No. 02/07

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:


1. Bamboo: Bambrotex to act against illegal bamboo fiber suppliers in Turkey

2. Bamboo in India: Bamboo craft training for Manipur youth

3. Bamboo in the Philippines: Trader vows to help bamboo industry

4. Bamboo in the Philippines: NegOr picks up challenge to boost bamboo supply

5. Bark: Pine bark extract shows promise for slowing sugar uptake

6. Brazil nuts as an alternative energy source

7. Brazil nuts' path to preservation

8. Bushmeat: Recent mountain gorilla killings spark fears for species’ survival

9. Camu camu: Peruvian camu camu fruit conquers Japan

10. Cork Quality Council announces natural cork rated “most appropriate” closure for all occasions

11. Cork: French wine cork maker Oeneo 2006 sales dip

12. Fungi found in Singapore reserve has medicinal potential

13. Fungi: Research into medicinal value of fungi

14. Gum arabic as a phytochemical construct for the stabilization of gold nanoparticles

15. Honey: Nigerian Government battles poverty with honey factory

16. Honey: Rare New Zealand honey leads to sweet importing business

17. Lac in India: Chhattisgarh threat to former lac leader

18. Seabuckthorn brings new dawn for Lahaul (India)

19. Shea butter industry in Ghana gets boost


20. Australia: $3m funding announced for old-growth forest ecotourism

21. Bangladesh: Eco-park work resumes ignoring plights of indigenous people

22. Brazil: Consulta pública para uso del conocimiento tradicional

23. Cameroon: German MPs astonished at misuse of forest resources

24. Canada: Eco-funding deal reached for Canadian rainforest

25. Czech Republic: EU-funded promotion to boost honey consumption

26. Ethiopia: Saving Ethiopia's forest, and its cutters

27. Georgia: Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park and Borjomi State Nature Reserve – First PAN Park of the Caucasus

28. Iran’s share of worldwide medicinal plant trade barely 2%

29. Nigeria risks extinction of forest by 2010

30. Nigeria: raffia and bark cloth weaving

31. Russia: growing market for wild fungi and berries

32. Vietnam: Ha Tay builds villages for bamboo exports

33. Vietnam: Herbal remedy firm vies for UN prize

34. Zimbabwe: Promote wild plant foods


35. Alcan Prize for Sustainability 2007

36. Biodiversity quickly erodes in forest fragments

37. Borneo conservation deal signed

38. British scientist wins Japan prize for tropical forest research

39. Entrepreneurs don't grow on trees

40. New industry standard for collection of wild plants

41. Non-wood News

42. Wildlife: U.S. urges tougher policing of wildlife black market

43. 2007 ForestLeadership Awards - nomination period officially open


44. Non-Timber Forest Products

45. National Seminar on Ecotourism and Sustainable Development

46. Tradition to Technology Conference

47. 2007 International Conference on Forest and Woodland History

48. 4th International Medicinal Mushroom Conference

49. International Symposium "Underutilized Plants for food, nutrition, income and sustainable development"


50. Coordonnateur Régional (Conseiller Technique), FAO Project GCP/RAF/408/EC

51. Director, Centre for Non Timber Resources, Royal Roads University, Canada


52. Request for information: Ummemezi (Cassipourea flanaganii)


53. Other publications of interest

54. Web sites and e-zines


55. Brazil Amazon lost 13% of virgin forest in 2000-2003

56. Group of rare vultures found in Cambodia



1. Bamboo: Bambrotex to act against illegal bamboo fiber suppliers in Turkey

Source:, India, 13 February 2007

Markets in Turkey have been invaded by illegal bamboo fiber supplies and Bambrotex’s Legal Department will rigorously pursue and stop illegal suppliers of bamboo fiber to protect its client’s interests, announces an official release.

China Bambrotex is the sole owner of Bamboo Fiber production technique, a patent for which has been applied for in both, China and Turkey.

An official communiqué mentions that “Bambrotex is the only legal supplier of bamboo fiber in Turkey. However, we found that illegal suppliers and trading companies seriously damaged the development of bamboo market in Turkey. Poor quality of illegal supplies harmed bamboo fiber reputation. What’s more, it caused vicious competition in the bamboo yarn sector potentially harming Bambrotex prospects in Turkey”.

Meanwhile, the company has launched independent investigations and seeks information from within that country about those companies or trading agents selling illegal bamboo fibers so that “it can protect its legal rights over the product and maintain sound and stable development.”

For more information,

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2. Bamboo in India: Bamboo craft training for Manipur youth

Source:, India, 12 February 2007

A six months training programme on bamboo crafts organised by Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage under the sponsorship of Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, New Delhi, today got underway at Kwakeithel Bazar.

Manipur has 52 different varieties of bamboo and prospects of self-employment by producing bamboo-based quality handicraft products were bright.

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3. Bamboo in the Philippines: Trader vows to help bamboo industry

Source: Sun.Star, Philippines, 11 February 2007

A China-based trader has promised to provide technical assistance to improve the bamboo industry in Negros Oriental.

Madame Coosje Hoogendoorn, director-general of the International Network of Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) in Beijing, China, however, clarified that there is no market for the bamboo industry in China.

Hoogendoorn was in Dumaguete City to participate the three-day 5th National Bamboo Conference here and was the keynote speaker during the event held from 7 to 9 February.

"There is lots of Bamboo in China," said Hoogendoorn. She added that INBAR traders can also help local traders promote its products to other countries in the world. It can also provide modern technology to develop the local bamboo Industry to have the international standard, so that it can compete globally, she said.

Hoogendoorn further said they can help Bamboo farmers to produce a high quality of Bamboo.

Meanwhile, Dumaguete based-Bamboo trader Frans Kleine Joerkamp said the bamboo variety that has a high export quality is the "Kawayan tungkan." Joerkamp is a chairman of the board of Buglas Bamboo Institute in Dumaguete City. In a press conference held Monday evening, Joerkamp assured that Negros Oriental has sufficient supply of bamboo for export.

Hoogendoorn, in the same forum, emphasized the important role of the Bamboo industry in the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals.

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4. Bamboo in the Philippines: NegOr picks up challenge to boost bamboo supply

Source: Visayan Daily Star, Philippines, 12 February 2007

Oriental Negros is picking up the challenge of the bamboo producers and manufacturers in the country to increase the supply of bamboo in the province.

Vice Governor Jose Baldado said the northern part of the province, especially Manjuyod, had a huge number of bamboo plants before. But this was destroyed when the area was converted into a sugarcane plantation. Baldado said he had foreseen the potential market of bamboo before but it was difficult to convince the farmers since they were earning bigger income from sugar cane farming.

He will encourage farmers to plant and preserve whatever is left of their existing bamboo plants, he said, but added that further information campaigns have to be conducted to inform the farmers, especially in the hinterland barangays, where bamboos are abundant.

Bamboos can be used for various products like furniture, accessories, fabrics, food and even beverages.

Chairman Frans Kleine Koerkamp of the Buglas Bamboo Institute told Baldado that, it is not yet too late for the province to start replanting bamboos.

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5. Bark: Pine bark extract shows promise for slowing sugar uptake

Source:, France, 9 February 2007

Extracts from French maritime pine bark may inhibit an enzyme linked to glucose absorption 190 times more than a synthetic medication, says new research from Germany that could offer significant benefits for diabetics if the results can be translated from the lab to humans.

The results of the new study, published on-line in the Elsevier journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, add to a growing body of research reporting anti-diabetic effects of the pine bark extract, Pycnogenol.

"Diabetes mellitus type II is a serious disease with rising prevalence," said lead researcher Dr. Petra Hogger. "This study is crucial for those suffering with the disease because it affirms that Pycnogenol is more effective than prescription medication and supports the abundance of other research done on Pycnogenol and diabetes."

An estimated 19 million people are affected by diabetes in the EU 25, equal to four per cent of the total population. This figure is projected to increase to 26 million by 2030.

In the US, there are over 20 million people with diabetes, equal to seven per cent of the population. The total costs are thought to be as much as $132bn, with $92bn being direct costs from medication, according to 2002 American Diabetes Association figures.

The product is extracted from the bark of the Maritime pine that grows on the southern coast of France, and is currently used in over 400 dietary supplements, multi-vitamins and health products.

Source: Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. “Oligomeric procyanidins of French maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) effectively inhibit alpha-glucosidase”. Authors: A. Schafer, P. Hogger

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6. Brazil nuts as an alternative energy source

Source: Jornal da Ciência, 24 January 2007 (in Amazon News)

A study conducted by the National Research Institute of Amazonia (Inpa) demonstrated that waste material from Brazil nuts can be used by industry and commerce. The material can be used to generate energy both in its natural state as well as in the form of sub-products, for example, charcoal, charcoal bricks (pieces of small charcoal compressed into blocks), tar (bio-oil) and gases.

The study, a result of the project, "Brazilnut Fruit: Potential Use as Source of Raw Material for Energy Grid in State of Amazonas", was prepared by Inpa technician, Paulo Roberto Guedes Moura, with guidance provided by researcher Claudete Catanhede do Nascimento da Coordinating Office for Forest Products Research (CPPF/Inpa).

The study showed that this waste material has potential for use as firewood in thermal plants, boilers, pottery works, etc. In the form of a sub-product (charcoal and bricks), this waste can be used by the steel industry in making pig iron.

Moura clarified that during his comparative analyses of basic density of the waste material with other timber species, Brazilnut acts as if it were dense wood.

According to Moura, the tar is especially interesting, a sub-product of the waste, as it is a sort of wood-based bio-oil to generate energy, or for cooking as it adds taste to smoked products. Additionally, the oil can be used in the composition of paving materials and to increase durability to wood products.  "It is highly valuable on the consumer market", he stressed.

According to the technician, the study was conducted to show that value can be added to waste material that would otherwise be discarded.

He said that there will be lack of raw material to supply industry and commerce, as in 2004 alone, the state of Amazonas produced some 9,000 tons of Brazilnuts.  This would generate roughly 18,000 tons of waste material.

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7. Brazil nuts' path to preservation

Source: BBC News, 28 January 2007

Help is at hand for the Amazon rainforest and Brazil's poverty-stricken rural people - courtesy of the country's famous native nut.

Brazil nuts are a valuable food source with a huge market in Europe and North America: up to 7,000 tonnes of unshelled nuts and 20,000 tonnes of shelled nuts are shipped every year.

And because the trees that supply the nuts grow wild, they offer a way for communities to make a living from the forest without destroying it - something that is now being put to use in the country.

"This is a real financial resource for communities," Dr Rafael Salomao, who works at the Museu Goeldi, one of the most important centres for the study of the Amazon, told BBC World Service's One Planet programme. "A tree which is over 400 years old can provide for generations and generations."

Brazil nuts are considered to be one of the most valuable products that can be harvested from undisturbed rainforest. The nuts, known to Brazilians as Castanha do Para, grow uniquely in the Amazon basin.

They are hazardous to collect: each hard outer shell weighs over 1kg.

However, they offer an alternative to the way that many areas of Brazil are trying to develop - by clearing the forest to create areas suitable for either grazing cattle or growing products such as soya.

For many years, this meant the destruction of Brazil nut trees, even after they became officially protected.

"Sadly, today, we have cemeteries of Brazil nut trees," said Dr Salomao. "It's because of the arrival of agriculture. We call it the 'agricultural frontier', which goes along with cattle ranching. "When this arrives, they destroy the forest. First, they exploit the valuable wood, and then the cattle ranchers come and turn it into pasture.

"Having said that, they keep the Brazil nut trees as well as the rubber trees, as these are legally protected. But they burn the forest to clear the land and the Brazil nut tree is very sensitive to fire. After three years of repeating this process, the trees are dead."

What is worse for Brazil nut collectors is that once the trees have been destroyed, there is little chance of getting them back.

Attempts to replace them have been largely unsuccessful. Saplings will not grow in shade and take up to 15 years to begin producing nuts. "Brazil nut trees do not have an easy natural regeneration," said Hans Muller, who works at Belem's Embrapa Institute, specialising in agricultural research in the Amazon. "When you destroy one, it's a real loss.

However, at the end of 2006, the governor of the large state of Para announced a protected reserve of 16.4 million hectares of forest, with the aim of creating a huge conservation corridor through northern Amazon.

And in the state over Para's northern border, Amapa, small communities are taking to the challenge of using the Brazil nut to generate income from the rainforest without destroying it.

