No. 01/07

Welcome to the first issue of 2007 of FAO’s NWFP-Digest-L, a free e-mail journal that covers all aspects of non-wood forest products. Back issues of the Digest may be found on FAO's NWFP home page: www.fao.org/forestry/site/12980/en.

A special thank you to all those who have sent me links to information.


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PRODUCTS

1. Agarwood in Thailand: Investors can harvest big returns from wood

Source: Bangkok Post, 12 January 2007

Touchwood Forestry Co Ltd, which claims to be Asia's most successful operator of private forests, aims to list its Thai operations on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) in the fourth quarter.

    Steve Griffin, the group accountant of Touchwood Group, said its reforestation business had offered individual investors the chance to be part of a lucrative investment since 2004. The company has 400 clients investing in its first three agarwood plantations in Prachin Buri province.

    Touchwood Forestry holds Board of Investment privileges to plant agarwood and sandalwood in Thailand for export. The BoI incentives offer an eight-year corporate tax holiday for the 1,900-rai agarwood plantation.

    According to chief executive Pierre Maloney, the company plans to purchase 10 land plots in Prachin Buri totalling 1,900 rai. The land would be owned by Touchwood Forestry, of which 51% of the shares belong to Thai shareholders.

    Currently, the company has around 1,000 rai in hand for its first four agarwood plantations. Each investor is allocated plots ranging from 25 square metres to 2.5 rai to grow agarwood trees, which take six years to mature. Touchwood will then cut them and sell them in overseas markets, returning revenue from sales to the investors.

    Returns on the investment in Thailand would be 18-22%, the company said.

For full story, please see: http://www.bangkokpost.com/Business/12Jan2007_biz54.php

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2. Atemesia annua: Kenya embarks on new anti-malaria drug

Source: Daily News, United Republic of Tanzania, 11 January 2007

Multinationals are raking in huge profits growing the medicinal plant Artemisia annua as Kenyan peasants look on haplessly. The new first-line malaria treatment drug, Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy, is extracted from the plant. A policy shift in malaria treatment last year kicked up a huge storm in the medical fraternity.

    The Kenya Government last April ordered the withdrawal of sulphur-based drugs (SPs), used for treating malaria from the market. It replaced them with a new combination treatment, known as Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT), which experts say is more effective against the killer disease.

    The push to land Government contracts for the supply of the ACTs has apparently been precipitated by the huge resources allocated by the Global Fund to fight malaria and HIV/Aids.

    While multinationals have been manufacturing ACTs in Kenya, the cost of the drugs remains high. SPs such as Metakelfin and Fansidar used to cost about Sh60 per dose, but ACTs manufactured by multinationals used to cost about Sh2,500 a dose before the Global Fund came in. The paediatric form used to cost about Sh1,200, but has come down to about Sh300 a dose. Although the drugs for adults now cost about Sh700 a dose, consumers still feel the price is beyond the reach of the majority.

    This has prompted the Government to allow local companies to produce generic versions that cost much less. The Government has also contracted a multinational pharmaceutical company to supply the drugs to public health outlets where they are given free to the public.

    The development has resulted in a high demand for Artemisinin, the main ingredient for producing ACTs, and consequently, the demand for Artemisia annua, the plant that contains artemisinin, has shot up dramatically in recent months. Although growing the plant locally presents an opportunity for farmers to double or even triple their income, the plant is in short supply in Kenya and local companies rely heavily on supplies from China, where the plant originated, Germany and Belgium.

    Only one local company extracts artemisinin, making the product expensive locally. One option the Government could still explore is the plan to grow the plant locally. Although it is being done on a small scale, it remains a tricky affair as myriad ecological and technical odds are stacked against the farmers.

    Large agricultural-based multinational companies, which could grow the plant in large commercial scale, have upstaged local smallholder farmers to rake in the profits. Like the extracting company, their monopoly ensures they control prices. It is estimated that the price of a sack of Artemisia annua (about Sh4,000) could buy two sacks of wheat (about Sh2,000 each) and four sacks of maize (about Sh1,000 each).

    However, farmers would be glad to know that there are virtually no farm inputs involved in producing Artemisia annua. Once planted, it needs no weeding, and has no known pests. In fact, the plant kills pests that affect other plants, making it ideal for inter-cropping. The venture is not labour intensive with work being put in only during harvest time.

    The only drawback is that the plant grows well only in certain soils. Growing it in other soils and under unsuitable climatic conditions results in low quality leaves.

    According to Rachel Okeyo of the Research and Development at Advanced Bio-Extract, Artemisia growing in Kenya is still at the pilot stage at a few sites in Central, Rift Valley and Western provinces, where the company is working with local farmers. "Much of the growing is being done in Uganda and Tanzania where there are perfect ecological and climatic conditions suitable for growing the plant".

    The bulk of leaves processed at the EPZ based artemisinin extracting plant, which is the only one in East and Central Africa, comes from the two countries. Another challenge facing prospective local Artemisia Annua growers is the cost of the seeds and the sheer size of land required. According to Okeyo, one needs twice as much land as maize to grow Artemisia. "For instance, if a farmer has two hectares of land to grow the plant, he will only use one hectare as the other hectare would be preserved for drying the leaves. The plant grows so huge that one requires extra space to dry the leaves," she says.

    The plant, says Okeyo, has to be dried in hygienic conditions to avoid contamination. "Farmers risk having their produce rejected at the factory if it is found to contain unacceptable levels of contamination. To eliminate that, farmers are obliged to set aside a piece of land specifically for drying the crop," says Okeyo.

    A gram of the seed, says Okeyo, costs between $150 (about Sh10,500) and $200 (Sh14,000). Most farmers cannot afford the seeds and the company advances them the seeds and later deducts the cost from the proceeds of the harvest. The seeds are so tiny that a one-gram packet contains about a thousand seeds.

    In a desperate effort to bridge the seed gap, a local company has tried to develop synthetic Artemisia seeds but the fruits of the efforts are yet to show. Producing synthetic Artemisia seeds, says Okeyo, may be viable but is a complicated and expensive affair.

For full story, please see: http://www.dailynews-tsn.com/page.php?id=5232

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3. Bamboo in Malaysia: Traditional tunes from the bamboo

Source: Malaysia Star, 11 January 2007

In an effort to promote the unique qualities of bamboo and its rich cultural heritage, Muzium Perak in Taiping recently organised a bamboo festival to showcase its application in the performing arts. 

    To mark the opening of the festival, which ended on Dec 31, a host of cultural performances were organised where the use of bamboo was highlighted. 

    Among the dance was the Mongunatip (bamboo dance) that is usually showcased during festivals held by the Dusun and Kadazan communities in Sabah to mark their padi harvesting seasons. 

    The influence of bamboo among the various races in the country was highlighted via a chingay routine performed by a Chinese cultural troupe from Penang, a rangoll dance, popular among Indians, and an angklung musical presentation.

For full story, please see: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/1/11/north/16233340&sec=North

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4. Bamboo bullet proof jackets and igloos

Source: NDTV.com, India, 30 December 2006

The conventional bullet proof jacket made of steel and fibre-glass not only weighs over 10kg, but also restricts mobility especially during sudden encounters.

    Now, the National Bamboo Mission under the Science and Tech ministry is trying out bullet proof jackets made of bamboo. These jackets weigh just 5kg and are also much cheaper. Where a conventional bullet proof jacket costs at least Rs 1.5 lakh a bamboo one will cost not more than Rs 50,000.

    With preliminary trials showing encouraging results these jackets will now be tested against AK 47s and Insas. Scientists working on the project are confident. They say bamboo is more tensile so it can absorb the impact of a bullet much better.

    It's not just bullet proof jackets, the National Bamboo Mission has also developed specially-designed igloos for the troops in high altitude frontiers like Siachen. Ten of these fire-resistant igloos have already been sent to Siachen, Tawang and the Nathu-La for trials.

    India is the second largest producer of bamboo in the world producing 135 million metric tonnes of bamboo every year. But its use has been restricted mainly to manufacturing paper and artefacts. But now clearly new ideas are being tried out.

For full story, please see: http://www.ndtv.com/morenews/showmorestory.asp?slug=Bamboo+jackets+for+jawans&id=98687&category=National

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5. Bamboo leaf extract to stop acrylamide formation?

Source: FoodProductionDaily-USA. 4 January 2007

Using an antioxidant-rich bamboo leaf extract could reduce the formation of acrylamide in potato chips and French fries by about 75 per cent, according to a new study.

    "This study could be regarded as a pioneer contribution on the reduction of acrylamide in various foods by natural antioxidants," wrote lead author Yu Zhang in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

    Acrylamide is a carcinogen that is created when starchy foods are baked, roasted, fried or toasted. Since its Swedish discovery in 2002, a global effort has been underway to amass data about this chemical. More than 200 research projects have been initiated around the world and their findings co-ordinated by national governments, the EU and the United Nations.

    The researchers, from Zhejiang University’s Department of Food Science and Nutrition, report that by immersing the potato crisps and French fries in bamboo leaf extract so that the extract penetrated into the potato matrix prior to the frying process, could reduce the formation of this cancer-causing compound.

    The extract, with the main components characterised as flavonoids, lactones and phenolic acids, is listed as a food ingredient in China, and permitted as an additive in a range of food products, including fish and meat products, edible oils, and puffed food.

    "Our results showed that nearly 74.1 per cent and 76.1 per cent of acrylamide in potato crisps and French fries was reduced when the AOB addition ratio was 0.1 per cent and 0.01 per cent (w/w), respectively," said Zhang.

    The researchers also investigated if the bamboo leaf extract affected the sensory properties of the resultant potato products by recruiting 30 untrained volunteers to taste the products in a double blind manner. They report that the crispness and flavour of both with the bamboo extract were not significantly different to normal potato matrixes when the bamboo lead extract addition ratio was less than 0.5 per cent.

Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,

Published on-line ahead of print; ASAP article, doi: 10.1021/jf062568i "Addition of Antioxidant of Bamboo Leaves (AOB) Effectively Reduces Acrylamide Formation in Potato Crisps and French Fries" Authors: Y. Zhang, J. Chen, X. Zhang, X. Wu, and Y. Zhang

For full story, please see: http://www.foodproductiondaily-usa.com/news/ng.asp?id=73069

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6. Bark: Tree bark molecule may combat malaria

Source: PLoS Medicine, 2 January 2007 in SciDev.Net Weekly Update

A compound derived from tree bark has potential as a preventative treatment for malaria, according to a study published in PLoS Medicine.

    The treatment targets the early stages of malaria infection. This would make it more difficult for the parasite to develop the kind of drug resistance that hampers conventional malaria treatment programmes. 

    Scientists isolated a new molecule, tazopsine, from bark collected in Madagascar's eastern rain forest. They found that N-cyclopentyl-tazopsine, a less-toxic compound derived from the molecule, was effective against early, liver-stage malaria parasites in animal tests.

    However, the compound is ineffective once infection has reached the red blood cells.

