over the past 30 years.

A thick carpet of nuts gives white-tailed deer and black bears the extra calories they need to survive the winter.

But there's one complication. Acorns feed white-footed mice. The more plentiful the supply, the more white-footed mice there will be. "There were huge supplies of acorns in 2005 and 2006," said Richard Ostfeld, an animal ecologist at the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y. "We've had the biggest white-footed mice population here that we've seen in the past 16 years."

But white-footed mice, besides nibbling on your potatoes and grain, are the key carriers of the Lyme disease bacteria in the U.S. There are millions of white-footed mice. As they scurry around, they carry the Lyme bacteria -- Borrelia burgdorferi. The two early stages of black-footed ticks -- larval and nymphal -- feed on the blood of the mice. The ticks spread the disease from mouse to mouse. When tiny nymphal ticks bite humans, they pass the bacteria onto us as well. Lyme disease is now the leading tick-borne disease in the U.S.

Ostfeld said so far 2007 has not been a spectacular acorn year. That means in 2008, the white-footed mice population may decline. "So what you're going to have is all these nymphal ticks looking around for a blood meal, and not as many white-footed mice," Ostfeld said. "That means they jump on the large, warm-blooded humans walking around. I'm predicting next year will be a bad one for Lyme disease.

Here's another complication. The oaks -- these great suppliers of food to mice, turkeys and bear alike -- may be entering a long period of decline. And there's not another tree species like it as far as producing food for wildlife goes.

William McShea, a wildlife ecologist for the Smithsonian Institution, said several factors are involved. One is that the herds of omnipresent white-tailed deer in the East have a special fondness for the taste of oak seedlings. It's harder for trees to reproduce when animals graze down new growth and never let them get started.

But McShea also said oaks don't grow well in shade or partial shade -- the condition in mature oak forests today. What they need is a storm, a fire or a clear-cut to open up the woods so the seedlings can grow.

When that happens, he said, some species -- like red maples -- grow faster and can shade out the oaks again. "Red maples don't produce anywhere near the food that oaks do," McShea said. But oaks are much more fire-resistant than red maples, McShea said. So natural fires -- or planned burns -- benefit oaks both by clearing larger trees away and by keeping the red maples at bay.

Finally, McShea said, there are fears that disease could infect the oaks the way the chestnut blight decimated the American chestnut trees from 1900 to the 1940s. That produced what many people consider one of the greatest ecological disasters in American history.

For full story, please see: http://www.newstimeslive.com/news/story.php?id=1186571990&source=tabbox

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2. Agarwood: Oudh – the sweet smell of tradition  

Source: Gulf Weekly, Bahrain, 19 September 2007

The first thing your sense of smell picks up in an Arab house is the heady aroma of Oudh wafting in the air. Oudh is considered as a supreme fragrance in the Gulf countries.

In Bahrain, Oudh is burned as a mark of respect and hospitality and is a traditional gesture of welcoming and honouring guests. In fact, Oudh is considered an important feature at most social occasions.

Oudh, which simply means wood in Arabic, has an extraordinary pedigree. Also known as aloes and agarwood, Oudh is found in the forests of South East Asia.

It is an aromatic resin found in certain species of Aquilaria and Gyrinops trees. The resin is produced by the tree as an immune response to a fungus – Phialophora parasitica – that invades the tree and over many years spreads through it.

It is believed that it takes as long as 300 years for the fungus to spread through the bark of the tree. Unlike the otherwise pale wood of the tree, infected sections are dark and extremely heavy. In fact, the Chinese and Japanese terms for Oudh translate as ‘the wood that sinks in water’.

The best grade of Oudh is hard, nearly black and very heavy. In general, Oudh becomes inferior as it becomes lighter in tone, flecked with diminishing amounts of resin.

The only reliable way to test for quality is to burn a small bit and evaluate the complexity and richness of the smouldering wood.

Oudh is cut, sliced, polished and burned over coal in traditional incense burners called mabakhir. Chips of this fragrant wood are a prized, almost priceless commodity, and burning it is one of the region’s most distinctive traditions.

“It is part of our tradition that when you go to the mosque and pray you must go clean and have a nice smell,” says Naim Mustafa, public relations officer at Syed Junaid Alam (SJA), who have dealt in Oudh and oriental perfumes in the GCC since 1910. “The sales of Oudh rise sharply during the months of Ramadan and before both the Eids. During the wedding season the sale of oudh also goes up as it is burned copiously during wedding parties,” he says. 

“Oudh is very strong. It gives a powerful scent that lasts for 24 hours. Even after you wash it stays on your skin and in your hair and clothes,” remarks Noura Habib, a young Bahraini housewife living in Hamad Town.

In most Gulf countries it is customary to pass the hand held charcoal brazier or mabkharah of smouldering Oudh at social gatherings. Oudh is burned over smouldering bits of coal in the cup that is normally lined with sheet metal. In some homes Oudh is burned in an electric mabkharah instead of over coal for convenience.

The mabkharah is always passed counter clockwise and each individual wafts the smoke into himself to perfume his clothes.

Mustafa Al Markhi, administration manager at a regional financial house in Manama, says: “There was no concept of using bottled perfume in the Arabian Peninsula so Oudh was used to perfume the clothes and hair for both men and women.”

The tradition of burning Oudh has not waned even among young Bahrainis who understand and appreciate the cultural significance of this age-old custom. In various parts of the Arab world, Oudh is burned to celebrate important events of everyday life. Oudh is burnt ceremoniously at weddings although the variety and the quality vary on how much the host is willing to spend.

Indian Oudh is a favoured choice with most Bahrainis but because of its high price Cambodian Oudh burns in most Bahraini homes.

On an average, a middle income Bahraini home would spend up to BD50 on Oudh per month whereas the well healed would spend up to BD150 per month on purchasing Oudh for daily use. The ravenous demand for Oudh is outstripping supply thus making this sweet incense more precious than gold.

The agarwood harvesting countries stretch across Asia from Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, Java, Vietnam and India.

There are more than 2,000 varieties of Oudh in the world. Traditionally, India was one of the largest producers of Oudh. Assam, in India, once the source of the most valued Oudh has now exhausted its wild stocks and supplies the market only from plantations.

In Vietnam, the agarwood trees are commercially extinct in the wild and in Thailand almost none remain outside the national park.

“Indian oudh is out of the market and is a rare commodity now. Indonesian, Malaysian and Cambodian Oudh are the popular varieties in Bahrain. One kilogramme of Oudh normally costs between BD2,000 to BD8,000 or more depending on the variety.

Oudh comes in different forms from wood chips to powder mixed with oil and shaped into round balls. While Oudh is burned in mabakhir for fragrance, Oudh oil or dehn-al-oudh is packaged in a bottle as a personal fragrance. Oudh based fragrances are just as treasured a commodity as Oudh.

Traditionally, brides use Oudh fragrances on their wedding as it has an individuality that is missing in international brands. “Oudh based fragrances are extremely popular amongst Bahrainis. Oudh perfumes are much more expensive than the international brand which is why it is not possible for us to use it on a daily basis but for special occasions only,” says Sahar Muhammad who has a strong liking for Oudh fragrances.

According to Malik Al Oudh, a company that supplies and distributes oudh in Saudi Arabia, half a tola of dehn-al-oudh from India can cost anywhere between BD300 to BD600 depending on the richness and maturity of the oil.

Eyad Saud, sales manager at Saudi Arabia’s Arabian Oud company in Bahrain’s Seef Mall says, “One tola of Cambodian Oudh costs anywhere between BD6 and BD32. This is one of the cheaper and swift selling varieties here in Bahrain.”

Considering the steep price of a small vial of Oudh fragrance, it is no wonder that wearing such fragrances are restricted to special events.

All Oudh shops, whether they are small kiosks peppered in the major malls in Bahrain or large specialty shops, carry ornately packed Oudh fragrances in exquisite bottles that are a testament that the tradition of using this age-old prestigious fragrance lives on.

For full story, please see: http://www.gulfweeklyworldwide.com/article.asp?Sn=4775&Article=16868

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3. Artemesia annua: Artemisinin 'promising' as leishmaniasis treatment

Source: SciDev.Net, 1 October 2007

The antimalarial drug artemisinin shows promise as a treatment for leishmaniasis, according to Indian researchers. The research was published in the September issue of the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

Visceral leishmaniasis — also known as kala-azar — is caused by the Leishmania parasite and transmitted to humans through biting insects such as sand flies. The parasite lowers immunity and causes persistent fever, anaemia, liver and spleen enlargement, and is lethal if left untreated. It infects 500,000 people worldwide, according to the WHO. There is no vaccine for the disease and there are signs of increasing resistance to the few effective drug treatments.

Researchers evaluated the efficacy of artemisinin against the Leishmania donovani parasite. They found that the drug kills the parasite at both stages of its growth, particularly the disease-causing 'amastigote' form of the parasite.

Lead researcher Mitali Chatterjee, from the India-based Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, said the fact that artemisinin is more effective against the amastigote form suggests that the drug acts via macrophages, immune cells that engulf and kill harmful organisms that invade the body.

Chatterjee said it is likely that artemisinin not only directly kills the parasite but additionally activates the macrophage so it can clear itself of the parasite.

The study also indicated that artemisinin was safer than the existing antileishmanial drugs pentamidine — which can cause diabetes — and miltefosine, which has been linked to birth defects.  

Chatterjee said the advantage of artemisinin is that it is already a licensed drug, so toxicity studies have already been completed.

Swapan Jana, secretary of India-based nongovernmental organisation Society for Social Pharmacology, said the prospect of using artemisinin was "very encouraging given leishmaniasis is endemic in India and existing antileishmanial drugs show side-effects".

But Neena Valecha, deputy director of the National Institute of Malaria Research in India, warned that any expanded use of artemisinin must not affect malaria management.

"We have to consider that artemisinin is the valuable drug for acute illnesses like malaria," Valecha told SciDev.Net.

Link to abstract in Journal of Medical Microbiology

Reference: Journal of Medical Microbiology 56, 1213 (2007)

For full story, please see: http://www.scidev.net/news/index.cfm?fuseaction=readnews&itemid=3940&language=1

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4. Bamboo chip-based particleboard developed

Source: Innovative New Packaging in Japan, the Malaysian Timber Industry Board. (in Friday Offcuts, 21/9/07)

Pressed particleboard created from a blend of plastic chips and bamboo has been invented by the Kagawa Prefecture Sangyo Gijutsu Industrial Technology Centre in Japan. Suitable for application in construction, a particleboard that is made of 70% bamboo chip material according to weight has the same strength attributes as typical wood-based products. The release date of the product has still not been announced and study is in progress to find out if the chips' size and shape has any reaction on strength.

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5. Bamboo: Rodents ravage 177 villages in Mizoram, India

Source: NEWSPost India, Delhi, India, 25 September 2007

Thousands of rats have destroyed rice fields in Mizoram, fuelling fears of a famine in the region.