"We had this idea, we've a vast resource of Brazil nuts and we needed to create organisations in the region in order to strengthen local production," said Ajama da Silva Mendes, from the Amapa state department of industry, commerce and minerals. "So the government gave some incentives to create co-ops, together with the communities. "Now we can see the promise of bigger production and better living conditions for rural workers."

Brazil nut gatherers and their families are now able to maintain a decent livelihood.

And small-scale factories have been set up producing Brazil nut biscuits and oil, broadening the range of products available for export, meaning there is a better way for people to get a fair price for their valuable resource.

But there are further problems. Subsidised production in Bolivia is challenging Brazil's dominance in the market.

And when, in 2004, the European Union found that Brazil nuts with shells on had traces of aflatoxins, which can cause liver cancer, strong regulations were put in place regarding the nuts. While the American limit on aflatoxin levels in Brazil nuts is 15 parts per billion, the European limit is just four parts per billion. This has hit Brazil nut exporters hard.

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8. Bushmeat: Recent mountain gorilla killings spark fears for species’ survival

Source: WWF International, Switzerland, 18 January 2007

Two solitary silverback gorillas have been killed in the past ten days by Congo rebels allied to a local warlord in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

According to WWF, this is the latest in a series of poaching incidents, which have included hippos and buffaloes, over the last few weeks during violent clashes between the DRC army (FARDC) and rebels in the area.

One of the gorillas is believed to have been eaten, sparking fears for the tiny population that has clung on tenaciously throughout years of bloody conflict.

Just 700 mountain gorillas survive in the wild, more than 150 of them in the Virunga National Park.

“With so few left in the world, every individual counts,” said Marc Languy, of WWF’s Eastern Africa Regional Programme. “The two recently killed silverbacks are from groups habituated for tourism and are easy targets. Because one of them has likely been killed for its meat, there is reason to believe that other gorillas may be in danger too.”

WWF says the Mikeno section of the park and its gorillas are facing a range of recent potentially catastrophic threats.

“We have worrying evidence that cattle ranching and charcoal burning have resumed in the sector. This poses a direct threat to the habitat of this endangered species,” added Languy.

Mountain gorillas are the premier tourist attraction in the DRC and represent an important income for the local economy, estimated at US$3 million annually in periods of peace.

WWF is calling upon the DRC government, the UN mission in the country, and the troops loyal to local warlord Laurent Kunda to take measures to ensure the long-term protection and conservation of the mountain gorilla and its habitat, not only for the survival of one of the world’s rarest mammals but also for the well-being of local people and the national economy.

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9. Camu camu: Peruvian camu camu fruit conquers Japan

Source : Living in Peru, Peru, 12 February 2007

(Japanese consumers’ first contact with the pleasantly flavoured Amazonian fruit known as “camu camu” was in the form of a refreshment drink, then as liquor, and now causes a sensation as vinegar in salads.

According to Toyohara Hidekazu, responsible for tropical foods at the Agrarian University of Tokyo, the demand for the Peruvian product on the Japanese archipelago has increased drastically and Japanese retailers say their camu camu stocks are exhausted.

In an interview with Peruvian Radio RPP Noticias, Toyohara emphasized that the intention of his training center is not to obtain a greater commercialization of the product but to reach a series of social objectives with Peruvian agriculturists dedicated to the cultivation of camu camu. 

"Our intention is to collaborate with authorities in their effort to replace the cultivation of coca leafs; to collaborate with agriculturists who have limited resources so they can develop; to help to preserve the environment and to generate a better income for the peasants of the Amazon”, he expressed.

Each commercial camu camu package includes the fruit's history and a map of its origin, in order to promote it in Japan.

“We are not looking at making money but to promote this wonderful product. The profits are reinvested in analysis, research and the expansion of camu camu cultivation in the Peruvian Amazon”, he added.

The professor revealed they are currently exploring the creation of new products such jam, sweets and cosmetics using the fruit's essence.

According to numbers provided by Peru's Exporter Association (ADEX), camu camu exports to Japan totalled US$1.552 million between January and November 2006, representing 83% of all exports.

The variety of products is the result of a patient investigative work and development since 1995, between the Agrarian University of Tokyo and the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina del Perú.

The camu camu (Myrciaria dubia), also known as Cacari and Camocamo, is a small (approx. 3-5 m tall) bushy river side tree which bears a red/purple cherry like fruit. The plant is extremely tolerant of flooding, withstanding 4 to 5 months with the roots and even much of the aerial parts submerged in water.

Long used by native peoples, wild camu-camu is harvested directly into canoes. The fruit has only recently come into large-scale cultivation and sale to the world market with Japan being the major buyer. It is relatively easy to cultivate. It survives best in hot, damp tropical climates but will grow in the subtropics, surviving temperatures down to just above freezing. Trees begin to bear fruit after about 4 to 6 years.

The fruit is extremely acidic and the flavour can only be appreciated in recipes requiring a blender, dilution in milk/water and the addition of sugar. The extraordinarily high Vitamin C content (in the order of 2-3% of fresh weight), is the most important property of the camu camu fruit. (Source: Wikipedia)

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10. Cork Quality Council announces natural cork rated “most appropriate” closure for all occasions

Source: dBusinessNews Sacramento (press release), USA, 5 February 2007

U.S. suppliers of natural cork received good news at the 2007 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento. Based on a recent survey of French, British, Australian and American consumers, conducted by a leading market research and sensory analysis firm, natural cork remains the closure of choice for U.S. consumers for all occasions.

The survey results were presented by Jane Robichaud, a well-known food and wine sensory expert and Vice President of Global Business for the Tragon Corporation of Redwood City, California. “We were interested in measuring the importance of variables that drive consumer purchasing decisions,” said Robichaud. “These included price, region, closure type, and varietals. The U.S. market is very different from the others. In the UK and Australia the acceptance of screwcaps and synthetics is greater, while in France and the U.S. natural cork is still the closure of choice. Although we have seen an increase in acceptance of both synthetic and screwcap closures, cork is still number one.

Another interesting survey result was the fact that while price was the first and most important factor for consumers purchasing wine under $8.00 a bottle, the second most important factor was having a natural cork. For consumers purchasing wine above $15.00 and on a frequent basis, natural cork was the single most important factor in their buying decision.

Tragon’s UK research also indicated that retailers like TESCO might be in part responsible for driving the acceptance of screwcaps in the UK, not the consumers. The Tragon survey pointed out that the consumer doesn’t necessarily understand the trend of switching from natural cork to screwcaps. It’s often not linked to a problem with natural cork; it’s perceived as a matter of price.

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11. Cork: French wine cork maker Oeneo 2006 sales dip

Source: Reuters, 12 February 2007

Paris. French wine bottle cork maker Oeneo Bouchage said on Monday that 2006 sales fell 1.6 percent as it dropped its line of untreated cork products.

In a statement, Oeneo said sales fell to 144.2 million euros, led by a 14.9 percent drop in cork sales to 51.8 million euros. Sales of wine barrels rose 7.8 percent to 92.4 million.

The company said, however, the results would translate into a "significant rise" in the profitability of its barrel division and a return to profitability for its cork business, which is now focused on bottle stoppers that have been industrially treated to overcome some of the drawbacks of natural cork.

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12. Fungi found in Singapore reserve has medicinal potential

Source: Jurnalo, Germany, 7 February 2007

Two specimens of fungi native to Singapore could kill cancerous tissue, while another 30 have anti-bacterial properties, researchers said on Wednesday.

A team from Nanyang Polytechnic stumbled on the medicinal potential while working on a project cataloguing the more than 400 types of fungi in the city-state.

The researchers and students spent days combing through the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve to collect fungi samples, The Straits Times reported. The samples were brought back to the laboratories, where their chemicals were extracted.

Joel Lee, Nanyang Polytechnic's life sciences director, said two chemicals were found to restrict the growth of cancer cells when tested on tumours in the lab.

Another 30 samples produced chemicals that could destroy common bacteria such as E. coli and S. epidermidis.

"We are very encouraged by these findings made so early, as there are estimated to be 1. 4 million fungi species yet to be discovered worldwide," Lee was quoted as saying. "We have screened just the tip of the iceberg," he added.

The next step is to probe further into the potential medical use of the fungi and patenting their chemical properties.

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13. Fungi: Research into medicinal value of fungi

Source: The Age, Australia, 7 February 2007

An ancient mushroom once heralded as an elixir of immortality by Chinese royalty is being tested as a possible cure for modern day diabetes.

Sydney researchers are working to see whether the extra large medicinal fungi can reduce high blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol. When coupled with insulin resistance, these conditions bring about metabolic syndrome, a precursor to type two diabetes which affects an increasing number of Australians.

Scientists at the University of Western Sydney believe the mushroom, called Ganoderma lucidum, can offer much-needed clinical evidence of new treatments for the syndrome.

Also known as Reishi, the Asian herb has been treated as a cure-all to fight a wide range of diseases for 2,000 years, said PhD researcher Nerida Klupp.

Cultivation has increased over the last 30 years, and preliminary animal and human pilot studies seem to suggest it can have a positive effect on blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and blood fats.

The mushroom - an inedible fungi typically the size of a bread and butter plate - contains about 200 active chemical compounds, but researchers believe a group called the polysaccharides are the most effective.

Traditional users believe it is most potent when taken in combination with another medicinal mushroom called Cordyceps sinensis.

The researchers will put this theory to the test when they enlist 170 people with metabolic syndrome symptoms for a four-month trial. Participants will get either capsules of powdered Reishi alone, a combination of the two mushrooms, or a placebo capsule.

If successful, it could become the first single treatment for the metabolic syndrome, Ms Klupp said.

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14. Gum arabic as a phytochemical construct for the stabilization of gold nanoparticles

Source:, Australia, 13 February 2007

Gold nanoparticles have shown significant promise as agents to detect and treat cancer, but researchers have had difficulty creating gold nanoparticles that have suitable pharmacological properties for use in humans.

A team led by Kattesh Katti, Ph.D., principal investigator of the Hybrid Nanoparticles in Imaging and Therapy of Prostate Cancer Platform Partnership based at the University of Missouri, may have solved this problem using old-fashioned gum arabic, a compound widely used in processed foods.

Writing about their studies in the journal Small, the investigators reasoned that gum arabic, a natural polymer made of sugars and some protein, would bind tightly to gold nanoparticles because of its chemical composition. Sure enough, the researchers found that simply mixing a commercially available gold salt with a dilute solution of gum arabic and a chemical-reducing agent resulted in the nearly instantaneous formation of gum arabic-labeled gold nanoparticles. The investigators noted that over 98 percent of the gold salt was converted to gum arabic-labeled gold nanoparticles. The resulting nanoparticles were stable in biological fluids for at least seven days.

Next, Katti and his collaborators studied biodistribution properties of these nanoparticles following intravenous injection into pigs. These experiments confirmed that gum arabic could effectively stabilize gold nanoparticles in the body. This study also found that most of the nanoparticles accumulated in the liver and lungs.

Preliminary imaging studies showed that the gum arabic-labeled gold nanoparticles could function as x-ray imaging contrast agents.

This work, which was supported by the National Cancer Institute’s Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, is detailed in a paper titled, “Gum arabic as a phytochemical construct for the stabilization of gold nanoparticles: In vivo pharmacokinetics and x-ray-contrast-imaging studies.”

An abstract of this paper is available through PubMed: View abstract.

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15. Honey: Nigerian Government battles poverty with honey factory

Source: Daily Trust (Abuja), 7 February 2007

Ondo government has trained 3,000 persons on beekeeping within the last one year, Chief of Staff to the governor, Pastor Femi Agagu, has said.

Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Akure, Agagu said the training was part of the poverty alleviation programmes of the government.

He said the state-owned N75 million Sunshine Honey factory, which produced 1,200 litres of honey daily, had started operation. Agagu explained that the factory was a government and the private sector initiative, with the state government holding 90 per cent equity shares and the private sector 10 percent.

"The training and empowerment of 3,000 bee keepers by the government was part of the efforts to drastically reduce poverty among our teeming population," he said.

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16. Honey: Rare New Zealand honey leads to sweet importing business

Source: Pottstown Mercury, USA, 5 February 2007

WILLISTOWN -- The buzz about manuka honey has to do with its health benefits, not its flavourful properties in recipes.

The antibacterial-rich honey is produced by bees during the few weeks a year New Zealand‘s manuka bushes are in bloom and is touted as a treatment for everything from skin conditions to digestive disorders.