Tazopsine comes from the stem bark of the plant Strychnopsis thouarsii. It is the sole ingredient in a traditional tea used as a treatment for malaria infection. The authors of the study hope that variants of tazopsine-related molecules can be tested to find one of low toxicity, suitable for clinical trials.

    A resurgence of malaria since the 1980s, combined with a shortage of conventional drugs, has forced many Madagascans to rely on medicines from more than 200 plants to fight the disease. This has triggered scientific interest, as Madagascar's long isolation from neighbouring countries has resulted in a unique mix of plants and animals.

    The lead author of the study, Dominique Mazier, of the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France, said if a drug is eventually developed to specifically target the parasite in the liver, this could prove significant in combating drug resistance.

    A member of the research team, Philippe Rasoanaivo of the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) in Antananarivo, Madagascar, told SciDev.Net that tests on chimpanzees were due to begin this year in Gabon, while tests on rhesus monkeys would be done in Thailand before the end of 2007.

Reference: PLoS Med doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030513 (2006)

For full story, please see: http://www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=3316&language=1

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7. “Gum arabic is an ultra-strategic commodity”

Source: Sudanese Media Center, Sudan, 11 January 2007

A leading authority on gum arabic stressed the need to rehabilitate the Savannah belt rich in gum Arabic with its high monetary and nutritional value making it what maybe called an ultra-strategic commodity.

    Head of the Board of Directors of Dar Savannah Co. Ltd and leading authority on gum arabic Dr. Isam Sideeg Ahmed stated that Sudan is the world's biggest producer (80% of total production) of gum arabic to which reference is made in the Qur'an, Bible and Torah as "Manna". Sudan produces one of the highest quality strains of gum arabic widely known for its preservative properties and used in a variety of products including sweets, carbonated drinks, packaged foods, pastries, medications and cosmetics.

    Modern scientific research has shown gum arabic to have therapeutic value in the treatment of kidney failure and other diseases as well as being a natural substitute for Viagra. It has also been observed that women living in the vicinity where gum Arabic is grown and produced have a lower rate of infertility. Dr Isam draws attention to the fact that according to European and American nutritional agencies have recently classified gum arabic as a high nutritional-content substance with appreciable amounts of soluble fibers, calcium (calcium absorption increases by 40% in the presence of fiber found abundantly in gum arabic), magnesium and iron. Sudan exported 60 000 tons of gum Arabic in 1960 which declined to only 20 000 tons in 2005. This decrease in demand is due to the replacement of gum arabic by industrial substitutes as preservatives until recent research showed gum Arabic as the safest preservative substance. Gum arabic lost none of its market value following the discovery of its high fiber content (86%). Indeed this has added to its appeal as fibers are known to be essential to the digestive process which should make it particularly valuable for Europe markets where 40% of the population suffers from constipation-related disorders. Gum arabic is also known to stimulate inert gastric bacteria which assist in the elimination process.

    Dr. Isam called for a complete re-evaluation of the marketing strategy for gum Arabic in light of these recent findings. So far, Dar Savannah working together with the its Italian agent Dalco Co., has been able to produce five nutritional supplements derived from gum arabic, which can be taken on a daily basis as therapy for chronic constipation. The company is also getting ready to produce flavoured drinks.

    Gum arabic seems like a new elixir with its role in fighting so many diseases including diabetes, kidney disease, colon cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure. Research continues to unravel the secrets of this marvellous substance.

For full story, please see: http://www.smc.sd/en/artopic.asp?artID=23427&aCK=EA

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8. Medicinal plants: China beats India in medicinal plants

Source: SahilOnline, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 5 December 2006

Even though India is growing more than 5,000 varieties of medicinal plants, its total medicinal plant business is only US$2.5 billion, while China growing only 1,500 varieties is making more than US$800 billion said Sirsi Forest college lecturer and president Prof. Nagesh Naik Kagal. He was speaking in a program of cultivation and usage of medicinal plants in Kumta jointly arranged Janajagriti Vedike Kumta, National Medicinal Plants Board Delhi, Agriculture University Dharwad and Forest College Sirsi.

    According to one speaker, the Uttara Kannada district is land of different varieties of climate, which helps to grow different varieties of medicinal plants. But if we continue the use of medicinal plants, without growing them, one day the stock of medicinal plants will become empty.

For full story, please see: http://www.sahilonline.org/english/coastalnews.asp?nid=1855&sid=76110458

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9. Medicinal plants: 1,792 species of plants in Nepal used as medicine

Source: Xinhua in People's Daily Online, China, 3 January 2007

Of the estimated 7,000 plants found in Nepal, 1,792 species were found to have been used in traditional and modern medicine in one way or the other, Nepal’s National News Agency RSS reported on Wednesday.

    According to a book on different species of plants jointly written by Sushimaranjan Baral and Puran Prasad Kurmi, 1,557 species are found in the wild, 235 species are cultivated.

    At Tuesday's book release ceremony here, Minister of State for Forest and Soil Conservation Dilendra Prasad Badu said the medicinal plants used in traditional medicine should be preserved and should be registered in order to export such herbs in the international market.

    Officiating secretary at the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Udaya Raj Sharma said that since many herbs were on the verge of extinct due to climate change and irregular use, emphasis should be given to preserve them.

    According to the RSS, the book also provides Nepal and English names of the plants used for medicinal purpose, as well as information on the geographical state, the pictorial and other medicinal qualities of the plants.

For full story, please see: http://english.people.com.cn/200701/03/eng20070103_337898.html

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10. Shea Butter again emerges as key ingredient in skin care

Source: CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com, France. 03/01/2007

Shea butter has once again emerged as a leading ingredient within cosmetic products due to its moisturising properties, featuring as the main ingredient in a new natural body butter range.

    Cosmetic manufacturer Body pHusion has created the range, named Naledi, with a shea butter fragrance to compliment its existing skin care range that capitalizes on the many beneficial properties that shea butter has to offer the skin. “Our whipped unrefined shea butter has always been a top-seller, and best-loved by our customers and friends of body pHusion”, states a company spokesman.

    The moisturising benefits of shea butter have long been used by many cosmetic companies in products such as lip plumpers and cleansing bars, with the latest fragrance range emerging as an innovative move in the natural skin care industry and pushes the company forward as a leading player.

    The company took six months to research and develop the fragrance range, targeting female consumers with the fragrance said to leave the skin feeling ‘soft, smooth and moisturised'.

    Janson Beckett Cosmeceuticals previously tapped into the growing trend by using the ingredient in its 2006 launch of the natural and less invasive alternative to cosmetic surgery for lips, lip plumper. The company used shea butter - a natural moisturizer and emollient - along with Vitamin E, an excellent antioxidant, to help moisten the lips and protect against environmental damage.

    Chemical manufacturer Jarchem Industries also recognised the importance of the ingredient and incorporated it into its new line of natural-based butter and oil ingredients for a wide range of cosmetic applications that included emulsifiers, stabilisers and functionality. The company used three shea butter ingredients within the range: Jarplex SB35, refined shea butter with crystallization properties; Jarplex SB15, a liquid with high emollient properties; and Jarplex SB45, a soft feel ingredient ideal for enhanced skin feel.

For full story, please see: http://www.cosmeticsdesign-europe.com/news/ng.asp?n=73052-body-phsion-jarchem-industries-shea-butter-skin-care-natural

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11. Silk: Indian Government is putting emphasis on forest-grown silk

Source: The Economic Times, India, 28 December 2006

BHUBANESWAR: With China far ahead of India in the sericulture sector, the Centre is laying emphasis on the growth of ‘vanya’ or forest-grown silk that has the potential to make a mark in the global market.

    China accounts for about 80% of the world’s silk market with India lying a distant second with 14%. India has an annual production of around 17,305 metric tonnes of silk, including 15,445 metric tonnes of mulberry silk and 1,860 metric tonnes of ‘vanya’ silk, deputy secretary KK Setty of the Central Silk Board, said here on Tuesday.

    While there is global competition for mulberry silk, there is no competition for forest-grown silk as it is unique to India, Mr Setty told reporters ahead of a five-day exhibition and trade meet for vanya silk beginning here on January 3.

    The event is being organised by the Central Silk Board. In the era of globalisation and liberalisation and introduction of WTO, forest-grown silk has more potential as a “very Indian silk” in the world market, Mr Setty said.

    It had been treated as a tribal craft of hill folks all these years. But of late, the craft has got commercial importance because of huge demand in India and foreign markets.

    “We have sufficient forest flora and tribal inhabitants in our country. What is now required is the commercial exploitation of the silk without disturbing the ecological balance to provide better livelihood for tribals,” he said, adding “Vanya silk is eco-friendly as its cultivation does not affect the flora and the entire production process is eco-friendly.”

    India is the home to all four varieties of commercially exploitable silk —- mulberry, tasar, muga and eri. While mulberry is produced by big farmers on a large scale, tasar, eri and muga silks are produced by smaller farmers, mainly tribals, in forest areas, Mr Setty said.

    These three varieties are collectively called vanya as they are grown in forests. Mr Setty said the Central Silk Board, in collaboration with state sericulture departments, is providing support for the development of both mulberry and vanya silks.

    As the producers of vanya silk are located in remote areas and have no access to markets, the board had set up a vanya silk market promotion cell that is organising the upcoming exhibition. Mr Setty said the exhibition would showcase all Indian varieties of non-mulberry silk under one roof while providing a platform for small manufacturers, handloom weavers, tribal artisans, retailers, traders, exporters and importers to exhibit and sell their products

For full story, please see: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Markets/Commodities/Govts_putting_emphasis_on_forest-grown_silk/articleshow/956422.cms

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12. Stevia: Chinese company doubles stevia production capacity

Source: NPIcenter (press release), 9 January 2007

QUFU, CHINA. Sunwin International Neutraceuticals, Inc. (SUWN) , a leader in the production and distribution of Chinese herbs, veterinary medicines and one of the world's leading producers of all natural, zero calorie Stevia in China, announced today that it has completed construction of its new Stevia manufacturing facilities. These new facilities are capable of producing an additional 300 tons of premium Stevia per year, increasing annual bulk production by approximately $15 million per year.

    The new facilities will use proprietary technology developed by Sunwin to process the seed of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, enabling the company to produce the highest grade Stevia in the industry. Management believes the premium Stevia produced at the company's new plant will be far superior in taste and quality than any other Stevia on the market. It also believes its proprietary Stevia will provide consumers with the real sugar experience, without the sometimes-bitter aftertaste associated with other competitors' products.

    The company anticipates that this additional production will be marketed to the pharmaceutical industry in China, Japan, South Korea, and other Far East countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and India to name a few. In addition, the new facilities will be geared for ramping Stevia supplies in support of Sunwin's new product offerings, marketed under the trademark name "Only Sweet" in North America, scheduled to be launched in the first quarter of 2007.

For full story, please see: http://www.npicenter.com/anm/templates/newsATemp.aspx?articleid=17385&zoneid=12

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13. Truffles: France's truffle producers sniff out EU subsidy

Source: The Independent, UK, 7 January 2007

Producers of one of the most expensive foods on earth, the truffle, are campaigning for a European Union subsidy.