'At least 177 villages have been ravaged by armies of rats in the state this year. About 70 villages that bore the brunt have nothing left to harvest now,' according to Mizoram Agriculture Minister H. Rammawi. At least 65 villages have lost half the harvest while 42 villages have experienced low intensity destruction.

Mizoram, with about one million people, is dependent on agriculture. Rice and vegetables are the dominant crops.

Reports of rats destroying farmlands follows vast forests of bamboo bursting into flower in many parts of the state. When bamboo flowering takes place, the rat population shoots up, leading to an invasion of granaries and paddy fields.

The Mizoram government has warned that a famine is going to hit the mountainous state.

The phenomenon of bamboo flowering occurs every 48 years.

According to tribal legends, when bamboo flowers, famine, death and destruction follow. Behind the superstition probably lies some truth as blooming bamboo does trigger a rodent invasion that feeds on stored food.

'There is an alarming increase in rat population that has devoured not only paddy but also maize and other crops. During last year's harvest when bamboo flowering began in the eastern part of the state, more than 60 villages lost their entire crop,' Lalsiamliana said.

In 1958-59, a famine in Mizoram resulted in the death of at least 100 people, besides causing heavy loss to human property and crops. The famine, locally known as Mautam, broke out after bamboo flowering.

Historical accounts say Mizoram recorded a similar famine in 1862 and again in 1911 following similar bamboo flowerings.

'The state will now have to arrange financial support for these areas,' said Lalsiamliana. The agriculture department has projected a minimal 80 percent crop destruction out of the total projected harvest across Mizoram this year.

For full story, please see: http://newspostindia.com/report-16479

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6. Bamboo bras are the latest in eco chic, says style bible Vogue

Source: Times Online, UK, 8 September 2007

They are for girls who want to go green while retaining a certain modish chic. Vogue, the globe’s style bible, has provided its list of 30 tips on how to save the world while still managing to turn heads.

The list of planet-friendly fashion ideas, which has been branded as “eco chic”, includes such delights as bamboo bras, compostable lipsticks and eco-jeans. There are even biodegradable surfboards.

The list, which appears in the October issue of Vogue, also includes shops and small businesses that provide eco-friendly solutions to a fashionista’s every need.

For full story, please see: http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/fashion/article2410371.ece

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7. Honey: Production of honey on the decline in Kenya

Source: East African Standard (Nairobi), 14 September 2007

Honey production in Rift Valley Province has continued to fall in the past three years due to destruction of forests and diminishing land sizes.

Rift Valley Province bee keeping officer, Mr John Mwangi, said 2,010,000 litres of honey was produced last year compared to 2,023,481 harvested the previous year.

He told The Standard in Nakuru, that in 2003, the province produced 2,250,000 litres of honey, but since then it has been on the decline. "The downward trend is set to continue because bees are lacking nectar to produce honey," he said.

He said though demand for local honey had gone up, production was low, which had also pushed prices up. "The supply of Kenyan honey cannot meet the demand thus the price of the commodity has gone up," he said.

Mwangi said environmental destruction, especially of forests was the major cause of the shortage of trees and flowers from where bees feed nectar.

He said negative human activity along the forests had contributed to less vegetation where bees drew nectar and that land demarcation due to increasing population was also affecting bee keeping.

He also said people feared bee stings and were reluctant to accommodate hives especially in densely populated areas.

"So far the leading honey producers in the region are the arid and semi-arid region because they are sparsely populated and hence have less human activity on the environment," he said. The areas include Baringo, Laikipia, West Pokot, Samburu, Transzoia and Narok.

Mwangi said most bee-keeping in the region was by small scale and peasant farmers who are unable to purchase modern hives.

He said the cost of materials for the construction of affordable hives had also discouraged the small-scale farmers.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200709131197.html

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8. Honey: Uganda risks losing EU deal

Source: The Monitor (Kampala), 3 October 2007

IT has been two and half years ever since the European Union listed Uganda among other countries to export honey to this region but no single consignment has been sent yet.

After listing, Uganda was give an opportunity to export 200 tonnes of honey annually but this volume has never been realised, despite its good quality verified in the numerous tests and certification procedures done countrywide and verified in Germany.

Ms Maria Odido, the president the Uganda National Apiculture development Organisation (Tunado) is worried that failure to comply soon the country will be de-listed.

If this happens it will not only ruin the country's reputation and lose trust in the EU market, which is still Uganda's largest single exporting destination, but is also a frustration to the efforts of eradicating poverty.

This year in May the country failed to make it on the EU supermarket shelves despite huge demand.

A buyer from the EU through the Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB) had selected Uganda's honey to be the African flag bearer for the launch.

According to the Executive Director of the Uganda Exports Promotions Board - UEPB - Ms Florence Kata, Ugandan bee farmers were required to supply 60 tonnes of amber (gold) honey to the EU which was to be marketed in different supermarkets across Europe.

Mr Kata said: "The breakthrough was not only going to brand Uganda as one of African producers of organic honey but also the initiative was in line with the government's efforts to transform the country into an export oriented economy".

Under the scheme, every supplying farmer was expected to supply more than 500kg of honey with 18 per cent moisture content with no smell of smoke, ash, and or food. Each kilogramme would then cost $1 (Shs1,800).

Stakeholders are blaming government's failure to help local farmers to access facilities that could help them harvest and produce the honey in a manner that is recommended by the EU certification standards.

For commercial purposes, a single farmer could require up to Shs4 million to produce high quality honey.

The trend in world's supply has continued to rise, but the earnings have declined by about $20 million (Shs35 billion).

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200710021153.html

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9. Honey: Drought takes toll on honey supplies in Australia

Source: ABC Online, Australia, 2 October 2007

Beekeepers in western New South Wales are facing a season of low honey production because of the ongoing drought.

Dubbo apiarist Kieran Sunderland says this time of year is the start of the 'normal' honey production period, but the dry weather has meant a reduction in flowers and nectar. He says many keepers are considering taking their bees to wetter, coastal areas.

Mr Sunderland says he had hoped to build another 200 hives this season, but now is just focused on keeping his existing bees alive.

For full story, please see: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/10/02/2048984.htm

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10. Maca (Lepidium peruvianum): Ethnobotanist's discovery benefits U.S. consumers and Peruvian economy

Source: ENN News, 27 September 2007

GREEN BAY, WI — Nine years after Medicine Hunter Chris Kilham took an exploratory trek to the Peruvian highlands, a treasured traditional super-food called Maca has entered the U.S. consumer mass market. Now, Wal-Mart has placed Medicine Hunter Maca Stimulant® on the shelves of 3480 stores, coast-to-coast.

"This product opens a new chapter in healthful rapid action energy stimulation," explains ethnobotanist Kilham, who is Explorer in Residence at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. "Maca is one of the greatest super-foods of all time and makes people feel very good very quickly." Medicine Hunter Maca Stimulant® boosts energy, libido and well-being naturally without synthetic additives or caffeine, which have dubious health benefits and work like energy vampires over time.

Two-thousand years ago, the legendary Maca root was valued as gold and traded as currency in the ancient Incan culture. History books record Incan warriors eating Maca to attain fearsome prowess in battle. A member of the mustard family, the plant grows under the most inhospitable conditions-in poor "moonscape" soil where the air is thin and the sunlight and wind are extremely harsh. Local harvesters today grow Maca for its medicinal root, which they use as a staple in their diet and export worldwide as a mega-energy food and potent sex booster for both men and women.

In addition to the U.S. consumer, the beneficiaries of Kilham's work are the Peruvian harvesters who can now earn a decent wage from cultivating Maca, which is a better option than the gruelling, dangerous and low-paying toil of mining, their only other source of income.

For full story, please see: http://www.enn.com/press_releases/2173

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11. Medicinal plants: A colouring book about medicinal plants of North America

From: Beth Judy, beth.judyjudyjudy@gmail.com

A new colouring book about medicinal plants of North America has been released for children. The book features black and white drawings of 14 plants by botanical illustrator DD Dowden plus information about past and current medicinal uses of the plants, fascinating facts (from tidbits of lore to conservation status and dangerous side effects), and colouring tips. Included plants were chosen for their anecdotal and visual interest and fun for kids, as well as medicinal importance.

They include American Ginseng, Calendula, Cranberry, Dandelion, Echinacea, Flax, Lobelia, Marsh Mallow, Mayapple, Milk Thistle, Pleurisy Root, Saint Johns Wort, White Willow, and Yew. All the plants thrive in North America, but not all are natives – teaching children about introduced species and that one man's weed may be another man's valuable medicine. "Plant Detective" Flora Delaterre begins the book with a one-page introduction about phytomedicinals and ends it with conservation action information.

"The Plant Detective" is a short-format public-radio show produced by Montana Public Radio since 1996. Highlighting one medicinal plant per show, it airs on public and community radio stations from Galena, Alaska, to Whiteriver, Arizona, from Cape Cod to Indianapolis and Portland to Quebec. Information on the show is delivered by botanical gumshoe Flora Delaterre. Radio show producer Beth Judy is the author of the colouring book.

More about the book, including its cover and a spread from inside, can be seen at: http://www.floradelaterre.com/

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12. Moringa (Moringa oleifera): Malunggay a "miracle vegetable"

Source: Philippine Information Agency, 2 October 2007

San Fernando City, La Union -- Malunggay, described as the "miracle vegetable," is among the many native plants in the country that can contribute much to ones health, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).

BAR disclosed that recently, the Medical College in Kolkota, India found out that among the many different medicinal herbs, malunggay, a green-leafy vegetables that has phytochemicals, plays an important role to prevent the development of cancer cells as well as in the treatment of female reproductive disorders like epithelial ovarian cancer.

Research studies also indicate that malunggay is an effective treatment of ovarian cancer due to a combination of anti-tumour and hormonal properties that can be taken from the malunggay's root bark extracts.

The plant, according to BAR has also antioxidants and can help prevent other chronic diseases like arthritis, kidney diseases and heart complications. Since it is also rich in vitamins A,C, and E, it helps maintain good eyesight, facilitates digestion and bowel movement, cleanses wounds and ulcers, cure stomach aches, scurvy, asthma, earache and headaches.

Malunggay, also branded as the drumstick tree or horseradish tree, is the most widely cultivated sample of the genus Moringa that can be grown almost anywhere using seeds and cuttings.

The DA revealed that three months after germination, the young leaves can already be harvested providing vitamins, niacin, iron, calcium and protein.

With the many health benefits that malunggay can give, as well as helping farmers by becoming their major source of income since it can be developed as an export crop under their biotechnology program, the DA and BAR have pledged to step up their campaign in its production and planting.

Recent studies also indicate that because of its nutritional value, the Department of Health also advocates to Filipino families especially lactating mothers to increase their intake of the malunggay leaves in their daily diet since it's an excellent source of nourishment. Tablets/vitamins made from malunggay are already available in drugstores in Region I and is recommended as supplementary diet.