Known in parts of Europe, New Zealand and Australia, the product is virtually unknown in the United States, but Fiona Nelson wants to change all that. In October, Nelson opened Wedderspoon Organic, an importing company that is bringing the honey to the U.S. She currently imports and sells two products. Both are stamped USDA Organic.

Manuka Honey Active 16+ is equivalent to 16 percent antiseptic solution, according to a testing method developed by the University of Waikato in New Zealand. People take a spoonful of active manuka honey for such gastrointestinal disorders as acid reflux, oesophagus ulcer, heartburn, upset stomach, stomach ulcer and irritable bowel syndrome. It is also touted for external use for wound care, burns, diabetic leg and foot ulcers, bedsores and post-operative scar healing.

Nelson said the honey has no expiration date because it’s organic and does not need refrigeration. Unlike processed honey bought for cooking, it does not crystallize.

The other product, Autumn Forest Honeydew Honey, is derived from the sap of beech trees. It was named by the Maoris, the indigenous people of New Zealand, for the golden colour of the beech sap in the morning light. Honeydew honey contains complex sugars in greater levels than average floral honeys. It is more readily available than manuka honey, but unlike manuka honey, honeydew honey can be used in cooking or dribbled on pancakes or fruit.

Nelson intends to add two new products to her line, a manuka honey throat lozenge and manuka honey soap, which is used for cold sores and acne.

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17. Lac in India: Chhattisgarh threat to former lac leader

Source: Calcutta Telegraph, India, 9 February 2007

Ranchi. Once an undisputed leader, the state is losing out in production of natural resin – lac – to Chhattisgarh, which has drastically increased its production and is placed at a close second.

Earlier, Jharkhand’s contribution used to be as much as 57 percent of the total annual national production. Lagging far behind was Madhya Pradesh (Chhattisgarh was a part of it) at only about 23 percent.

Jharkhand’s share in lac production has now decreased to 35 per cent.

But Chhattisgarh – through the government’s support, lac-based processing and end-product facilities – has registered a 34 percent of national production.

These and other facts came to the fore during a day-long annual Lac Mela organised by the Indian Lac Research Institute (ILRI) on its premises today.

Governor Syed Sibtey Razi, who inaugurated the event, said that the government would be requested to undertake the production of lac through social forestry initiatives.

ILRI director Bangali Baboo and vice-chancellor of Birsa Agriculture University (BAU) N. N. Singh were also present at the event. Speaking about the lack of employment opportunities faced by tribals, Baboo said that earlier about 70 percent of the tribal population were dependent on selling raw lac which supplemented their income. But the figure has come down to 50 percent now due to the lack of production, which is creating a financial crunch for the tribals.

The state is yet to witness any end product units for lac. It has shellac (refined lac) production units in places like Khunti, Murhu and Bundu.

The annual production of lac in Jharkhand has been pegged by ILRI at about 8,000 tonne per year, whereas it is able to process about 6,000 tonne of the natural resin at 39 processing units.

ILRI director said that they have requested the Indian Council of Agriculture Research, under which the institute functions, to develop ILRI as a centre for other natural resins.

A Silli-based farmer told The Telegraph that he has been able to earn Rs 2,000 by investing only Rs 400 in lac cultivation in a small form, thus hinting at immense potential of lac harvesting.

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18. Seabuckthorn brings new dawn for Lahaul (India)

Source: Him Vani, India, 17 January 2007

Kyelang: The Ladhak region of Jammu and Kashmir, Lahaul Spiti, parts of Kinnaur and Chamba districts of Himachal Pradesh are together known as the cold deserts of India. Due to extreme temperatures and sparse forest cover, life in these areas is too harsh beyond imagination. Cut off from the rest of the country for most of the year, people lived in these regions for ages with difficulty, but lately natural resource-based livelihood initiative by people and the government alike has resulted in the economy of the place growing by leaps and bounds.

Lahaul valley is situated towards west and covers an area of 6,097 square kilometers. In this valley mountain peaks range between 5,480 metres and 6,400 metres. Right from October till April the whole valley bears intense cold wave as temperature falls below -16 degree Celsius on average. Due to prevalence of cold and dry climatic conditions, just a handful of tree species like Betula utilis, Pinus wallichiana, Juniper macropoda, Cedrus deodar and Hippophae rhamnoides can grow in this region. But people’s hard work has now made it possible to grow other trees like Willow, Salix and Populas nigra. More importantly, people themselves are taking appropriate steps to protect these trees. There are about 200 villages in Lahaul valley where with about 14,000 farmers.

The problem of soil erosion is widely prevalent in Lahaul leading to deposition of silt in Chandra-Bhaga and Spiti rivers. Landslides are also widespread and timber and fuel wood scarcity is also a perennial problem here. To counter these problems the people of Lahaul valley have grown Willows on a very large scale. But that was not enough.

Keeping in view the aforesaid problems, scientists involved in forest resource development in the region identified seabuckthorn (known as Chharma in local dialect), besides traditional crops like potato peas and medicinal plants, as a sustainable solution.

Seabuckthorn can be seen growing naturally in higher slopes of Lauhal & Spiti, Pangi area of Chamba district and Pooh division of Kinnaur district. This tree provides fuel, protein rich fodder and is considered as good soil binder besides increasing soil fertility by enhancing nitrogen levels. But above all, its fruits is a rich source of vitamin C, E and other nutrients. Nowadays life-saving drinks, cosmetics and medicines in the form of injections and oils are being prepared from its extracts and therefore it is in great demand.

Keeping in view its demand in domestic and foreign markets, farmers’ organisations were formed in these areas and the shrub was cultivated on commercial lines for the first time. Dr Virender Singh, a farm-forestry scientist from CSK HPKVV (Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishwavidalya),  Palampur, who has been working on development and promotion of seabuckthorn for the last 15 years, revealed that the plant has the potential to change the economy of the region. He has been making people aware regarding latest research regarding seabuckthorn and how they can benefit from it.

Recently, a team from Policy Analysis and Planning Unit from HPFSR (Himachal Pradesh Forest Sector Reforms) visited Lahaul valley and evaluated the success of the initiative. More number of SHGs, NGOs, and societies have come forward to take up seabuckthorn cultivation. President of Lauhal & Spiti Seabuckthorn Society revealed that they have already been selling their produce to private companies.

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19. Shea butter industry in Ghana gets boost

Source: Joy Online, Ghana, 28 January 2007

The shea butter industry in the Central Gonja District in the Northern Region has received a major boost with the inauguration of a shea butter processing centre at Buipe. Products from the centre would be exported to the Tree of Life, a cosmetic industry in Japan.

The project, estimated at 22O million, was funded by the Farmer-Based Organisation of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA), while the Dew of Charity, an NGO operating in the Central Gonja District, supervised the project.

Two hundred and thirty-five members, mainly women of the Abranyo Wale One-stop Centre Association (AWOSCA), a co-operative society in the area, would benefit from the project.

In his inaugural address, the Director of SAN Framework for Technical Collaboration (SAAJFTC), Dr Foster Sakara, entreated the government, civil society and the private sector to provide the necessary facilities and resources to help explore the potential of the shea butter industry in the north.

Dr Sakara observed that shea butter was the only viable agricultural produce in the Sahelian region that needed to be fully developed and urged the government to play a more proactive role in its development.

The Project Manager of Integrated Literacy and Agro-processing Programme said the AWOSCA was formed based on the “principle of collective action of aggregation of demand to reduce transaction costs of services needed or provided”.

The Central Gonja District Chief Executive urged stakeholders in the shea butter industry to support the project to enhance incomes of farmers and thus reduce poverty in the area.

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20. Australia: $3m funding announced for old-growth forest ecotourism

Source: ABC News Online, 10 January 2007

The Federal Government has announced $3 million in funding for ecotourism in Tasmania's old-growth forests.

The grants include $1 million to develop a bushwalk in the Tarkine region in the state's west. Another $2 million will be spent on forest-based tourism infrastructure.

Federal Minister for the Environment, Senator Ian Campbell, who is in the Tarkine today, says it will open up these regions to more visitors. "One of the things it can provide is access to people who aren't avid bush walkers," he said. "There are lots of people in Australia who would like to see a place like the Tarkine or other fantastic high conservation-value forests."

Senator Campbell also announced the establishment of a Forest Conservation Fund, encouraging private land holders to tender for funding to protect high-conservation forest. He says it will be one of the biggest private conservation initiatives in world history, but will not reveal the cost.

Applications under the fund open in the first quarter of this year.

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21. Bangladesh: Eco-park work resumes ignoring plights of indigenous people

Source: The Daily Star, 3 February 2007

The forest department in Tangail recently restarted the controversial construction work of a boundary wall around the site of Madhupur Eco Park ignoring the outcry of local indigenous community against the move. A sense of despair gripped the indigenous community in Madhupur since resumption of the wall construction.

Meanwhile, the community faxed a petition to the chief adviser (CA) to the caretaker government (CG) demanding suspension of the wall construction in Madhupur forest since they are unable to hold a protest demonstration due to the state of emergency, sources said.

The forest department took up the Forest Conservation and Eco Tourism Project in 2000 to build an Eco Park on 3,000 acres of the forest in Madhupur.

The indigenous people of Madhupur started a movement against the Eco Park project when the forest department began constructing the boundary wall in 2004.

An indigenous youth was shot dead and 25 others including women and children were injured with bullet wounds when police and forest guards opened fire on a protest march of the community in Jalabada area on January 3, 2004.

The indigenous people demanded withdrawal of the project and the wall construction since, in their words, the tradition and culture of the local indigenous people will be hampered if the Eco Park project is implemented.

Following the incident, construction of the boundary wall was suspended in the face of the movement.

The forest department officials assured the indigenous community several times that they would discuss with the community before resuming the wall construction. But, suddenly without any discussion with the local indigenous community the forest department awarded work orders to seven different contactors recently for constructing a 22,200 feet boundary wall enclosing the forest. Getting the work orders from the forest department the contactors started constructing the wall right after the state of emergency had been declared.

Indigenous leader Albert Mankin told the Daily Star on Thursday that the interest of the indigenous community in Madhupur will be hampered severely if the Eco Park project is implemented there.

The forest department is constructing the wall in great haste with assistance from law enforcers taking the opportunity of the state of emergency, he said.

Abu Hanif Patwari, divisional forest officer (DFO) in Tangail, however told The Daily Star on the same day that the local people including indigenous people already encroached on over 20,000 acres of the forest out of a total of 45, 565 acres in Madhupur. So, the Eco Park project is essential to save the forest and its biodiversity.

Conceding to the demand of the indigenous people the forest department already curtailed some of its elaborate plans including picnic spots from the Eco Park's design, the DFO said.

Zahirul Islam, assistant forest conservator (ACF) in Madhupur, told The Daily Star that armed forests guards are providing security for the wall construction work fulltime.

Besides, police and army personnel are also patrolling the construction sites, he said.

Some indigenous leaders seeking anonymity said that the law enforcers warned the local indigenous leaders 'to watch that the law and order situation does not slide centring the wall construction'.

Panic gripped the indigenous leaders since the warning from the law enforcers, they said.

Sanjeeb Drong, secretary of Indigenous People's Forum Bangladesh, said, "Even the immediate past government did not try to implement the project because it is not a conservation project, rather it is a recreational project which will end up doing more harm to the ecosystem than saving it and also it will destroy the indigenous way of living."

The current CG should have scrapped the project instead of resuming it, he added.

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22. Brazil: Consulta pública para uso del conocimiento tradicional

Fuente: SciDev.Net, 21 Enero 2007

El Consejo de Gestión del Patrimonio Genético (CGEN), vinculado al Ministerio de Ambiente de Brasil, realiza una consulta pública para discutir formas de repartición de beneficios con las comunidades indígenas y locales en situaciones donde haya más de una comunidad proveedora del conocimiento tradicional.

La legislación brasileña reconoce el derecho de las comunidades indígenas y locales de decidir si transmiten a otras personas que no pertenecen a sus comunidades sus conocimientos sobre el uso de plantas, animales o otros componentes de la biodiversidad.

También reconoce su derecho a negociar la forma como los beneficios deban ser compartidos con ellas, especialmente en el caso de beneficios económicos, así como a tener claro el uso que se hará de dicho conocimiento.

Sin embargo, el Ministerio destaca la dificultad de establecer las reglas, especialmente en los casos en que más de una comunidad posea el mismo conocimiento tradicional.

