No. 04/07

Welcome to FAO’s NWFP-Digest-L, a free e-mail journal that covers all aspects of non-wood forest products. Back issues of the Digest may be found on FAO's NWFP home page: www.fao.org/forestry/site/12980/en.

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1. Artemisia annua: WHO publishes guidelines on cultivating essential plant used in anti-malaria medicines

Source: World Health Organization, 12 March 2007

The World Health Organization (WHO) today publishes guidelines for the cultivation and collection of Artemisia annua L, a Chinese traditional medicinal plant which is the source of artemisinin, used to produce the most effective medicines for malaria. The guidelines will contribute to improving the quality of Artemisia annua L to further develop artemisinin-based medicines, and help ensure a sustainable supply to meet market demand.

Artemisia annua L, used in Chinese traditional medicine for centuries, is today considered part of the solution where malaria has become resistant to other medicines. Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) have been recommended by WHO since 2001 in all countries where falciparum malaria - the most resistant form of the disease - is endemic.

Since then, the world market for products containing artemisinin derivatives has grown rapidly. However, not all artemisinin meets the required standards to produce quality medicines, making it all the more urgent to promote best practices in the cultivation and collection of the raw material used to make the combination therapy.

About 40% of the world's population is at risk of contracting malaria which is resistant to other medicines. Of the 76 countries needing artemisinin-based treatment today, 69 have adopted the WHO recommendation to use this therapy.

The availability of these treatments still falls short of what is needed. Of an estimated 600 million people needing ACTs worldwide, only about 82 million are receiving the treatment through public sector distribution systems (which constitute 90% of antimalarial distribution in developing countries).

The "WHO monograph on good agricultural and collection practices for Artemisia annua L." provides a detailed description of the cultivation and collection techniques and measures required for a harvest to meet quality requirements. The information is based on research data and the practical experience of several countries where successful cultivation practices have led to a high yield of good quality Artemisia annua L.

The authors of the guidelines caution governments on two fronts. First, they must ensure that farmers work with manufacturers to determine the actual market demand for the plant. Recent experience in some countries has shown that overproduction not only wastes money and time, it can also have a negative effect on the plant's future yield. Second, they must ensure the availability of the technical skills and know-how needed to extract artemisinin from dried leaves.

The WHO monograph also aims to provide a model for countries and researchers to develop further monographs on good agricultural and collection practices for other medicinal plants, and promote the sustainable use of the plant as part of the larger aim of protecting the wild resources of medicinal plants.

For full story, please see: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2007/np10/en/

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2. Bamboo: Dry skin finds relief with nature’s new miracle fiber

Source: The Open Press (press release) – USA, 26 March 2007

Although not yet available in every store in town, and the clothing styles are still limited, bamboo clothing and linens are well worth the search: They surpass organic cotton and silk in every way that matters to those with dry skin or eczema. Although they won’t take the place of an effective dry skin care lotion, bamboo clothing and linens actually address some of the factors that cause and exacerbate skin problems.

What are the unique qualities of bamboo?

    • The fabrics are three to four times more absorbent than cotton: bamboo absorbs and evaporates sweat so quickly you’ll stay dry and cool in the hot summer and dry and warm on the slopes. Retaining natural moisture is vital for those with dry skin and eczema, but sweat sitting on the skin actually worsens the condition.

    • Bamboo clothing and linens are soft, smooth and silky. On a microscopic level, bamboo fibers are round and smooth. Consequently, the clothing feels and hangs like silk, doesn’t cling to the body and doesn’t snag on rough patches of skin.

    • Bamboo breathes: the same porous qualities that enable absorption also make bamboo fabrics cooler than others. They are cool to the touch and, if you could take their temperature, you would see they are two or three degrees cooler than other clothing.

    • The fabrics, like the plants, are naturally antibacterial and antifungal. Although skin is designed to fight bacteria and fungus, this function in damaged or dry skin is greatly inhibited. Tests done on bamboo fabric exposed to bacteria found that, when new, it kills 99.8 percent of the bacteria and still eliminates 70 percent after being washed 50 times. As the unpleasant odors associated with sweat are caused by bacteria, bamboo will also help you smell fresh.

    • As the bamboo plant is not prone to bugs and other pests, it is grown without the usual chemicals that can also irritate the skin.

No fabric will actually heal dry skin: for that you need adequate exercise, a nourishing junk-free diet free of chemicals, cleansing and other skin care products that don’t exacerbate the conditions, and a dry skin care solution that locks in natural moisture while protecting against damage from chemicals and other irritants. However, bamboo will certainly make you more comfortable and at least you’ll know that your skin problems are not caused by your clothes.

For full story, please see: http://www.theopenpress.com/index.php?a=press&id=17843

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3. Bamboo: Botanists Identify new species of North American bamboo

Source: Iowa State University in Science Daily, 13 March 2007

Two Iowa State University botanists and their colleague at the University of North Carolina have discovered a new species of North American bamboo in the hills of Appalachia. It is the third known native species of the hardy grass. The other two were discovered more than 200 years ago.

Lynn Clark, Iowa State professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, and Ph.D. student Jimmy Triplett study bamboo diversity and evolution. They first heard about "hill cane" from Alan Weakley, a botanist at the University of North Carolina. Although the plant was known to the people in the area, its distinctiveness was not recognized.

Hill cane differs from the other two native North American bamboo species -- commonly known as switch cane and river cane -- in an important way: It drops its leaves in the fall. "That's why it was recognized locally as being different," Clark said. "It's pretty uncommon for bamboos to drop their leaves."

Clark should know. She's an internationally recognized bamboo expert. She had previously discovered 74 new species of bamboo. "All the other new ones came from Central and South America," she said. "It's so exciting to find a new species in our own backyard!"

Her 75th species discovery has been named Arundinaria appalachiana.

For full story, please see: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070313113103.htm

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4. Bamboo: Three pulp mills are to be constructed in Ethiopia

Source: Nazret.com, 8 March 2007

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Three pulp mills are to be constructed in Ethiopia jointly with Land and Sea Development- Ethiopia (LSDE), and Chinese and Indian companies.

LSDE started undertaking bamboo development in Benshangul-Gumz State with a capital of $136 million on a plot of 393,000 hectares of lease free land. The company has also secured another 50,000 hectares in the state for plantation and harvesting eucalyptus trees.

At the official inaugural ceremony of the company’s office at Assosa, Founder and CEO of the company, Dr. E. Druce Fisher told Capital that the company is in final negotiations with a Chinese company MCC International and an Indian company, Andhra Paper Mills Ltd. for the construction of pulp mills in Benshangul-Gumz State and Oromia Regional State. The mills have a capacity of producing 100,000 and 75,000 tons of pulp respectively.

The mills are scheduled to come on line in two years and would cost about 360 million dollars, which would be a 50/50 joint venture between LSDE and the other parties. The company is also negotiating with another Indian company J.K. Paper Ltd., to open a third mill that with a capacity of producing 500,000 metric tons of pulp.

According to officials of the company, the new ventures would put Ethiopia as the seventh biggest producer of pulp after all factories become operational. A pulp mill is a manufacturing facility that converts wood chips into a thick fibre board which can be shipped to a paper mill for further processing.

The activities of LSDE are divided into three phases the first of which would be harvesting the naturally grown exotic bamboo species that could be developed in a short period of time. The second phase is the export of bamboo for which the company has already secured an order. The final phase would be the establishment of a paper mill that utilizes the plant for raw material.

LSDE has also signed a contract agreement providing for the sale and delivery of dry raw bamboo, eucalyptus forest material and products to its clients – pulp and paper mills in India and China. The company would also start exports after the trucks the company ordered have been delivered and after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approves their application with a license for harvesting the forest. The company is under negotiations with EPA for and the agency is reviewing the company’s plans.

The company’s president said that it would be harvesting and re-planting bamboo, hybrid eucalyptus and other non-wood crops that could be used in the pulp and paper manufacturing process.

For full story, please see: http://nazret.com/blog/index.php?title=ethiopia_three_pulp_mills_are_to_be_cons&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

Related story: http://allafrica.com/stories/200703060145.html?page=2

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5. Bark: Tree bark extract shows promise against retinoblastoma

Source: Reuters in Cancerpage.com, USA, 18 March 2007

New York March 19, 2007 (Reuters Health) - At low micromolar concentrations, beta-lapachone, a natural compound derived from the bark of the South American lapacho tree, impedes the growth and proliferation and actively promotes apoptosis of cultured human retinoblastoma cells.

In the March 16th online issue of the journal Eye, researchers note that retinoblastoma is the most common primary intraocular malignancy of childhood, affecting 1 in 15,000 children. Although overall survival rates have been estimated to be as high as 95%, significant long-term morbidity and even secondary mortality have been associated with traditional therapy, which may involve chemotherapy and/or radiation.

According to Dr. Joan M. O'Brien of the University of California, San Francisco and colleagues "potent cytotoxic effects of low doses of beta-lapachone in retinoblastoma cells observed in the present study and the recently reported high degree of sensitivity of beta-lapachone towards cancer cells in general suggest that beta-lapachone could have utility in the treatment of retinoblastoma." The team is currently conducting in vivo studies in a transgenic murine model of retinoblastoma to better evaluate efficacy and toxicity of beta-lapachone.

For full story, please see: http://www.cancerpage.com/news/article.asp?id=10685

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6. Bushmeat in the USA: Illegal bushmeat trade thriving in bay area

Source: CBS 5, San Francisco, USA, 21 March 2007

The illegal import of African bushmeat is a growing trade. Federal agents are confiscating thousands of pounds of animals including African rats, bats and great ape parts smuggled into the United States.