In a related move, to further promote the development, production, and intake of malunggay, this will be showcased at the launching of the BAR's "Indigenous Plants for Health and Wellness Program" which is in commemoration with the proclamation of National Health and Wellness Month. (PIA La Union)

For full story, please see: http://www.pia.gov.ph/default.asp?m=12&fi=p071002.htm&no=66&r=&y=&mo=

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13. Rattan in the Philippines: Kidapawan rubber farm gets foreign grant

Source: The Philippine Star, ABS CBN News, Philippines, 5 October 2007

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna – A Japan-based international agency has provided a financial grant to help underwrite the establishment of a rattan plantation in Mindanao.

The plantation will be set up at a government experimental forest in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, with the support of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO).

The grant for the establishment and management of the rattan plantation in Kidapawan City was provided by ITTO to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Ecosystem Research and Development Services (DENR-ERDS) in Region 12 (Central Mindanao), said DENR regional executive director Jim Sampulna.

The Los Baños-based DENR Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau headed by director Marcial Amaro Jr. facilitated the grant.

Dr. Bighani Manipula, acting regional technical director for research of DENR-Region 12, said the project will showcase the rattan seedling technology developed by the research sector and will employ the community-based approach in managing the plantation.

Immediate stakeholders will be tapped as partners in developing, managing and protecting the plantation instead of just treating them as “resource users and beneficiaries,” Manipula said.

As an initial activity, the project management team recently met with the local community to brief them on the project.

The stakeholders will also be taught about rattan production – from seed harvesting to nursery management and plantation development.

The project is expected to enhance and rehabilitate the 30-hectare teak and rubber plantation that the DENR-ERDS put up in 1985. 

For full story, please see: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/storypage.aspx?StoryId=94720

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COUNTRY INFORMATION

14. Canada: Forestry funding coming to Chapleau

Source: Northern Ontario Business, Canada, 6 September 2007

A northeastern Ontario mill town will be the epi-centre of a movement to commercially harvest the wealth of Northern Ontario’s alternative bio-products on a regional scale. With $1.6 million in seed funding from Ottawa, the town of Chapleau has been chosen to make it happen.

The forestry town of 2,300 was selected in July as one of 11 sites across Canada for Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) new Forest Communities Program (FCP).

“This is extremely exciting for small regions of Northern Ontario with big ideas and very exciting for the federal government to recognize them in this way,” says project manager Sylvie Albert, a former Chapleau and Timmins economic development officer.

The 11 communities and their yet-to-be created regional organizations will be able to tap into $25 million fund dispensed over five years.

The idea behind these organizations is to develop and share knowledge, tools and strategies to help hard-hit forestry towns make a transition into value-added and emerging new forest-based opportunities.

The program may be headquartered in Chapleau, to be known as the Northeast Superior Forest Community partnership, but Albert wants to cast a wide regional net and build as much collaboration as possible.

Armed with $325,000 for each of the next five years, Albert says the program emphasis is beyond just building bricks-and-mortar and making inventories of what is available in the bush. She wants to see a new wave of innovative forest projects come through to production. For some small producers, the money will be a final push to go take their fledgling enterprises to the next step.

Besides Chapleau, the five other communities of Dubreuilville, Hornepayne, White River, Manitouwadge and the Township of Michipicoten will be involved in the partnership, which includes involvement with three area First Nation communities.

They’ll have at their disposal university academics, community development personnel as well as government, business and industry experts in value-added forestry.

Albert says she’s out to create the strongest team possible by creating a network of researchers, big and small businesses and wannabe entrepreneurs that grows beyond the region.

Combined with the NRCan money, Albert has raised a total of $2.3 million with additional community contributions and she’s looking for more.

Other players such as the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) and Laurentian University’s School of Management, where Albert teaches, are coming aboard as collaborative partners.

NOSM is interested in using plants in the boreal forest for medicinal and nutraceutical (natural health products) uses.

Albert says one of the most advanced projects is the newly-created Non-Timber Forest Products Corporation. High on its agenda is finding new and promising non-timber products to commercialize is blueberries. Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have already done so with great success, she says.

There’s other promising natural crops with Canada Yew (an ingredient used to fight cancer) and fireweed (a skin care nutraceutical).

“If you have pockets of producers across the North, it would certainly support what other provinces are trying to do on a worldwide scale,” says Albert. “There are many things the forest has to offer beyond just cutting lumber that could be utilized to start-up cottage industries.”

There are also some value-added wood possibilities on the table, but Albert was reluctant to get into the business specifics.

To access the NRCan money, Albert faced stiff competition as one of 58 applications from across Canada.

But the potential in developing non-timber forest products caught the attention of NRCan officials.

Brian Wilson, NRCan’s director of programs, says the Chapleau proposal was “very solid” with a strong youth retention and Aboriginal focus. Wilson says it’ll be up to the individual not-for-profit organizations and their partners to decide how to manage their projects

“As with every partnership, it’s a combination of give-and-take of cash and in-kind contribution.”

The next stage is a negotiation phase in the following months to firm up every community’s proposal and make sure all the cash and contributions are in place.

For full story, please see: http://www.nob.on.ca/industry/forestry/09-07-chapleau.asp

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15. Canada: NOSM gets $1.1M to ‘bioprospect’ forest

Source: The Sault Star, Ontario, Canada, 8 September, 2007

A $1.1-million funding announcement from the province will allow researchers at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine to start sifting through the boreal forest for new medicines, says the medical school’s associate dean of research.

MPP David Orazietti announced Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. funding on Friday to create NOSM’s Biomaterial Collection Assembly and Central Processing and Analytical Facility at Algoma University College in Sault Ste. Marie.

“What this project does is enable us to start to look for new medicines from natural sources and from local materials rather than taking a bit more (of a) drug company approach where you’d be looking at synthetic chemicals,” said Dr. Greg Ross, association dean of research at NOSM.

Ross said NOSM has research labs with roughly 40 full-time researchers, including students, working on new medicines in the conventional way.

The AUC site will collect plant samples from surrounding forests and identify the chemicals they contain, Ross said. Those considered likely to have medicinal properties will be forwarded to researchers at both of the medical schools campuses, in Sudbury and in Thunder Bay.

Another $333,350 will help establish an industrial research chair for bioprospecting at AUC to help with this and other biology-related projects. AUC has applied for matching funding from the federal government for the industrial research chair and is awaiting a response.

An industrial research chair will look beyond the identifying, screening, analyzing of organic compounds that are involved in the NOSM project, Perlini said.

“They do that basic level research, but they do that with an eye toward commercial viability,” said Perlini. “The idea is that you have industry involved — it could be timber or non-timber forest products — working with you, and when I say working with you, (I mean) supporting you, financially supporting you to assist in that identification, screening, analysis and development.”

For full story, please see: http://www.saultstar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=684835

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16. India: Govt plans first ever Forest Policy

Source: Newindpress, India, 5 October 2007

BHUBANESWAR: The State Government is busy chalking out its first ever Forest Policy in a bid to augment conservation initiatives, while giving fillip to livelihood resources for the dependent population.

As fast depletion of green cover coupled with industrialisation throw up an array of challenges, the Government prepares a set of policy guidelines keeping in pace with National Forest Policy (NFP), 1988. The last forest survey had indicated an increase in the forest cover of Orissa which now stands at 37.3 percent.

A major objective will also be to adopt sustainable management practices in participation with communities so that the forest dependent population makes most of forest certified products. Conferring land rights to eligible tribals, converting ‘podu’ – a mainstay for ethnic population – into a remunerative farming system will be prime objectives of the policy.

Similarly, new initiatives to bring management of non-timber forest produce, such as medicinal as well as aromatic plants, to the mainstream too will find place in the proposed policy, sources said. Special emphasis will also be on protection of coastal ecosystem of the State because it continues to face natural calamities and its mangrove forests and coastal plantations now assume a bigger role.

For full story, please see: http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IEQ20071004203559&Page=Q&Headline=Govt+plans+first+ever+Forest+Policy&Title=ORISSA&Topic=0

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17. Liberia: CI wants eco-tourism promoted

Source: The Inquirer (Monrovia), 23 August 2007

Conservation International (CI), a NGO working in Liberia since 2002, has developed a scheme to bring tourists into the country.

Mr. Russell A. Mittermeier, President of CI located in Virginia, United States who is on a week-long visit in to Liberia, has been discussing with top government officials on how the forest of the country can be conserved and be used to make profit for the country.

Speaking to the INQUIRER, Mr. Mittermeier said Liberia's Forest is in an area known as a "hotspots." "These areas are hotspots because most of the animal species that live there can not be found anywhere in the world. This means it is the most important spot in the West African Region."

He said an eco-tourist can pay hundreds of US$ to visit Liberia's natural wildlife and see first hand how these animals live in the wild.

The CI boss also touched on the newly passed forestry law that protects 30% of the country's forests, which adds up to about 1.5 million acres.

He cited Rwanda as a prime example due to the similarities between that country and Liberia. Mr. Mittermeier said eco-tourists come from all over the world to visit Rwanda's Forest just to see the country's mountain gorillas which are protected by law; thus stopping hunters from killing them.

"Liberia, which has species of wildlife that can't be seen in other parts of the world, is a breeding ground for potential tourists who are willing to pay up to US$500 to see these animals first hand," the CI Boss said.

The CI boss said he also talked to government officials about deforestation and how the country should try other means of profiting from the forest; because even re-planting is not enough.

For his part, the Country Director of CI, Mr. Alexander Peal said the entity is working with the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) to develop programs aimed at upgrading the conservation of wildlife in the country.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200708230682.html

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18. Philippines: Bulacan aggressively promotes bamboo farming

Source: Fibre2fashion.com, India, 29 August 2007

Bulacan Government has launched an aggressive campaign to boost bamboo industry, especially targeting regions along the rivers.

Global demand for bamboo has suddenly surged as its fibres can now be transformed into cloth.

Cultivating bamboo in test tubes not only yields large amounts but has also been noted as easier method.

Researchers have developed innovative methods of cultivation that results in swift production of the plant.

Bamboo, the longest grass on earth, has generated curiosity in the textile industry. Bamboo fibre has been recognized as durable and soft and can be produced at low costs.

Not only this, it is one of the most environment friendly products.

Experts say that bamboo releases almost 35 percent more oxygen and helps purify the air. Plantations on river banks also help control floods.

Recognizing all the benefits Government is encouraging locals to indulge in bamboo farming. This will also provide livelihood for domestic handicraft industry.

For full story, please see: http://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/textile-news/newsdetails.aspx?news_id=40092

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19. South Africa: Traditional medicine for HIV to go on trial

Source: SciDev.Net, 4 September 2007

Clinical trials to test a traditional medicine's effectiveness in delaying the onset of AIDS in HIV-positive patients will begin in South Africa within weeks, according to researchers.

Approximately 125 HIV-positive patients at Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal province will take part in trials of the herb Sutherlandia frutescens, a well-known South African traditional medicine.

The purpose of the trial will be to test the safety and effectiveness of capsules of Sutherlandia in patients newly diagnosed with HIV.

The scientists announced their plans last week (28 August), saying the project will most likely begin this month, once the South African Medicines Control Council completes its final regulatory check. They expect to have results by August 2009.

The research will be conducted by the South African universities of KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, along with the Traditional Healers' Association of South Africa and the US-based University of Missouri.