En este sentido, la consulta pública busca dar voz a los distintos pueblos indígenas, comunidades locales, organizaciones representativas de los pueblos, sectores académicos, sectores empresariales, organizaciones gubernamentales y organizaciones no gubernamentales en el establecimiento de una reglamentación sobre el tema.

"Para nosotros, pueblos indígenas de Brasil y del mundo, es muy importante tener un espacio para opinar sobre el tema, pues afecta directamente nuestras vidas," afirmó a SciDev.Net André Fernando, líder del pueblo Baniwa (de Amazonia de Brasil) y vicepresidente de la Federación de las Organizaciones Indígenas del Río Negro, que apoya la iniciativa.

"Nosotros, que no vivimos en la ciudad, tenemos una forma distinta de vivir. En general decisiones como éstas son tomadas sin nuestra participación; cuando llegan a nosotros, nos toman por sorpresa y no sabemos qué hacer."

La consulta pública está abierta hasta el 26 de marzo de 2007.

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23. Cameroon: German MPs astonished at misuse of forest resources

Source: The Post (Buea), 30 January 2007

Two members of the German Parliament - Bundestag - on January 25 called on the Cameroon Government to manage forest and wildlife resources to guarantee that the local population remains the major beneficiary.

The duo, Hons. Ute Koczy and Barbel Kofler, made this call at a reception given them by the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Prof. Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, in his Yaounde cabinet.

The visiting MPs, who are members of the Economic Committee of the Bundestag, said they came to do an economic and environmental impact assessment of the Tchad-Cameroon Pipeline on the local population.

They told the press that as MPs of a country that contributed to the funding of the pipeline project, it was incumbent on them to make sure that the project does not have a high negative impact on the local masses.

Stating why they visited the Minister, the Parliamentarians said Germany sponsors some forest and wildlife projects in Cameroon, and thought they could render justice to the German taxpayer by making sure the projects they sponsor yield high dividends for the local population.

The Germans said the Cameroonian masses are still complaining that forest resources do not fully get down to them. They said they were happy after listening to Prof. Ngolle Ngolle who unveiled an ambitions programme to make up for the deficiencies.

Hon. Ute Koczy disclosed that Ngolle Ngolle said his Ministry was going to double the fight for the protection of forest and wildlife resources in the country. She said whatever projects Government is going to implement, the population should be informed about the management of the resources.

There should be constant communication between Government and people, she recommended. Speaking to The Post, Hon. Dr. Kofler said investigating how funds from the German Government are spent all over the world, is part of their duty.

Major Challenge

While briefing the German MPs, Ngolle Ngolle said the main challenge of his Ministry is to fully implement the 1994 Forestry and Wildlife law that was designed to make sure that the population is the main beneficiary of forest resources.

He said Government pays forest royalties to the populations through their local councils to a circa FCFA 2 billion a year and revealed that since such a policy was put in place, over FCFA 40 billion has been paid out to the populations.

According to the Minister, the Government and the people share forest resources on 50-50 basis, adding that the population is enjoying forest resources through community and communal forests.

Ngolle Ngolle also said the forest sector contributes about 12 percent of the national budget. According to him, his Ministry only ensures the execution of policy; the Forestry law is respected by all the stakeholders for the forest and wildlife resources to be managed in a sustainable manner.

He outlined priority areas of his Ministry's 2007 programme, which include the control of poaching, illegal exploitation of timber, planting and replanting of trees, increased protection activities, conservation and the modernisation of his administration through the use of Information and Communication Technologies, ICTs.

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24. Canada: Eco-funding deal reached for Canadian rainforest

Source: Reuters, 22 January 2007 (in ENN News)

International environmental groups and Canadian officials said Sunday they have struck a C$120 million ($103 million) deal to help fund environmentally friendly businesses in Canada's Pacific coast rainforest.

The deal comes nearly a year after environmentalists, the timber industry and aboriginal communities in the coastal region reached a landmark agreement to end a long battle over protecting wilderness valleys in the area often referred to unofficially as the Great Bear Rainforest.

International donors, primarily in the United States, had pledged C$60 million to help develop ecotourism and other industries. That money was contingent on both Ottawa and the province of British Columbia paying C$30 million.

The federal share had been tentatively agreed to by the previous Liberal government, but the final deal stalled after the Conservatives were elected in January 2006. Earlier this month Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged that voters feel his government has not made the environment a high enough priority.

The Great Bear Rainforest region, on the Pacific coast from Vancouver Island to the southern end of the Alaska Panhandle, contains some of North America's most dramatic scenery, with rugged mountains, coastal islands and few people.

Environmentalists said the deal to use private and public funds to promote environmentally sustainable businesses should be an example for international wilderness conservation.

Much of the money will be used in small native Indian communities, where unemployment is often more than 70 percent because of the decline of the fishing and timber industries.

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25. Czech Republic: EU-funded promotion to boost honey consumption

Source: Prague Daily Monitor, 9 February 2007

A promotional campaign will be launched in the Czech Republic to help increase the consumption of honey, and will be funded by the EU (50 percent), the Czech government (20 percent) and the Czech Bee-keepers Association CSV (30 percent), CSV representatives told reporters.

Czech honey consumption has been growing slowly in recent years and now is about 700g per person per year, compared to 1.2kg in Germany or Austria, 1.4kgin Switzerland, and 2.4kg in Greece, according to the CSV.

Last year, a record 9,080 tonnes of honey was produced in the country, 3,360 tonnes were exported and 2,390 tonnes imported.

Bee colonies in the country numbered 525,000 last year, down from 800,000 in 1990.

The number of bee-keepers fell to 49,000 from 80,000 over the period.

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26. Ethiopia: Saving Ethiopia's forest, and its cutters

Source: The Christian Science Monitor, 24 January 2007 (in CFRC Weekly Summary)

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Since she was six years old, Maselech Mercho has hiked up into the lush Entoto hills near Addis Ababa to gather wood, illegally, from the protected eucalyptus forests. She has no tools but her hands, so she pulls the branches she can reach, and carries out some 65 lbs of firewood on her back.

For her efforts, Maselech may earn a bit less than $1 in the local market, which she uses for food and school fees. If she is spotted by forest guards, she earns nothing, and may get beaten or raped.

For many in Ethiopia, however, this is nice work if you can get it. The annual per capita income here is about $120 a year – about half of what Maselech might earn in a good year.

But some 15,000 women and girls gather fuel from Entoto – destroying Addis Ababa's last bits of forestland in the process.

For nearly two decades, the Former Women Fuel Wood Carriers Association (WFC) has tried to give the young carriers alternatives, teaching them skills such as weaving baskets, scarves, and carpets.

But now, the group is set to expand its reach, targeting an estimated 30,000 women across Ethiopia who collect wood and offering a broader range of skills, including forestry management and the marketing of crafts and portable stoves. Fuelled by a World Bank grant of more than $2 million, the hope is to achieve two goals simultaneously: uplifting the lives of poor women and protecting the environment.

The World Bank also hopes to train up to 500 women per year in sustainable forestry practices, to prevent depletion of forests and help steer some women out of the more gruelling aspects of the fuel-wood trade into marketing and sales. Some women may be encouraged, for instance, to start selling more efficient wood stoves door to door.

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27. Georgia: Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park and Borjomi State Nature Reserve – First PAN Park of the Caucasus

Source: Pan Parks Press Release, 1 February 2007 (in CENN Info)

Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park in Georgia has become the ninth protected area to join the international PAN Parks network. Already famous for its natural wealth and tourist potential the WWF-Park receives therewith international recognition for its successful conservation and visitor management in accordance with international standards.

Joining of the PAN Park network will provide greater resources for the conservation of nature and development of sustainable tourism including small local business support, improved tourism infrastructure, creation of new jobs, international marketing and advertising.

David Tkeshelashvili, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection highlighted the importance of the PAN parks network membership for Borjomi-Kharagauli region and for Georgia. “Membership in the European network will help the park to attract more tourists; this will create more employment opportunities in the region and benefits to its sustainable development in nearest future”.

The Certification is only given following a very tough and detailed inspection by an international and independent audit. It assesses the natural environment, conservation and visitor management of the park and measures to ensure that tourism development is carried out in a sustainable way.

The Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park was founded during 1995-2002 by the support of WWF Germany and the German Government. The Park is with its 85.000 ha one of the largest in Europe and the first national park of the Caucasus.

For information about Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park please contact:

Nadia Muladze, Tourism Management Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, 23, Meskheti Street, Borjomi

Tel: (+995)826722117; Mobile: (+995)877792406,

E-mail:, Internet:

For information about PAN Parks please contact:

Gavin Bell, Communications Manager, PAN Parks Foundation, Tel: (+36) 96 433925; Mobile: (+36) 7-326 59 26E-Mail:, Internet:


28. Iran’s share of worldwide medicinal plant trade barely 2%

Source:, Iran 2 February 2007

World trade in medicinal plants hit $100 billion last year, but despite Iran’s rich and diverse flora, the nation’s share of the market is barely two percent.

More than 2,000 plant species are grown in the nation only 100 of which are being used in pharmaceutical industries. The land covered by Iran’s natural flora is four times that of the Europe’s.

As some experts say, if saffron, cumin and herbicides are excluded from Iran’s medicinal plants, virtually there would remain nothing else in the sector to be exported. Nevertheless, Italy, Taiwan, the UAE, Pakistan and Germany have been the main importers of Iran’s medicinal plants in the current year.

Ahmad Naji, an official with Iran’s Agricultural Jihad referred to the creation of a research center for Iran’s medicinal plants and noted that the center is currently working on six different plants and the results of the related researches would be soon published, the Persian daily, Abrar Eqtesadi said in its special report on the issue.

Also, the Ministry of Agricultural Jihad in collaboration with the Ministry of Health has set up a committee tasked with the development of the medicinal plants industry in the nation. Site surveying aimed at the identification of potential lands for the cultivation of medicinal plants, maintaining hygiene standards during the production and packaging processes of the products as well as supervision over the shops across the nation where medicinal plants are traditionally sold have been cited as some of the major measures taken by the committee.

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29. Nigeria risks extinction of forest by 2010

Source: The Tide, Nigeria, 30 January 2007

The President, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Chief Philip Asiodu, has warned that Nigeria might be left with no forest by 2010 owing to the present level of deforestation activities.

Asiodu gave this warning at the 5th Chief Samiu Lawal Edu memorial lecture for 2007, titled “an environmental agenda for Nigeria in the next two decades,” held on Wednesday in Lagos.

“With so much illegal logging activities going on across the country, coupled with the very little replanting programmes, there may be no forest left by 2010,” he said.

He said contrary to the recommendation of the FAO that 25 per cent of the land area should be under forest, he said, “Nigeria has only 4.9 per cent of its land area under forest.”

Asiodu said “an FAO country report of 2003 gives total area under forests in Nigeria, natural and planted, at 4,456,000 hectares out of a land area of 92,400,000 hectares, which is about 4.9 per cent.”

He said because of several decades of forest exploitation, mainly for timber, “you will observe that in 2003, there was only 325,000 hectares of planted forests.”

This, he explained, was why land area covered by forest was 30 per cent in 1960 and about 75 per cent at the start of the 20th century was now less than five per cent.

“What we know as high forest with the very valuable hard woods covers only just about two per cent of the land area,” he said.

He said “more than 70 per cent of the nation’s population depend on fuel wood, which is used efficiently without fuel stoves.” “Today, our dependence on fuel wood has not changed, while it has largely ceased in the two other West African countries. “Apart from its destructive environmental impact, this is a sad measure of poor standard of living,” he said.

He said an estimated 484 plant species in 112 families including many medicinal and fruit trees, are also threatened with extinction because of habitat destruction and deforestation.”

Asiodu highlighted the consequences of deforestation which include loss of soil through erosion, the reduction in soil fertility and the productivity of farms.

More than 13 million tonnes of soil are washed away into the sea annually, aggravating poverty in the rural area, Asiodu said.

Asiodu, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, advised that the ban on export of logs should be maintained, until the 25 per cent target was achieved.

He suggested that government should provide favourable institutional environment and incentives for private investment in trees and forest resource management.

He also suggested increased community participation in forest management and utilisation and the encouragement of aforestation with species which provided other valuable produce such as fruits, gum and so on.

Asiodu recommended that a 15 million hectares plantation should be established for various purposes such as shelter belt, watershed conservation and rehabilitation of degraded sites.