Tourists bringing in bushmeat in suitcases are being caught at airports at least once a week. And boxloads of illegal cargoes of bushmeat are discovered. There's a thriving black market, and authorities say it's a dangerous one.

Bushmeat is a cultural food preference for African expatriates in the U.S. But government scientists say bushmeat carry potentially deadly diseases that have already spread from animals to humans.

"Some of these things include things as dangerous as ebola or monkey pox," Jennifer McQuiston, a public health officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said. "Or things as mild as food borne illnesses such as salmonella or E.coli."

U.C. Berkeley Wildlife Ecology Professor Justin Brashares says health is not the only issue. He's worried whole species are now in danger of extinction. "I don't condone it at all," he said, "but many people who are selling it, and eating it, would like to see some legalized trade. A U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved trade."

Brashares said his team of volunteers have seen markets openly selling the banned meat. The black market is especially lucrative in the Bay Area, including San Francisco and San Jose.

Brashares says anyone who wants it can find bushmeat. He once asked a taxi driver from Africa if he missed bushmeat. "He said with a smile, I don't miss a lot of things because I get them here," Brashares recalled.

Health officials say the 2003 worldwide SARS epidemic is one example of how easily animal to human transfer of deadly diseases can happen.

They don't want a new global disaster because of a growing taste for exotic meats.

For full story, please see: http://cbs5.com/consumer/local_story_080213203.html

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7. Camu camu fruit exports from Peru increased 134.5%

Source: FreshPlaza, Netherlands, 2 March 2007

The Peruvian export of the special healthy camu camu fruit, which is marketed as a health food, has increased by 134.5% in 2006. Exports totalled US$2.126 million, compared to US$906.585 in 2005.

The product is offered mostly in processed forms, creating added value. The most important market for the fruit from the Amazon jungle was Japan, with 80% of the total, followed by the US (12%), The Netherlands (4%), Canada (1%) and Hong Kong (1%).

The demand for this product is strengthened by the high vitamin C content, which is fifty times higher than oranges.

This year exports of US$3 million are expected.

For full story, please see: http://www.freshplaza.com/2007/0302/1-2_pe_camucamu.htm

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8. Cinnamon: Studies show cinnamon may help fight against Type 2 diabetes

Source: Daily Vidette, IL, USA, 7 March 2007

For the past couple of years, research studies have shown that the everyday used spice, cinnamon, has been linked to lower blood sugar levels and total cholesterol levels. Robert Cullen, assistant professor of food nutrition and dietetics in Family and Consumer Sciences has been monitoring research studies like these for many years.

Cullen explained that cinnamon is becoming a very popular spice in the health world. This is because it has been linked to lowering cholesterol and sugar levels but the research about lowering sugar levels and cholesterol has focused on people with Type 2 diabetes. The main ingredient in cinnamon that helps people with Type 2 diabetes is proanthocyanidin.

"For people who have Type 2 diabetes, insulin doesn't seem to be getting enough sugar into the cells and this is where cinnamon comes in. Cinnamon helps the cells absorb more sugar," Cullen said.

There are two types of cinnamon that are found in food. The first being Cinnamomum verum, which is used in many sweet baked goods. The other is Cinnamomum cassia, which is a stronger spice used in foods. As mentioned, there is no clear answer to which cinnamon can help fight high blood sugar levels, cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes or even heart disease. There is no true answer if cinnamon at all can help with these problems, but Cullen says things look promising.

For full story, please see: http://media.www.dailyvidette.com/media/storage/paper420/news/2007/03/07/News/Studies.Show.Cinnamon.May.Help.Fight.Against.Type.2.Diabetes-2760777.shtml

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9. Cork: Major cork suppliers back South African Cork Council

Source: South African Wine News - South Africa, 1 March 2007

The South African Cork Council (SACC) is backed by the ten major suppliers of natural cork in the world and according to SACC Chairman, Tony Haughton; great strides are being made to improve the quality of imports and to re-instil confidence in cork closures.

The SACC is a non-profit organisation that sets and implements minimum quality assurance practices and standards for cork imports to South Africa. Every member’s incoming batches of cork are tested for TCA (cork taint) by an independent laboratory which also audits SACC members’ operations and premises to ensure adherence.

Winemakers can therefore buy corks from SACC members with much greater confidence. The Council also supplies bottlers with the latest technical data and checklists to ensure quality packaging practices and keeps them updated with the latest news about the natural cork industry via the council’s website.

The SACC’s registered Seal of Quality may only be used by members who comply with its strict standards.

Haughton ascribes much of their success to more accurate methods of testing for TCA. Cork quality control relied heavily on ‘sniff’ tests for the detection of TCA for a number of years but this changed when testing with Solid Phase Micro Extraction (SPME) using gas chromatography, became possible. This process can detect levels of TCA far below those that will spoil a good bottle of wine.  

Haughton also draws attention to the requirement that members only source corks from Celiege-accredited sources. Celiege is an international quality standards organisation. The SACC is also associated with Apcor in Portugal, which is the world’s primary cork exporting country.

Haughton is upbeat about the cork industry’s future, as he predicts zero tolerance of TCA. Once this happens, the main platform for the protagonists of alternative closures will collapse. “At the moment alternative closures are substantially cheaper than cork, offering producers and retailers larger profits. This serves as a strong motivation to move to alternative closures while leaving consumers under the impression that the change is only due to cork taint. Our aim is to eliminate cork taint and to take this argument away from them!”

“All alternative closures have specific inherent problems associated with them. Numerous consumer research projects have indicated that the cork stopper is still by far the closure most preferred by wine consumers world wide and the SACC believes that cork will retain its dominant position as the closure of choice, especially for premium wines;” Haughton concluded.

For more information log on to www.corkcouncil.co.za

For full story, please see: http://www.wine.co.za/news/news.aspx?NEWSID=9752&Source=News

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10. Cork: Why screwtop wine could spell bad eco news

Source: Gemma Taylor, Newconsumer.com, London, UK, 21 March 2007

Have you noticed lately that more and more wine bottles are using screw tops? Maybe it crossed your mind that the move might be saving forest resources? Or perhaps you thought nothing of it - after all, how much impact can something so small really have?

When you consider that over 15 billion cork stoppers are produced every year to be sold worldwide to the wine industry, the humble cork doesn’t seem quite so small. In fact it makes up to 70 percent of the total value of the cork market.

It’s also a sustainable and biodegradable product. The cork comes from woodlands that have existed in the western Mediterranean for thousands of years. No trees are cut down, and after harvesting the bark regenerates itself for the next time. A harvested tree conserves up to five times as much carbon dioxide than one that hasn’t been harvested - reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It’s a unique example of a harmonious relationship between nature and people.

In addition, cork oak forests are the habitat for endangered species, such as the Spanish imperial eagle - one of the most endangered birds of prey, with just 150 remaining in the wild. And in North Africa, cork forests are home to the critically endangered Barbary deer - Africa’s only deer, with numbers thought to be below 200.

In Spain and Portugal, cork oak forests are suitable habitats for the Iberian lynx - the world’s most endangered big cat - with only 100 individuals thought still to survive. Now, these populations are extremely isolated, and have been forced into small pockets.

'The move away from using cork in wine as a stopper is very worrying,' says Rebecca May, a forests campaigner with WWF-UK, 'these forests depend very heavily on the income from the production of the cork stopper, and habitats will be lost if the cork stopper market declines, therefore it is critical to chose cork.'

If alternative bottle stoppers continue to increase their market share, one prediction is that 1-2 million hectares of cork landscapes could be lost or abandoned in the next 10-15 years - the equivalent of up to three quarters of the current forest area, the WWF has warned in their report Cork Screwed?

That’s why in 2004 WWF embarked on a five-year Cork Oak Landscapes Programme. It aims to protect, manage, and restore the natural wealth of forests by influencing the policies, practices and markets that affect them.

WWF-UK has joined up with wine importers Bottle Green to supply African Dawn. It’s likely to be the first bottle of plonk to hit the UK with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved natural cork, recognising the high social and environmental standards of many forests.

Money from sales will go towards saving wildlife habitats and endangered species, like the Iberian lynx. It’s not available just yet though - Bottle Green are in talks with a number a retailers and WWF plan to make a selection available through their online catalogue. We’ll be sure to let you know where you can get it as soon as we do.

For full story, please see: http://www.newconsumer.com/views/item/1443/

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11. Edible insects in China

Source: NBC4.TV, Los Angeles, USA, 14 March 2007

There are 1,400 edible species of insects and cameras in Xinhua, China, recently caught residents enjoying many of them. Throughout Xinhua there are insect markets, insect juice bars and insect sweets. Experts say they are full of calcium, proteins and nutrients

To view the slideshow and video, please visit: http://www.nbc4.tv/news/11252092/detail.html

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12. Gum arabic: CNI launches functional, nutritional texturiser

Source: FoodNavigator-USA, Montpellier, France, 2 March 2007

A new 'nutritional texturiser' combining Acacia gum fibres and wheat fibres has been launched on both sides of the Atlantic. French firm Colloides Naturels International (CNI) claims that its new Equacia ingredient is both highly functional and nutritious. For example, it offers food markers thickening and stabilising properties and can act as a water binder, fat replacer and mouthfeel enhancer. And in addition, the soluble fibres have a prebiotic effect, while the insoluble fibres can aid digestion.

The company claims that in bakery applications, Equacia is effective at use levels of between one and two percent and can help food makers to reduce fats by up to 50 per cent.