Traditional healers use Sutherlandia frutescens, sometimes known as 'cancer bush', to treat a host of ailments from weight loss to aches and pains.

Sutherlandia has several active ingredients, said Quinton Johnson, one of the study researchers and director of the International Centre for Indigenous Phytotherapy Studies at the University of the Western Cape.

The plant contains pinitol (a compound with anti-diabetic properties), canavine (used by traditional healers to treat wasting diseases like tuberculosis) and the amino acid GABA, which produces a feeling of wellbeing.

Nceba Gqaleni, deputy dean of the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, said this was the first collaboration between scientists and traditional healers to assess the effectiveness of indigenous practices in treating such a serious health issue.

"This research will further the cause of traditional medicine, as well as assist scientific study," he told SciDev.Net.

Sazi Mhlongo, chairman of the Traditional Healers' Association of South Africa, told SciDev.Net that the plant is "the most powerful of our herbs, which we mix with other herbs to treat a lot of different problems".

Mhlongo, who has practised as a traditional healer in KwaZulu-Natal for 34 years, said traditional healers have become increasingly aware of the herb's success in treating HIV-positive patients. Patients who took it "felt better", he said.

For full story, please see: http://www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=3870&language=1

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20. South Africa: Drug companies looting SA's bounty of medicinal plants

Source: by Bobby Jordan, The Times (Johannesburg), 7/10/07 (in [BIO-IPR)

The government has stepped in to save a tiny South African plant from extinction after hundreds of tons were harvested for foreign drug companies, one of which has patented its use to fight HIV/Aids.

Now traditional healers, who have used the plant for centuries, are trying to win back the patent which they claim is rightfully theirs.

The matter has become so heated that the Eastern Cape government has banned all further harvesting of the plant pelargonium -- part of the geranium family -- until further notice. But illegal harvesting of pelargonium, also known as umckaloabo and klawerbossie, continues in the hills around Grahamstown and Alicedale and has led to dozens of arrests, according to Eastern Cape researchers.

Now the Department of Environmental Affairs has decided to review all biological prospecting projects to make sure they conform to new regulations that protect the commercial rights of traditional healers.

The pelargonium tug of war will be discussed next week in Canada at a special United Nations working group meeting on biopiracy and biodiversity.

At the heart of the row are three drug patents granted to German drug firm ISO Arzneimittel for the use of extracts from pelargonium to treat a wide range of diseases and symptoms such as pain, fatigue, depression, insomnia and all Aids-related infections such as tuberculosis, herpes and pneumonia. But traditional healers say they have been using the plant to treat some of these conditions for hundreds of years.

ISO Arzneimittel has now reserved the right to apply for a South African pelargonium patent on the use of extracts of the plant to treat HIV/Aids. If successful it would stop South African companies using the plant to develop medicine to fight the pandemic. This means the company could make billions out of a plant that South Africans have harvested for centuries.

ISO Arzneimittel, linked to giant German drug company Schwabe Pharmaceuticals, has teamed up with South African firm Parceval Pharmaceuticals, which has a permit to harvest pelargonium.

Extracts of the plant are contained in homeopathic remedies and sold in Germany as "Umckaloabo" and in America as "Umcka".

Existing patent law makes no provision for traditional knowledge, although this is likely to change.

In what is seen as a significant step towards patent reform, a group of community leaders near Alicedale in the Eastern Cape this week appointed legal advisers to help protect their traditional knowledge of pelargonium, which they say has started to disappear from the wild due to commercial demand.

The move has also sparked a fierce backlash against the pharmaceutical companies from South Africa's Traditional Healers Organisation and environmentalists, who now want ISO Arzneimittel's patents revoked.

"I grew up knowing that this plant is very important," said Nomthumzi Sizani, spokesman for the Eastern Cape group. "The community wants to stop [companies] from saying they were the first to know that this medicine is important, because we grew up knowing that."

She said it was unfair for a foreign company to make millions while unemployed villagers earned only R4 per kilo of pelargonium:”

Patent experts said these issues would be addressed by at least two new laws which will soon be tabled in South Africa.

Currently, foreign companies do not have to enter into community-sharing agreements with communities if they develop medicines based on traditional knowledge. Although a plant may not be patented, any company can patent extracts of a plant or a new use for plant extracts if they can prove they are the first to discover this use, experts said.

Rich foreign companies have snapped up hundreds of patents this way despite ongoing protests from traditional healers who do not have the resources to compete.

ISO Arzneimittel could not be reached for comment this week. However their South African partner, Parceval, said the German company's patents did not clash with traditional use of the plant. Parceval spokesman Ulrich Feiter said: "The patents cover only one certain preparation and not pelargonium in general. Pelargonium is used by a number of companies, in South Africa and elsewhere, and they have not been challenged by the patent holder in any way."

But traditional healers say they don't believe the company should qualify for any patents at all because it did not discover its powerful properties. It's a view shared by some environmental groups fighting for social justice, including the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB). ACB director Mariam Mayet said: "Just because the traditional healers didn't write down the chemical formula, doesn't mean they didn't know all about the plant and how it could be used."

According to an ACB report, pelargonium was "discovered" in 1897 by a mechanic from Birmingham who sought medical advice from a Basotho healer. The plants were later tested in Europe and, after studies at the University of Munich, some of their biological properties were patented by ISO Arzneimittel in 2002.

Pelargonium is one of dozens of South African plants being targeted by drug companies eager to develop new medicines. Other plants successfully targeted in recent years include sutherlandia and hoodia, a succulent plant used by San communities to suppress appetite and thirst on long hunting journeys.

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21. Vietnam: New butterflies, snakes and orchids discovered in Green Corridor

Source: People & the Planet, UK, 27 Sep 2007

Eleven new species of animals and plants have been discovered in a remote area of central Vietnam known as the Green Corridor. They include two butterflies, a snake, five orchids and three other plants. The species were found by scientists in the Thua Thien Hue Province and all are exclusive to tropical forests in Vietnam’s Annamite Mountain Range. Ten other plant species, including four orchids, are still under examination but also appear to be new species.

The Green Corridor is one of the last remaining lowland wet evergreen forests, and supports significant populations of threatened species. The area also includes some of the longest remaining stretches of lowland river with intact forest habitat in Vietnam, which feed into the Perfume River.

“You only discover so many new species in very special places, and the Green Corridor is one of them,” said Chris Dickinson, WWF’s Chief Technical Adviser in the area. “Several large mammal species were discovered in the 1990s in the same forests, which means that these latest discoveries could be just the tip of the iceberg.”

Recent surveys have shown that the Green Corridor is home to many threatened species including 15 reptiles and amphibians and six bird species as well as the greatest number of one of the world’s most endangered primates, the white-cheeked crested gibbon. The area is also believed to be the best location in Vietnam to conserve the Saola, a unique type of wild cattle only discovered by scientists in 1992.

WWF is concerned that endangered species in this area are at risk from illegal logging, hunting, unsustainable extraction of natural resources and conflicting development interests. However, the Thua Thien Hue Province authorities - in particular the Forest Protection Department - have made a commitment to conserve and sustainably manage these valuable forests.

“The area is extremely important for conservation and the province wants to protect the forests and their environmental services, as well as contribute to sustainable development,” said Hoang Ngoc Khanh, Director of Thua Thien Hue Provincial Forest Protection Department.

WWF believes the forests in the Annamites also help to preserve critical environmental services such as water supplies for thousand of people who depend on the region’s rivers and non-timber forest resources for local ethnic minority groups who earn more than half of their income from these products.

The ‘Green Corridor’ project is a four-year initiative that started in June 2004, implemented by the WWF Greater Mekong Programme and Thua Thien Hue Provincial Forest Protection Department. More details about the species and other biodiversity discoveries can be found at www.huegreencorridor.org

For full story, please see: http://www.peopleandplanet.net/doc.php?id=3099

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22. Vietnam: Partnership producing natural products from medicinal plants being filmed for BBC

Source: Kat Morgenstern, Sacred Earth (http://www.sacredearth.com), 27 August 2007

A Vietnamese-New Zealand partnership that produces natural products from medicinal plants is being filmed for a BBC television programme.

Bridging the Gap, funded by New Zealand Aid, was nominated for the BBC World Challenge after winning a United Nation's SEED award earlier this year.

The project was instigated by NZ company Forest Herbs Research Ltd in 2003, to work with hill tribes in the remote Sa Pa region of North Vietnam.

The BBC team will film in Sa Pa in September, and the series featuring 12 aid projects will screen in 30 minute specials on BBC World from October 6 to November 16.

Over this period viewers vote for their top projects, either online or in Newsweek magazine. At stake is nearly $14,000 from sponsor, Shell, to benefit the winning project.

For full story, please see: http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/1318360/1323545

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23. Vietnam: Handicraft exporters target key markets

Source: Vietnam Economic Times, Vietnam, 11 September 2007

The handicraft industry has increased export value by nearly 30 percent in the last three years but needs to reform to compete with other regional exporters, according to industry insiders.

In 2004 the industry earned US$450 million and $630.4 million in 2006, which accounted for 3 percent of the country’s total exports.

Since 2000, the industry has focused efforts to expand exports to potential markets, including the US, EU, Japan, Russia and the ASEAN countries. Of these, the EU accounts for 50 per cent of Viet Nam’s total handicraft exports, followed by Japan and US.

The export value of handicraft products has risen from $235 million in 2000 to $630.4 million in 2006. Average growth rate in this period was nearly 18 per cent.

The industry also exports wooden products to Germany, France, Holland and Japan.

Several Vietnamese handicraft companies are launching trade promotions to export products to South Africa.

Nguyen Van Sanh, deputy director of the Mekong Delta Development Research Institute, said despite the industry’s contributions to increase export revenue and hasten rural economic restructuring, the handicraft and arts industry still faces challenges. The industry is plagued with outdated designs and high delivery and transport fees that make it less competitive than China, Thailand and other ASEAN countries, particularly in the US and the EU.

Sanh said the industry needs to expand planting areas for materials, and reform production and processing methods.

According to the Japan International Co-operation Agency, the handicraft industry has created jobs for more than 1.35 million workers, 60 per cent of whom are women.

Most women make rattan and bamboo articles, weave carpets and sleeping mats and make embroidered products.

For full story, please see: http://www.vneconomy.com.vn/eng/?param=article&catid=06&id=3cd8c612dd6527

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NEWS

24. Amazon chic

Source: Macleans.ca, Canada, 8 October 2007

The latest in luxury no longer hails from France or Italy, but is buried deep in Brazil's Amazon rainforest where entrepreneurs are carving out a multi-million-dollar global market in everything from designer fish-scale running shoes made from giant Amazon river fish to seed jewellery and shampoos and bath oils made from exotic fruits such as cupuaçu and açai.

In Brazil alone, Natura, a direct sales company that markets cosmetics based on Amazon oils and essences, controls 23 per cent of the market share in a country of 185 million people. Last year, sales of Brazilian cosmetics, much of them based on Amazon products, topped US$484 million, up more than 150 per cent from 2001, according to the Brazilian Toiletry, Perfumery and Cosmetics Association. Companies like Natura are now starting to make their products available in North America and Europe. Natura has already made important inroads in the world's cosmetics mecca, France.