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30. Nigeria: raffia and bark cloth weaving

Source: Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, 6 February 2007

The weaving of raffia in Akwa Ibom is a small-scale industry which has adapted well to modern demands. In a village in Abak, raffia-weaving was and is still a craft conducted by boys to produce money for clothing, education and so on.

Raffia threads, ndam, consist of the outer skin peeled from fronds of the raffia palm, knotted together in a continuous length. At first, the threads are green in colour, but they dry to a light brown. Formally, vegetable dyes were used, but now modern dyes are employed to make coloured threads for weaving. The weaving technology is extremely simple. A slanting loom, akpara ekpat, made of lengths of palm midrib, is used, alongside other weaving tools as such as; a hardwood beater or sword, awat ekpat; a shuttle, okop ekpat; a heddle, nisong Ekpat, made from two lengths of palm midrib bark and raffia threads.

Products of the raffia weaving include lengths of cloth used for wrapping headloads, making garri sacks, covering mattresses, and seats of the “deck-chair” type. The major product is the raffia bag used by hunters and farmers for game and farm produce. In the past, raffia cloth was used as clothing, and to this day, special wrappers with striped patterns are worn on ceremonial occasions by chiefs and dancers.

Barkcloth is a non-textiles fabric made from the bark of a tree. In the forest region of South Eastern Nigeria, barkcloth was the normal apparel used for wrapping precious objects such as skin-covered masks and for storage. The use of barkcloth declined drastically as soon imported cotton cloth became available. Today, it only survives in a few ceremonial contexts.

One of the central features of traditional and ceremonial life in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria is the drinking of palm wine; in fact, no social event of any importance is truly complete without palmwine, and on special occasions such as marriage and burial, large qualities of wine are consumed communally by men, women and children. The communal drinking of palmwine is an overt act of fellowship, and expresses a stranger’s good intent.

The Ibibio tap their wine from the raffia palm (raphia SPP), while elsewhere the oil palm (Elaeis guinness) is exploited. A bamboo ladder is used to climb the tree, and a flat-ended chisel-like knife, enuon, is employed to cut the male inflorescence stalk. The wine is collected in a special tapping pot; but in the case of the oil palm, “up wine” is obtained by using a climbing rope to climb the tree, and the incision is made in the inflorescence with curved knife. “Down wine” is obtained by felling the tree and tying a container to the top end after all the leaves have been removed.

Everywhere, wine is collected twice daily, in the morning and in the evening. This wine may be consumed fresh from the tree, or on the first, second or third day after tapping. The rate of fermentation is so rapid that by the second day, the drink is fairly intoxicating, and by the third day is sour and of considerable potency. The people of Obudu in Cross River State developed techniques of storing and increasing the alcoholic content of palmwine, but elsewhere, wine older than three days is distilled into spirits – ufofop or kaikai, which are also commonly used in traditional ceremonies.

Biologists and nutritionists would also talk of the nutritional value of palm wine. The natural drink, they say contains a lot of yeast and minerals rich in vitamins that nourish the body and helps it to relax. Others also believe it helps to purge one of unwanted impurities in the body.

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31. Russia: growing market for wild fungi and berries

Source: FreshPlaza, Netherlands, 29 January 2007

Warsaw - Russian companies actively develop harvesting and processing of wild fungi (chanterelle, boletus), berries (cranberries, lingonberries, bilberries) and nuts (cedar nuts). The profitability of this business in Russia exceeds 15%, and in case of export to the EU countries - 100%. In contrast to the cultivated fungi and berries, wild ones do not require expenditures for cultivation, enjoy high demand in the West, and don’t need large initial investments. Since there is no official statistical data on the volume of wild fungi, berries and nuts market in Russia, it can only be estimated at hundred million dollars.

According to the data provided by the agency of Tomsk province development (ARTOT), market capacity in this region only accounts for 138 000MT per year ($370 million in 2005). Besides the Tomsk province, production and processing of wild fruits, fungi and nuts is significant in other Siberian territories and northern regions of the country. The harvesting season lasts usually from June through October. During season more than 30 middlemen are involved in buying wild products from pickers and Tomsk food company AMK, which controls more than 50% of local market, have even their own forest land intended specially for fungi, berries and nuts harvesting.

The company exports several thousand MT of edible boletus, chanterelles and cranberries per year to Italy and Sweden only. Some companies export raw products and salted or boiled chanterelles, but more advanced – quick frozen products also. According to the President of Ledovo Group, cultivated and wild fungi sectors are not competitors. One of the major issues in the wild fungi sector is instability of supply which strongly depends on climatic conditions and ecological situation.

Consumption of fungi in Russia is a national tradition; therefore this market has a prospect for fantastic increase, but only if commercial cultivation on industrial scales will develop. Then, possibly, the cultivated analogs of wild fungi could extrude those growing wild. In the majority of European countries, USA, Australia, Japan and China such fungi are not collected any more, and buyers do not see large difference between the wild and cultivated products. The same already occurred with blueberries which are cultivated on large scale in Europe, North and South America and Australia, or cranberries – commercially grown in USA, whereas most of cranberries used for processing in Europe come from Russian forests.

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32. Vietnam: Ha Tay builds villages for bamboo exports

Source: Viet Nam News, Vietnam, 27 January 2007

The northern province of Ha Tay developed 317 villages specialising in producing bamboo and rattan products for export, creating 108,500 local jobs.

The province also established the Bamboo and Rattan Producing Association which will support villages in improving competitiveness and training activities.

The province exported between 85-90 million bamboo and rattan products with a total value of VND860 billion (US$53.75 million) last year.

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33. Vietnam: Herbal remedy firm vies for UN prize

Source: Viet Nam News, Vietnam, 29 January 2007

A Vietnamese project to boost herbal remedies has beaten more than 230 rivals from 70 countries to go through to the finals of the United Nation’s 2007 Supporting Entrepreneurs for Environment and Development (Seed) Awards. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, announced last week the ten finalists who are competing for five awards.

The Vietnamese project is designed to bring domestic medicinal plant products to the international market, and is the only representative from the East Asia region in the running for an award.

The Seed Awards is designed to encourage local entrepreneurs, communities and companies to work together on sustainable-development projects.

The winners will be announced at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development in New York in May this year.

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34. Zimbabwe: Promote wild plant foods

Source: The Herald (Harare), 7 February 2007

THE University of Zimbabwe has started a project to promote wild plant foods, which can contribute substantially to household food and livelihood security for communities dotted around the country.

The project, which is being carried out in Buhera district in the Manicaland Province, is coordinated by Dr Maud Muchuweti of the Department of Biochemistry and a team of other experts in the field of food, nutrition and family science and biological science. The Kellogg Foundation funded the project through a grant.

"We want to create more awareness on the value of indigenous wild plant foods and promote their effective utilisation," Dr Muchuweti said. "Wild plant foods are effective as a survival strategy. We are identifying plant foods that are traditionally used by people in Buhera. We are documenting how the foods are prepared and preserved as well as their nutritional content."

This is a major milestone in the development of cultural information that will provide an authoritative look at many neglected food sources that can contribute to food security, agricultural diversification and income generation.

It puts Zimbabwe on a firm footing in line with the Convention of Biological Diversity, which specifically notes that national action strategies and programmes for sustainable agriculture should include "promotion of crop diversification in agricultural systems were appropriate including new plants with potential value as food" and "promotion of use of, as well as research on poorly but potentially useful plants and crops were appropriate".

Wild plant foods are still being consumed in Zimbabwe and in most parts of Africa despite the threats of urbanisation, environmental degradation, loss of indigenous knowledge regarding their identification, preparation and preservation and other factors.

The UZ project will involve identifying wild and famine plant foods, their preparation and preservation, nutrient analysis, cataloguing and documenting other uses of wild plant foods to enhance livelihood security.

"Commercial crops pose a threat of genetic erosion to indigenous food plants. Reduced exploitation of wild and famine plant foods is very unfortunate as some local foods may have better nutritional value than commercial foods," Dr Muchuweti said.

For example, muchakata or muhacha (Parinari curatellifolia) a medium to large evergreen tree which produces yellow brown colour fruits (hacha) from May to November can be used to prepare "Mukandabota" a kind of porridge.

Communities dotted around Zimbabwe are rich with information pertaining to various aspects of how wild plant fruits, vegetables and tubers can be identified, prepared and preserved.

Wild fruits and berries found in Zimbabwe include, checheni, chechete, nhunguru, matamba, mapfura, maroro, masau, matohwe, nhengeni, tsambatsi, umqokolo and many others that can, among other things, contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Wild vegetables found in Zimbabwe include a variety of okra types -- derere mowa, derere hosi, derere njeje, derere nama and other vegetables such as bupwe, chipondamasvinya, nyevhe and many others.

Tubers include chinyembanyemba, garidye, chifumuro, madhumbe, mufarinya, tsenza, tsangadzi and numerous others that have both medicinal and nutritional values.

Such foods form an integral part of the daily diets of many poor rural households. Wild foods are a source of important vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that complement the staple crops eaten by many of the more vulnerable people, including children and the elderly.

The importance of a wide range of wild plant species -- including roots and tubers, leafy vegetables and fruits -- need to be documented in a botanical database for future generations.

In addition to this, there is an assortment of wild edible mushrooms, edible grass and seeds that the UZ project is documenting from communities in Buhera.

For full story, please see:



35. Alcan Prize for Sustainability 2007

Source: Leesa Muirhead, Alcan Prize for Sustainability (on Nepaleseforesters List)

We invite you to enter the Alcan Prize for Sustainability 2007 and take the opportunity to win one of the most significant, privately funded awards of its kind.

Now in its fourth year, the US$1 million Prize is awarded to any not-for-profit, civil society and NGOs, based anywhere in the world, for contributions to economic, environmental and / or social sustainability. In addition, the remaining nine shortlisted organizations are awarded a US$15,000 Alcan Grant to invest in certifiable training and capacity building.

The closing date is 31st March 2007 (Midnight GMT).

For more details about entering the Alcan Prize for Sustainability, visit Once registered, you may download and print the guidelines for completing an entry. Details of previous years’ winners and finalists can be viewed on the website.

Should you know other organizations that may be eligible for the Prize, please nominate them online to receive details by following the ‘How to Enter’ links from the main menu.

The Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) based in the UK is managing the program on behalf of Alcan Inc. An international panel of distinguished judges chaired by David Runnalls, President and CEO of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, will review entrants and select the winner.

For more information, please contact:

Leesa Muirhead
Manager, Alcan Prize for Sustainability
Alcan Prize for Sustainability
15-16 Cornwall Terrace
London NW1 4QP

MOBILE: +44 (0) 7901 510 701



36. Biodiversity quickly erodes in forest fragments

Source: Biological Conservation Newsletter 266 (February 2007)

Amazonian rainforests support a huge share of the world's biodiversity, most of it dependant on their diverse communities of tree species. Up to 300 species of trees can be found in an area the size of two football fields. But the forests are rapidly being cleared for timber, cattle ranching and farming. Remaining forest is often reduced to small, irregularly-shaped "fragments," which may not be able to support healthy communities of rainforest-adapted plants and animals. In order to help preserve biodiversity in the Amazon and elsewhere, scientists need to understand the effects of fragmentation on biological communities.

In a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) ecologist William Laurance and colleagues have found that fragmentation of Amazonian rainforests by human encroachment leads to degradation of the remaining forest much more rapidly than previously thought. Even though the life cycles of many rainforest trees are measured in centuries or more, significant changes occur within just decades of fragmentation.

The Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, operated cooperatively by STRI and Brazil's National Institute for Amazonian Research, is the world's largest and longest running experimental study of habitat fragmentation. The study consists of a 1,000-square kilometer experimental landscape in central Amazonia. In the early 1980s researchers created nine forest fragments ranging in size from 1 to 100 hectares (a hectare is 10,000 square meters, or about 2½ acres). The forest fragments were exhaustively inventoried for their plant and animal species before isolation, and re-sampled every 4-6 years afterwards in order to track changes in the biological communities. For this study, Laurance and his colleagues followed the fates of nearly 32,000 individual trees for approximately two decades.

They found that desiccation and wind damage can kill old-growth trees within 100 meters of forest edges, and these are replaced by fast-growing generalist species. Shade-tolerant understory species are particularly hard-hit, as are species dependant on rainforest animals for pollination and seed-dispersal. The resulting tree communities in fragments contain similar numbers of species as the original intact forest, but the species are different. And the communities are ecologically far less stable as species come and go at an accelerated rate.