    French truffles are fetching up to €800/kg this winter in village markets in the south of France. Producers have asked the European Commission to give them a subsidy to plant more "truffle trees" - the varieties of oak that promote the growth of the much-prized underground fungi, which are sniffed out by dogs and pigs.

    Brussels has turned up its nose at the request, which it says does not "fit" its attempts to cut back on agricultural spending. The French federation of truffle producers says it will continue its campaign in the European Parliament.

    The problem, it says, is not truffle prices, which are booming, but the quantities of truffles found in Europe - mostly France and Italy - which are plummeting. Dry, hot summers, the advance of the suburbs and the use of agricultural chemicals are all blamed for the growing scarcity of the Tuber melanosporum, or "black" Périgord truffle.

    In the late 19th century, France harvested 1,600 tons a year. Only about 20 tons are expected to come to market in the south of France this winter. If nothing is done, the truffle producers say, the European market will be overwhelmed by an influx of cheaper, and less powerfully tasting, Chinese truffles.

    About 10,000 people in France are engaged in the truffle industry, mostly in the south-east. But only a few dozen make their living entirely from truffles.

For full story, please see: http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article2132564.ece

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COUNTRY INFORMATION

14. Armenia: The forest is receding

Source: Hetq Online, Yerevan, Armenia, 8 January 2007

Precious plants are nearing extinction in the forest area surrounding Vanadzor. Agricultural scientist Lilia Bayramyan has identified such medicinal herbs and wild plants as nettle, thyme, mint, cat thyme, motherwort, Solomon's seal, St. John's wort, etc. Her observation in and around Vanadzor's central bazaar last spring reveal that about four metric tons of herbs and wild plants were collected and sold each day during that period.

    “If this trend continues the reserves of precious plants will be exhausted in two years,” Lilia Bayramyan concludes. Biologist Karen Afrikyan in his turn notes that in the near future one sort of both thyme and St John's wort will end up in the Red Book.

    Bayramyan explains that the ruthless collection of herbs is not the only human activity that threatens these precious plants. Her studies also suggest that the plants are endangered above all by logging in the area. “Since logging began, the temperature has risen. The precious plants began withering in the sunlight. Now they can only grow in the upper or trans-alpine layer of the forest. And people, in their turn, keep picking them.”

    The result of all this is that in the formerly forested areas of Vanadzor, precious plants are being replaced by herbaceous plants. Lilia Bayramyan has also discovered that as a consequence of the destruction of forest areas, fewer minerals are enriching the soil and nourishing the precious plants. In return, favourable conditions for grass have been created. Wild horse-radish, trefoil, and coltsfoot have overtaken the former forests and, growing rapidly, prevent any other tree or plant seeds that end up here from taking root.

    “The fact is the forest is slowly receding,” Karen Afrikyan said.

    The rapid propagation of herbaceous plants turns formerly forested areas into a zone of desert growth. Lilia Bayramyan maintains that a zonal alteration is now taking place, which entails climate change. In other words, the herbaceous plants are gradually turning the forest areas into a trans-alpine zone in which the temperature is continuously rising.

    As a result of the steady rise in temperature the forest will disappear. And in the Lori Marz, according to Karen Afrikyan, all the prerequisites now exist.

    Karen Afrikyan points to areas in Lori that have been irrevocably lost and will not even be restored as forest zones in centuries. Among them he singles out the forests of Gugark and Vanadzor. At the same time, there has been a fundamental change in the composition of the Vanadzor forests, which prior to logging were 90% oaks and beeches.

    “The natural forest has transformed into a secondary forest,” agreed Lilia Bayramyan. She believes it may take up to a thousand years to restore the natural forest, that is, if the area does not completely succumb to desertification, as it threatens to today.

For full story, please see: http://www.hetq.am/eng/ecology/0701-vanadzor.html

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15. Australian Aborigines win East Coast land claim

Source: Reuters, 2 January 2007 in ENN News

Aborigines won a 10-year fight for control of World Heritage-listed rainforests in the centre of Australia's wealthy east coast on Tuesday, sealing one of the country's biggest native land deals.

    The Githabul people will help manage 19 national parks and state forests covering 6,000 square km (3,700 square miles) in New South Wales (NSW) state, including rugged mountain peaks said to be home to powerful ancestral spirits.

    The area lies beside some of Australia's most pristine coastal scenery, including the hip Byron Bay resort and the touristy beaches and cities of southern Queensland. Most of the country's economic wealth is concentrated along the eastern seaboard.

    Many of Australia's 460,000 Aborigines live in remote communities with poor access to jobs, good housing, health services and education. They account for around 2.3 percent of the 20 million population.

    But Australia's High Court ruled in 1992 that Aborigines had a right to ancestral lands used prior to white settlement.

    The Githabul deal follows a decade of talks and legal argument with the NSW government, and will allow around 250 tribal members to hunt and fish for protected native animals, including turtles and echidnas, or native ant-eaters.

    The claim covers the world heritage Border Ranges and Toonumbar national parks. Tribal elders hope it will also lead to jobs and less welfare dependency among local Aboriginals.

    Githabul claimant Trevor Close said the agreement would allow his "people of the rainforest" to hunt, fish and run businesses near the parks without fear of punishment.

For full story, please see: http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=11949

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16. Belize: I-A Commission says GOB must protect indigenous people of Toledo

Source: The Reporter Belize, Belize, 5 January 2007

By permitting oil exploration on indigenous lands in the Toledo District the Government of Belize is violating treaty obligations and also a 2004 ruling by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

    This is the official view of the environmental group Global Response, which insists when the government of Belize gave its permission for Texas-based oil company, U.S. Capital Energy, to conduct seismic surveys in the Sarstoon/Temash National Park without consultation, it violated the rights of the Ketchi and Garifuna people who inhabit this land.

    Eight years ago, in 1998 the Toledo Maya Cultural Council and the Indian Law Resource Center filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, arguing that by granting logging and oil concessions without consultation with the Toledo native communities, the Belize Government was violating certain human rights guaranteed under the American Declaration of Rights.

    In October 2004, six years later, the Inter-American Commission rendered a verdict in favour of the petitioners and ruled the Government’s failure to consult and the negative environmental effects arising from the concessions were in fact violations of the Treaty.

    Global Response has joined other local environmental groups to say that allowing new oil explorations in the Sarstoon/Temash National Park is another contravention of this 2004 ruling.

    The Sarstoon/Temash National Park is Belize’s second largest national park, encompassing an area of 41,000 acres of pristine forest and coastline along the southern border with Guatemala.

    The park includes 16 miles of Caribbean coastline and contains 14 ecosystem types including undisturbed mangrove, the only comfre palm forest* in Belize and the only known lowland sphagnum moss bog* in Central America.

    * Comfre palm is a rough, hairy perennial herb - not a tree. Its roots contain tannin and are used widely in herbal medicine and treatments.

    * Sphagnum moss, also known as bog moss is found in wet boggy soil, growing in clumps. The moss is permeated with capillary cells which retains water. It is used in potted plants and in some countries it is used as a dressing for wounds.

    The park is home to 226 species of birds, 24 species of mammals, 22 species of reptiles and 46 species of butterflies.

    In 2003 the Government of Belize signed an agreement with the Sarstoon/Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) giving it authority to manage the park and for the last four years SATIIM has been the organisation taking care of the park and making sure environmental laws are obeyed.

    SATIIM represents five Ketchi Maya and Garifuna indigenous communities in the area and is internationally recognised as an organisation with legal powers to enforce the law.

    Global Response has announced it will launch a letter-writing campaign directed at destruction of the biodiversity which affects the livelihood of the local people living on the land.

For full story, please see: http://www.reporter.bz/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=1686&Itemid=2

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17. Brazil: Project in the Baú Indigenous Land makes its first sale of certified oil

Source: Amazonia.org.br, 15 December 2006 (in Amazon News)

The Baú Indigenous Land enterprise has just made its first sale of FSC-labeled Brazil nut oil.  Members of the Kayapó tribe closed a deal with the vegetable oil processing company, Beraca, right after the event in which they received the FSC label and IBD (organic) certification, this Wednesday at Fiesp headquarters in São Paulo.  "The visit to São Paulo was very productive, the contact with businessmen was very good for disseminating our products and we are also seeking other companies as well", said Luís Carlos Sampaio, Funai technician that provides assistance to the Raoni Institute in Colíder, Mato Grosso.

    Beraca provides processed raw materials to the cosmetics industry, and purchased the entire certified production of the Kayapó, some 750 liters. Beraca director João Matos said that discussions were easy, due to the fact that the Sustainable Businesses Service Bureau, an initiative of Friends of the Earth - Brazilian Amazonia, had intermediated the contact.

    Matos said that for forest products to become increasingly incorporated into the cosmetics and hygiene industry in general, in addition to the high quality of raw material, there has to be a guarantee of constant supply.  On this point, the management plan required for FSC certification includes planning to enable continuous production.

    At the Fiesp event, promoted by Friends of the Earth with support from the Brazilian Association of Personal Hygiene, Perfumes and Cosmetics Industry (Abihpec), the Kayapó displayed a map they had drawn showing several sites with other potential raw materials for the industry.  They invited the businessmen to contact them so that, together, they might conduct prospecting as to the economic feasibility of these products.  To the director of Beraca, including forest elements in the market should link quality to the concept of certification.  "The end consumer does not yet fully understand what forest and organic certification means, we need to clarify this better to enhance the value of products sustainably managed in the forest."

For full story, please see: http://www.amazonia.org.br/english/noticias/noticia.cfm?id=228787

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18. Cuba: Bee honey production up in Las Tunas

Source: Cuban News Agency in Periódico 26, Cuba, 4 January 2007

By turning out 240 tons of bee honey, the beekeepers in the eastern Cuban province of Las Tunas doubled their production in 2006 as compared with the previous year's output.

    That mark is important for the province, because since 1983 the targets in that economic sphere had not been fulfilled

    Rafael Cruz, head of the Las Tunas Apiculture Company, told the Cuban News Service that the proper attention to the beehives by more than 100 local producers was key to achieving that success.

    Bee honey is a very exportable product, which is sold at favourable prices in the international market due to its varied uses in the pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic industries.

    Numerous medicinal properties have been recognized for honey. It is an energy-giving foodstuff, it helps people get to sleep, and produces beneficial effects on the skin and the respiratory organs.

    Following a striking fall in the production of bee honey in the 1990's, Cuba has been able to overcome that low and since 2003 the country has been making more than 7,000 tons every year and is striving to surpass the record of 10,000 tons set in 1983.

    As part of the recovery process of the apiculture industry, the island is also increasing its production of the so-called specific honey varieties, which are made from particular types of flowers such as bellflower or mangrove, which are in high demand because of their clarity and fresh taste.

For full story, please see: http://www.periodico26.cu/english/news_tunas/honey010407.htm

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19. India: Exploited forest dwellers now legal

Source: Reuters in iol, South Africa, 3 January 2007

Daya Rakha, 36, was born in the jungles of the Gir wildlife sanctuary in western India and knows little else except how to live off the forest's resources. Just as his ancestors did generations ago, Daya ekes out a meagre living mainly by tending to his cattle which relentlessly graze in Gir's lush forests.