"The appeal is the richness of the Amazon rainforest," says Eduardo Rauen, director of Amazônia Natural, a five-year-old cosmetics firm based in southern Brazil. Amazônia Natural markets a range of hair products made from the guarana berry, a natural stimulant indigenous to the Amazon region that acts as an astringent and is said to prevent baldness. The company also sells bath oils and creams made with passion fruit, which is marketed in Brazil as a relaxant. Other skin and hair-care lines produced by both Amazônia Natural and Natura draw on the hydrating powers of cupuaçu, an Amazonian fruit whose oily seeds are used in the manufacture of skin creams, and açai, a purple berry renowned for its rich antioxidant powers. Açai, which is being heralded as a wonder food, is sold as a deep purple frozen slush at health food stores throughout North America and Europe. The berry, whose chemical properties are still the subject of scientific research, has been found to help combat premature aging and has 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes.

The Rio de Janeiro-based jewellery designer Maria Oiticica was born in the Amazon region. "People realize the importance of the Amazon in the ecological stability of the planet, and they are also drawn to its exoticism," says Oiticica. Several years ago, when she lost her job as a journalist, she began to design sophisticated jewellery using seeds from rainforest berries and nuts, and the leathery scales from giant Amazon river fish. Osklen, another high-end Brazilian retailer that has recently opened its first North American store in New York, is also using fish scales in a collection of shoes and handbags. The company markets chic white sneakers adorned with fish scales.

Like Osklen, Oiticica's unique designs are featured in fashion magazines around the world. Chunky rings and bracelets made with silver and dyed jarina and açai seeds in a riot of bright colours retail at stores in London and in North America. Oiticica's accessories range in price from about US$20 for a bracelet with woven palm fronds to several hundred dollars for bracelets and necklaces made with dyed fish scales and sterling silver.

Like most of the companies that market Amazon products, Oiticica works with local Indian tribes. She currently runs a program for native women who have left their Amazon tribes to seek work in cities like Manaus and Belém, only to find themselves living in abject poverty. Oiticica has set up a workshop for the women, and pays them to prepare the seeds and palm leaves that she uses in her jewellery production. "We take from the forest," says Oiticica, whose raw materials in her so-called "bio-jewels" are mostly seeds that have already fallen from the trees. "But we all have a responsibility to give back."

For full story, please see: http://www.macleans.ca/culture/lifestyle/article.jsp?content=20071008_110112_110112

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25. 'Biopiracy' requires reasoned treatment

Source: David Dickson, Director, SciDev.Net, 14 September 2007

The fight against biopiracy must embrace both legitimate science and social justice if biodiversity itself is not to suffer.

Scientists have long been implicated, whether actively or tacitly, in developed countries' campaigns to seek out and secure natural resources to fuel industrialisation and maintain their own living standards.

This was the motive behind many 'scientific' expeditions to explore and map out the centre of Africa in the nineteenth century. More recently, studying indigenous medicine has become a cost-effective way of identifying active chemical ingredients from plants that might be valuable in modern medicine.

Inevitably, as the commercial and economic motivations behind such 'scientific' enterprises emerge, resentment grows at the perceived one-way flow of benefits. In response, strongly-worded commitments to enforcing greater social justice are developed. The most influential of these is the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which came into force in 1993, giving states ownership, and thus control, over the plants and animals within their borders.

Equally inevitably, efforts to implement such commitments have frequently generated protest from scientists. They miss their previous freedom to collect, transport and disseminate research samples virtually at will, and view the requirements for permits and prior approval as a mire of red tape that frequently delays projects.

Wave of protest

The recent imprisonment of a Dutch-born researcher, Marc van Roosmalen, who has been working in the Brazilian rainforest for more than 20 years and whose work has helped name several newly identified species of primates, has been a focus for scientists' anger (see Scientists threaten strike over jailing of primatologist)..

Van Roosmalen previously worked for the National Institute for Research in the Amazon in Manaus, in the heart of Amazonia, but now runs his own private research institution. In June he was sentenced to almost 16 years in prison for infringing laws introduced to protect Brazil's treasure trove of natural resources.

His treatment triggered a wave of protest from scientists, both in Brazil and, eventually, internationally. For many scientists the case symbolises what they see as the unfair victimisation of the scientific community by those seeking to preserve natural environments at any cost.

The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation Scientists, for example, officially described van Roosmalen's treatment as a government-backed "attack on the practice and profession of biological scientists", and called for his immediate release. The Supreme Court did provisionally release van Roosmalen from prison last month.

The rights and wrongs

However, van Roosmalen's case is more complex than it might initially appear. Firstly, he has faced charges of "improper appropriation" relating to the decision to offer sponsors the opportunity to have their name attached to newly discovered species – a practice which, although widely adopted in the past, now raises eyebrows in the research community itself.

And it is clear that under Brazilian law, van Roosmalen should have sought permission to capture and keep some of the animals he used for research. His frustration at the lengthy procedure this involves is understandable, but without permission, his experiments were illegal.

But it is widely believed that many other, equally frustrated, scientists collect samples without authorisation and without facing legal action. Indeed, some of van Roosmalen's supporters blamed his conviction on his high profile clashes with politically-influential landowners over campaigns to save the Amazonian rainforest, rather than regulators' zeal to protect local biodiversity.

Whether or not there has been undue political influence, it is clear than regulators in Brazil and elsewhere do not get the financial and human resources needed to carry out their tasks efficiently. The most obvious result has been the long delays in granting permissions for experiments, which has left all sides frustrated.

Arguing it out

Scientists can legitimately argue that delays are costly for their research, and that they themselves could usefully contribute to formulating national policies, laws and regulations that implement CBD commitments.

But when they defend their own interests in the name of freedom for scientific inquiry, their case is weakened by the misdeeds of their predecessors, and occasionally their peers, whose abuse of such freedoms contributed to the current situation (see Developing nations 'need genetic resources rules')).

Conservationists also have a case when they defend the CBD, and the regulations flowing from it, as essential weapons in the fight to conserve native fauna and flora. But claims on who rightfully 'owns' this material are often more complex than activists acknowledge. Activists also need to acknowledge that a healthy science base is essential to their own cause (see Ownership squabbles 'hindering' conservation).

Avoiding lose-lose situations

Fortunately, the situation has improved significantly since the mid-1990s when, after the CBD was signed, there was a virtual freeze on collaboration between biologists in developed countries and those in countries such as Brazil. Careful negotiation has led to effective guidelines – for example on sharing samples – that show accommodation is possible.

But tensions and distrust remain high, as the intense feelings aroused by the van Roosmalen affair demonstrate. So scientists and conservationists alike, particularly the more 'activist' of the latter, must remember that they share a common long-term interest in sensibly designed and effectively implemented mechanisms that protect biodiversity.

Nobody wins when regulations are either ignored or overzealously applied, whatever the supposed justification.

For full story, please see: http://www.scidev.net/content/editorials/eng/biopiracy-requires-reasoned-treatment.cfm

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26. Central Africa: Wangari wants trust fund for Congo Basin Forest

Source: Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé), 5 September 2007

Professor Wangari Maathai, the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Goodwill Ambassador for the Congo Basin Forest, yesterday declared she would pilot and ensure the creation of a Trust Fund to enhance the sustainable management of the world's second richest forest; the Congo Basin Forest.

She told the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, during an early morning audience in Yaounde that the British Premier, Gordon Brown, has disbursed 50 million pounds (about CFA 50 billion) to foster the management of the forest. This money, she said, will be used to kick-start a Trust Fund for the Congo Basin Forest. "While thanking the British Prime Minister for the gesture, I hope and call on other donor organisations to contribute generously to the fund", she said.

The Kenyan professor, well known as an environmental and political activist, said, she has been discussing ways and means of helping governments of the Conference of Central African Forest Ministers (COMIFAC) progress in the implementation of the Convergence Plan. "We need a structure to ensure good governance, openness and transparency in forest management” she said.

Prof. Wangari, who was accompanied in the meeting by the British High Commissioner to Cameroon and officials of COMIFAC, recalled the worry of the British Premier while giving out the financial assistance: that of the nefarious effects of climate change. "I hope the fund will shape the fate of the forest", she said, expressing the wish to see the African Union as part of the process.

The Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, on his part, assured his guest of Cameroon's support and readiness to play a frontline role in starting off the process. "Cameroon has two main concerns today: controlling illegal forest exploitation and reforesting exploited areas as well as planting trees in urban and sub urban areas", Minister Ngolle Ngolle said. "We intend to plant 15,000 trees every year in partnership with the civil society, NGOs and councils", he added.

Prof. Wangari is in Cameroon to prepare for the upcoming meeting of the Permanent Committee of the African Union Economic and Social Council.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200709050867.html

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27. Congo Basin: Plugging NTFPs in the Congo Basin

Source: New Agriculturist Web site

The potential of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) to reduce poverty continues to divide opinion. Recently the Rainforest Foundation, a UK-based charity campaigning for the protection of the rainforests and the livelihoods of indigenous people who depend on them, added fuel to the debate by publishing a survey of over 30 years of research from the Congo Basin¹.

It concluded that while NTFPs themselves are rarely the answer to poverty alleviation, their importance nevertheless merits a fundamental shift in forest management policy. Until now, policymakers in the six countries surveyed² have prioritised timber over all other forest products. However, according to the report, NTFPs provide important nutritional, financial and cultural benefits to forest communities who are often threatened by timber extraction.

Food, money and medicine

Sources of income from the forest vary across the basin, but bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and fish are often the most important. In southern Cameroon in some villages, sales of bushmeat accounted for 51 per cent of annual income, compared with 32 per cent from agricultural sales. In the Central African Republic, hunters can earn between US$400-700 per year, more than the official minimum wage. Trade in forest insects is also big business; every year an estimated 9600 tonnes of edible caterpillars are sold in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) capital, Kinshasa, alone.

Bushmeat, fish and insects also provide between 30-80 per cent of the protein needs of forest populations in the countries surveyed. Other major sources of income from NTFPs include rattan cane, charcoal, mushrooms, palm wine, edible vines, kola nuts and various fruits.

Forest products also form the basis of healthcare in the region. The high cost of pharmaceutical medicines and limited numbers of university-trained doctors have led to an increase in the use of traditional medicines. In the Southern Province of Cameroon, around 300 species of NTFPs are used medicinally, and in some parts of the Congo Basin over 90 per cent of the population rely on plant-based remedies.

Felling the arguments for timber

Although the forests can prove bountiful, many non-timber products are under threat. Gnetum vines, for example, provide nutritious leaves much in demand in urban markets, but deforestation is removing the trees that support the vines. Nudaurelia oyemensis - a widely consumed caterpillar species - is threatened by the loss of its preferred host plant, the sapelli tree, which is highly-valued for its timber. Rattan canes are frequently over-harvested because of their perceived status as a free or "open access" resource. Finally, strong urban demand for bushmeat has had a severe impact on animal numbers, exacerbated by increasing human populations and diminishing areas of forest.