Equacia is labelled as gum Acacia (Acacia fibre) and wheat fibre. The company said that the ingredient is all-natural, has GRAS certification and is GM-free.

Acacia gum, or gum Arabic, is known as the Rolls Royce' of gums. It is widely used by the food industry as a thickener, adhesive, and stabiliser and is heavily used as an emulsifier in beverages. Characteristic properties of colloidal systems featuring acacia gum include high stability, inert behaviour, and independence from temperature, pH value or other influences as well as taste-neutrality.

The top producers (mainly Sudan) bring about 50,000 tonnes of the gum to the market each year. However, the supply of gum Arabic (E414 in the EU), also known as acacia gum because it comes from Acacia trees in the gum belt of Africa, is variable due to political and climatic factors in the primary producing countries, and this has led to spikes in the price of the ingredient.

For full story, please see: http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/news/ng.asp?n=74649-cni-gum-arabic-texturiser

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13. Honey in Australia: Beekeepers enjoy massive honey harvest

Source: ABC Online – Australia, 8 March 2007

Tasmanian beekeepers have reaped a massive honey harvest from the state's native leatherwood trees. The trees, which mainly grow in the state's western rainforests, produce a unique flavoured honey for export and domestic markets.

Yields this year are expected to be 30 to 40 percent above average.

Beekeeper Julian Woolfhagen says exceptionally warm February weather has made the difference.

For full story, please see: http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/2006/s1866671.htm

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14. Sandalwood: Two arrested in Kenya with Sh10 million rare wood

Source: The East African Standard (Nairobi), 21 March 2007

Police have impounded about Sh10 million worth of rare wood. Baringo OCPD, Mr Peter Njenga, said 10 tonnes of the endangered sandalwood tree were impounded on the Kabarnet-Mukutani road. He said three people, suspected to have been ferrying the wood to Mombasa for export, were arrested and their lorry seized. The wood had been harvested in Mukutani division.

Sandalwood is mainly used in the manufacture of perfumes, carvings and other aesthetic products. The precious wood also has medicinal and religious values, especially in Asia.

It is in the International Union of Conservation of Nature's red list of threatened species and its trade is illegal in the country.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200703201175.html

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15. Truffle: Man finds way to grow famed French truffle in East Tennessee, USA

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel (subscription), TN, USA, 25 March 2007

The legendary French Tuber melan-sporum has found its way to East Tennessee, the first in the state, and chefs everywhere are a bit giddy.

Thomas Michaels, a botanist with a Ph.D. and a plant pathologist, has figured out how to grow the famed fungi in the tree root system of hazelnut and oak trees. He's harvested his first crop. Knoxville chefs were his first customers, paying roughly $800 per pound, which is cheap considering the world market price is more than $2,000 per pound.

The Perigord truffle, aka the Black Diamond is hard to grow. The tricky mushroom requires the right soil, the right climate and the right tree root for colonizing.

T. melasporum, its proper name, varies in size from a pea to roughly a chicken egg. They will only grow in loose, humid, sun-drenched soil. They need cool, wet nights, where their little mycelium (tiny hair-like filaments) nestle and find nourishment in tree roots.

Michaels says his harvesting season has just ended. It lasted from January to the end of February. By March, the odd-looking, knobby, coal-black mushrooms have faded and are in their tree root homes.

The smelly but celestial-tasting fungi were once prevalent in southern France and harvested by the ton. Today, the yield is down to roughly 10-50 tons per year worldwide.

Soon, Michaels will elaborate on such topics and his plantings on the Tennessee Truffle Web page, which is not up yet but will be soon.

Michaels says there are about 60 species of truffles, but roughly only a dozen are considered culinary qualified. And of that number, the Perigord is at the top of the food chain.

Michaels planted his trees is 2000, starting out plants that were about 16 inches tall. The hazelnuts are now 10-12 feet tall, and the soil around them bubbles with birth. Harvest season runs from December through February. But the ripest black beauties are found in the midsection of that season.

Michaels says a good orchard can produce maybe 50 pounds per acre. "If I could do one-fourth to one-half pound per acre, I could retire in a few years," he says, showing off his hair-trigger smile. A normal yield, he says, is 10-20 pounds per acre.

For full story, please see: http://www.knoxnews.com/kns/news_columnists/article/0,1406,KNS_359_5441233,00.html

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COUNTRY INFORMATION

16. Armenia Tree Project receives $100,000 grant to partner with Yale University

Source: ATP Press Release, 5 March 2007 in Forest Policy Info Mailing List, 13/3/07

A new partnership between Armenia Tree Project (ATP), Yale University’s Global Institute for Sustainable Forestry (www.environment.yale.edu), and Conservation International (www.conservation.org) will bring international “best practices” of sustainable forestry to Armenia. The joint venture, “Evaluation and Implementation of Sustainable Forestry Models in Northern Armenia,” involves conducting a state of the art analysis of the forest ecosystems in the Lori region with the aim of producing the first sustainable forestry training manual tailored to the specific needs of Armenia.

The severe degradation of forested areas in Armenia necessitates a new and bold approach to forestry practices. With Yale’s expertise in sustainable forestry, ATP along with Armenia’s leading academic and government forestry officials will collaborate in a partnership to bring cutting edge forestry training to Armenia. It is our hope that the project will literally reshape the nation’s landscape and ensure a sustainable future for its population.

The goals of the project are to evaluate the condition of the forests in northern Armenia, paying particular attention to the factors that are limiting the ability for regeneration. An assessment will be made of plants, herbs, and other non-timber products that may be sustainably harvested for generating alternative income for residents living in close proximity to the forests. Trainings on rotational grazing will be held with livestock owners to prevent soil erosion and further degradation of forests.

A model forest will be planted to serve as a training site, and paired with a sustainable forestry training manual specific to the unique environment of Armenia. This manual and demonstration plot will serve as the focal point for future trainings with foresters and residents from around the country.

This 2-year $100,000 project is being funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), a joint initiative of Conservation International, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Global Environment Facility, the Ministry of Finance of Japan, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. A fundamental goal of CEPF (www.cepf.net) is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.

Armenia Tree Project (ATP), a grassroots-supported non-profit organization based in Watertown and Yerevan, conducts vitally important environmental projects in Armenia’s impoverished and deforested zones and seeks support in advancing its reforestation mission.

Since 1994, ATP has made enormous strides in combating desertification in the biologically diverse but threatened Caucasus region. Nearly 1.5 million trees have been planted and restored, and hundreds of jobs have been created for Armenians in seasonal tree-regeneration programs.

For more information, please contact:

Armenia Tree Project
65 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472 USA
Tel: +1(617) 926-TREE
Email: info@armeniatree.org
www.armeniatree.org

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17. Bangladesh: commercial cultivation of Jatropha curcas L. for diesel oil

Source: Daily Amar Desh, March 8, 2007, Page 9 (Column 3)

Some tea estates launch commercial cultivation of Jatropha curcas L. for diesel oil production in their fallow and unused land in greater Sylhet region of Bangladesh

Jatropha curcas Linn. (Family: Euphorbiaceae) known as kala arenda in Bangladesh was brought to Asia and Africa by the Portuguese. The species is supposed to yield 3000- 3500 liter diesel oil annually from one ha. of plantation. Already the species has been successfully cultivated in some countries of North America, Africa and Asia for commercial diesel oil production. It is also widely cultivated in our neighbouring country India who successfully cultivates it in its Rajasthan, Maharastra, Chatrishgarh and Guzrat provenance. The oil obtained from this species has also experimentally been used to fuel a train in India, with satisfactory results.

In Bangladesh tea estates comprise nearly about 0 .05 million ha. of land, most of which still remains unused or now unsuitable (or not profitable) for tea plantation. To utilize the land properly, some tea estate of Habiganj and Moulvibazar district of greater Sylhet region has recently launched a program to cultivate J. curcas L. in their fallow and unused land which has been approved by the ‘Bangladesh Tea Board’. Already the country’s largest tea producing industry ‘James-Finlay Tea Company’ has started to plant J. curcas in their 710 ha. of unused and fallow land to produce diesel oil commercially. Three years ago, the company had planted a few individuals of the sp. experimentally which has shown an encouraging performance.

(Translated and submitted by Sharif Ahmed Mukul, Bangladesh)

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18. Brunei Darussalam: Rainforest protection requires global effort

Source: Bru Direct, Brunei Darussalam, 22 March 2007

Kuala Belait - International cohesion is key to the protection and the guaranteed future of the rainforests of the world. This message was reflected in this year's World Forestry Day theme – Protecting the Forest: Our Responsibility – commemorated here yesterday with a series of activities. The finest strategies in countering rainforest exploitation will not assure the preservation of one of the nature's most valuable assets if the public does not join in conservation efforts, the participants to the commemoration were further told.

Brunei Darussalam kick started the commemoration of the World Forestry Day 2007 at the Forestry Department in Lumut yesterday. It is the 25th worldwide celebration of the annual event, according to Hj Saidin Salleh, Director, of Forestry Department. In his opening remarks, Hj Saidin mentioned the significance of the public's role as "imperative for us as global citizens to ensure the proper management of natural resources such as rainforests".

He also described the Forestry Department's strategic planning outline for the next-20-years in "non-timber product development such as ecotourism development, manufacturing herbal medicine and the perfumes derived from fragrant woods". The director made it a point to emphasise that such enterprises are more environmentally friendly and will not upset the fragile ecological balance of the rainforest.

The Minister of Industry & Primary Resources echoed the director's sentiments on the public's role in conserving the rainforest, "it is every individual's obligation to be responsible for taking care of the forest". He lamented that media reports of irresponsible and non-regulated logging still persist in spite of the fact that "the destruction of rainforests has been going on for hundreds of years to make more space for man".