    But Daya - like millions of India's forest dwellers - has never been able to call the forest his home. Instead he has been treated as a criminal by authorities as he has no legal right to stay in the forests where his forefathers lived and died.

    "It is the eviction notices from the government and rules made to uproot us by the forest officials that give us sleepless nights," said Daya, who belongs to the 8 400-strong Maldhari tribe of Gir.

    Over 40 million of India's most impoverished and marginalised people live in the country's forests - including tiger reserves, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks - but for years have been neglected by the government and left to fend for themselves.

    The Maldharis have long lived with eviction threats, alleged harassment and extortion by officials who say they are guilty of environmental destruction and endangering wildlife in the sanctuary - one of the last bastions of the rare Asiatic lion.

    But a new law will for the first time enshrine their right to live in the forests and national parks. Conservationists are worried this could hamper efforts to save India's endangered wildlife such as lions and tigers.

    In Gir, the pastoral Maldhari community live a simple life in small mud houses hidden deep in the forests, with no electricity, running water, schools or access to healthcare.

    They earn a living by producing milk from their cattle, growing vegetables, collecting honey and trading their produce in the local market for items like food grains. Most are illiterate and unable to count or use money.

    Activists say these forgotten forest people lead a primitive life and face many hardships and that their communities are vulnerable to exploitation allegedly by forest officials who compel them to pay bribes to enter and exit sanctuaries.

    But the Recognition of Forest Rights Bill 2006, passed by parliament in December, could help end the suffering of many of India's forest people by giving them rights over forest land.

    The law, which will apply to those who have lived in the forests for at least three generations, will allow dwellers to use NTFP such as bamboo, stumps, cane and to collect honey. But it prohibits them from hunting animals.

    While this is seen as a landmark law by social activists, environmentalists and forestry officials who hold forest dwellers responsible for damaging the environment and poaching wild animals, are concerned.

    "If allowed to live in the forest, they will degrade the habitat as their cattle graze in direct competition with prey like deer," said a conservator of Gir's forests, referring to how a fall in prey would hurt numbers of predators.

    Livestock are also prone to epidemics and could infect Gir's wildlife which includes the rare Asiatic lion whose numbers have recovered to around 360 from less than 15 in the mid-20th century due to a successful breeding project, he added.

    Conservationists are also concerned that the law will allow more encroachers into the forests and push wildlife out of protected areas, leaving them more vulnerable to hunters.

    Some wildlife activists say it is essential that forest dwellers be involved in conservation efforts and given a sense of ownership and responsibility over the forests, perhaps by employing them as tourist guides or guards.

    Forest dwellers say they are not responsible for the loss of wildlife and regularly report poaching to authorities and monitor illegal activities such as mining and tree felling.

    "Officials say we are eating up the forest but in reality we are helping in protecting the lions and the jungle," says Lali Rudha. - Reuters

For full story, please see: www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=14&click_id=143&art_id=vn20070103095302366C211694

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20. India: Living with forests – Debate rages over Tribal Bill

Source: NDTV.com, India, 7 January 2006

The Tribal Bill, which was passed by the Parliament in December after bitter debates between conservationists and tribal activists will now face the test of implementation.

    The BR hills are a protected area, the only ecological corridor between the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats, one of the top ten biodiversity hot spots in the world.

    So far there has been no conflict between the needs of the Sholiga tribals and the conservation of these forests. "We have been here long enough to not have any trouble with the animals as we know what to do around them." said Jeddiappa, Sholiga.

    Even their old practice of shifting agriculture and small time hunting was stopped years ago with the help of an NGO VGKK and the forest department.

    The Sholigas live in small settlements called podus and apart from keeping cattle and sustenance agriculture, they primarily collect and sell NTFP. VGKK helps them collect and process these products, which are then sold. The local tourist lodge buys their products and employs the tribals, generating a decent livelihood.

    The question being asked is whether the passing of the tribal bill might affect this delicate balance.

    The Tribal Bill hopes to restore certain rights to tribals in forests like their right to own their own land and access the forests. But while there is support for the bill, the worry is that it might hurt the working system in BR hills due to the inclusion of non-tribals who have never lived with the forests the way the Sholigas have.

    "I think the inclusion of non tribals is a mistake and it will lead to the decline of the forests," said Dr Sudarshan, Founder, VGKK. The bill is also a uniform one across the country except for Jammu and Kashmir, which is exempt. This presumes that tribal cultures and ecosystems across India from the Northeast to central India and the south are identical.

    The forest department, for its part, is worried that this bill will add to their burden of protecting.

    It is undisputed that for years tribals have been disempowered and treated badly across the country, both from creating protected areas and sanctuaries and development projects. But it is also a myth to think that tribals own all rights in a forest, while conservation needs can be met by also involving community welfare.

    The question is will the tribal bill deliver the much needed improvement in the lives of the tribal without damaging our already fragile ecosystems.

For full story, please see: http://www.ndtv.com/template/template.asp?template=environment&slug=Debate+rages+over+Tribal+Bill&id=99083&callid=1&category=National

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21. India: JK set to become hub of herbal entrepreneurship

Source: GreaterKashmir.com (press release), India, 9 January 2007

Taking cue from the fast growing international market for medicinal and aromatic plants besides commercial floriculture, authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have taken several measures to generate employment opportunities and boost the economy.

    Hundreds of acres of land were being brought under the cultivation of the flowers and herbal plants in the Himalayan region during past five years.

    “With suitable climate, finest underground soil, conducive environment and favourable altitude, we possess enormous potential of boosting the production of these plants in the state”, said Dr M I Parray, director, Jammu and Kashmir entrepreneurship development institute (JKEDI).

    The global market for traditional remedies has shot up to over US $70 billion from less than 20 billion in just five years. India’s share in the global market is only 1 percent with nearly 50 billion rupees annual turn over in the medicinal and aromatic plants alone.

    He said with meagre investment, instant returns, available market and less dependence on governmental support, the commercial floriculture, cultivation and marketing of aromatic and medicinal plants emerged highly attractive avocation for unemployed youth in the state.

    Parray said his institute had signed up a MoU with J&K Bank where under entrepreneurs trained and sponsored by JKEDI are extended a loan facility up to Rs300,000 without any collateral security.

    More than 1,300 species of herbs, aromatic and medicinal plants are found in the state forests of which about 400 are important, says Dr C M Seth, director, State Forest Research Institute (SFRI). They include Shingli-mingli (Dioscorrea deltoidea Wall), Kalmegh (Andrographis paniculata), Kalihari (Gloriosa superba), Bael (Aegle marmelos), Safed Musli (Cholrophytum borivillianum), Atees (Aconitium heterophyllum) and Harad (Termunalia chebula) etc,

    Some of the medicines thus produced are effective against chronic ulcers, liver problems, blood pressure, piles, cholera, colic, skin diseases, gastric disorders, uro genital problems, diabetes and cancer etc. “There are simple herbs and roots that every family may use for themselves and needed not to call a doctor,” feels Dr Seth.

    “Indian School of Medicines (ISM) is so popular that we have a parallel network of hospitals, dispensaries and doctors along with allopathic treatment available in Jammu and Kashmir,” says KulBushan Jandial, health secretary. ISM has set up a Vanaspati Van (Herbal forest) spread over an area of nearly 800 acres in Kashmir to produce quality medicinal and aromatic plants for use in its hospitals and dispensaries, health secretary added.

    Dr Seth said that his institute too has set up number of herbal gardens close to the natural conditions and habitats across Jammu and Kashmir. “SFRI has taken leap forward in exploring this hidden wealth of medicinal and aromatic plants to boost the economy,” asserts Dr Seth. “Herbs, health and wealth for all in the state is our sole objective”.

For full story, please see: http://www.greaterkashmir.com/Home/Newsdetails.asp?newsid=2507&Issueid=114&Arch=

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22. India: Bamboo mission aims at generating job opportunities

Source: Hindu, India, 2 January 2007

Union Government proposes to set up 200 Bamboo Bazaars

NEW DELHI: China's total export value of bamboo products is $550 million per annum. This has prompted the Centre to launch a National Bamboo Mission with an outlay of over Rs. 500 crore over five years, with great expectations of employment generation.

    India has the largest bamboo forests in the world which need to be harnessed for remunerative returns to growers and for better marketing. The bamboo sector can create employment of about 50.4 million man/days on 1.76 lakh hectares over five years. In the nursery sector, the total estimated annual employment generation will be around 9.7 lakh man/days. Besides, there will be employment generation in both skilled and unskilled segments in the handicraft sector. Bamboo is increasingly being looked at as an industrial material to replace wood.

    Agriculture Ministry sources say the mission will focus on setting up nearly 200 Bamboo Bazaars. From the fourth year of plantation targets, it is expected that 3.02 million tonnes of bamboo will be produced per year. In the meantime, existing stocks will be improved and several hectares will be covered under pest and disease management and micro irrigation. The aim is to improve bamboo productivity to the average level of up to 18 tonnes per hectare from the current level of 2-3 tonnes.

    The Agriculture Ministry will promote research and development to improve the quality of the produce and acreage. It will focus on marketing to assure specific returns to growers and producers. For this, cooperatives and self-help groups will be encouraged.

    The demand for bamboo has increased within the country and abroad as a raw material for furniture making, as panel boards substituting wood, as agricultural implements, house/construction related uses and as a vegetable. In India, 8.69 million hectares of forests have bamboo, about 12.8 per cent of forest cover.

    Two-thirds of the stock is in the northeast which is used mostly for utensils, farm tools, shelter, fences, bridges and water pipes. India ranks second (136 species) in the world after China (with 300 species) in bamboo diversity.

    The mission's programmes on research, plantation development, handicrafts development and marketing will be specific to the regions concerned and States. The Union Agriculture Minister will chair a national apex committee.

    The Ministers of Forest, Textiles, Science and Technology, Commerce, Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Urban Development, Development of Northeastern Region and Small Scale Industries, Ministers of Forest/ Agriculture/ Horticulture from select States, Member (Environment and Forests) in the Planning Commission and experts will be members on the committee. State-level committees will be formed to oversee implementation.

For full story, please see: http://www.hindu.com/2007/01/02/stories/2007010218331400.htm

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23. Italy: Bugs threaten Italian chestnuts

Source: BBC News – UK, 14 January 2007

Alarm is growing in Tuscany, one of Italy's top tourist destinations, after the arrival of a possibly devastating threat to the region's chestnut trees.

    A Chinese insect, which has previously appeared further south near the capital Rome, is now attacking some of the country's finest chestnut forests. The 2.5cm-long gall wasp has a black body and yellow legs. Experts say they can eat as much as 80% of a large chestnut tree's fruit. The bug is also difficult to eradicate.

    The BBC's Mark Duff in Milan says the chestnut has almost totemic significance in the rural and culinary history of Italy. For centuries it meant the difference between life and death for poor peasants with little else to eat, our correspondent says.

    Confirmation of its nutritious properties came last week when a walker who spent 12 days lost in the Tuscan hills told rescuers he had survived on a combination of river water and chestnuts.