The need to protect the long-term supply of these products has been recognised by The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), among others, which has projects for the domestication of some fruit species, such as safou (Dacryodes edulis) and bush mango (Irvingia gabonensis). There are also trials to incorporate rattan in agroforestry, and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has supported cultivation of gnetum vines.

Towards sustainable forest management

Domestication - including genetic improvement - and cultivation of species outside the forests themselves are seen by many as the only way to ensure a continued supply of many products. While acknowledging this, the Rainforest Foundation is concerned that cultivation may reduce the incentive for forest preservation, and may not stop over-harvesting, since people will continue to be attracted by a free resource. In addition, the Foundation points out that many forest products are collected by women and the elderly or by vulnerable groups, such as Pygmies. If forest plants and insects are farmed rather than gathered, the benefits they currently offer to these groups may be lost.

Cultivation should therefore be combined with sustainable resource management in situ, says the Foundation report. Beyond this, it recommends a comprehensive set of policies aimed at supporting the NTFP sector, and promoting policies are needed to establish harvesting levels for threatened species and to allocate harvesting licences. Further policies would be required to develop certification schemes for NTFPs and to clarify land tenure and resource rights of forest communities. Such policies would offer a more holistic approach to the region's forests than the current focus on timber, reflecting nutritional, financial, environmental and cultural values. Revised management plans for the region would be likely to include extraction of NTFPs, beekeeping, cultivation of medicinal plants, agroforestry, insect rearing and bioprospecting.

¹ The use of non-timber forest products in the Congo Basin: Constraints and opportunities by Alison L Hoare (download pdf)

² Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville, Central African Republic

For full story, please see: http://www.new-ag.info/07/05/focuson/focuson1.php

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28. Environmental certification is essential to the economic growth of Amazonia, study concludes

Source: Amazonia.org.br, 5 September 2007 (in Amazon News, 10 September 2007)

In addition to being one form of preservation, environmental certification in community forests is also a primary factor for sustainable economic growth in these areas, providing market credibility to production, political organization to communities and control over prices. This is the conclusion of the doctoral thesis "Certificação Ambiental - Uma estratégia para a conservação da Floresta Amazônica" ("Environmental Certification - A conservation strategy for the Amazon Rainforest"), by researcher Raimundo Maciel, which was recently defended at Campinas State University (Unicamp).

The study was based on Brazilnuts produced and exported by the Chico Mendes extractivist reserve and concluded that "environmental certification in community forests provides forest producers with fair prices, precisely because they effectively participate in the management and find niches in markets for sustainable products".

Maciel, who is also coordinator of the project, Economic Analysis of Basic Rural Family Production Systems in the Acre Valley (ASPF) of the Federal University of Acre, says that what happens in most forest production areas, in addition to a lack of sustainability, is that there is a lack of planning economic activities, which has essentially been predatory these last 40 years. He came to this conclusion from an analysis of the rubber cycle, where rubber groves are currently in decline, without any effective organization on the part of producers.

Public Policies: The scientist stated that areas in extractivist reserves are by nature already certifiable, the local communities only need to manage the certification. "Although the reserve itself is a form of certification, it often suffers from a lack of public policies to operate fully and properly. Many forest products still need to undergo a process of technological enhancement to adapt them to market efficiency, which has historically been behind the times", he explained.

To obtain this technological upgrade, Maciel proposes a series of public policies that encourage ecological processes necessary to complement certification on the reserves, such as integrating local communities by strengthening their associations. In the case of Brazil nuts, for example, the researcher states in his thesis that an export scale production was only achieved through collaboration between local communities.

Another need he pointed out is that certifications be conducted on three levels, forestry, organic production and socially. "Triple certification [of Brazil nuts] was decisive in enabling producer cooperatives in the study region (...) to sell to the demanding European market, in particular the fair trade market niches, currently in rapid expansion", the study reports.

Markets: Even though reserves, a set of public policies and local associations would ensure sustainability of forest products, attention should not only be focused on the market. "A balance must be found between production capacity and market demand. Production does not necessarily have to be determined by the market, on the contrary, the market must adapt to natural resource products, even renewable ones", points out Maciel.

He also concluded that communities naturally concern themselves with economic use of the forest, as these practices directly impact their habitat.

Economic reality: The idea of forming certified extractivist reserves is basically a form to achieve local economic development. In his research, Maciel also addresses economic organization and migration of forest peoples to urban areas and highlights: "Remaining forest populations have been driven to urban areas as if they were being freed from the poverty and hardships of the forest, when historically the inverse is true, people living on urban outskirts are becoming increasingly poor and unviable".

Read the full text (in Portuguese) of the thesis "Certificação Ambiental - Uma estratégia para a conservação da Floresta Amazônica", by UFAC research Raimundo Maciel. The study was defended for a doctoral degree at Unicamp.

For full story, please see: http://www.amazonia.org.br/english/noticias/noticia.cfm?id=252625

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29. UN General Assembly backs indigenous peoples' rights

Source: Agence France-Presse newswire, 13.9.07 (in BIO-IPR docserver)

United Nations (AFP) -- The UN General Assembly on Thursday adopted a non-binding declaration upholding the human, land and resources rights of the world's 370 million indigenous people, brushing off opposition from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

The vote in the assembly was 143 in favor and four against. Eleven countries, including Russia and Colombia, abstained.

The declaration, capping more than 20 years of debate at the United Nations, also recognizes the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination and sets global human rights standards for them.

It states that native peoples have the right "to the recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties" concluded with states or their successors.

Indigenous peoples say their lands and territories are endangered by such threats as mineral extraction, logging, environmental contamination, privatization and development projects, classification of lands as protected areas or game reserves and use of genetically modified seeds and technology.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the Philippine chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, joined UN chief Ban Ki-moon in hailing the vote. "It marks a major victory for Indigenous peoples," said Tauli-Corpuz, adding that the document "sets the minimum international standards for the protection and promotion of the rights" of native peoples.

But Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States, countries with sizable indigenous populations, expressed disappointment with the text.

For full story, please see: http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5ixWgtCGxM1ZSp0cA7qDku9h87pRA

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30. Wildlife: National parks no longer preserve wildlife

Source: Environmental Graffiti, London, UK, 3 September 2007

A study shows that national parks in Africa are failing in their task of protecting the wildlife within their boundaries. Published in the September issue of the African Journal of Ecology, the report by Tim Caro and Paul Scholte states that: “For years, wildlife managers and biologists in Africa have known that large mammals were disappearing outside reserves.

[Now]…we are losing species from many of Africa’s national parks.”

Increased pressures on reserves’ ecosystems have resulted in a decline in the number of large mammals. Africa’s growing population requires more resources, putting the future of parks in jeopardy as the need to cultivate or build on land grows. Some park areas were already occupied by farming communities.

The ecologists looked at antelope populations and found that many parks are subject to the illegal hunting: “Bushmeat hunting is often the most common factor pressing upon antelope populations. In the old days, this was for local consumption, now it includes tables in far-off cities that, incredibly, extend to London and Paris.”

The article concludes that we may have to revise our ideas of wildlife conservation to match our rapidly changing world. The old idea of setting aside large tracts of land in remote areas far from human populations is still a viable option in some parts of the continent …but it is a conservation approach increasingly outmoded by land use change, demographics and policy reform.”

“What the new data shows, however, is even relatively well-organized protected areas cannot be relied on as long-lasting conservation tools…In the final analysis, we may have to get used to faunal relaxation in Africa’s network of famous reserves leaving a continent containing isolated pockets of large mammal diversity living at low population sizes. Just like Europe.”

For full story, please see: http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/?p=254

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31. Wildlife trade: One of the world's most endangered species found in fridge

Source: ENN Daily News, 7 September 2007

TWO of the world's most beautiful creatures are found stuffed into a fridge in Hanoi - a rare insight into the lucrative trade in endangered animals across South-east Asia that makes a mockery of international conservation treaties.

Vietnamese police this week found the two frozen tigers in an apartment, along with two soup kettles filled with animal bones in an outdoor kitchen.

A 40-year-old woman confessed to police that she had hired three experts to cook tiger bones to make traditional medicines that she sold for about £400 per 100g.

"The tigers could have been bought in Myanmar [Burma] or Laos and transported back to Vietnam by ambulances or hidden in coffins," said Vuong Tri Hoa, a forest ranger.

And there is the problem: while more developed countries in South-east Asia, such as China and Vietnam, have taken strong steps to stamp out the illegal hunting of endangered animals, impoverished states such as Laos and Burma either will not or cannot.

Demand for exotic animals across South-east Asia remains high - newly affluent Chinese prove excellent customers.

Three of the world's nine tiger sub-species fell extinct last century, and many scientists believe a fourth, the South China tiger is already "functionally extinct".

Poached from forests and sold to traders for as little as £5, almost every part of Asia's biggest big cat has commercial value.

Skins are sold as rugs and cloaks on the black market, where a single skin can fetch as much as £10,000.

Tiger meat is marketed as giving "strength", and bones are ground into powders or immersed in vats of wine to make curative "tiger-bone wine" tonics for the traditional Chinese medicine market.

For full story, please see: http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/22795

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32. Wildlife trade: Despite progress against trafficking, world still hungry for exotic creatures

Source: ENN News, 26 September 2007

Earlier this month, the Chinese government invited law enforcement officers from the Association of South East Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) to meet with counterparts in China to discuss strategies to combat the illegal wildlife trade. Conservationists applauded the historic move, but say there is still much to learn. “It’s hard to gauge to what degree the trade may be getting better or worse,” notes Steven Galster of the PeunPa Foundation, a Thai group that works to end wildlife trafficking. “This is because monitoring of the trade has gotten better, revealing more flow and leading to more seizures. Does that mean it’s bigger than before, or [just] that we know more?”

Asia is a global hotspot for the illegal trade in wild animals and plants, according to TRAFFIC, a wildlife-trade monitoring network based in the United Kingdom. And China is the country that consumes the most wildlife worldwide, says Galster. Factors contributing to the trend include regionally high biodiversity, low public awareness of the problem, and inadequate government attention to addressing it, according to TRAFFIC. Eating certain rare animals, such as snakes, pangolins, turtles, tortoises, and salamanders, is a status symbol for many Chinese. And endangered species products such as bear bile, tiger bones, and pangolin scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine and can fetch a high price on the market.

But China is not the only country that has an illegal wildlife trade problem. “Americans are some of the world’s biggest purchasers in exotic pets,” says Galster. And the trophy trade—for tiger skins, rhino heads, pangolins, and other rarities—is still quite large, he notes. The trade in traditional Chinese medicine also exists in the United States, mostly in the Chinatowns of major cities. “All in all, China is the number one consumer of wildlife in the world, followed probably by the United States and the EU,” Galster concludes.