"Rainforest trees can live for centuries, even millennia," said Laurance, "so none of us expected things to change too fast. But in just two decades - a wink of time for a thousand year-old tree - the ecosystem has been seriously degraded."

The Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project is an ongoing study. Researchers will continue to monitor the changes in the tree community and in the other plant and animal species that depend on the trees. One important implication of this study is that the fragmented forest is likely to store less carbon than equivalent areas of intact forest, both because many large, old-growth trees die in fragments and because the wood of the fast-growing trees invading the fragments is less dense than that of the old-growth trees they replace. Over the long-term, this could exacerbate the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.


37. Borneo conservation deal signed

Source: BBC News, 12 February 2007

A tri-nation deal has been signed to protect 200,000 square kilometres of rainforest on the island of Borneo.

Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam pledged to protect the area, known as the "Heart of Borneo".

It is considered one of the most important sites of biodiversity in the world, home to thousands of species. It is threatened by plantation and logging companies, as well as farmers, and researchers say half of the original forest has already been lost.

The agreement, known as the Heart of Borneo declaration, aims to put an end to this, and protect an area prized by conservationists.

But the BBC's Lucy Williamson in Jakarta says the declaration is more a statement of intent rather than a commitment to concrete actions.

A senior official at Indonesia's Forestry Ministry told the BBC that his government was committed to increasing conservation areas and to encouraging local farmers and companies to work in an environmentally friendly manner. But he admitted that only a few of those breaking the rules were ever caught and that the government was prepared to encourage, rather than enforce, change.

Plantation and logging companies are an important source of revenue in the region, and planned industrial expansion by the Indonesian government is unlikely to bolster conservation plans, our correspondent says.

For full story, please see:


38. British scientist wins Japan prize for tropical forest research

Source: Stuart Biggs,, 11 January 2007

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- A British scientist won the 50 million yen (($418,000) Japan Prize, an annual award from the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan, for his research into tropical rainforests that may help global conservation efforts.

Peter Ashton, professor of forestry at Harvard University, won the category of science and technology to promote the co- existence of humans and nature for his role in a project observing 3 million trees and 6,000 species in tropical forests around the world.

``Dr. Ashton's research may form the basis of policy-making to optimize usage of forests by local people and enhance the sustainability of forest eco-systems,'' said Kunio Iwatsuki, a panel chairman of the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan at a press conference in Tokyo today.

The foundation awards the Japan Prize annually to scientists in two categories whose research has advanced human knowledge and promoted the peace and prosperity of humankind. Deforestation in Asia, South America and Africa is contributing to global warming which is increasingly being recognized as a threat to humanity.

For full story, please see:


39. Entrepreneurs don't grow on trees

Source: FAO Newsroom, 13 February 2007

Entrepreneurs don't grow on trees - but with a little help from FAO, poor families around the world are starting their own small forest businesses. An innovative new approach from FAO is helping poor people around the world turn trees into cash income - without felling the trees.

"It's not just timber companies that benefit from forests -- about 1.6 billion people worldwide depend on them for all or part of their livelihoods," says Sophie Grouwels of FAO's Forestry Department. "And they often do so in ways that don't always involve cutting down trees, but through harvesting of renewable, non-wood forest products."

Fruits, nuts, herbs and spices, resins, gums, fibres -- all these non-wood forest products (NWFPs) provide poor families around the world with food, nutrition and income. Indeed, some 80 percent of the population of developing countries use such products in one way or another to meet health and nutritional needs, according to FAO.

"We believe that people could do even more with these renewable resources in order to fight hunger and poverty," says Grouwels. "Perhaps there are more efficient ways to harvest them. Maybe they could be processed into a product that sells for more in local markets, or even marketed overseas. All of these things could help people produce more food or earn more money for their families."

That is why FAO's Forestry Department established its Community-based Tree and Forest Enterprise Development (CBED) Programme with funding from the Norwegian government, she says.

The project helps poor communities set up, sustain and grow small businesses while giving them incentives to better manage and protect their resource base, allowing them to tap the wealth of nearby forest resources without depleting them.

In CBED projects, FAO teams up with government extension agents and non-governmental organizations to work with forest communities and learn how they are making use of the available forest products. Using a participatory learning process, detailed surveys of local forest resources are conducted, studies of local and regional markets are undertaken, and new product, manufacturing and marketing opportunities are identified. At the same time, the communities draw up management plans for the sustainable use of the targeted natural resources and develop business plans for pilot enterprises, which run from harvesting, production and processing to marketing.

FAO recently collaborated with the government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic to implement a CBED project in that country, where 41 percent of the national territory is covered by forests and 80 percent of the population lives in rural areas.

Six pilot projects were established in the poorest part of the country, where annual household incomes average from US$200 to US$800.

The project’s results so far have been extremely encouraging.

In Ban Lack village, where a grassroots cooperative was already engaged in manufacturing rattan table and chair sets, project participants learned new designs and bettered their production techniques in order to improve product quality and lower production costs. Now they are earning 20 percent more on each set they sell, and are selling more thanks to a new roadside sales point. A group of women in nearby Ban Nathong village identified a new market for mushrooms, established a growing house, made connections with retailers, and boosted their monthly incomes by US$108.

All in all, ten community-level businesses employing 239 people were established. Increases in the incomes of participating households ranged from US$5 to US$70 per month -- 15 to 50 percent more than they were making before.

"The villagers not only improved their incomes, but also acquired important business skills and experience and drafted up sustainable resource management plans for the NWFPs upon which their livelihoods depend," notes Sophie Grouwels.

At the same time, small village development funds were established using the profits as a way to provide locals with access to the credit they needed to create new or scale-up existing operations, she adds.

"What we hope is that these 10 pilot projects will be the inspiration for 10, 20, 50 more," Grouwels says. "At the end of the day, what we want to leave behind are not 10 projects but a new reservoir of knowledge and know-how that will be a catalyst for more development."

Helping forest communities help themselves is only part of the solution, according to Grouwels.

Governments need to make a more explicit link between anti-poverty efforts, forest resource management and economic development programmes, she says.

This is why FAO's CBED project also brings national and local officials into the process early on, to educate them and provide them with the awareness and knowledge needed to continue providing communities with the necessary support.

And after pilot projects have been established, FAO meets with policy-makers and planners to talk about larger structural and legal bottlenecks that inhibit small-scale forest enterprise development, with an eye to effecting reforms.

For full story, please see:


40. New industry standard for collection of wild plants

From: Dr Richard Thomas, TRAFFIC,

Nuremberg, Germany, 16th February 2007-A new standard to promote the sustainable management and trade in wild medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP) was launched today at Biofach, the World Organic Trade Fair.

The International Standard for Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ISSC-MAP) was drawn up following extensive consultation with plant experts and the herbal products industry worldwide. It promotes appropriate management of wild plant populations to ensure plants used in medicine and cosmetics are not over-exploited.

"Traders and companies, collectors and consumers must share the responsibility for maintaining populations of medicinal plants which are valuable natural resources," said Susanne Honnef of TRAFFIC. "The ISSC-MAP principles and criteria show how this can be achieved in practice."

More than 400,000 tonnes of medicinal and aromatic plants are traded annually, with around 80% of the species harvested from the wild. Almost 70,000 species are involved, many of them are in danger of over-exploitation and even extinction through over-collection and habitat loss. For example, in India, almost 300 medicinal plants are considered threatened by IUCN-the World Conservation Union.

Traditional Medicinals, one of the industry's leading companies, is investigating applying the new standard to the collection of Bearberry, a shrub whose leaves are used for the treatment of a variety of conditions, mainly of the diuretic and urinary tract.

"Our German supplier was able to prove the sustainability of their Bearberry sources, and we are keen to see how the newly developed ISSC-MAP criteria apply to this trade. Sustainable supplies will mean long-term benefits for the local people who rely on the Bearberry trade for supplementary income," said Josef Brinckman, Vice-President of Traditional Medicinals.

"I welcome the launch of this new standard, which presents an important step in ensuring the sustainable use of natural pharmaceutical products," said Professor Drenckhahn, President of WWF-Germany. "We'd like to see other companies use the standard and see how it works in practice for their benefit."

Those attending the EXPO West trade fair from 9-11 March 2007 will be able to hear more about the ISSC-MAP standard from Dr Danna J. Leaman, chair of the Medicinal Plant Specialist Group for the World Conservation Union (IUCN), and Josef Brinckmann, Vice-President of Traditional Medicinals.

For more information, please contact:
Richard Thomas,
TRAFFIC International,

tel. +44 1223 279068.



41. Non-wood News

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

FAO's NWFP programme has just published the latest issue of Non-Wood News (no. 14), our annual bulletin covering all aspects of NWFP. Special Features in this issue cover “The versatile bamboo” and “Forest cosmetics: NWFP use in the beauty industry”.

This issue will shortly be available (in both html and pdf) from our NWFP home page:

If you would like to receive a hard copy, please send an Email to:


42. Wildlife: U.S. urges tougher policing of wildlife black market

Source: Reuters, 12 February 2007 (in ENN News)

NAIROBI -- A senior U.S. official called on Saturday for better consumer education and tougher policing to combat a multi-billion dollar global black market in wildlife.

The illegal trade in animals and plants has grown to more than $10 billion a year, experts say, making it the world's third biggest source of criminal income after drugs and guns.

"We have to try to stop demand while hitting supply through improved enforcement," Claudia McMurray, U.S. assistant secretary for the environment, told Reuters. "That is the way to actually see very strong results, at least within our lifetime."

She was speaking ahead of the launch of a new coalition to fight trafficking that groups the United States, Britain, India and Australia with a dozen business and conservation bodies.

Experts say it will have its work cut out taking on well-organised crime syndicates fuelled by enormous profits.

Contraband from powdered rhino horn to organs from endangered tigers can sell for more than their weight in gold, largely driven by Chinese demand that has surged as the country's economy rapidly expands.

As a result, most attempts to strike the traffickers have focused on Southeast Asia. Early last year, states in the region deployed special wildlife crime-busting units with some success.

McMurray hailed these raids, including the seizure in July in Bangkok of hundreds of shawls worth more than $10,000 each and made from the wool of slaughtered rare Tibetan antelopes.

But they need more staff, better training, equipment and sometimes weaponry, she said in an interview after a major U.N. environment meeting in Kenya. Experts question some countries' political will to follow through on prosecutions.

Both India and China have stiff penalties for wildlife smugglers, but India has convicted only about 30 in three decades, and more than 1,000 cases are still pending before its courts.

A main focus of the new Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking (CAWT) will be to try to slash demand by teaching Western consumers more about banned products ranging from tropical plants and birds to turtles and African elephant tusks.

The United States was key, McMurray said, as it was the second biggest market for illegal wildlife products after China.

For full story, please see:


43. 2007 ForestLeadership Awards - nomination period officially open

Source: Jean-Pierre Kiekens, ForestLeadership (in Forest Policy Info Mailing List)

Montreal, 6 February 2007 – ForestLeadership is pleased to announce the official nomination period and the jury composition for its annual awards to be presented on 9 May 2007 at the ForestLeadership Conference in Vancouver, BC.

Since 2005, the ForestLeadership Awards have recognized exceptional achievements by individuals and organizations in three areas: leadership, communication, and partnerships. The awards aim at highlighting role models for the forest and paper sector, which is always in need of better leaders and communicators and often relies on multi-stakeholder partnerships for its operations.

The 2007 award recipients will be decided upon by a prominent independent jury.

Nominations can be made by any individual or organization and the nomination package can be found and downloaded at Eligibility is restricted to individuals and organizations active in North America, and the deadline for nominations is 30 March 2007.

For more information, please contact:

Jean-Pierre Kiekens
Tel: +1(514) 274-4344 or toll free (888) 274-4344
Fax: +1(514) 277-6663

or visit



44. Non-Timber Forest Products

March 6, 200, New Ulm, MN, USA
March 13, 2007, New York Mills, MN, USA

Forests and woodlands produce much more than timber. In this session you'll learn about some other products that you can harvest and sell from your forest. Products and produce vary throughout the state, many possibilities will be discussed. These may include: hazelnut, woody floral, balsam boughs, birch bark, wild fruits and burls.

Specialty marketing of timber and NTFP will also be reviewed.

For more information, please contact:

Kathy Eckwright at +1-888-241-3214 or for New Ulm

or Diomy Zamor at 888-241-0720 or

or see


45. National Seminar on Ecotourism and Sustainable Development

8-10 March 2007

Jabalpur, India

This seminar explores ecotourism as a tool for sustainable development that has the potential to address complex and compelling social and natural scientific issues. Some of the issues that the seminar will focus on are:

• How can ecotourism help to empower local communities and alleviate rural poverty?