For full story, please see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6260597.stm

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24. Kenya: Farmers seek authority to keep bees in forest

Source: The Nation (Nairobi), 30 December 2006

Farmers in the two Nandi districts want the Government to allow them keep bees (apiculture) in the region's forests which are protected areas by law. They said poverty in the area could be reduced if they were involved in the management of forests and bee keeping would create an incentive for them to protect the trees.

    The chief executive director of the Centre for Livelihood Opportunities and Technology, Ms Isabella Masinde asked the Government to use farmers to protect the environment as they earned incomes without destroying the forests.

    A Sh2 million bee project underway at Kaptumo Secondary School was created to help the locals and assist families and children whose parents have died of Aids.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200612310103.html

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25. Malaysia: NGO fears Malaysia-US FTA will make medicine costlier

Source: Bernama, Malaysia, 11 January 2007

KUALA LUMPUR -- A NGO representing people with HIV/Aids has expressed concern that the Malaysia-United States Free Trade Agreement (FTA) may make medicine more expensive.

    Positive Malaysian Treatment Access and Advocacy Group representative Edward Low said that when the agreement was signed, more medicines would be patented, giving selected companies exclusive rights to produce or import new inventions.

    "For an example, medicinal plants in Malaysia are not patented yet but with the FTA, they can be patented. This means the locals' knowledge of existing medicinal plants will be patented," he told reporters here after heading a protest by a group of HIV/AIDS patients against the FTA Thursday.

    The fourth round of talks on the FTA is being held in San Francisco from last Monday until Friday.

For full story, please see: http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news.php?id=240846

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26. Peru: Libido-enhancing root central in bioprospecting dispute

Source: AP in Canoe.ca, Canada, 5 January 2007

JUNIN, Peru (AP) — In a small storefront on a bleak, wind-swept Andean plateau, the 80-year-old Quechua Indian shopkeeper Timotea Cordova drops a few shrivelled tuber roots into a blender  and offers an oxygen-deprived visitor this  traditional elixir to ward off the breathless effect of the high altitude.

    For hundreds of years, Quechua Indians have grown maca, the frost-resistant root that thrives in these frigid Andean highlands, to boost stamina and sex drive. The root, they believe, is nature’s bounty and belongs to everyone and to no one in particular.

    Maca growers and indigenous organizations were outraged when, in 2001, a New Jersey-based company, PureWorld Botanicals, received a U.S. patent for exclusive commercial distribution of an extract of maca’s active libido-enhancing compounds that it branded as MacaPure.

    Peruvian officials called the patent an “emblematic case” of biopiracy and are preparing to challenge it in U.S. courts.

    The maca dispute is just the latest collision between indigenous people and commercial interests over so-called biological prospecting, the growing practice of scouring the globe for exotic plants, microbes and other living things ripe for commercial exploitation.

    Peru hopes the MacaPure dispute will become a pivotal case in attempts to require all patent applications to disclose the source of genetic materials.

    Alejandro Argumedo, a Quechua Indian agronomist and activist, says the French company that bought PureWorld in 2005, Naturex, has no right to “privatize knowledge that belongs to an entire region.”

    Naturex’s marketing manager, Antoine Dauby, says the company acknowledges that maca’s beneficial properties were long ago discovered by indigenous Peruvians. He says its patent lets them “grow, sell and use maca as they have for centuries.”

    “Our patent is for the extraction and isolation of maca’s key ingredient — and nothing else,” said Dauby. As a good faith gesture, he said, Naturex is offering to grant free licenses to Peruvian companies to use MacaPure in their products.

    Qun Yi Zheng, PureWorld’s former president and chief scientist, says the company invested more than $1 million and three years of research in the endeavour and that it popularized maca as a worldwide Peruvian export.

    Peruvians “should not be so narrow-minded,” Zheng said, but should instead be grateful. “After we studied it, put money into the research, (maca) has become a useful commodity.”

    A wide range of potency peddling maca-based products — from powders and pills to jams and candies — have helped triple Peru’s exports of the plant from $1.3 million in 2000 to more than $3 million annually since 2003, according to the Exporters Association of Peru.

Japan was Peru’s biggest maca customer in 2005, followed by the United States, Germany, Belgium and Canada.

    Peru contends PureWorld’s alcohol-based extraction process simply mimics the centuries-old practice by Andean people of soaking dried maca root in Andean moonshine to release the libido boosters.

    But providing scientific proof to show PureWorld’s formula falls short of a “novel” and “useful” invention has proven elusive.

    Peru has also enlisted the pro bono help of Washington attorney Jorge Goldstein to prepare a legal challenge. He is examining, among other things, archives from rural Peruvian universities to demonstrate that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office failed to consider “prior art” — pre-existing knowledge that could be used to overturn the patent.

    Chris Kilham, who conducted the initial field research for MacaPure in the Peruvian highlands, says he can see the issue from both sides. “PureWorld, which did all of this work, found compounds that nobody knew existed before,” said Kilham, a professor of ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. “On the other hand, the native people from whom the knowledge of especially the sexual applications of maca arise were not at all considered in these patents.”

For full story, please see: http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Science/2007/01/05/3176812-ap.html

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27. Qatar: Boom in sales of honey

Source: The Peninsula, Qatar, 13 January 2007

Doha • The sales of honey have shown a marked upward swing here as more and more people make a beeline for the product due to its aphrodisiac and healing qualities. Many people swear by honey as an alternative to regular medicine and feel that one teaspoon a day serves to do the needful for stamina and well-being.

    Honey trader Ali Hussain said most of the honey here comes from Yemen, which is explainable because of that country's proximity to Qatar. "For honey to have healing qualities, it must be pure and not manufactured artificially. The bees should be able to fly around freely and not kept in captivity. They should also feed off nature like from flowers and the like." He said several people had come to his shop looking for honey to cure various ailments. "The honey can be taken directly or mixed with medicinal herbs.

    An expert on honey, Ali Mohammad Al Sayadi, said it is easy to differentiate between pure and natural honey against the store-bought stuff. "Pure honey always retains its form but you will note that when you go to a supermarket, you will see that the jars have expiry dates," he said. He added that bits of honeycomb found in honey can show it is the genuine article.

For full story, please see: http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp

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28. Romanian forestry sector to get funds of over one billion euros

Source: People's Daily Online, Beijing, China, 10 January 2007

The Romanian forestry sector will get over one billion euros (about US$1.30 billion) worth of European funds during 2007-2013, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Tuesday.

Once the 2007-2013 National Rural Development Plan is approved by the European Commission, Romania will receive rural development funds worth 8.022 billion euros (about US$10.43 billion), with about one billion euros of this to be earmarked for the forestry sector.

The EU money will be used by Romania for staff training, the improvement of the forest's economic value, the increase of the forestry products' added value, infrastructure, planting forests on farm- and non-farm land.

Starting 1956, Romania became the only country in the world whose forests had 10-year management programs and they were entirely planned according to a unitary design and the Romanian school of forest planning was internationally recognized.

In the European context, Romania stands out because of the high biodiversity of forestry ecosystem, especially riverside coppices, plain and hill mixed foliage forests, beech and resinous mixed forests, natural spruce fir forests under the aspect of genetic diversity, placing Romania in the top echelon of European countries.

For full story, please see: http://english.people.com.cn/200701/10/eng20070110_339711.html

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29. Uganda: Rainforest scheme 'ruins lives in Uganda'

Source: Telegraph.co.uk, UK, 15 January 2007

Carbon credits are being bought by the UK and other European nations at the cost of human misery in the Third World, it was claimed yesterday.

The Co-operative Bank found itself under attack over allegations that its 'green mortgages' - under which a percentage goes to a carbon offsetting scheme in the Kibale rainforests in western Uganda - were ruining the lives of indigenous tribes people.

This claim followed a report from the World Rainforest Movement saying that 8,000 other people in eastern Uganda had been evicted from their land to make way for a Danish re-forestation scheme, again in the name of carbon offsetting.

While the Co-op insists that its scheme, run by the Ugandan Wildlife Authority, is boosting the "health and wealth " of Ugandan villagers, the BBC programme 'Inside Out' said it was, in fact, doing exactly the reverse.

The programme said that, in the heart of the Kibale rainforest, around 500 employees are paid about £15 a month to work the new plantation. "But even working for 20 hours a week it would still take them two months just to fill a tank of petrol at their local garage in Uganda, " it was claimed.

Villagers also complained that they no longer had easy access to the rainforests to gather firewood, water and traditional medcines. "Now, everything must be bought,” said one local environmentalist.

The Co-operative Bank, however, has rejected the claims. "By the end of 2007, we will have donated over £500,000. This will have paid for the reforestation of over 214 hectares of rainforest, and sequestered over 80,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide," the bank said. "We plan to continue our involvement with the project as long as reforestation is accepted as a means of carbon offsetting, and there is demand from our customers for carbon offsetting."

It added that wages on the project were paid at a rate determined by the Ugandan government and that, for most of the workers, the cash was an additional source of income, not their main one.

Paul Monaghan, the bank's head of ethics and sustainability, also told the programme that, as far as access to the forest was concerned, it was not acceptable for villagers to cut down trees that were being protected. He added that any local agreements on access to the forest made were between the villagers and the Ugandan Wildlife Authority.

For full story, please see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/01/15/ngreen315a.xml

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30. Uganda's honey good for EU market

Source: New Vision (Kampala), 2 January 2007

Uganda has been listed among the third world countries permitted to export honey to the European Union, Samuel Balagadde, the food component coordinator for Uganda Integrated Programme (UIP), said recently at a workshop on bee-keeping. Sixty members of Masaka Organic Farmers Association (MOFA) attended the workshop at Masaka.

Balagadde urged farmers to produce honey that is organic- farmed so as to meet international standards. "This year, we shall give you a honey-bee refining plant to process about 500kgs per day," he promised.

Participants were also trained to make candles from bee wax using paw paw leave stems and bamboo.

"People should not only look at the production of honey, but also other products such as propolis, pollen, royal jelly and wax. Bees are biologically important to pollination of plants," said Alice Kangave, a National Honey Expert with the Ministry of Agriculture. "Beehives in developed countries are rented out to fields so that bees can pollinate crops," she says.

Kangave said the minimum yield for the Kenya top-bar per season is 10kg and honey is harvested two times a year. The langstroth minimum yield is 30kg per season and is harvested three times a year. And the traditional hive yields a minimum of 5-7kg per season.

The workshop was organised by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation through UIP and The Uganda National Apiculture Development Organisation (TUNADO).

Rureebwa Twine, the head of training at TUNADO, urged participants to put into practice what they had learnt. "Bee- keeping appears like a small project but yields a lot of money. It is a highly sought- after profession in Europe and we have the licence," he said.

The training centre apiary was boosted with tools for bee-keeping. Balagadde said the association's apiary would serve as a pilot project for demonstration and training centre for the southern region. He said more farmers will be trained.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200701030001.html

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31. United States: Maple syrup industry facing sticky situation

Source: Buffalo Business First, NY, USA. 11 January 2007

Unwintry weather in Western New York fooled maple trees into thinking December was March. The topsy-turvy weather has some maple syrup producers feeling nervous though not as-yet worried.