A new study from TRAFFIC, The State of Wildlife Trade in China, demonstrates that China has been taking steps to reduce wildlife trafficking, says Dr. Xu Hongfa, the group’s China Program Director. The report notes that the country has been at the forefront of efforts to control the illegal trade in tigers and other Asian big cats, thanks to a complete trade ban implemented in 1993, and that it has developed new standards for timber sourcing to help local buyers avoid wood products from illegally sourced timber. Last September, China adopted a regulation strengthening its oversight of endangered species imports and exports and clarifying the roles of specific government agencies in managing the wildlife trade, according to China Watch.

China’s efforts to bring to light the realities of wildlife trafficking are working, says Galster. “A growing layer of the Chinese Government is becoming more aware of the country’s consumer impact on wildlife populations. That awareness, however, needs to expand into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before health, education, and enforcement agencies in China are mandated and unleashed to bring wildlife trade and consumption way down.”

Wan Ziming, director of the Chinese State Forestry Administration’s Enforcement and Training Division, agrees that more work needs to be done, but emphasizes the need for international cooperation. “Everyone is blaming China for consuming Southeast Asia’s wildlife and wants China to solve the problem,” he told TRAFFIC. “The fact is, we are trying but we can’t do this alone. We need to work together with other countries, [and] with ASEAN-WEN, to stop the illegal trade.”

This story was produced by Eye on Earth, a joint project of the Worldwatch Institute and the blue moon fund. View the complete archive of Eye on Earth stories, or contact Staff Writer Alana Herro at aherro [AT] worldwatch [DOT] org with your questions, comments, and story ideas.

For full story, please see: http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/23382

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EVENTS

33. Training course: Strengthening livelihoods through beekeeping

9 November 2007

Monmouth, UK

A Bees for Development Training Day introducing a range of topics about beekeeping in developing countries will be of relevance to NGO staff and individuals who have an interest in beekeeping as a means to build sustainable livelihoods, and would like to find out more.

Training Day topics

• An overview of honey hunting and beekeeping practices.

• The value of beekeeping for biodiversity conservation and income generation.

• An introduction to the problems faced by beekeepers and the apiculture sector in developing countries.

• Guidance on best practice for beekeeping projects, using case studies.

• An introduction to honey marketing and trade.

The price for the whole day including lunch and refreshments is £100 inclusive of VAT.

You can book your place through our website store or download the registration form and return it with payment to Bees for Development, Troy, Monmouth, NP25 4AB.

email: info@beesfordevelopment.org

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34. Rural development and poverty reduction

13-14 December 2007

Morocco

The Moroccan Association of Agricultural Economics (AMAECO) is organizing this seminar.

For more information please contact:

Hassan Serghini
President of AMAECO
Ministry of Agriculture DPAE,
Avenue Hassan II Km4,
Rabat-Morocco
Phone: 212 37 69 84 07/08
fax: 212 37 69 84 01
email: amaeco@dpae.madrpm.gov.ma elmorabet_saida@yahoo.fr

http://www.underutilized-species.org/Documents/EVENTS/amaeco_call_for_papers.pdf

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35. Climate Change and Biodiversity in the Americas

25–29 February 2008

Smithsonian Tropical Research Center (STRI) in Panama

This Symposium is being organized by Environment Canada Adaptation and Research Impacts Division and Smithsonian Institution, National Zoological Park, Center for Conservation Education and Sustainability

The focus of the symposium is to provide a forum for leading scientists to present the results of research and monitoring activities of climate change and forest biodiversity throughout the Americas. The aim is to establish a co-operative science, research and monitoring network of activities that interlink biodiversity conservation and sustainability, policy responses and adaptation to climate change throughout the Americas.

Climate change and biodiversity

The changing climate is a significant driver of biodiversity and is already affecting many ecosystems through the Americas. It is necessary to mitigate and prevent these changes to preserve the biodiversity and ecological integrity of these regions.

Increasingly, governments, organizations, industries, and communities need to consider adaptation to impacts of current and future changes in forest biodiversity and sustainability in their planning, infrastructure, and operations.

Training opportunities

Short courses in biodiversity monitoring plots, climate scenarios and other topics will be available for participants the week of March 2 - 5, 2008.

For more information, please contact:

Don MacIver, Director
Adaptation and Impacts Research Division, Environment Canada
4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3H 5T4
Tel: 416-739-4436 Fax: 416-739-4297
Email: don.maciver@ec.gc.ca
Web: www.climatechangeandbiodiversity.ca

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36. International Symposium “Underutilized Plants for food, nutrition, income and sustainable development

3-7 March 2008

Arusha, Tanzania

Underutilized plants are species with under-exploited potential for contributing to food security and nutrition by combating ‘hidden hunger’ caused by micronutrient deficiencies; they often have medicinal properties and other multiple uses; they provide options for improved incomes to the poor, and for environmental services to the global community. These species collectively receive little attention from research, extension services, farmers, policy and decision makers, donors, technology providers and consumers.

The Symposium is organised under the auspices of the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), recognising the need to provide a global forum for exchange and debate on issues related to the promotion of underutilized plants. The Symposium is an activity of the newly formed ISHS working group on underutilized plant genetic resources (PG3) and will be a joint event of the ISHS Commission Plant Genetic Resources and Section Tropical and Subtropical Fruits.

The Symposium will be organised around four main areas of importance for underutilized plants: food security, nutrition and health, income generation, and environmental sustainability. Participants will be invited to share and discuss reasons for success and failure of diverse approaches to promote underutilized plants.

It is planned to use a variety of communication tools: oral and poster presentations, interactive discussion forums, films, theatre, video clips etc. Sufficient space will also be given to informal exchange. Participants are encouraged to experiment with novel means of information exchange and communication.

A 1-day post conference tour will be offered as an optional activity on the last day of the conference.

For more information, please contact:

Dr Hannah Jaenicke (Convener)
International Centre for Underutilised Crops
127 Sunil Mawatha, Colombo, Sri Lanka
phone: +94-11-2787404
fax: +94-11-2786854

or

Dr Detlef Virchow/Mr Stefan Pletziger (Local organizing team)
AVRDC Regional Center for Africa
P.O. Box 10, Duluti, Arusha, Tanzania
phone: +255-27-255-3093 / 255-3102
fax: +255-27-255-3125
e-mail: Symposium08@avrdc-rca.co.tz
Symposium website: www.icuc-iwmi.org/Symposium2008

http://www.icuc-iwmi.org/Symposium2008/index.htm

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REQUESTS

37. Request for collaboration: Ecotourism in Bhutan

From: Gyan Nyaupane, Ph. D., Gyan.Nyaupane@asu.edu (nepalese foresters list)

I am planning to go to Bhutan to explore some research opportunities in ecotourism. I am looking for some research collaborators in Bhutan, possibly in Bhutanese universities or institutions. I am wondering if anyone in this forum is from Bhutan or has contact with Bhutanese professionals or professors. I would really appreciate if you could send me an email at gyan@asu.edu with any information.

Gyan Nyaupane, Ph. D.
Assistant Professor
School of Community Resources & Development
Arizona State University
411 N. Central Ave., Ste. 545
Phoenix, AZ 85004-0690
Ph (602) 496-0166
Fax (602) 496-0853

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38. Request for contributions to the next issue of Non-wood News

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

We are seeking contributions on any aspect of NWFP for inclusion in the next issue of Non-wood News. We would be particularly interested in receiving information on NWFPs from the Pacific Islands.

Articles can be in French, Spanish or English and should be no longer than 500 words. Please send your contributions to non-wood-news@fao.org by 15 October 2007.

Past issues of Non-wood News are available from the NWFP home page: www.fao.org/forestry/FOP/FOPW/NWFP/nwfp-e.stm

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39. Request for information: Unique environmental facts about African nations

From: H. Gyde Lund, gyde@comcast.net, (in FIU 3 October 2007)

I am working with UNEP to help develop an atlas of Africa's changing environments. We will have short sections devoted to each African nation. We would like to include a unique and positive fact environmental fact about each country - such as "Botswana has the largest elephant population in the world'. We really need assistance in this. If you can know an interesting fact for a specific county, would you please email it to me? Thank you in advance for your kind help.

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LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

40. The Overstory

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Recent issues of The Overstory have covered:

• Trees, Forests and Sacred Groves (no. 195)

• An introduction to pathways for plant introduction (no. 196)

• Community forestry depends on women (no. 197)

For more information, please contact:

Craig R. Elevitch (Editor)
P.O. Box 428, Holualoa, Hawaii 96725 USA
Email: overstory@agroforestry.net ;
Web site: http://www.overstory.org (including links to past editions)

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41. Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Aguilar-Støen, M., and Moe, S.R. 2007. Medicinal plant conservation and management: distribution of wild and cultivated species in eight countries. Biodivers. Conserv. 16(6):1973-1981

Arroyo-Quiroz, I., Pérez-Gil, R. and Leader-Williams, N. 2007. Mexico in the international reptile skin trade: a case study. Biodivers. Conserv. 16(4):931-952.

Ash, N and Jenkins, M. 2007. Biodiversity and Poverty Reduction: The Importance of Ecosystem Services. UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge

The report is available to download from: http://www.unep-wcmc.org/latenews/Biodiversity%20and%20Poverty%20Reduction%20UNEP-WCMC.pdf

Bennett, E.L., Blencowe, E., Brandon, K., Brown, D., Burn, R.W., Cowlishaw, G., Davies, G., Dublin, H., Fa, J.E., Milner-Gulland, E.J., Robinson, J.G., Rowcliffe, J.M., Underwood, F.M., and Wilkie, D.S. 2007. Hunting for consensus: reconciling bushmeat harvest, conservation, and development policy in west and central Africa. Conserv. Biol. 21(3):884-887.

Brandolini, Giorgio V. 2007. Medicine tradizionali. CRF Press, Bergamo. 250 pages

Caro, Tim and Scholte, Paul. 2007. When Protection Falters. African Journal of Ecology 45 (3)

Dhakal, Bhubaneswor; Bigsby, Hugh; Cullen, Ross. 2006. Potential of Forest Resources to Alleviate Poverty and Unemployment in Rural Nepal. MekongInfo, www.mekonginfo.org

do Valle, Denis Riberio; Staudhammer, Christina; Cropper, Wendell P. Jr. 2007. Simulating Nontimber Forest Product Management in Tropical Mixed Forests. Journal of Forestry105(6):301-306.

Halme, K.J., and Bodmer, R.E. 2007. Correspondence between scientific and traditional ecological knowledge: rain forest classification by the non-indigenous ribereños in Peruvian Amazonia. Biodivers. Conserv. 16(6):1785-1801.

Holmern, T., Muya, J., and Røskaft, E. 2007. Local law enforcement and illegal bushmeat hunting outside the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Environ. Conserv. 34(1):55-63.

Hylander, K., and Hedderson, T.A.J. 2007. Does the width of isolated ravine forests influence moss and liverwort diversity and composition? A study of temperate forests in South Africa. Biodivers. Conserv. 16(5):1441-1458.