• How can ecotourism truly contribute to the survival of endangered flora and fauna?

• How can ecotourism facilitate cross-cultural learning, while diminishing the exploitation of "host populations"?

• How can we create harmony, not hostility, between people and the protected areas?

For more information, please contact:

4th Mile, Mandla Road, Tilhari
Jabalpur-482021 (MP), India
Tel: +761-260-2483/1091


46. Tradition to Technology Conference

10-13 May 2007

Saskatoon, SK, Canada

The Tradition to Technology Conference is a joint effort between the Natural Health Product Research Society of Canada and the Canadian Herb, Spice and Natural Health Products Coalition.

This conference will also include a significant Non-Timber Forest Resources component supported by Royal Roads University. The focus of this conference is on the tools, techniques and technology that support this industry and its R&D community. We plan to cover a wide range of topics from traditional use of medicinal plants and non-timber forest resources to some of the most sophisticated tools and techniques available to advance the science that supports this industry.

The conference will include contributed paper sessions featuring the latest advances in research as well as special sessions that will focus on business development, market trends and opportunities.

See the website for more details, including information on abstracts for oral or poster presentations:

Please submit before 26 January 2007, a 250 word abstract and title indicating your preference for oral or poster presentation and which of the above sessions you wish to present in. Specific instructions on how to prepare an abstract can be found on the conference website.

For more information, please contact:

Dr Alister Muir,
Conference Co-Chair, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada,
107 Science Place, Saskatoon,
SK, S7N 0X2, Canada
Fax +1(306) 956 7247,
email :


47. 2007 International Conference on Forest and Woodland History

3 - 7 September 2007

Thessaloniki, Greece

The conference is open to all those interested in trees, woodlands, forests and their cultural, social and economic values. We welcome researchers working in the fields of forest and woodland history, environmental history, historical and cultural geography and social anthropology or anybody who feels his/her research is connected to woodland cultures.

For more information you can visit the conference website:

or contact:

Dr Eirini Saratsi:

Prof Charles Watkins:

Assoc Prof Achilles Gerasimidis:


48. 4th International Medicinal Mushroom Conference

23 - 27 September 2007

Ljubljana, Slovenia
For more information, please visit:


49. International Symposium "Underutilized Plants for food, nutrition, income and sustainable development"

3-7 March 2008

Arusha, Tanzania

This 5-day Symposium is being organised under the auspices of the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), recognising the need to provide a global forum for exchange and debate on issues related to the promotion of underutilized plants. The Symposium is an activity of the newly formed ISHS working group on underutilized plant genetic resources (PG3) and will be a joint event of the ISHS Commission Plant Genetic Resources and Section Tropical and Subtropical Fruits.

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

Abstract submission deadline: 15 August 2007.

Co-convened by: International Centre for Underutilised Crops (ICUC), Global Facilitation Unit for Underutilized Species (GFU), The World Vegetable Center (AVRDC), The Global Horticulture Initiative (GlobalHort), Bioversity International, Plant Resources for Tropical Africa (PROTA), The International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS).

For further information, please see:

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



50. Coordonnateur Régional (Conseiller Technique), FAO Project GCP/RAF/408/EC

From : Sophie Grouwels, FAO,

Lieu d’affectation : Yaoundé, Cameroun, avec des déplacements en République Démocratique du Congo et dans la sous région

Démarrage : Avril 2007

Langue de travail: Français et anglais

Titre de projet : Mobilisation et renforcement des capacités des petites et moyennes entreprises impliquées dans les filières des produits forestiers non ligneux en Afrique Centrale.

Le projet (2007-2009) vise à accroître les revenus des populations rurales à travers le renforcement des capacités entrepreneuriales et la gestion durable des ressources naturelles dans un environnement institutionnel favorable. Les résultats attendus du projet sont : i) le renforcement des capacités des petites entreprises de production forestière est soutenu ; les filières des produits forestiers non ligneux (PFNL) prioritaires sont développées; iii) les techniques de gestion durable des PFNL sont renforcées, notamment de récolte et de la domestication ; et iv) les cadres institutionnel et légal sont adaptés au fonctionnement des acteurs des PFNL en Afrique Centrale.

Le projet sera mis en oeuvre par l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’Alimentation et l’Agriculture (FAO) en partenariat avec CIFOR (Center For International Forestry Research) ICRAF (World Agroforestry Center) et SNV (Netherlands Development Organization).

Deadline : 19 February 2007

Pour plus d’information contacter:

Sophie Grouwels
Forestry Officer, Community-based Enterprise Development (CBED)
Forestry Policy and Institutions Service, FONP
Forestry Department
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Room C-463
Tel (39)06 570 55299 - Fax (39) 06 570 55514
Webpage small-scale forest based enterprises:


51. Director, Centre for Non Timber Resources, Royal Roads University, Canada

From: Darcy Mitchell,

The Centre for Non-Timber Resources (CNTR) was established at Royal Roads in 2004 to support and encourage wise use of non-timber forest resources in order to diversify and sustain rural and resource-dependent economies.

The Director, who holds a faculty appointment, reports to the Associate Vice-President, Research, and is responsible for providing strategic direction and overall management to CNTR. Key roles of the position include development and implementation of the centre’s research and extension agenda within the RRU research plan in collaboration with a wide variety of external partner organizations, leading multi-disciplinary, multi-agency research projects, and building opportunities for research engagement of faculty and learners. Other key responsibilities include securing resources to fund the research/extension agenda, creating and supporting academic and professional curriculum, supervising a multi-disciplinary academic and professional team, developing provincial, national and international partner networks, and articulating and communicating the purpose and activities of CNTR and the importance of non-timber resources in forest management and rural development in both the developed and developing worlds.

To be well suited for this role you will possess the following qualifications:

• PhD degree in a relevant discipline is essential, and at least 5 years of senior experience in management of an academic research centre, or research-based public-sector, non-governmental or private sector organization;

• Demonstrated excellence in developing, resourcing and managing complex, inter-agency, multi-disciplinary research projects in relevant fields which may include, but are not limited to, resource management, rural development, entrepreneurship, international development, public policy, political science, geography, or economics;

• Strong track record in knowledge transfer, including both conventional academic publications, and professional and public education and extension activities;

• Demonstrated excellence in building networks of both internal and external interests and stakeholders, including organizations in the public sector, First Nations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector;

• Teaching and supervisory experience at the graduate level;

• Excellent decision-making skills and problem-solving abilities;

• Exceptional communication (oral and written) and interpersonal skills

• Comfortable working in a team-based, collaborative environment

• Experience in developing and managing research and administrative budgets

• Superior human resource skills

• Advocacy skills

• Broad understanding of the field of non-timber resources from the perspectives of sustainable forest management, social equity, and economic development.

In addition to a collegial learning community, RRU offers a comprehensive compensation package to core faculty, with a starting salary and academic rank based on qualifications and experience. This is an initial five year appointment with the possibility of it becoming a continuing appointment, subject to performance and program needs.

Review of interest received will commence on February 22, 2007 however, the competition will remain open until a successful candidate is found.

To apply please forward your cover letter and curriculum vitae (preferably in electronic format) to:


Competition #07-011


Human Resources - Career Opportunities
Royal Roads University
2005 Sooke Road
Victoria, BC V9B 5Y2, Canada
Fax: +1(250) 391-2570
Tel: +1(250) 391-2511



52. Request for information: Ummemezi (Cassipourea flanaganii)

From: Tony Dold, South Africa,

I am researching the use of Ummemezi (Cassipourea flanaganii) as a cosmetic here in the Eastern Cape of South Africa and would be delighted to hear from anybody who has information on this.

If you can help, please contact:

Tony Dold
Selmar Schonland Herbarium
Rhodes University Botany Department
c/o Albany Museum, Somerset Street
Grahamstown, 6139, South Africa
tel: 046 6222 312, Fax: 046 6222 398



53. Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Albrecht, M.A., and McCarthy, B.C. 2006. Comparative analysis of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) population re-growth following human harvest: implications for conservation. Am. Midl. Nat. 156(2):229-236.

Andersen, U.S., Córdova, J.P., Sørensen, M., and Kollmann, J. 2006. Conservation and utilisation of Abies guatemalensis Rehder (Pinaceae) - an endangered endemic conifer in Central America. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(10):3131-3151.

Baranga, Deborah. 2007. Observations on resource use in Mabira Forest Reserve, Uganda. In African Journal of Ecology, volume 45

The study was conducted in Mabira Forest Reserve, which is located between Kampala City and Jinja town (Uganda). The Reserve is predominantly occupied by tropical high forest communities of medium altitude moist semi-deciduous and moist evergreen forest. The forest was greatly influenced by human activities but has been recovering since illegal settlement and encroachment were stopped between 1988 and 1989. An assessment of human activities within the forest was conducted (March-November 2004). Tree stumps were enumerated along transects established in different parts of the forest and the tree species cut identified from the stumps coppicing. Interviews were conducted around four village enclaves to establish forest product utilization. Timber extraction, tree harvesting for building poles, firewood and charcoal burning were common activities in addition to nontimber product utilization. Shoots and thin branches are cut daily for chicken and beef roasting. These activities degrade the forest, compromising its status as a reserve and destroy the habitat and its biodiversity. Drastic management measures are needed to check these activities so as to enhance its conservation status.

Bista, S., and Webb, E.L. 2006. Collection and marketing of non-timber forest products in the far western hills of Nepal. Environ. Conserv. 33(3):244-255.

Cagnolo, L., Cabido, M., and Valladares, G. 2006. Plant species richness in the Chaco Serrano Woodland from central Argentina: ecological traits and habitat fragmentation effects. Biol. Conserv. 132(4):510-519.

Cocks, M.L. 2006. Bio-cultural diversity: Moving beyond the realm of ‘indigenous’ and ‘local’ people, Human Ecology 34(2): 185-200.

Cocks, M.L.; Bangay, L.; Wiersum, K.F. & Dold, A.P. 2006. Seeing the wood for the trees: the role of woody resources for the construction of gender specific household cultural artefacts in non-traditional communities in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Environment, Development and Sustainability 8:519–533.

Cocks, M.L. & Dold, A.P. 2006. Conservation of bio-cultural diversity: the role of medicinal plants in Xhosa culture. Journal of Ethnobiology 26 (1): 60-80.

Since the International Convention on Biodiversity in 1992 conservation biologists, ecologists and conservationists have devoted considerable attention to the conservation of biodiversity. With this has come the realization that solutions to biological problems often lie in the mechanisms of social, cultural, and economic systems. This shift has emphasized the relationship between biodiversity and human diversity, or what the Declaration of Belem (1988) calls an ‘inextricable link’ between biological and cultural diversity. The term biocultural diversity was introduced by Posey to describe the concept denoting this link. To date this concept has been used only in reference to “indigenous people” who, as part of their traditional lifestyles, use biodiversity to sustain their cultural identity. This paper however demonstrates that Xhosa people (amaXhosa) living in an urban context in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa continue to use wild plants for cultural purposes and often access these through commercial trade. We suggest that recognition of the cultural and spiritual values associated with wild plants would greatly enhance biodiversity conservation efforts. Recognition of the significant role that wild plants play in fulfilling cultural needs for urban Xhosa people would go a long way towards achieving this.

Colchester, M. et al. 2006. Justice in the forest: rural livelihoods and forest law enforcement. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia. ISBN 979 2446184.

The report is the result of exploratory studies in six countries – Bolivia, Cameroon, Canada, Honduras, Indonesia and Nicaragua – into the implications of forest law enforcement measures on the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities.

For more information, please contact:

CIFOR, PO Box 6596 JKPWB, Jakarta 10065, Indonesia.

Fax: 62-251-622100


Egadu, SimonP., Mucunguzi, Patrick and Obua, Joseph. 2007. Uses of tree species producing gum arabic in Karamoja, Uganda. In African Journal of Ecology, volume 45

This article presents an inventory of the uses of the tree species producing gum arabic by the local community in the Karamoja region. The study was conduced in 2000 using semi-structured interviews, focal group discussions and participants' observation. There were three tree genera with a total of six species that produced gum arabic. These were Balanites aegyptica, Acacia senegal, A. seyal, A. sieberiana, A. gerrardii and Lanea humilis. The dominant species producing gum arabic were A. senegal (85%), A. seyal (87%) and A. sieberiana (70.5%). Other uses by the local people included fencing, fuel wood, poles, crafts, medicine, intercropping, fibre and extraction of tannin. The intensity of utilization for fencing, fuel wood and poles was higher than that of gum arabic production. The local uses of gum arabic were food, gumming spears, gumming pots, gluing arrows, gluing broken stools, calabashes and joining leather. Establishing and facilitating the conservation status of these tree species are important for maintaining and even increasing the provisions for the local uses by the local community in Karamoja.