"We're concerned about what's happening, but it is still too early for red flags to go up," said Lyle Merle, a fourth generation Wyoming County maple syrup producer. "I'm not going to say that it's going to be a poor year at this point."

There are indications that the sugar content in sap is higher than last year. That means more syrup can be produced.

Warmer-than-usual temperatures caused maple sap to run in December and in some places in Wyoming County, Merle said a few producers tapped their trees, boiled sap and made syrup - a procedure not normally done until March.

"There have been a few people try it in the past, but it's unusual. I definitely feel that trees will be budding out earlier than normal," said Merle, who with his wife, Dottie, owns Merle Maple Farms in the Town of Attica.

Maple syrup is a significant cash crop in the region and state, although statistics for Western New York are not broken out.

For full story, please see: http://buffalo.bizjournals.com/buffalo/stories/2007/01/08/daily35.html?jst=b_ln_hl

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32. Zimbabwe: Firm facilitates planting of over 500 000 trees

Source: The Herald (Harare), 9 January 2007

THE Forestry Company of Zimbabwe in Mashonaland East Province last year facilitated the planting of more than 500 000 trees on 250 hectares of land. The figures could, however, be an understatement as some districts were still to submit their records.

Jatropha was concentrated in those areas with farmers experienced in growing the high oil-yielding plant. These included Mutoko, Mudzi and UMP, while indigenous fruits and gum trees were planted across the province.

The provincial forestry extension manager, Mr Abedinigo Marufu, said an additional 25 000 trees were planted in Mashonaland East, covering more than 13 hectares. "Other districts participated after the official National Tree Planting Day and we are still compiling the data of the total number of trees planted," said Mr Marufu.

He expressed hope that villagers and newly resettled farmers would continue planting trees in their respective areas.

Small-scale tobacco farmers were called upon to take tree planting seriously as some of them depended on woodfuel to cure the "golden leaf".

Mr Marufu also urged them to plant this year's national tree -- Muchecheni -- that had medicinal properties.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200701090007.html

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NEWS

33. Birch distillate helps in controlling agricultural weeds and pests

Source: Hannes Mäntyranta, forest.fi, 10 January 2007

MTT Agrifood Research Finland studies the possibilities of distillate made of birch in controlling agricultural weeds and pests.

Originally birch distillate was a by-product in charcoal production. The first idea of using the distillate in controlling pests, for example, was found in national traditions. “People used to say that birch distillate works only on moles. But we decided to study this and finally found that it really works on many things,” says Mr. Tommi Siltala from Charcoal Finland.

For Charcoal Finland, birch distillate is no longer only a by-product. It is a very good product for preventing the smell of compost. Also, if you paint your paddock fence with birch distillate, the horses will stop gnawing the fence.

Farmers who have trouble with elks have found it useful to moisten wood pellets with birch distillate and hang them from the branches of trees. However, it is not possible to claim in public that you can control elks, moles or any other animals with birch distillate, because its actual composition is not known.

And this is what MTT Agrifood Research Finland plans to find out.

Scope of use is wide

The amount of birch distillate produced in connection with charcoal production is not negligible. If you use 20 cubic meters of birch you will get one thousand litres of distillate. What is more, its composition is no longer a complete secret.

“It does not contain polyaromatic hydrocarbons which cause cancer or genetic changes. Nor does it contain colophony, which would create difficulties along the production process,” says Siltala.

Judging by the tests made by MTT Agrifood Research Finland both in greenhouses and on open fields, birch distillate has a wide scope of use. It destroys the weeds found with carrot without any detriment to the carrot. It also repels pests, such as molluscs, gastropods and snails.

According to research scientist, Ms. Isa Lindqvist, the effective substance of birch distillate is not known. But it works well on weeds which spread by seeds.

One of the most harmful species introduced to Finland, the snail Arianta arbustorum, cannot stand birch distillate. The distillate doest not kill it, but it may retreat into its shell for several months’ time.

According to researchers, a good way to control snails is to build a low fence and treat it with birch distillate. The same method could be used to control another introduced land snail species, Arion lusitanicus, which is spreading very effectively all over Scandinavia.

More research is needed

MTT Agrifood Research Finland is working on the best ways of using birch distillate. One way is to mix it with rapeseed oil in order to make it stick more effectively to plant leaves, and to slow down the evaporation of the effective substance.

Mixed with petroleum jelly, the distillate will stand weather conditions much better. If this mixture is used to paint snail fences, the snails will keep away the whole summer.

There are almost no negative effects found in birch distillate. Living organisms in the soil are not harmed by it, but instead, they may benefit in one way or another. The chemical alternatives of birch distillate are much more harmful to, for example, water insects and plants, as well as for fishes. It is also harmless to humans.

However, there is one problem, though this might be called a matter of taste – or smell or odour, depending on your viewpoint. If you do not like the smell of tar, you will not like the smell of birch distillate, either.

According to Lindqvist, it will take some three years to analyse the composition of birch distillate. To register it as, say, pesticide, will take a few more additional years. And it is only after registration that birch distillate may be marketed as a pesticide.

For full story, please see: http://www.forest.fi/smyforest/foresteng.nsf/tiedotteetlookup/4698C49464B7C401C225725F002D3FCD

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34. Gordon and Betty Moore visiting fellowships for tropical forest conservation in the Andes-Amazon Region

From: Vag-Lan Borges, vaglanborges@gmail.com

The Tropical Conservation and Development Program (TCD) and the School of Forest Resources and Conservation (SFRC) at the University of Florida (UF) announce a competition for the Gordon and Betty Moore Visiting Fellowships to support non-degree training related to Amazon forest conservation at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. The visiting fellowships are open to conservation professionals, researchers, university professors, and Ph.D. students who are legal residents of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, or Venezuela. Fellowships are for four to nine months in length and may start at any time between June 2007 and January 2008.

Visiting Fellowship awards consist of a stipend of US$1,500 per month, before taxes (net amount around US$1,250) plus the cost of any necessary UF tuition and fees. Additional funds for travel to and from UF, health insurance, and participation in field courses are also included. Limited financial support is available for enrolment in an intensive English language course to improve existing skills.

While at UF, Fellows will develop individualized programs of study under the advisement of a UF faculty member. Fellows will be able to enrol in UF classes related to tropical forest conservation, participate in field courses conducted in the Andes-Amazon region, and utilize the UF Latin American Collection, one of the finest libraries on Latin America in the world. Fellows will be expected to offer seminars and/or workshops for UF students and faculty to share their expertise and experience on Amazon conservation.

Each Fellow's program of study must be relevant to one of the following themes:

    • protected area management

    • regional planning and policy

    • sustainable forest management, or

    • community-based natural resource management

A field course on Tropical Forestry in the Eastern Amazon, Brazil will be offered in May 2007, a field course on Brazilian Forest Policy will be offered in August 2007, and a field course on Bolivian Forest Policy will likely be offered in August 2008.

Consult with Robert Buschbacher or Patricia Sampaio if you have particular interests in terms of coursework as many other classes will be offered each semester.

For complete information, including application form, please visit: http://www.tropicalforests.ufl.edu/acli/

or contact:

Robert Buschbacher, Program Coordinator
Amazon Conservation Leadership Initiative
107 Mowry Road
Telephone: +1-352-846-2831
E-mail: rbusch@ufl.edu

or

Patrícia Sampaio, Program Coordinator
Center for Latin American Studies
358 Grinter Hall
Telephone: 392-0375, ext. 806
E-mail: psampaio@latam.ufl.edu

Submission

Submit application materials by February 1, 2007 at 4:30 p.m. to:

TCD Program
University of Florida
304 Grinter Hall
PO Box 115531
Gainesville, FL 32611-5531 USA

Telephone: 352-392-6548
Fax: 352-392-0085

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35. MSc in Managing Sustainable Mountain Development

From: Dr. Martin Price, Director, Centre for Mountain Studies (UK) (on Mountain Partnership listserve)

Since 2004, the UHI Millennium Institute (soon to become the University of Highlands and Islands) in Scotland has run an on-line MSc in Managing Sustainable Mountain Development.

This is a unique course which allows people to obtain a Masters degree part-time from their own home (or maybe workplace).

There are four core modules: 1) Environmental and social issues in mountain areas; 2) Sustainable development; 3) Policy frameworks and analysis; 4) Developing communities. These modules are taken first and, once they have been successfully completed, a student is eligible for a postgraduate certificate. Alternatively, s/he may continue, taking four optional modules from the following: biodiversity management; developing potential through placement; developing research capability; environmental impact assessment; geographical information systems; the Information Society and rural development; sustainable tourism and interpretation; and water management.

At the end, students can either graduate with a postgraduate diploma or write a 10-12,000 word dissertation which leads to the award of the MSc. Individual modules can also be taken for continuing professional development (CPD). Whether students are taking individual modules or the whole course, the usual minimum qualification is an honours degree. Students for whom English is not a first language also have to prove their proficiency in English using a standard test.

For the first three years, the MSc has only been approved for delivery to students resident in the UK. At the end of February 2007, the MSc will be reviewed, and part of this will include consideration of whether it can be delivered across the rest of Europe from September 2007. The fees would be the same for all EU citizens: about 400 Euros per module, or about 5000 Euros for the whole MSc.

This message is to find out about interest in the course across Europe. There are three questions to which we need responses by 31 January, 2007. Take the short survey which is posted on-line at the European Mountain Forum here:

http://www.mtnforum.org/europe/surveys/s02/.

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36. Online Academic Course on NTFP Culture & Management available

From: Eric T Jones, etjones@ifcae.org

You are invited to participate. In spring 2007 an anthropology and forestry course on NTFP culture and management will be offered online through Oregon State University (OSU) Extended Campus (Ecampus). Domestic and International students are welcome as well as professionals seeking continuing education credit.

This course brings anthropology and forestry together to look at the fascinating and complex world of NTFP (e.g., mushrooms, floral greens, medicinal plants, seeds) harvesting and the implications for sustainable forest management. Throughout time harvesting NTFP has been an important activity in forest ecosystems. Around the world, thousands of species are regularly gathered by millions of people for subsistence, income, and recreation, or as part of spiritual, educational or scientific endeavours. In this course we will explore the cultural, ecological, political, and economic dimensions of harvesting. Geographically, the course will have an emphasis on the United States and use case studies from the Pacific Northwest, but will also bring in international linkages and perspectives. Examples of topics that will be covered include gathering historically, ethnobotany and local knowledge, Indian reserved rights, household economy, rural and urban connections, immigration and labour issues, political ecology, management needs and strategies, and market-oriented forest conservation. The course will include group exercises and fieldwork activities that participants will do in their local area, as well as lectures, reading, and short answer essay exams.

Course Info:

Title-Nontimber Forest Products Culture and Management, Level-Upper division undergraduate. Course-ANTH 480 Topics in Applied Anthropology, CRN-37979, Credits-4, Term-Spring 2007, Length-10 weeks.