King, D.I., Hernandez-Mayorga, M.D., Trubey, R., Raudales, R., and Rappole, J.H. 2007. An evaluation of the contribution of cultivated allspice (Pimenta dioca) to vertebrate biodiversity conservation in Nicaragua. Biodivers. Conserv. 16(4):1299-1320.

LaBau, V.J.; Bones, J.T.; Kingsley, N.P.; Lund, H.G.; Smith, W.B. 2007. A History of the Forest Survey in the United States: 1830–2004. FS-877. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 82 p.

Larsen, H.O., and Olsen, C.S. 2007. Unsustainable collection and unfair trade? Uncovering and assessing assumptions regarding Central Himalayan medicinal plant conservation. Biodivers. Conserv. 16(6):1679-1697.

Law, W., and Salick, J. 2007. Comparing conservation priorities for useful plants among botanists and Tibetan doctors. Biodivers. Conserv. 16(6):1747-1759.

Li, H.M., Aide, T.M., Ma, Y.X., Liu, W.J., and Cao, M. 2007. Demand for rubber is causing the loss of high diversity rain forest in SW China. Biodivers. Conserv. 16(6):1731-1745.

Lindsey, P.A., Frank, L.G., Alexander, R., Mathieson, A., and Romañach, S.S. 2007. Trophy hunting and conservation in Africa: problems and one potential solution. Conserv. Biol. 21(3):880-883.

Moinde-Fockler, N.N., Oguge, N.O., Karere, G.M., Otina, D., and Suleman, M.A. 2007. Human and natural impacts on forests along lower Tana river, Kenya: implications towards conservation and management of endemic primate species and their habitat. Biodivers. Conserv. 16(4):1161-1173.

Mozumder, P., M. Starbuck, R.P. Berrens, and S. Alexander. 2006. Lease and fee hunting on private lands in the US: A review of the economic and legal issues. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 11(6): 1-14

Abstract: This review highlights current economic and legal issues relating to lease and fee hunting on private lands in the United States. Recreational hunting leases provide an important practical example of the potential of market-based conservation to create win-win arrangements among rural landowners and hunters. Research suggests that there are significant positive values and economic impacts from fee and lease hunting. Results show that many national trends for hunting on public land and private lands are declining; however, there are important exceptions to those trends (e.g., big game hunting) and differences across states. Given hunting quality on public land, hunters often express a willingness to pay significantly higher than the price charged on private land. Further, institutional innovations can remove legal barriers and positively affect lease and fee hunting on private land. Future research needs include further regional comparisons, case studies on institutional arrangements, as well as additional hedonic pricing and preference studies.

Ohwaki, A., Nakamura, K., and Tanabe, S.I. 2007. Butterfly assemblages in a traditional agricultural landscape: importance of secondary forests for conserving diversity, life history specialists and endemics. Biodivers. Conserv. 16(5):1521-1539.

Pilz, Dave; Alexander, Susan; Smith, Jerry; Schroeder, Robert; Freed; Jim. 2006. Nontimber Forest Product Opportunities in Alaska. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-671. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 79 pp.

This publication is available on-line from http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/publications/gtrs.shtml

A hard copy in color can be ordered free (make sure to include the authors, title, and report number) from: PNW publications Portland Habilitation Center 5312 NE 148th Ave Portland OR 97230 or by emailing pnw_pnwpubs@fs.fed.us

Sadykova, Chinara; Pisupati, Balakrishna. 2006. Biodiversity Conservation and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Kyrgyz Republic. UNU-IAS Working Paper No. 147, 45 p. http://www.ias.unu.edu/resource_centre/147%20Chinara%20Sadykova_1.pdf

Starbuck, M.; Alexander, S.J.; Berrens, B.P, and Bohara, A.K. 2004. Valuing Special Forest Products Harvesting: A Two-Step Travel Cost Recreation Demand Analysis. Journal of Forest Economics 10: 37-53.

Abstract: Currently, the empirical literature on outdoor recreation demand lacks estimates of the benefits of special forest products harvesting. This paper provides a recreation demand analysis of non-commercial huckleberry and mushroom picking on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in southwestern Washington State (USA). Using available survey data and a twostep structural equations model of harvesting and travel cost recreation demand, with a Murphy–Topel (J. Bus. Econ. Stat. 3 (1985) 88) standard error correction, we estimate the consumer surplus associated with special forest products harvesting. Per recreation visitor day consumer surplus is estimated at $30.82 in 1996 dollars ($36.06 in 2003 dollars). Estimated values for the full range of non-timber values are becoming increasingly important as public lands management agencies expand their focus to include consideration of alternative forest uses.

Stave, J., Oba, G., Nordal, I., and Stenseth, N.C. 2007. Traditional ecological knowledge of a riverine forest in Turkana, Kenya: implications for research and management. Biodivers. Conserv. 16(5):1471-1489

Sunderlin, W.D.; Dewi, Sonya and Puntodewo, Atie. 2007 Poverty and forests: Multi-country analysis of spatial association and proposed policy solutions. Bogor, Indonesia: CIFOR

Ticktin, T., Fraiola, H., and Whitehead, A.N. 2007. Non-timber forest product harvesting in alien-dominated forests: effects of frond-harvest and rainfall on the demography of two native Hawaiian ferns. Biodivers. Conserv. 16(6):1633-1651.

Wright, S.J., Sanchez-Azofeifa, G.A., Portillo-Quintero, C., and Davies, D. 2007. Poverty and corruption compromise tropical forest reserves. Ecol. Appl. 17(5):1259-1266.

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42. Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC). http://www.ghcc.msfc.nasa.gov/corredor/corredor.html

New Euroforest Portal

The European Forest Institute (EFI) has launched a new information service - EUROFOREST Portal. The portal aims to meet demands for better access to current information on European forests and forestry in an easily accessible and user-friendly form. The portal contains a news section and a metadatabase of web resources - web pages of organizations, networks, information providers, databases, and selected major reports.

http://forestportal.efi.int/

Village soap makers

http://laurapel.com/index.htm

Yummy Bugs

http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20071006/safari.asp

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MISCELLANEOUS

43. Amazon Rainforest at risk from initiative to connect South American economies

Source: ENN News, 2 October 2007

An unprecedented development plan to link South America’s economies through new transportation, energy and telecommunications projects could destroy much of the Amazon rainforest in coming decades, according to a new study by Conservation International (CI) scientist Tim Killeen.

However, Killeen reports that such a disastrous outcome can be avoided if steps are taken now to reconcile the legitimate desires for development with the globally important need to conserve the Amazon ecosystem.

His 98-page report, titled “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon Wilderness: Development and Conservation in the Context of the Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA),” offers pragmatic approaches for resolving the enduring paradox between economic development and environmental protection.

For full story, please see: http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/23555

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44. UNESCO Adds 23 Reserves to Man and the Biosphere Network

Source: Environment News Service – USA, 20 September 2007

The first biosphere reserves set aside by El Salvador, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates are among 23 new reserve sites in 18 countries today accepted by UNESCO into its Man and the Biosphere global network. The reserves are not strictly protected areas but are intended as vehicles for sharing knowledge, research and monitoring, education and training, and participatory decision-making as well as conservation.

Representatives of the International Co-ordinating Council of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program made the additions during a three day meeting at the agency's headquarters in Paris. The council consists of 34 member states elected by UNESCO's biennial general conference.

Changes to two existing biosphere reserves also have been approved. The reserves of Frontenac in Canada and the Great Volzhsko-Laùslu in the Russian Federation were extended.

Meanwhile Germany withdrew the Bayerischer Wald biosphere reserve from the network because it no longer meets the UNESCO criteria. The network now extends to 529 sites in 105 countries.

In managing them, emphasis is placed on linkages between biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development. Opportunities are developed to combine scientific knowledge and governance to reduce biodiversity loss; improve livelihoods; and enhance social, economic and cultural conditions for environmental sustainability. Biosphere reserves also can serve as learning and experimentation sites.

The 23 new biosphere reserves are: Cape Winelands, South Africa; Noosa, Australia; Western Nghe An, Vietnam; Marawah Biosphere Reserve, United Arab Emirates; Jabal Al Rihane, Lebanon; Manicouagan Uapishka, Canada; Fundy, Canada; Sierra de Alamos - Río Cuchujaqui, Mexico; Apaneca-Llamatepec, El Salvador; Xiriualtique Jiquitizco, El Salvador; Andino Norpatagonica, Argentina; Pereyra Iraola, Argentina; Bosques Templados Lluviosos de los Andes Australes, Chile; Agua y Paz, Costa Rica; Podocarpus-El Condor, Ecuador; And Atoll, Federated States of Micronesia; Al-Reem, Qatar; Mongol Daguur, Mongolia; Chebaling, China; Xingkai Lake, China; Corvo Island, Portugal; Graciosa Island, Portugal; Rio Eo, Oscos y Terras de Buron, Spain.

For full story, please see: http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/sep2007/2007-09-20-04.asp

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45. World Conservation Union: 16,300 species threatened

Source: ENN News, 12 September 2007

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - From the lowland gorillas of Africa to corals of the Galapagos Islands, more than 16,300 species are threatened with extinction, the World Conservation Union said on Wednesday in its annual Red List.

In what is billed as the world's most authoritative assessment of Earth's plants and animals, the global group considered 41,415 species and found that of those, 16,306 were under threat, said Craig Hilton-Tailor, the list's manager.

That is nearly 200 more species of wildlife than last year, Hilton-Tailor said in a telephone interview. Even so, there are probably many more than that, he said.

"The estimate is low; we know it's low," Hilton-Tailor said. "We've only really looked at the tip of the iceberg in terms of species that are out there that are known to science."

The World Conservation Union -- a global group whose members includes nations, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and thousands of scientists -- aims to "influence, encourage and assist societies" to conserve nature and natural resources.

While it does not play a major role in U.S. decisions on wildlife conservation because the United States does this through its own Endangered Species Act, the conservation union is highly influential in other regions, particularly in developing countries which cannot afford to make their own assessments of which species are in trouble.

Three of the new species added to this year's list are corals in the Galapagos, which are critically endangered by the warm-water Pacific Ocean pattern El Nino and by climate change, the group said in a statement.

Hilton-Tailor said global warming is a factor in these and other species' endangerment, but not the only factor. "It's really hard to identify whether it's climate change or not that's driving some of these species to extinction," he said. "Climate change doesn't operate by itself, it's operating in tandem with other threats and it's usually the combination of climate change and possibly the threat of a new disease ... it's different combinations that can push species over the brink."

The Red List is aimed at policy makers and ordinary people, Hilton-Tailor said. "If everybody on the planet cooperated and adopted a sustainable way of living, a lot of these problems would go away," he said. He acknowledged that such cooperation has not occurred in the course of human history.

Asked to name a particularly troubling example, Hilton-Tailor mentioned the western lowland gorilla, which moves from endangered to critically endangered on the latest list. Its decline is due to the Ebola virus and commercial hunting of so-called bushmeat.

This case points up the need for better viral controls, and for an alternative source of food for people in the gorilla's range, from Angola to Congo to Gabon.

For full story, please see: http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/22982

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last updated:  Monday, August 24, 2009