The minister warned of the adverse consequences that will befall the world's rainforests if commercial logging goes unchecked. "According to the Global Forest Resources 2005 Report conducted by FAO, there is approximately 4 billion hectares of forest but the rate of extinction is about 13 million hectares a year ... if this continues the forests of the world will be completely gone in two or three centuries," he said.

The Minister told the Forestry Department that it "has to increase its efforts to maximise the use of the rainforest to improve the nation's economy without destabilising the ecological balance". He also spoke of the government's long-standing initiative to preserve Brunei's approach to rainforest conservation, "for one tree fell, we plant four". The minister then proceeded to officiate the site establishment of Brunei's very own Tropical Biodiversity Centre. -- Courtesy of The Brunei Times

For full story, please see: http://www.brudirect.com/DailyInfo/News/Archive/Mar07/220307/nite06.htm

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19. Bulgaria: Parliament approves Biodiversity Bill on first reading

Source: Focus News, Sofia, Bulgaria, 15 March 2007

The Bulgarian parliament approved the Biodiversity Bill on first reading. The bill stipulates that the Ecological Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment are to be enforced when investment proposals for protected areas are filed.

The amendments to the Biodiversity Act are a result of Bulgaria’s commitments to the European Commission, thus meeting the requirements of ecological network Natura 2000.

For full story, please see: http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n107970

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20. Bulgarian Health Ministry demands information about import of all kinds of nuts

Source: FOCUS News Agency, Bulgaria, 5 March 2007

The directors of all the Bulgarian Regional Inspectorates for Public Health Prevention and Control /RIOKOZ/ have to submit information at the Ministry of Health about the import of all kinds of nuts since 2004 till now. The order was issued by the chief health inspector, the Ministry of Health announced. The purpose of the ministry is to find out the quantities of nuts imported in Bulgaria and their origin, as well as possible tests of the nuts and the results of them. The Health Ministry also demanded information from the Customs Agency about any imports of nuts, especially nuts from Gambia. Bulgaria is taking the measures after at the end of February it found out increased levels of afla-toxins in peanuts imported from Gambia.

For full story, please see: http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n107213

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21. China moves to protect traditional knowledge

Source: Xinhua, Beijing, China, 3 March 2007

Legislators in southwest China's Guizhou Province are mulling a regulation aimed at protecting property rights for traditional knowledge, especially knowledge relating to biological resources, said sources with the provincial bureau of intellectual property right.

For centuries the Miao ethnic group in southwestern China extracted herbal remedies to combat cold, coughs and pneumonia from a type of grass called "guanyin cao".

But their failure to patent their traditional knowledge has seen them deprived of the chance to profit from their traditional knowledge, said An Shouhai, vice head of the Guizhou provincial bureau of intellectual property rights.

The case of the Miao is an example of "biopiracy", said An. A foreign company pre-empted the Miao by patenting the remedies derived from "guanyin cao" and is now making a fortune from it.

The forthcoming regulation is an effort to fight against biopiracy, said An.

In recent years, some pearls of traditional knowledge and resources in developing countries such as Brazil, Peru and Thailand have been captured by patents taken out by foreign companies. China currently has no laws and regulations to protect traditional knowledge or species such as 'guanyin cao'. It is high time we legislated to prevent this type of knowledge from being plucked from under our noses," said An.

For full story, please see: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-03/03/content_5794740.htm

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22. Cuba: Camagüey boosts bamboo plantations

Source: Radio Cadena Agramonet, Cuba, 19 March 2007

The reforestation plan in the eastern province of Camagüey devotes special attention to boost the bamboo plantations, a species that over the last five years disappeared in more than 600 hectares.

The territory planted 70 hectares, approximately half of that planned last year; in 2007, the sowing program includes 40 hectares, which responds to the possibilities of the region. The Forest State Service branch office in Camagüey informed that the bamboo reforestation has tackled certain problems, among other things because most of its plantations are located near the livestock water sources.

The leaves of this plant are used as food for the cattle, and it is a raw material widely used in the construction of furniture and fences and in the pharmaceutical and paper industry.

This tree, that in certain cases surpasses 30 meters height, is a monocotiledoneous plant which belongs to the Poaceae family. (Lucilo Tejera Diaz AIN Camagüey).

For full story, please see: www.cadenagramonte.cubaweb.cu/english/up_todate/march_07/190307_02.asp

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23. Ethiopia: Biodiversity Conservation Institute striving to utilize, conserve medicinal plants

Source: The Ethiopian Herald (Addis Ababa), 4 March 2007

The Ethiopian Biodiversity Conservation Institute announced that it has been undertaking various activities to enable the community to utilize medicinal plants which could be cultivated in backyard and conserve those found in the field with over 16.2 million birr.

Institute Medicinal Herbs Care and Sustainable Conservation project Coordinator Dr. Fasil Kibebew, told WIC Wednesday that the institute has been providing laboratory equipment and support tools for those who harvest the plants in their plots and engage in research activities in the last two years.

Ethiopia produces 56,000 tonnes of medicinal herbs annually, 87 per cent of which grow in the forest while people cultivate the remaining 13 per cent in their backyards, Dr. Fasil said.

The medicinal herbs will bring in revenue that covers eight per cent of the annual budget, he said, adding that they will also cover 42 per cent of the government's expenditure for the procurement of medicines. Currently, medicinal herbs have a $62 billion transaction in the international market, Dr. Fasil said, further stating that efforts are underway to enable the country to obtain a share from the market.

As part of the efforts to utilize the herbs by processing them in factories, the Addis Ababa University has succeeded in preparing anti-tapeworm for animals with 93 per cent reliability, he said, adding that a pilot study is also underway in the Tikur Anbessa Hospital to identify the medicine that would be used by humans.

A website has been launched integrating the Addis Ababa University and the Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute so as to exchange about medicinal herbs.

Field gene banks have been established in Wondo-Genet and Goba to preserve the plants, and 300 medicinal plants in Wondo-Genet and 247 medicinal plants in Goba are under protection.

Those plants that should be preserved in their origins are under protection and care in Bale National Park, Adele, Workiti and Goba forests, Dr. Fasil said, adding that the institute is supporting the local community to utilize the plants.

The project has distributed improved stoves among the community to deter them from using the plants for fire wood, he also said, further pointing out that it has multiplied over 1.3 million seedlings and distributed them to the community to be planted in their backyards.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200703050494.html

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24. Fiji: Turning bamboo into wealth

Source: Fiji Times, 7 March 2007

FOURTEEN young men from a Taievu village are learning the art of designing and making furniture out of local bamboo.

The Indonesian Embassy, which organised the workshop, is impressed with the quality of local bamboo and is helping a local businessman Usaia Korodrau look for markets locally, for the products. The workshop started in November last year after Mr Korodrau approached the Ministry of Forests and the Indonesian Embassy with the idea of using bamboo to make furniture.

"In 2000, I went to China to attend a workshop on how to design and use bamboo and last year the Indonesian Embassy facilitated a workshop where I learnt the art of creating designs and the actual manufacture of the items," he said.

The Embassy's Second Secretary said that according to experts from Indonesia, Fijian bamboo was of the strongest quality and furniture made from it would be durable.

He said the workshop participants, aged 19-25, were looking at blending designs from Indonesia and Fiji. Mr Korodrau said the youths worked with him at the workshop at his home in Vusuya Village, Nausori.

"These youths were unemployed but they have a lot of talent for the work and after attending the workshop by the Indonesian Embassy, their talents have been enhanced," he said. Items made by the team include trays, sofa sets, coffee tables, a double bed, chairs, lamp shades, baskets and mirror holders.

Mr Korodrau said he hoped to get the products into the market by the end of April. He said once the products were launched in the market, he would be able to employ the youths.

For full story, please see: http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=58337

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25. India: boost to bamboo cultivation

Source: Press Information Bureau (press release), New Delhi, India, 12 March 2007

The Department of Agriculture & Cooperation has launched a programme on National Bamboo Mission in the country during 2006-07 to enhance the production and productivity of bamboo. The Mission aims at:

    • Promoting the growth of the bamboo sector through an area based regionally differentiated strategy;

    • Increasing the coverage of area under bamboo in potential areas, with improved varieties to enhance yields;

    • Promoting marketing of bamboo and bamboo based handicrafts;

    • Establishing convergence and synergy among stake-holders for the development of bamboo;

    • Promoting, developing and disseminating technologies through a seamless blend of traditional wisdom and modern scientific knowledge.

    • Generating employment opportunities for skilled and unskilled persons, especially unemployed youths.

The proposed bamboo plantation activities under the Mission would generate about 50.4 million man days of work. In the nursery sector, total estimated employment to be generated every year will be around 9.7 lakh man days. Besides this, there will be employment generation in both skilled and unskilled segments in the handicraft sector.

The proposed scheme is environment-friendly and economically viable in nature. The project proposals submitted by the State Governments for financial assistance under the Mission during 2006-07 are under consideration of the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation.

At present, Bamboo is being cultivated in 89 575 sq.km in the country.

This information was given in the Lok Sabha today by Shri Kanti Lal Bhuria, Minister of State for Agriculture in a written reply.

For full story, please see: http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=25802

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26. Peru creates online biodiversity register

Source: SciDev.Net, 22 March 2007

[LIMA] Peru has created an online system with full public access to regulate biodiversity research.

The measure should ensure Peru's authority over its native genetic heritage, according to a press release from the National Institute for Natural Resources (INRENA), which will run the system.