Instructor: Eric T. Jones, Ph.D. Dr. Jones is an ecological anthropologist at the Institute for Culture and Ecology and has researched and published on domestic and international NTFP culture, management, policy, and ecology. You can read about the work of the Institute for Culture and Ecology in NTFP as www.ifcae.org/ntfp/
Credits and Costs (US$): OSU is an accredited university in the United States. Domestic and foreign students, managers, and others with an interest in the subject can take the course, for credit or not. The course will qualify for continuing education credits (e.g., SAF CFE) for most professionals. OSU Ecampus courses cost the same for in state, out-of-state, and international students: $200/credit ($800 total for this four credit course). There is an additional $25 application fee and $25 account creation fee.

Sign Up Information. To sign up for the course online you must have an email address. Step 1) You must first create an account ($25 fee) at: https://adminfo.ucsadm.oregonstate.edu/prod/bwskalog.P_ProcLoginNon.

Step 2) Once the account is created you will be taken to a page where you can select an application type. Choose "Applications for Non-Degree Students." The link takes you to information further down the page where you will click on "Non-Degree Application."

Step 3) At the application sign in page ignore any statements that the form is for U.S. Residents -- it is also for foreigners, both students seeking degrees and professionals interested in continuing education. Select Spring Term, enter you name and then click the link "Fill Out Application" and complete all forms.

Step 4) After you submit the application the administration will process it and email you back login information and a link where you can register for the class.
If you have problems with registration email osuadmit@orst.edu, or phone 800-291-4192 (011-541-737-4411 if outside U.S.). You can also email the instructor at etj@ifcae.org.

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37. OrganicLink: A web portal to help developing countries trade organic products

From: Alexander Kasterine, International Trade Centre, Kasterine@intracen.org

The International Trade Centre launched in January 2007 a new web portal for the organic sector. Organic Link ( www.intracen.org/organics) facilitates contact between importers and exporters of organic products globally and provides an unrivalled source of sector information.

The portal organizes information on buyers and markets in a user friendly way that will help exporters and other stakeholders in developing countries get useful information on buyers and markets over the Internet and in a low cost way.

The site provides:

A Database of Importers and Exporters

• A freely available database of importers and exporters of organic products, NGOs and research centres. This will enable buyers to find suppliers according to product and country of origin and similarly exporters to find new buyers.

• Companies and other interested organisations can register and be listed in the organic market place for free.

A Portal for Organic Sector Information

• The website comprises a comprehensive collection of information. It enables the user to access information easily about standards and certification, market research, business news and directories. It also provides links to certification bodies, NGOs and training and research institutes involved in the organic sector worldwide.

• An FAQ section provides answers to many frequently asked questions of the organic and natural products sectors.

• Information is also given on the range of technical assistance for the organic sector that ITC is implementing in developing countries

The International Trade Centre is the technical cooperation agency of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). It is the UN focal point for technical cooperation in trade promotion.

Visit the new portal at www.intracen.org/organics

For more information, please contact:

Dr Alexander Kasterine

Senior Market Development Adviser

International Trade Centre (UNCTAD/WTO)

54-56 rue de Montbrilliant

CH-1202 Geneva, Switzerland

tel (direct): +41 22 730 02 92

tel: +41 22 730 01 11

fax: +41 22 730 04 46

e-mail: Kasterine@intracen.org

http://www.intracen.org/organics

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38. Ph.D. positions in Brazil

From: Vag-Lan Borges, vaglanborges@gmail.com

La Universidad del Estado de Tocantins ( www.unitins.br), Brasil, abre llamada para contratación de tres doctores en las areas de Agroecología (1), Fitopatología (1) y Suelos (1).

Si Ud. posue habilitación y titulación académica de Doctor en una de las areas supracitadas y quiera candidatarse a una plaza, por favor, envíe su Curriculum Vitae completo al Prof. Dr. Ronaldo Rodrigues Coimbra, en ronaldo.rc@unitins.br hasta el 28 de Enero de 2007.

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39. Video: Coconut assessment in Rotuma (Fiji) for biofuel production

From: H. Gyde Lund, gyde@comcast.net

A video on coconut assessment in Rotuma (Fiji) for biofuel production is available from http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=627997187175971634.

This presentation was given by Wolf Forstreuter during the Pacific Islands GIS/RS Conference in Fiji in November 2006. It explains the work to assess biofuel capacity production from copra on the Island of Rotuma in Fiji.

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EVENTS

40. Iran International Kish Green Week Exhibition

Kish Island, Iran

27 February-2 March 2007

Kish Green Week is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition in the fields of environment, forestry, greenhouse products and equipments, decorative and medicinal flowers and plants, edible mushroom and landscape.

• Establish new exchanges and strengthen existing business relations.

• Examine current market trends, and discuss future business opportunities.

• Contact with the best greenhouse, decorative and medicinal flowers and plants producers.

• Access the best marketing showground and retail outlets for agricultural, gardening, environment, forestry and landscape equipments, seeds, fertilizers, and agricultural pesticides.

• Meet with the participants of more than 10 countries presenting the latest technologies and innovations of the industry

• Expand the contacts between the Ministry of Jihad-e-Agriculture, the Agricultural Research and Education Organization, the Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Management Organization, the Natural Resources and Agricultural Engineering Research Institute, Department of Environment, and Flower and Plant Growers Association, and other governmental organizations in a pleasant and professional environment.

• Attend technical seminars with the participation of university lecturers, researchers and students.

For more information, please visit: www.kishgreenweek.com/default.aspx?lang=En

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41. Sharing Indigenous Wisdom: An international dialogue on sustainable development

Green Bay, WI, U.S.A

11-15 June 2007

For more information, please contact:

Dr. William Van Lopik
Sustainable Development Institute
College of Menominee Nation
P.O. Box 1179
Keshena, WI 54135, USA

Phone: +1-715-799-5600
Fax: +1-715-799-5951

E-mail: WVanlopik@menominee.edu

http://www.sharingindigenouswisdom.org

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

42. UNDP Regional Technical Advisor for Biodiversity (2 positions)

Regional Technical Advisor for Biodiversity for Asia and the Pacific

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

or

Regional Technical Advisor for Biodiversity for Latin America and the Caribbean

Location: Panama City, Panama

Organisation: United Nations Development Programme

Closing Date: 22 January 2007

Description

The United Nations Development Programme is presently looking for a highly motivated and dynamic individual with interest and experience in biodiversity to join their Global Environment Facility biodiversity team in (a) Asia and Pacific region or (b) Latin America and the Caribbean.

The selected individual will join a small team of specialists helping developing countries design and implement projects that strengthen capacity to mainstream biodiversity into national and local development processes, and which increase the sustainability of protected area systems.

Candidate requirements

Team members generally have academic backgrounds in biodiversity, natural resources or environmental policy, management or economics, and work experience in the development and management of biodiversity projects and programmes in developing countries. Candidates must have excellent English oral and writing skills and be willing to live and travel in various parts of the developing world. The ability to speak additional languages is an asset. Women and nationals of developing countries are particularly encouraged to apply.

For more information, please visit: http://jobs.undp.org/cj_view_job.cfm?job_id=1066 or http://jobs.undp.org/cj_view_job.cfm?job_id=1065

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43. FAO, Chief, Forest Conservation Service (FOMC)

Forestry Department/Forest Management Division

Rome, Italy

Vacancy No. FO-124/07

Closing date: 10 February 2007

Description

Under the general guidance of the Director of the Forest Resources Management Division (FOM), the Chief, FOMC is responsible for the delivery of the programme of work of the Service, ensuring effective work planning, programming and budgeting of staff and non-staff resources. He/she therefore provides guidance and coordination to the team of professionals working within the service to deliver the service’s mandate. The Service Chief recommends selections of staff for vacant positions and consultancies, and guides, supervises and evaluates the work of the staff of the Service.

The functions of the Service are the following:

    • Promote the application of balanced land use and conservation principles in management and utilization of forest lands and their resources

    • Assist FAO Members in watershed management and forest hydrology, torrent control, protection from avalanches, landslides, erosion and sedimentation, and promote improved land husbandry and sustainable development in the upland and mountain areas.

    • Assist FAO Members in arid zone forestry, including management of tree and forest resources in drylands for multipurpose production, conservation and rehabilitation, land degradation/desertification control, establishment of shelter belts and windbreaks, forest range management and land rehabilitation, including sand dunes control.

    • Assist FAO Members in the conservation, management and utilization of wildlife resources and wildlands and in planning and management of national parks and other protected areas, and the conservation of biological diversity.

    • Assist FAO Members in maximizing the role of forestry, multipurpose trees and shrubs and agroforestry systems in integrated land use planning, and in developing urban forestry systems.

    • Develop and provide conceptual and technical support to FAO members on forest and water interactions. Generate national awareness of the role of forests and trees in relation to water, and improved use of water resources especially in fragile ecosystems.

    • Provide technical support to FAO members in matters related to forests and climate change. Generate awareness about sustainable forest management in international climate change negotiations. Promote incorporation of climate change aspects into all components of sustainable forest management.

Applications, including a full curriculum vitae and Personal History Form (available in MS Word (A4 and letter formats), should be submitted by 10 February 2007 to the Office of the Director, Human Resources Management Division (AFH), FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100, Rome, Italy or sent by e-mail to: senior-vacancies@fao.org or faxed to Italy 06-5705 5131

For more information, please visit: http://www.fao.org/VA/Senior/FO124_07e.htm

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LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

44. Participatory Biological Monitoring Hanbook (Pilz, Ballard, Jones)

From: IFCAE, ifcae@ifcae.org

Pilz, David; Ballard, Heidi L.; Jones, Eric T. 2006. Broadening participation in biological monitoring: handbook for scientists and managers. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-680. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 131 p.

Participatory (collaborative, multiparty, citizen, volunteer) monitoring is a process that has been increasing in popularity and use in both developing and industrialized societies over the last several decades. It reflects the understanding that natural resource decisions are more effective and less controversial when stakeholders who have an interest in the results are involved in the process. An adequate number of such projects have now been organized, tried, and evaluated such that sufficient information exists to recommend a comprehensive approach to implementing such processes. This handbook was written for managers and scientists in the United States who are contemplating a participatory approach to monitoring biological resources, especially biodiversity. It is designed as a how-to manual with discussions of relevant topics, checklists of important considerations to address, and resources for further information. Worksheets for developing, implementing, and evaluating a monitoring plan are posted on a companion Web site. The subject matter is divided into 3 stages of a monitoring project encompassing a total of 22 topical modules. These modules can be used in any sequence on an ongoing basis. Stages and modules include (1) planningdocumentation, goals, indicators, collaboration, decisions, context, organization, participants, communication, incentives, design, and resources; (2) implementationtraining, safety, fieldwork, sampling, data, and quality; and (3) follow-throughanalysis, reporting, evaluation, and celebrations. Collaboration always involves colearning, so documenting choices, plans, and activities with the Web site worksheets is integral to the manual’s effectiveness.