Evans, Kristen, et al. 2006. Field Guide to the Future - Four Ways for Communities to Think Ahead. CIFOR, 87 p. URL:

Available in hard copy and on a CD.

For more information, please contact:

Center for International Forestry Research
PO Box 6596 JKPWB
Jakarta 10065, Indonesia

World Agroforestry Center
PO Box 30677 - 00100
Nairobi, Kenya

Gopal, B., and Chauhan, M. 2006. Biodiversity and its conservation in the Sundarban Mangrove Ecosystem. Aquat. Sci. 68(3):338-354.

Government of Norway (2006) Norwegian Action Plan for Environment in Development Cooperation. Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo

A copy of the Action Plan can be downloaded from

For more information, please contact: the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Jayaram, K., and Prasad, M.N.V. 2006. Drosera indica L. and D. burmanii Vahl., medicinally important insectivorous plants in Andhra Pradesh - regional threats and conservation. Curr. Sci. 91(7):943-946.

Keppel, G., Rounds, I.A., and Thomas, N.T. 2006. The flora, vegetation, and conservation value of mesic forest at Dogotuki, Vanua Levu, Fiji Islands. New Zeal. J. Bot. 44(3):273-292

LeBreton, M., Prosser, A.T., Tamoufe, U., Sateren, W., Mpoudi-Ngole, E., Diffo, J.L.D., Burke, D.S., and Wolfe, N.D. 2006. Patterns of bushmeat hunting and perceptions of disease risk among central African communities. Anim. Conserv. 9(4):357-363.

Meitram, B; and Sharma, G.J. 2005. Rattan resources of Manipur: species diversity and reproductive biology of elite species. In Journal of Bamboo and Rattan. 4(4): 399-419

Rattans, the climbing palms, are one of the most important non-wood forest products after timber, supporting the livelihood of many forest-dwelling communities in South and South-East Asia. They are known for their strength, durability, elasticity and lightness and are used in making a variety of products. Excessive harvest, loss of habitat and poor regeneration in nature have resulted in the dwindling of the rattan population, much before the existing rattan resources can be identified, thereby resulting in an urgent need to evaluate and conserve the existing rattan resources. This paper studies the species diversity, characteristic features and utilization pattern of the various rattans in the nine districts of Manipur and reproductive biology of elite species, i.e., Calamus acanthospathus, C. arborescens, C. erectus, flagellum, C. florindus, C. guruba, C. inermis, C. latifolius, C. latifolius var. mormoratus, C. leptospadix, C. tenuis and Daemonorops jenkinsianus..

Monroe, M.C., and Willcox, A.S. 2006. Could risk of disease change bushmeat-butchering behavior? Anim. Conserv. 9(4):368-369.

Moore, P.D. 2006. Unkind cuts for incense. Nature 444(7121):829.

Nichols, J.D., Perry, J.E., and DeBerry, D.A. 2006. Using a floristic quality assessment technique to evaluate plant community integrity of forested wetlands in Southeastern Virginia. Nat. Areas J. 26(4):360-369.

Pethiya, B.P. 2006. Options for livelihood enhancement by combining small-scale forest based enterprises with microfinance practices: the Indian experience. Small-scale forestry and rural development: the intersection of ecosystems, economics and society Proceedings of IUFRO 308 Conference, hosted by Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway, Ireland, 18-23 June 2006. 2006; 386-397

In the recent past, more emphasis has been given to consider forests for Carbon trading, Biodiversity conservation, Indigenous people's Culture Protection and through ecotourism for Recreation values. In this process, the very role of forests to provide livelihoods to the people who had been drawing their livelihoods from the forest for generations got the lower priority. We do agree that forests have to provide economic services but at the same time, we cannot ignore the basic traditional role of meeting the economic needs of the poor people. Therefore, we have to look for models which can optimize both the roles of forests that are environmental along with the economic role. Poverty in India is one of the major problems, as amongst other developing countries. A number of government sponsored rural development program were initiated after the end of colonial rule in India including the famous Integrated Rural Development Programs (IRDP). It was observed that these programs were mainly focusing on providing subsidy and could not convert the "Un-economic active rural poor" into "Economically active rural people". The major reasons were unavailability of economic asset, microfinance and institutional support. This paper attempts to highlight that in the later years, the socio-economic role of forests had been recognized, particularly to address the subsistence economic needs of the poor, who are dependant on collecting Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) by dove-tailing the scope for setting up of SSNFE with microfinance. This has been done by creating the value addition options at local level for the rural poor in order to increase their share in the ultimate consumer's payments for the produce collected by them from forests. Thus forests had started serving as economic assets for the poor. But, this was not possible in isolation until, required financial services including credit and credit plus activities were taken care of. Hence, the combine effect of Small-Scale Non-timber Forest Products based Enterprises (SSNFE) options with utilization of potential of Microfinance Practices opened new doors for rural development from forests.

Pote, J., Shackleton, C.M., Cocks, M. & Lubke, R. 2006. Fuelwood harvesting and selection in Valley Thicket, South Africa. Journal of Arid Environments, 67: 270-287.

Richards, R.T.; Alexander, S.J. 2006. A social history of wild huckleberry harvesting in the Pacific Northwest. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-657. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 113 p.

Once gathered only for subsistence and cultural purposes, wild huckleberries are now also harvested commercially. Drawing on archival research as well as harvester and producer interview and survey data, an inventory of North American wild huckleberry plant genera is presented, and the wild huckleberry harvesting patterns of early Native Americans and nonindigenous settlers are described. The social, technological, and environmental changes that gave rise to the commercial industry in the Pacific Northwest by the 1920s and the industry’s demise after World War II are explained. The resurgence of the commercial wild huckleberry industry in the mid-1980s and national forest management issues related to the industry are presented as are possible strategies that land managers could develop to ensure wild huckleberry, wildlife, and cultural sustainability.

Sharma, K.K., Jaiswal, A.K., and Kumar, K.K. 2006. Role of lac culture in biodiversity conservation: issues at stake and conservation strategy. Curr. Sci. 91(7):894-898.

Svenning, J.C., and Skov, F. 2006. Potential impact of climate change on the northern nemoral forest herb flora of Europe. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(10):3341-3356.

Tabuti, J.R.S. 2007. Status of non-cultivated food plants in Bulamogi County, Uganda. In African Journal of Ecology, volume 45.

This study was carried out to document the non-cultivated food plants (NCFPs) of Bulamogi County, Uganda. It formed part of a wider study meant to document all edible plant species in the county with the general aim of strengthening food security. The study was conducted using semi-structured interviews. Fifty-nine NCFPs were recorded in the county. These grow as weeds, wild plants and semi-cultivated crops. They are equally distributed between herbaceous (54%) and woody (46%) growth habits. They yield fruits (31, n = 59), leaves (11, n = 59) or leaves and stems (10, n = 59) for consumption. A short list of 27 NCFPs with potential for domestication is suggested here for further study.

Ticktin, T., Whitehead, A.N., and Fraiola, H. 2006. Traditional gathering of native hula plants in alien-invaded Hawaiian forests: adaptive practices, impacts on alien invasive species and conservation implications. Environ. Conserv. 33(3):185-194.

Wilkie, D. 2006. Bushmeat: a disease risk worth taking to put food on the table? Anim. Conserv. 9(4):370-371.


54. Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Support Fair Trade

Support Fair Trade is a forum for consumers and organizations to discuss and share ideas. It is also a venue for consumers to find Fair Trade products and information. Fair Trade is a social movement that aims to lift artisans and farmers in the developing world out of poverty. The Fair Trade movement seeks to bring sustainable practices, whether business, social or environmental, to the trading relationship.



55. Brazil Amazon lost 13% of virgin forest in 2000-2003

Source: Adriana Brasileiro, Bloomberg, 26 January 2007

Brazil's Amazon region lost 13.3 percent of its virgin forest from 2000 to 2003, the government statistics agency IBGE said in a report.

Deforestation wiped out 665,945 square kilometers of original vegetation in the period as farmers developed cattle pastures and soybean farms at a time Brazilian exports surged to consecutive records. Logging has also been responsible for destruction of the forest. The deforested area is equivalent to the size of Italy and Germany together, the agency said.

``Deforestation has been responsible for changes in great potions of areas covered by native forest,'' Guido Gelli, director of Geoscience research at Brazil's statistics institute IBGE, said in a phone interview from Rio de Janeiro.

Gelli said the IBGE's report, based on 2003 data from satellite images and surveys, is the first comprehensive study on the impact of human development and economic activity in the region. The Amazon region has 25,000 kilometers of navigable rivers located in 7 million square kilometers, out of which 4 million square kilometers are located in Brazil.

He said growing farming in the region will probably continue to aggravate deforestation. Brazil's soybean production will rise 5 percent this year on favourable weather conditions and rising demand worldwide, according to IBGE data. Brazil, the world's second-largest soybean producer after the U.S., may harvest 54.9 million metric tons of soybeans in the 2007 calendar year, compared with 52.2 million tons in 2006, the IBGE said on its Web site. Soybeans are the second-largest commodity export in Brazil after iron ore.

Population Growth

Brazil's population in the Amazon is growing at the fastest pace in the country, the report also said.

The agency estimates the population in the Amazon, which includes 10 out of 27 states and represents 59 percent of Brazil's territory, will add 1.3 million people between 2005 and 2008, when it may reach 25 million. The average 10 percent growth rate in the region is higher than Brazil's average growth of 1.4 percent, the agency said. Brazil has 188 million people, according to IBGE.

Gelli said the region will continue to receive massive flows of migrant labourers looking for work in the Amazon's mines and soybean farms, which may further worsen deforestation in the region.

``It's worrisome and very hard to predict what the impact will be. People are still going to the Amazon in very large numbers to look for gold or work at the farms, and the region isn't prepared for that,'' he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adriana Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro at .

For full story, please see:


56. Group of rare vultures found in Cambodia

Source: AP, 7 February 2007 in ENN News

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Researchers in the remote forests of Cambodia said Wednesday they have discovered the only known colony in Southeast Asia of slender-billed vultures and scores of other endangered birds. The colony was discovered last month in the jungles east of the Mekong River in Cambodia's Stung Treng Province.

"We discovered the nests on top of a hill where two other vulture species were also found," said Song Chansocheat, manager of the Cambodia Vulture Conservation Project. The government project is supported by the World Conservation Society, BirdLife International, the World Wildlife Fund, the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

"Amazingly, there were also a host of other globally threatened species of birds and primates," Song Chansocheat said in a statement. "It's a very special place."

The area was also found to be home to several other species listed as critically endangered by the World Conservation Union, including the white-rumped vulture, according to the New York-based WCS.

The team also spotted a red-headed vulture, giant ibis and an endangered primate called a silvered langur, or leaf monkey.

Researchers said slender-billed vultures have been found in other parts of Southeast Asia but that the only other known colony until now was in northern India. They are believed extinct in many parts of Southeast Asia, including Thailand.

Soon after the discovery, Song's team set up measures to protect against poaching and egg collecting, and are now working with local communities to ensure that they are involved in longer-term conservation measures.

"We already have a successful WCS model working in the northern plains where local people benefit from conservation activities," he said. "I think we have a good chance of making it work here if we can find the support."

The Slender-billed vulture is one of several vulture species in Asia that have been driven to the brink of extinction in the past 12 years after eating cattle carcasses tainted with diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory painkiller that's given to sick cows and is highly toxic to vultures.

Diclofenac has lead to global population declines as high as 99 percent in slender-billed and other vulture species, especially in India. Diclofenac is now being slowly phased out in South Asia, but not at a pace that assures the recovery of the vultures.

Because diclofenac is almost entirely absent from use in Cambodia, the WCS said the country remains one of the main hopes for the survival of the species. Even so, the birds face numerous other threats, including lack of food due to the over-hunting of large-bodied mammals, loss of habitat, and poaching.

For full story, please see:



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last updated:  Friday, August 28, 2009