The initiative was announced last week (16 March) in the El Peruano newspaper.

Karina Ramírez, a biologist at INRENA's Department of Biodiversity Conservation, said INRENA is already working on implementing the system, which should be completely operational in two months.

It includes a database showing in real time the national and international research being done with genetic resources native to Peru.

The system will also include a register of researchers who have applied for a permit to work in protected sites, forests and wildlife habitats. Both local and international researchers will be asked to provide a research proposal and a letter of authority from their supporting institution. If the application is accepted, a permit will be automatically issued within two weeks. INRENA will work with the relevant authorities to decide what information will be requested from researchers.

Ramírez says this system will enable the tracking of scientific collection activities both inside and outside protected areas. And by centralising information about research on genetic resources, it should also allow authorities to prioritise proposed research.

She told SciDev.Net it would also help to keep the local and international community informed about research in biodiversity performed in Peru.

Brazil announced a similar system earlier this month (see New system to boost biodiversity access in Brazil).

For full story, please see: http://www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=3494&language=1

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27. Tanzania: Bamboo a potential saviour of poor kids

Source: Sunday Observer, 11 March 2007 in IPP Media, United Republic of Tanzania

The Dar es Salaam-based Bamboo Training School has embarked on an operation to train street kids and disadvantaged children from the city and upcountry on how to knit bamboo and manufacture various products for sale so as to support themselves financially.

Speaking to the Sunday Observer in Dar es Salaam this week, Mkumba George, a teacher at the school, said that currently more than 60 young people have been trained, 40 of whom are female. Ten of those have formed a working group which operates in locations at Kimara, Mwenge and Ubungo, on the outskirts of the city.

George explained that they are promoting the theme that bamboos constitute money that grows, which they are using to co-opt youth into the project. He said that they get raw materials mainly from Kigoma and Mbeya.

`Although we are training youths, we still need to empower them financially so that they may be able to buy materials and start their own businesses,` he said. He pointed out that given the stiff competition in the current business environment, the youths can cope successfully only if they are well organised economically, and make high-quality, appealing products.

George said the project is also intended to steer youth away from anti-social tendencies like drug taking, since they would be gainfully engaged. If bamboo cultivation will be promoted as a commercial product, it will help children living in disadvantaged areas and other youth.

He explained that bamboo can be used to produce a wide range of products that include beds and chairs, for sale on the domestic and overseas markets.

He furthermore noted that the project would reduce deforestation in the country, since people would use bamboo instead of cutting down trees wantonly for making furniture, and other activities.

George said appreciable success had been recorded in marketing their products locally, but were unable to meet external demand due to lack of sufficient capital. He said one of the surest ways out of the problem was securing loans, to place them on a sound financial footing.

For full story, please see: http://www.ippmedia.com/ipp/observer/2007/03/11/86090.html

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NEWS

28. Africa losing forest faster than any other continent

Source: SciDev.Net, 15 March 2007

Africa lost over nine per cent of its trees between 1990 and 2005, according to a UN survey of the world's forests.

This represents over half of global forest loss, despite the fact that the continent accounts for just 16 per cent of global forests.

The report was released this week (13 March) by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

The highest losses occurred in countries with high forest cover: Angola, Cameroon, DRC, Nigeria, Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Although forests are obtaining greater political support and commitment in Africa, the report says "implementation and law enforcement remain weak in most countries".

In Latin America and the Caribbean, home to around a quarter of the world's forest cover, 0.5 per cent of forest was lost every year between 2000 and 2005 ― up from a rate of 0.46 per cent in the 1990s. The conversion of forest to agriculture was the leading cause of deforestation.

Costa Rica, however, has turned around its forest decline in the 1990s to see a growth of almost one per cent of forest area expansion per year. But the extent to which this is related to reductions in agricultural land or innovative policies is not clear, warns the report.

The survey highlighted positive action in Latin American countries. This includes a large increase in forest area designated for biodiversity conservation, indicating that countries are taking steps to prevent loss of primary forests ― those undisturbed by human activities.

According to the report, the region is "among the world leaders in innovative approaches to international cooperation on forest issues". Methods used include forming networks to fight fires and improve the management of protected areas.

The Amazon Treaty Cooperation Organization ― whose member countries comprise Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela ― and the Central American Commission on Environment and Development are among those cited in the report.

Forested area increased in Asia between 2000 and 2005 ― largely due to China's investment in tree plantations, which offset high rates of forest clearing in other regions.

For full story, please see: http://www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=3483&language=1

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29. Bees for Development Beekeepers' Safaris

Source: Bees for Development info@beesfordevelopment.org]

We are the only international organisation which advocates on behalf of poor beekeepers in developing countries and operate a support service to provide knowledge and guidance. The organisation is made up of two partner institutions.

    • Bees for Development Trust, a charity which raises money with the aim of alleviating poverty by means of beekeeping. The Trust meets its objectives by supporting the work of Bees for Development, the implementing partner.

    • Bees for Development carries out a range of activities which help beekeepers to do more and better beekeeping, in order to build sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their families

For an amazing beekeeping adventure, chose from one of our four award-winning Safaris - friendly holidays run by BfD in partnership with our colleagues overseas.

BEES AND FLOWERS IN SWEDEN, 12-21 June 2007. Organized by Bikonsult of Sweden in co-operation with BfD. A unique opportunity to celebrate 300 years since the birth of Carl von Linnaeus, 'Father of taxonomy'

AFTER APIMONDIA - AUSTRALIAN LIFE AND BEEKEEPING, 14-23 September 2007.

Organized by Bikonsult of Sweden in co-operation with BfD.

TANZANIA, 14-28 November 2007, with Njiro Wildlife Research Centre, Arusha. Experience African bees, visit local beekeepers, apiaries and markets.

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO. 21-31 January 2008, With Gladstone Solomon, President of Tobago Apicultural Society.

For full details and more information, please contact:

Helen Jackson
Bees for Development
Troy, Monmouth
NP25 4AB, UK
Tel +44 (0) 16007 13648
E-mail: info@beesfordevelopment.org or safari@beesfordevelopment.org
www.beesfordevelopment.org

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30. Biodiversity 'fundamental' to economics

Source: BBC News – UK, 9 March 2007

Germany has put biodiversity, alongside climate change, at the top the agenda for its G8 presidency. Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel says failure to address the loss of species will make the world a poorer place - both naturally and economically.

Sigmar Gabriel is the German Federal Environment Minister and will head the G8 environment ministers' meeting in Potsdam

For full interview, please see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6432217.stm

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31. Biodiversity and Climate Change: International Day for Biological Diversity, 22 May 2007

Source: Neil Pratt, UNEP, Neil.Pratt@biodiv.org

The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity is pleased to announce that the focus of the International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD), 22 May 2007, will be on biodiversity and climate change. This complements the designation of 2007 as the International Polar Year and coincides with UNEP’s World Environment Day theme of Climate Change. Parties to the Convention are organizing a variety of events to commemorate the day including lectures, seminars, film presentations, cultural events, exhibitions and school outreach activities. Information on events to be organized, and some of the materials to help celebrate the day are available at: www.biodiv.org/ibd

Facing Climate Change

Since the mid-1800s global temperatures have increased by about 0.6°C, impacting the entire world, from low-lying islands in the tropics to the vast polar regions. Current climate change predictions are not encouraging; they estimate further increases in temperatures of 1.4°C to 5.8°C by 2100. Even if all human sources of greenhouse gas emissions are stopped immediately, the impacts of climate change would continue for 50 years.

The New Great Threat to Biodiversity

Climate change is already forcing biodiversity to adapt either through shifting habitat, changing life cycles, or the development of new physical traits. Those species that are unable to adapt are facing extinction. In fact, predictions estimate that up to 1 million species may become extinct as a result of climate change including Boyd’s forest dragon and Brazil’s Virola sebifera tree. The recently extinct Golden Toad and Gastric Brooding Frog have already been labelled as the first victims of climate change.

The Biodiversity Safety Net

The links between biodiversity and climate change run both ways: biodiversity is threatened by human-induced climate change but, biodiversity resources can reduce the impacts of climate change on people and production. The conservation of habitats can reduce the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere. Currently deforestation is estimated to be responsible for 20% of human-induced CO2 emissions. Conserving certain species such as mangroves and drought resistant crops can reduce the disastrous impacts of climate change effects such as flooding and famine. The conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity can strengthen ecosystem resilience, improving the ability of ecosystems to provide critical services in the face of increasing climatic pressures.

22 May 2007 – Climate Change and Biodiversity Have Their Day

Climate change touches the lives of people and biodiversity in every country.

For more information, please contact:

Neil Pratt
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
United Nations Environment Programme
413 Rue Saint-Jacques, Suite 800
Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 1N9
Direct line: +1 514 287 7007
Reception: +1 514 288 2220
Mobile: +1 514 463 1424
e-mail : Neil.Pratt@biodiv.org
www.biodiv.org

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32. FAO Committee on Forestry

Source: Earth Negotiations Bulletin

The eighteenth meeting of the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO18) may be recorded in the annals of history as one of its most successful forest-related meetings. The meeting was superbly organized, disciplined but broadly participatory and accommodating, richly informative and always running on time. Delegates found the massive exchange of information gratifying. The FAO, on the other hand, was pleased to receive considerable concrete guidance from delegations in crafting its future action programme. On the last day, some veteran participants described COFO18 as the most substantive forest policy meeting in years. This analysis will examine the internal dynamics of COFO18 and interpret them against the global context within which the meeting took place.