Printed colour hardcopies of this publication can be easily obtained for free by contacting the Publications department of the Pacific Northwest Research Station by:
Website form: http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/publications/order.shtml
Phone: +1.503.808.2138
Email: pnw_pnwpubs@fs.fed.us
Mail: PNW Publications, Portland Habilitation Center, 5312 NE 148th Avenue, Portland, OR 97230
A PDF file of the entire publication may also be downloaded from the same publications web site: http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/publications/

The direct link for downloading the document is: http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/pnw_gtr680.pdf (large file - may take a few minutes to load)

Forms that can be used to document all aspects of a participatory monitoring project, and an associated training curriculum about use of the handbook, can be downloaded from this page on IFCAE’s web site: www.ifcae.org/pbm/. A hyperlinked version of the handbook, and information about consulting assistance for your participatory projects, are also available from IFCAE.

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45. Unasylva 224, Forests and human health – now online

Source: FAO INFOSYLVA 2007-1

Now online: Unasylva 224, Forests and human health

This issue, produced in collaboration with the Centrer for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), underlines the role that the forest sector and national forestry departments can and often do play in ensuring human well-being through responsible forest management.

With an overview by C.J.P. Colfer, D. Sheil, D. Kaimowitz and M. Kishi and articles on forests and emerging infectious diseases of humans (B.A. Wilcox and B. Ellis); the role of forests in the response to HIV and AIDS in southern Africa (C. Holding Anyonge et al.); identifying forest-plant-based treatments for malaria (J. Muriuki); consequences for diet and health when forest-based hunter-gatherers become sedentary (E. Dounias and A. Froment); forest biodiversity, nutrition and population health in market-oriented food systems (T. Johns and P. Maundu); health impacts of household fuelwood use in developing countries (K.R. Smith); watershed forests’ influence on air pollution, water quality and health in the Czech Republic (J. Křeček and Z. Hořická); forests, allergies and irritants (B. Moore, G. Allard and M. Malagnoux) and the use of woodlands to improve mental and physical well-being in the United Kingdom (L. O’Brien).

Online at: www.fao.org/forestry/site/unasylva/en/

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46. Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Altrichter, M. 2006. Wildlife in the life of local people of the semi-arid Argentine Chaco. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(8):2719-2736.

Banfai, D.S., and Bowman, D.M. 2006. Forty years of lowland monsoon rainforest expansion in Kakadu National Park, Northern Australia. Biol. Conserv. 131(4):553-565.

Benedick, S., Hill, J.K., Mustaffa, N., Chey, V.K., Maryati, M., Searle, J.B., Schilthuizen, M., and Hamer, K.C. 2006. Impacts of rain forest fragmentation on butterflies in northern Borneo: species richness, turnover and the value of small fragments. J. Appl. Ecol. 43(5):967-977

Bhattacharyya, R., Bhattacharya, S., and Chaudhuri, S. 2006. Conservation and documentation of the medicinal plant resources of India. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(8):2705-2717.

Cabeza, M., and Moilanen, A. 2006. Replacement cost: A practical measure of site value for cost-effective reserve planning. Biol. Conserv. 132(3):336-342.

Dorji, L., Webb, E.L., and Shivakoti, G.P. 2006. Forest property rights under nationalized forest management in Bhutan. Environ. Conserv. 33(2):141-147.

Fu, Y.N., Guo, H.J., Chen, A.G., and Cui, J.Y. 2006. Household differentiation and on-farm conservation of biodiversity by indigenous households in Xishuangbanna, China. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(8):2687-2703

Ghimire, S.K., Mckey, D., and Aumeeruddy-Thomas, Y. 2006. Himalayan medicinal plant diversity in an ecologically complex high altitude anthropogenic landscape, Dolpo, Nepal. Environ. Conserv. 33(2):128-140.

Hawksworth, D.L. 2006. Human exploitation of biodiversity and conservation: a question of balance? Introduction. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(8):2341-2342.

Hilgert, N.I., and Gil, G.E. 2006. Medicinal plants of the Argentine Yungas plants of the Las Yungas biosphere reserve, Northwest of Argentina, used in health care. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(8):2565-2594.

Khan, A.A., Qureshi, B.U.D., and Awan, M.S. 2006. Impact of musk trade on the decline in Himalayan musk deer Moschus chrysogaster population in Neelum Valley, Pakistan. Curr. Sci. 91(5):696-699.

Khumbongmayum, A.D., Khan, M., and Tripathi, R.S. 2006. Biodiversity conservation in sacred groves of Manipur, northeast India: population structure and regeneration status of woody species. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(8):2439-2456.

Martínez, G.J., Planchuelo, A.M., Fuentes, E., and Ojeda, M. 2006. A numeric index to establish conservation priorities for medicinal plants in the Paravachasca Valley, Córdoba, Argentina. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(8):2457-2475.

O'Rourke, E. 2006. Biodiversity and land use change on the Causse Méjan, France. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(8):2611-2626.

Peres, C.A., and Nascimento, H.S. 2006. Impact of game hunting by the Kayapó of south-eastern Amazonia: implications for wildlife conservation in tropical forest indigenous reserves. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(8):2627-2653.

Rohadi, D., Permadi, P. Hidayat, S. 2005. ‘Color, Sustainability and Market Sense in Bali’, in Cunningham, T., Belcher, B., and Campbell, B. (eds) Carving Out a Future: Forests, Livelihoods and the International Woodcarving Trade. Earthscan, London, pp. 121-133.

Tang, Z.Y., Wang, Z.H., Zheng, C.Y., and Fang, J.Y. 2006. Biodiversity in China's mountains. Front. Ecol. Environ. 4(7):347-352.

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MISCELLANEOUS

47. Brazil gambles on monitoring of Amazon loggers

Source: New York Times, USA, 14 January 2007

A Brazilian government plan set to go into effect this year will bring large-scale logging deep into the heart of the Amazon rain forest for the first time, in a calculated gamble that new monitoring efforts can offset any danger of increased devastation.

The government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in an attempt to create Brazil’s first coherent, effective forest policy, is to begin auctioning off timber rights to large tracts of the rain forest. The winning bidders will not have title to the land or the right to exploit resources other than timber, and the government says they will be closely monitored and will pay a royalty on their activities.

The architects of the plan say it will also help reduce tensions over land ownership in the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical forest, which loses an area the size of New Jersey every year to clear-cutting and timbering.

In theory, 70 percent of the jungle is public land, but miners, ranchers and especially loggers have felt free to establish themselves in unpoliced areas, strip the land of valuable resources and then move on, mostly in the so-called arc of destruction on the eastern and southern fringes of the jungle.

But the called-for monitoring of the loggers allowed into the rain forest’s largely untouched center will come from a new, untested Forest Service with only 150 employees and from state and municipal governments. That concerns environmental and civic groups because local officials are more vulnerable to the pressures of powerful economic interests and to corruption.

Further, the new system assumes that the world community will also play a part and buy timber only from merchants who are properly licensed and will avoid unscrupulous dealers.

The plan “can be a good idea in places where the situation is already chaotic,” said Philip Fearnside, a researcher at the National Institute for Amazon Research in Manaus who recently visited this remote area. “But it’s a different story in areas where hardly any logging or deforestation has taken place, where you are actually going to be encouraging the introduction of predatory forces that don’t exist there now.”

On paper and in principle, said Stephan Schwartzman, an Amazon specialist at Environmental Defence in Washington, “I think everyone agrees that this system is an improvement over the current situation, which is totally out of control.” But in the end, he added, “everything is going to depend on how it is done and whether the financial and human resources are there to make it work.”

For full story, please see: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/14/world/americas/14amazon.html

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48. Dell says plant a tree, help the environment

Source: The New York Times, 10 January 2007

Michael S. Dell, who made his name building computers, has a new goal: planting trees. In a speech Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show here, Mr. Dell urged the electronics industry to foster the planting of trees to offset the effect on the environment of the energy consumed by the devices they make.

He said Dell, the computer company he founded, would begin a program called “Plant a Tree for Me,” asking customers to donate $2 for every notebook computer they buy and $6 for every desktop PC. The money would be given to the Conservation Fund and the Carbonfund, two non-profit groups that promote ways to reduce or offset carbon emissions, to buy and plant trees.

Mr. Dell said the trees would absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, offsetting the equivalent emissions from the production of electricity for computers over three years.

“I challenge every PC vendor in the industry to join us in providing free recycling,” Mr. Dell said. “This is a better way than government regulation.”

Dell intends to cover the administrative costs of the program. Mr. Dell was not able to estimate those costs.

For full story, please see: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/10/technology/10dell.html?ex=1169182800&en=46de8aee2df5899c&ei=5070

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49. Thailand tree apes use song as warning

Source: Associated Press, 28.12.06 in ENN News

Turns out humans aren't the only primates using songs to warn of life's dangers and travails. White-handed gibbons in Thailand's forests have been found to communicate threats from predators by singing -- the first time the behaviour has been discovered among non-human primates, researchers said Wednesday.

While other animals have been shown to use song to attract mates or signal danger, researchers writing in this month's science journal PLoS One said their study was the first to show gibbons -- a slender, tree-dwelling ape -- issuing song-like warnings to each other.

"This work is a really good indicator that non-human primates are able to use combinations of calls ... to relay new and, in this case, potentially lifesaving information to one another," said Esther Clarke, a University of St. Andrews graduate student and co-author of the study.

"This type of referential communication's commonplace in human language, but has yet to be widely demonstrated in some of our closest living relatives -- the apes," she said.

Along with Klaus Zuberbuhler from St. Andrews in Scotland and Ulrich Reichard of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, Clarke spent 2004 and 2005 at Khao Yai National Park in Thailand observing groups of gibbons.

Mostly black with a white face, gibbons live in the treetops and are known for issuing elaborate hooting sounds that echo across the forest for up to a half mile to advertise pair bonds or attract mates.

To test the primates response to danger, the team conducted a series of experiments in which they put models of predators -- snow leopards, pythons and crested serpent eagles -- near a group of gibbons and then made audio recordings of their response.

What they found, Clarke said, is that the gibbons approached the potential predator and began warbling a series of sounds -- "wahs, wows and hoos" -- that were picked up by other gibbons, who then repeated the calls to others.

The sounds made when encountering a predator were more chaotic and louder than those used to win over a mate, Clarke said. "Gibbons can rearrange their songs to denote different circumstances, much like we do with words," she said.

Thad Q. Bartlett, a gibbon expert at the University of Texas at San Antonio, said the findings were interesting and significant.

"From a cognitive standpoint, the claim that gibbon calls are digital is interesting because this is one of the hallmarks of human language, that is, the ability to rearrange discrete elements to create new meanings," he said in an e-mail.

Bartlett also said the findings provide further insight into the behaviour of gibbons, contradicting earlier suggestions that their small social network -- a male, female and their offspring -- was largely a result of the apes facing few threats.

"Because large group size is often seen as a response to predator pressure, researchers have long assumed that gibbons are largely immune from predators," he said. "To my mind, this research further demonstrates the importance of predator pressure to the evolution of gibbon social systems."

For full story, please see: http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=11930

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last updated:  Friday, August 28, 2009