For full story, please see: http://www.iisd.ca/fao/cof18/

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33. Rwanda to host International Biodiversity Conference

Source: The New Times (Kigali), 10 March 2007

Rwanda is to host an international research conference on biodiversity conservation and sustainable resource management.

According to Professor Romain Murenzi, the Minister in the President's Office in charge of Science, Technology and Scientific Research, the conference will target leading national and international conservation and natural resource management professionals. It is slated for July 23-24 this year.

Murenzi said the conference, the first of its kind, would provide a platform for exchanging research findings, ideas and knowledge in the long term conservation of plant and animal life not only in Rwanda but the world over. The conference will be a cornerstone in the use of research information to develop sound policies and practises towards biodiversity conservation and natural resource management.

The conference will cover ecosystem health - particularly the correlation between ecosystem, human, domestic animal and wildlife health - as well as economics, tourism, conservation and communities.

The conference is being organised under four themes: conservation biology, which will focus on the biology, behaviour and ecological processes of threatened species and their habitats, sustainable management of natural resources, which will discuss the results of biological, economic and social research in sustainable management of natural resources.

Minister Murenzi said papers of no more than 200 words (abstract submission) about the themes are invited from those willing to participate in the conference.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200703100123.html

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34. The Republic of Korea joins Japan to support an FAO forestry project for the first time

Source: FAO Newsroom, 13 March 2007

The Republic of Korea signed an agreement today with FAO promising to forge resources in order to strengthen sustainable forest management.

The Republic of Korea decided to join an existing bilateral agreement between FAO and Japan to complement the resources. Mr. Tesfai Tecle, Assistant Director-General of the Technical Cooperation Department and Mr. Soo-hwa Lee, Deputy Minister of the Korea Forest Service, signed the agreement in the presence of Mr. Jan Heino, Assistant Director-General of the Forestry Department. "It is the first time that a country joins an existing bilateral agreement recognizing its value to demonstrate mutual respect as well as establish stronger partnerships," said Tecle.

It is also the first time that the Republic of Korea is supporting an FAO forestry project.

The two countries will work together to implement a five-year FAO project on monitoring, assessment and reporting of forest resources on sustainable forest management in Asia. The project aims to harmonize the existing multiple international and national reporting on forests in Asia, making it easier for national decision-makers to develop proper forest policies and to enhance efficiency of the forest management regimes in the region.

Asian countries recognize that their monitoring, assessment and reporting systems on forests in Asia are mostly outdated. They recognize that they are often not adequately linked to national forest policies and planning and to the overall sustainable development processes in their countries. This means that the performance of forest management is not well known and that policy efforts towards sustainable forest management can be inefficient.

Further, the countries regularly report to different organizations, both at the national and international levels, on the status of their forests. The format and content are mostly different making it unnecessarily burdensome for those preparing it. Sometimes the information provided by the countries itself is different which makes it confusing for the processes, institutions and individuals using it.

Harmonization, improvement and strengthening of forest-related monitoring, assessment and reporting has, therefore, been called by most of the forest-related United Nations agencies, and intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations.

The Republic of Korea plans to send a visiting forestry expert to work in this field, in reflection of their commitment to sustainable forest management and to share and exchange knowledge and experience with FAO.

For full story, please see: http://www.fao.org/forestry/newsroom/en/news/110909/highlight_111044en.html

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EVENTS

35. 2007 Bamboo Study Tour

15 April/May 2007

Zhejiang and Sichuan Province, China

The Bamboo Study Tour aims at raising the awareness on the importance of bamboo as a valuable Non-timber Forest Product and promoting the industrial development of bamboos.

In cooperation with the International Center for Research on Agro-Forestry (ICRAF), INBAR organized a Bamboo Study Tour in Zhejiang province of China during 10th-16th May, 2005. 20 participants form 7 countries (Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, U.S.A, Vietnam and Thailand) joined the study tour and witnessed the achievements of Chinese bamboo development over the last 25 years. The 2007 study tour is a continuation of this kind of event in response to the demands from various interested individuals and institutions. In Sichuan we will visit Giant Panda habitat and INBAR bamboo handicrafts training base.

If you are interest in this tour, please contact Dr. Fu, Jinhe (jfu@inbar.int) before April 2007.

For more information, please contact:

Fu Jinhe Ph. D.
Senior Program Officer, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR)
Coordinator of IUFRO 5.11.05 Bamboo and Rattan
International Director of ABS Board of Directors
8 Fu Tong Dong Da Jie, Wang Jing Area, Chao Yang District, Beijing 100102, P.R. China

Tel: +86-10-6470 6161 ext.208
Fax: +86-10-6470 2166
Email: jfu@inbar.int
http://www.inbar.int/news/news77.htm

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36. Ginseng & Goldenseal Workshop

22 April 2007

Marshall, NC, USA

Come join us to explore goldenseal and ginseng in a forest environment as the plants come up this spring. We will explore a rich Appalachian hardwood cove where these plants live and see “baby” ginseng. The first class will be spent with hands-on training with the newly sprouted plants. The cultivation of native medicinal plants as a new business opportunity will be mentioned. New marketing strategies and marketing organizations will be highlighted. Current events and programs will be shared.

For more information, please contact:

Robert Eidus
North Carolina Ginseng & Goldenseal Company
300 Indigo Bunting Lane
Marshall, NC 28753, USA
+1(828) 649-3536
www.ncgoldenseal.com
www.madisonfarms.org/-school
www.madisonfarms.org/-eaglefeather

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37. 10th North American Agroforestry Conference

10-13 June 2007

Université Laval, Québec City, Canada

The intent of the conference is to stimulate the development and the adoption of sustainable rural land management practices centered on the integration of trees into the landscape. Riparian buffers with trees, windbreaks and shelterbelts, silvopastoral systems, intercropping systems, and forest farming systems will be the main practices discussed during the conference.

On June 11 and 12, twelve invited speakers will present overview talks on various agroforestry techniques and on the state and development of agroforestry across Canada, the United States and Europe. In addition, the Conference will showcase close to 70 oral and 50 poster presentations on temperate agroforestry techniques as well as the socioeconomic, political and environmental aspects of agroforestry.

On June 13, a field excursion will bring the participants to La Pocatière, in the Lower St. Lawrence region, where they will have the opportunity to find out more about various agroforestry techniques through field visits and technical demonstrations.

A post-conference excursion to agroforestry sites in southern Québec is planned on June 14.

We invite you to register for the Conference before April 1, 2007, in order to take advantage of the reduced early registration fee.

For more information, please contact:

North American Agroforestry Conference 2007
Département de Phytologie,
Pavillon Comtois, Université Laval
Québec, QC, Canada G1K 7P4
www.agrofor2007.ca
Fax: (418) 656-7856
E-mail: info@agrofor2007.ca

Further information on the conference and registration process is posted on the web site: www.agrofor2007.ca

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38. The role of Non-timber Forest Products (NTFPs) in poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation

11-15 June 2007

Hanoi, Vietnam

The Viet Nam NTFP Project Phase II, The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and The World Conservation Union (IUCN) will be hosting this NTFP conference.

NTFPs play an important role in the livelihoods of the rural poor, as a source of food, medicine, construction materials, and income. It has been estimated that there are more than 60 million highly forest-dependent people in Latin America, West Africa, and South East Asia, with an additional 400 million to 500 million people directly dependent on these natural products.

Access to forest resources helps rural households diversify their livelihood base and reduce their exposure to risk. Earnings from forest products are often important as a complement to other income.

Very large numbers of households generate some of their income from selling forest products, often when farm production is not enough to provide self-sufficiency year round. Income from forest products is often used to purchase seeds, hire labour for cultivation, or generate working capital for trading activities. For the poorest households, NTFPs can play a critical role in providing both food and income.

While there is growing appreciation of the importance of NTFPs for rural households, especially of the very poor, there are concerns about the potential impact of NTFP collection on biodiversity. A number of critical questions are often raised: Under what conditions can NTFPs, both plants and animals, be sustainably harvested? Can on-farm production of NTFPs result in improved biodiversity conservation? Does commercialization of NTFPs result in over-harvesting? What is needed for markets to be pro-poor? Are attempts to develop NTFPs for Poverty Alleviation really reaching the poorest of the poor? To what extent are these attempts impacting biodiversity conservation?

This conference will explore these questions, identify successful initiatives and businesses that strive to be both pro-poor and pro-biodiversity, and determine what are the critical elements for success.

For any additional information, Conference registration, submission of concept papers, poster displays, and participation in the Trade Fair, please contact:

Sarah Webster
The World Conservation Union (IUCN)
Villa 44/4 Van Bao Street
Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Tel: (84) 4 7261575/6 Ext. 133
Mobile: (84) 904 702 663
Fax: (84) 4 7261561
Email: sarahweb@iucn.org.vn

or

Dr. Pham Duc Chien
Head of the International Cooperation Division
Forest Science Institute of Vietnam
Dong Ngac, Tu Liem, Ha Noi, Vietnam
Tel: (84) 4 8362232
Mobile: (84) 912 563 783
Fax: (84) 4 8389722
Email: p.d.chien@uu.nl

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39. International Summer School "Forestry Markets and Society"

2-13 July 2007

Freiburg, Germany

This international Summer School is being organized by the Institut of Forest Utilization and Work Sciences, Faculty of Forest and Environmental Sciences.

The programme is designed for young scientists working in the field of forestry and other related fields of natural resource management. One aspect is to offer participants an opportunity to gain knowledge in economic, ecological and social aspects in connection with the management of forests in Europe with a regional focus on the Black Forest, a mountainous region in the southwest of Germany. Other aspects are the encouragement of research projects in cooperation with German universities and industries as well as the extension of contacts.

Deadline for applications: 27 April 2007

For more information, please contact:

For information please contact:
Dr. Reiner Mühlsiegl
Tel.: (+49) 0761-203-3767 (or -3764)
Fax: (+49) 0761-203-3763
E-Mail: reiner.muehlsiegl@fobawi.uni-freiburg.de

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40. The First Regional Scientific Conference on Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine

8-10 August 2007

Amman, Jordan

The Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine Conference (TAIM) aims to revive the important aspect of our identity and to establish it as a notable area of research on the same level as other practices of traditional medicine. This conference will include the traditional uses of these herbs, agricultural research, pharmaceutical and biological remedies based on this culture as well as medicinal products and marketing.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Razan A. Zuayter
APN, P.O. Box 811815, Amman 11181, Jordan,
Tel: +962 6 5673331
Fax:+962 6 5699777
e-mail: agpnature@go.com.jo or medplantamman@gmail.com
Conference website: www.arabic-islamic-medicine.com

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41. Scientific framework of environmental and forest governance -- The role of discourses and expertise

27 and 28 August 2007

Goettingen, Germany.

This conference is being organized by IUFRO. They invite proposals from researchers of political science, sociology as well as environmental and/or forest sciences for oral presentation until 15 April 2007.

Please consult the Call for Papers for further information under: http://www.iufro.org/science/divisions/division-6/60000/61200/61202/activities/ or http://www.iufro.org/download/file/1648/3058/goettingen07-call-for-paper.doc

For more information, please contact:

Lukas Giessen
Research Assistant
Institute for Forest Policy and Nature Conservation
WG Integrated Rural Development
Goettingen University, Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)551 39 34 13
Mobile: +49 (0)163 48 78 000
E-mail: lgiesse@uni-goettingen.de

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42. International Conference to Promote the Development of Non-Timber Forest Products and Services

19-21 September 2007

Beijing, China

The conference is being sponsored by ITTO, with the support of the Ministry of Commerce and the State Forestry Administration of the People's Republic of China. It is being organized by ITTO and the Chinese Academy of Forestry in technical collaboration with the International Centre for Bamboo and Rattan (ICBR), the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

For decades, non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and services have generated high expectations due to their potential to combine forest management and conservation with income generation. Efforts to increase the role of NTFPs by improving the management, conservation and marketing of NTFPs and forest services are under way in many parts of the world. However, progress has often been less than hoped for and expected.

There is an urgent need to consolidate lessons learned among ITTO members including on how best to encourage more private investment in the sector.

The conference will:

    • bring producers, traders and consumers together to share experiences in promoting NTFPs in domestic and international trade;

    • study opportunities to promote the development of NTFPs and forest services that can improve the economic attractiveness of maintaining the forest resource base; and

    • make recommendations on policy and other measures to promote the sustainable production of NTFPs and the sustainable provision of forest services.

The ITTO conference will address these issues through keynote presentations and panel discussions.

Participants will include decision-makers and experts from governments, companies and cooperatives, industry associations, local communities, and international and non-governmental organizations.

The conference will be open to all interested participants and there will be no fees for participation, except for those fees associated with pre- and post- conference tours to NTFP centres.

For more information, please contact:

ITTO Secretariat
Forest Industry Division
Tel: +81 45 223 1110
Fax: +81 45 223 1111
Email: fi@itto.or.jp

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REQUESTS

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

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

We are actively 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 Amazon sub-region of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

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 10 April 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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44. Call for expressions of interest: Forests, trees and human health and well-being

From: Eeva Karjalainen, eeva.karjalainen@metla.fi

IUFRO (International Union of Forest Research Organizations) will launch this year a new Task Force on 'Forests, Trees and Human Health and Well-Being' which is coordinated by Professor Hannu Raitio, the Director General of the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla).

We are now looking for the best possible contributors to the Task Force.

Please, find more information and the call for expressions of interest at http://www.metla.fi/tapahtumat/2007/iufro-tf-07/

We wish to receive your expression of interest by 31 March, 2007.

The kick-off meeting of the Task Force will be held in connection with IUFRO Division VI Symposium, 15 August, in Finland.

For more information, please contact:

Eeva Karjalainen, Ph.D. (Env. Sciences)
Research Advisor, Researcher
Finnish Forest Research Institute, Metla
Unioninkatu 40 A
FI-00170 Helsinki, Finland
phone + 358 10 211 2146, cellular +358 50 391 2146
fax +358 10 211 2101
e-mail eeva.karjalainen@metla.fi

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45. Call for grant applications from indigenous peoples’ organizations and their communities

Source: IFAD Web site

IFAD and the World Bank have signed an agreement to transfer the Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility to IFAD, which will administer the Facility for the first time this year.

The Facility invites applications from indigenous peoples’ organizations and communities, as well as organizations that work with them, for grants to fund projects, innovative approaches and partnerships that promote the development of indigenous peoples and help them fulfil their aspirations.

Grants range from US$10,000 to US$30,000. Applicants must meet specific requirements and their proposals should respond to the needs of indigenous peoples in any of IFAD’s developing Member States.

Mail, e-mail or fax applications to IFAD. The closing date for applications is 20 April 2007. IFAD will not accept applications after that date.

A panel made up primarily of indigenous members will work closely with IFAD staff to review proposals and make final recommendations on grant awards. The panel will review grant proposals on the basis of project relevance, feasibility and institutional capacity and make final recommendations on awards.

Activities likely to be considered for funding will build on indigenous culture, identity, knowledge, natural resources, intellectual property and human rights. Projects should improve indigenous peoples’ access to decision-making processes, empower indigenous peoples to find solutions to the challenges they face and promote collaboration in the public and private sectors.

Over the years IFAD has learned that entrusting direct management of resources and funds to indigenous communities and their institutions is an effective way to build capacity, self-determined development and ownership of programmes and projects.

To apply for a grant, read the call for proposal and complete the application form.

For full story, please see: http://www.ifad.org/english/indigenous/grants/index.htm

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46. Request for information on forest monitoring by local communities

Source: Bayuni Shantiko, CIFOR B.Shantiko@cgiar.org

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is undertaking a global review on monitoring of forest management and conservation by local communities. The review will include what has been achieved so far, discuss the extent to which local monitoring in forest ecosystems is or has contributed to “good” forest management, and to provide recommendations on future steps. The study also aims to identify obstacles to implementation.

As part of our research, we are asking those involved in the design and implementation of projects, tools, and practical approaches on monitoring forest management outcomes, natural resource control, and/or periodic assessment of the resource base involving local communities, to contribute to this review by providing us with any relevant references you may have (e.g. publications, project reports).

If interested, please send your contributions to Mr. Bayuni Shantiko b.shantiko@cgiar.org

For more information, please contact:

Bayuni Shantiko
Environmental Services and Sustainable Use of Forests Program
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Jalan CIFOR, Situ Gede, Sindang Barang,
Bogor Barat 16680, Indonesia
b.shantiko@cgiar.org
http://www.cifor.cgiar.org

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LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

47. State of the World's Forests 2007

Source: FAO Infosylva 2007-6

The seventh edition of State of the World's Forests examines progress towards sustainable forest management. Part I reviews progress region by region. Part II presents selected issues in the forest sector, probing the state of knowledge or recent activities in topics of interest to forestry. Climate change, forest landscape restoration, forest tenure, invasive species, wildlife management and wood energy are just a sampling of the subjects covered.

http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/a0773e/a0773e00.htm

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48. Traditional medicine of the Marshall Islands: the women, the plants, the treatments

Source: Prof. William Aalbersberg, Island Business, Suva, Fiji, 9 March 2007

Taafaki, Irene J.; Fowler, Maria Kabua & Thaman, Randolph R. 2006. Traditional medicine of the Marshall Islands: the women, the plants, the treatments. IPS Publications, University of the South Pacific, Suva. 318 pp.

This lavishly illustrated and beautifully presented book is the result of a collaboration between nine expert Marshallese healers, members of clans who possess their own special medicines, and numerous others familiar with folk or general remedies, facilitated by the University of the South Pacific.

As in most countries in the Pacific, traditional knowledge of the Marshallese—including traditional medicinal knowledge—has often been considered a secret, taught only to carefully selected people and passed on by word of mouth.

But the impact of the outside world on the countries of the Pacific threatens the preservation of such knowledge and puts at risk the biodiversity on which the knowledge is based.

The release of this book will ensure that much of that traditional knowledge will survive and that ecosystems are protected for future generations. It provides a valuable insight into the remarkable cultural knowledge and living heritage of the Marshallese people, exploring an aspect of the skills of this fascinating small island country struggling to survive in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. It also provides a unique opportunity to learn from the people who have shared generations of learning in order that their knowledge will not be lost.

Importantly, as the authors explain, this book is not an attempt to exploit traditional wisdom for commercial benefit or the titillation of ‘outsiders’. This was an initial concern of the healers. It was only after Hawai’ian traditional healers Auntie Alapa’i Aka’apo Ahuko’oohumukini and Roland Bula Ahi Logan met with Marshallese healers and related how Hawai’ians had lost much of their traditional medicinal knowledge—in part due to the secrecy associated with traditional medicine—that the Marshallese unanimously agreed to become active players in the recording, preservation and application of Marshallese medicinal knowledge for the benefit of future generations.

Traditional Medicine describes more than 270 traditional medicinal treatments, with a particular focus on the use of traditional medicine for the treatment of women.

Such knowledge supports the growing worldwide trend to incorporate time-tested traditional medicinal practices into modern health systems.

Available in many bookshops, or contact: ipssales@usp.ac.fj; www.ipsbooks.usp.ac.fj

For full story, please see: http://www.islandsbusiness.com/islands_business/index_dynamic/

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49. Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Arroyo-Rodríguez, V. and Mandujano, S. 2006. The importance of tropical rain forest fragments to the conservation of plant species diversity in Los Tuxtlas, Mexico. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(13):4159-4179.

Croes, B.M., Laurance, W.F., Lahm, S.A., Buij, R. (2007). The Influence of Hunting on Antipredator Behavior in Central African Monkeys and Duikers. Biotropica 39(2): 257–263

Ehiagbonare J. E. 2007. Vegetative propagation on some key malaria medicinal plants in Nigeria. Scientific Research and Essays Vol. 2 (2), 037-039, February 2007

Elsasser, Peter & Meyerhoff, Jürgen. 2007. A Bibliography and Data Base on Environmental Benefit Valuation Studies in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Part I: Forestry Studies. Hamburg: Bundesforschungsanstalt für Forst- und Holzwirtschaft. Arbeitsbericht 2007/01

Freely downloadable from http://www.bfafh.de/bibl/pdf/iii_07_01.pdf (bibliography & text) and http://www.bfafh.de/bibl/pdf/iii_07_01.xls (data base)

Kakudidi, Esezah Kyomugisha. 2007. A study of plant materials used for house construction around Kibale National Park, western Uganda. African Journal of Ecology; Volume 45, Issue s1, March 2007

Joshi, P.K., Rawat, G.S., Padilya, H., and Roy, P.S. 2006. Biodiversity characterization in Nubra Valley, Ladakh with special reference to plant resource conservation and bioprospecting. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(13):4253-4270

López-Pujol, J., Zhang, F.M., and Ge, S. 2006. Plant biodiversity in China: richly varied, endangered, and in need of conservation. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(12):3983-4026.

Muchugi, A., Lengkeek, A.G., Kadu, C.A.C., Muluvi, G.M., Njagi, E.N.M., and Dawson, I.K. 2006. Genetic variation in the threatened medicinal tree Prunus africana in Cameroon and Kenya: implications for current management and evolutionary history. S. Afr. J. Bot. 72(4):498-506.

Naidoo, R., and Ricketts, T.H. 2006. Mapping the economic costs and benefits of conservation. PLoS Biol. 4(11):2153-2164.

Okello, Jimmy and Ssegawa, Paul. 2007. Medicinal plants used by communities of Ngai Subcounty, Apac District, northern Uganda. African Journal of Ecology; Volume 45, Issue s1, March 2007

Ros-Tonen, Mirjam A.F.; van den Hombergh, Heleen and Zoomers, Annelies. 2006. Partnerships in Sustainable Forest Resource Management: Learning from Latin America. Brill, Leiden/Boston. ISBN 90 04 15339 X / 978 9004153 39 4

This book brings together experiences with a rich variety of sustainable forest and tree resource management partnerships in various countries in Latin America – Trinidad, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guyana, Brazil and Ecuador. The authors reflect on the scope, objectives, institutional organisation and benefits of partnerships, on the actors involved and excluded, and on the hindrances associated with overcoming cultural differences, institutional barriers, power imbalances and diverging interests. The question that runs as a common thread through this book is whether, and under what conditions, partnerships for sustainable forest and resource management can contribute to pro-poor, socially just and environmentally-friendly forest governance. By presenting the lessons learned from a wide range of partnerships, many of which deal with non-timber forest products, this book is a valuable resource for students, scholars and practitioners dealing with new governance forms in forest and natural resource management.

Schabel H. G. 2006. Forest Entomology in East Africa: Forest Insects of Tanzania. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands (ISBN-10 1-4020-4654-5

This book includes a chapter on "Forest-Based Insect Industries" dealing with edible insects, apiculture, sericulture and collectibles in East Africa.

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50. Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Agrobiodiversity Weblog

http://agro.biodiver.se

Bio-Nica

A web site dedicated to the entomology and biodiversity of Nicaragua.

www.bio-nica.info

Coir Board of India

www.coirindia.org

Consultorio del Dr. Ärbol

Desde Costa Rica, el primer consultorio especializado en la reproducción, cultivo, mantenimiento y aprovechamiento de los árboles, a donde usted puede dirigir todas sus consultas las cuales serán respondidas por profesionales expertos en Ingeniería Forestal y Arboricultura.

http://www.elmundoforestal.com/consultorioforestal/

Khadi and Village Industries Commission of India

www.kvic.org.in

Nature Network

Launched by Nature Publishing Group, Nature Network is a new free online networking website for scientists worldwide. This pioneering Web 2.0 toolkit will help scientists everywhere to meet like-minded researchers, hold online discussions, showcase their work via personal homepages, share information with groups (open or private) and tag content.

Participation is free to all, requiring little more than registration through the Nature web site.

www.nature.com.

World Mapper

Worldmapper is a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest.

http://www.sasi.group.shef.ac.uk/worldmapper/index.html

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MISCELLANEOUS

51. Amazon rainforest does have rainy and dry seasons

Source: Mongabay.com, USA, 12 March 2007

A new study using NASA satellite images found evidence of seasonality in the Amazon rainforest. The results, published in the March 20 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that the Amazon had 25 percent more leaf coverage in the dry season and 25 percent less in the rainy season.

“Our finding is similar to the discovery of a large green continent, nearly a third the size of South America, appearing and disappearing each year,” explained Ranga Myneni, professor of geography and environment at Boston University, the lead author of this study. "This has very important consequences for weather, atmospheric carbon, water and nutrient cycling, given that leaves are the air purifiers and food factories of our planet."

The paper indicates that rainforest itself plays a role in initiating the transition from the dry to the wet season.

Rain forests sprout new leaves in anticipation of the coming dry season," stated a release from Boston University. "The greener forests capture more sunlight, absorb more carbon dioxide and evaporate more water during the dry season compared to the wet season... By gradually humidifying the atmosphere, the forests play an integral role in the onset of the wet season."

The findings are consistent with a study published a year ago in Geophysical Research Letters which reported that the Amazon has fastest leaf growth during the dry season.

The new study was backed by NASA.

CITATION: Myneni, R.B., et al. (2007) Large seasonal swings in leaf area of Amazon rainforests. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). March 20, 2007.

For full story, please see: http://news.mongabay.com/2007/0312-amazon.html

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52. Billion Tree Campaign gets pledges totalling 562M trees since January

Source: mongabay.com, March 6, 2007

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced that its "Billion Tree Campaign" has so-far achieved commitments to plant 562,769,095 trees, following a pledge of 250 million trees by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico.

The campaign seeks to plant a billion trees during 2007. So far UNEP says that only 1 million trees have been planted since the program began in January.

The campaign was launched under the guidance of Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Prince Albert II of Monaco.

UNEP says that reforesting millions of hectares of degraded land can help fight global warming, restore soil productivity, and slow desertification. It notes that 130 million hectares of some 140 billion trees ("14 billion trees every year for 10 consecutive years") would need to be planted just to make up for forest loss over the past ten years.

“The campaign, which aims to plant a minimum of 1 billion trees in 2007, offers a direct and straight-forward path down which all sectors of society can step to contribute to meeting the climate change challenge.” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, when the campaign was launched. “The Billion Tree Campaign is but an acorn, but it can also be practically and symbolically a significant expression of our common determination to make a difference in developing and developed countries alike. We have but a short time to avert serious climate change. We need action."

For full story, please see: http://news.mongabay.com/2007/0306-trees.html

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53. Nicaragua: Birds of El Jagua

Source: Dr. Jean-Michel, jmmaes@ibw.com.ni

An e-book on birds of El Jagua cloud forest station in Nicaragua is now available at:

http://www.bio-nica.info/Biblioteca/AvesElJaguar.pdf

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54. Wildlife groups urge China to keep tiger trade ban

Source: Reuters, 13 March 2007 (in ENN News)

GENEVA -- Any easing of China's ban on selling tiger hides and bones could be catastrophic to efforts to save the endangered wild cat, leading conservation groups said on Tuesday.

TRAFFIC, a wildlife monitoring project of the Swiss-based WWF and World Conservation Union, said it was concerned Chinese officials would succumb to pressure from businessmen seeking to revive commerce in tiger parts.

China's ban, introduced in 1993, has virtually eliminated the market for traditional medicines made from tigers in what was once the world's largest consumer of such goods.

Environmentalists believe there are only 5,000 to 7,000 tigers remaining in the wild, with the largest number in India.

But in China, investors in "tiger farms" -- housing an estimated 4,000 tigers bred in captivity -- have been lobbying authorities to legalise trade from such facilities.

TRAFFIC Executive Director Steven Broad said lifting the ban, or amending it to allow sales of parts of tigers bred in captivity, would threaten years of work to protect the animal.

"It would be a catastrophe for tiger conservation," he said.

The WWF said any renewed tiger-part trading would create incentives for wild-animal poachers.

"A legal market in China could give poachers across Asia an avenue for 'laundering' tigers killed in the wild, especially as farmed and wild tiger products are indistinguishable in the marketplace," said Susan Lieberman, director of the WWF's Global Species Programme.

The conservation groups urged China to retain its ban and strengthen efforts to stop illegal trade in tiger and leopard skin garments, widely considered a status symbol in Tibet.

A moratorium on tiger breeding and a commitment to destroy all existing tiger carcasses could also help, they said.

For full story, please see: http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=12374

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last updated:  Friday, August 28, 2009