Welcome to FAO’s NWFP-Digest-L, a free e-mail journal that covers all aspects of non-wood forest products. Back issues of the Digest may be found on FAO's NWFP home page: www.fao.org/forestry/site/12980/en.
We would also like to offer a particularly warm welcome to the many new readers who subscribed during December.
Since this is the last issue of 2006, we would like to wish all our readers a very happy and healthy 2007.
- Bamboo in China: Official warns of environmental cost of bamboo-pulp papermaking
- Bamboo in India: Centre asks states to promote bamboo cultivation
- Bamboo in India: Rats wreak havoc in Mizoram
- Bamboo in Malaysia: Bamboo music can be added tourism product
- Bamboo: Blonde BT Bamboo for eco-friendly timber flooring
- Frankincense: Goats pose threat to frankincense
- Ginseng: China’s Renhuang Pharmaceuticals submits production certificate application for newly developed nutritional supplement
- Mushrooms: Medicinal side of mushrooms
- Nuts: World's hazelnut producers to found a union
- Sandalwood: Stamps smelling sweet
- Bolivia: Indígenas buscan patentar sabidurías
- Borneo rain forest yields new species
- Brazil: Ingredients from the forest, in boxes and on shelves
- Brazil: Project by Kayapó in the Baú Indigenous Land receives FSC and IBD certifications
- China: HK enforces new law to protect endangered species
- Ghana: Significance of forest reserves
- India: Forest Bill 2006 – Protecting forests and people's rights
- Liberia: French investor interested in country's forest
- Malaysia: EU says Malaysia must focus more on preserving tribal people in rainforests
- New Zealand: Maori claim flora, fauna ownership
- Nigeria boosts research into traditional medicine
- Pakistan: Chitral fast losing forests
- United States: Wreaths – Holiday circles of life
- United States: Bioprospecting – Mining our national parks one gene at a time
- An international standard setting out economic, environmental and social principles and criteria for companies trading in native natural ingredients
- Fifty MSc scholarships in forestry
- Mantiqueira Corridor: A new biodiversity corridor for the Atlantic Forest
- Two-thirds of Congo Basin forests could disappear
- World Intellectual Property Organization seeking to protect products made from traditional resources
- 2007 Summer Certificate Course: Sustainable Environmental Management
- Request for assistance: Santalum album plantations in Australia
- Request for assistance: bamboo jersey suppliers
- Partnerships in Sustainable Forest Resource Management: Learning from Latin America
- Other publications of interest
- Web sites and e-zines
- Ebola has killed 5,000 gorillas, study suggests
- FAO takes a new integrated approach to information gathering on natural resources: Bringing information closer to reality and relevant to policy
- South Africa moves to restrict canned hunting
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1. Bamboo in China: Official warns of environmental cost of bamboo-pulp papermaking
Source: EastDay.com, China, 6 December 2006
China must tighten controls on its bamboo-pulp papermaking industry to limit environmental damage, an official from the country's environment watchdog has said.
Mu Guangfeng, an inspector from China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), warned against the unfettered development of bamboo-pulp papermaking, saying local forest and water conditions had to be taken into account.
He said some local governments and bamboo-pulp papermaking enterprises throw environmental considerations to the wind in their pursuit of profit. The waste water discharged during the bamboo-pulp papermaking process is not recyclable, so the industry should not be allowed to develop in areas where water supplies are inadequate and the water cannot purify itself.
Mu said the country should learn from previous experiences of papermaking in some parts of the country that have led to severe water pollution.
Mu stressed that the production of bamboo-pulp papermaking factories should be adjusted to take account of forest resilience.
Authorities should assess the environmental impact of bamboo-pulp papermaking before granting authorizations, in order to limit environmental damage, he said.
China consumed 52 million tons of paper pulp in 2005. The country plans to expand its production of paper pulp over the next five years by 5.55 million tons, including 1.2 million tons of bamboo paper pulp.
Paper made from bamboo pulp is cheaper than paper made from wood pulp and less polluting than paper made from straw pulp.
For full story, please see: http://english.eastday.com/eastday/englishedition/nation/userobject1ai2491068.html
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2. Bamboo in India: Centre asks states to promote bamboo cultivation
Source: Hindu, India, 13 December 2006
New Delhi, Dec. 13 (PTI): Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said here today that it would be necessary for states to remove restrictions coming in the way of the development of bamboo, which has immense potential to provide a viable alternative employment avenue.
The minister asked the states to initiate the process of amending State Transit Rules under the Indian Forest Act, 1927, to facilitate cultivation, felling and transport of bamboo and bamboo-based products. Pawar proposed a dialogue with states to evolve an appropriate mechanism.
The Rs 568.23 crore National Bamboo Mission, which was launched recently for a five-year period from this year onwards, would promote the growth of bamboo through area based regionally differentiated strategies, Pawar said.
Government plans to increase the area under bamboo by planting appropriate varieties which will also help increase production and productivity. There is a plan under NBM to promote marketing of bamboo and handicrafts made out of it for generating employment opportunities.
It is estimated that 8.96 million hectares or 12.8 percent of forest area in the country is covered by bamboo, out of which two-thirds are in the north-east region.
For full story, please see: www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/015200612132122.htm
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3. Bamboo in India: Rats wreak havoc in Mizoram
Source: Monsters and Critics.com, UK, 9 December 2006
Aizawl, Dec 9 (IANS) Tribal villagers in the northeastern state of Mizoram have reported large-scale raids by swarms of rats on paddy crops, fuelling fears of a famine (locally known as Mautam) in this mountainous state of little under one million people.
'Rats in their thousands went berserk destroying almost all the ripe paddy in at least 20 villages in three districts before it could be harvested in October and early November,' said Lalsiamliana, who is also head of Mizoram's Rodent Control Cell.
Mizoram Agriculture Minister H. Rammawi said reports of rats destroying farmlands follows vast forests of bamboo bursting into flower in many parts of the state. 'Gregarious bamboo flowering is taking place in many parts of the state. This bizarre phenomenon signals an impending catastrophe or a famine,' the minister said.
The Mizoram government had already sounded an alert saying a famine is going to hit the state next year. 'The rare phenomenon of bamboo flowering is a cyclical one and occurs every 48-years and so 2007 is the year when a famine is going to hit the state,' Rammawi said.
According to tribal legends, when bamboo flowers, famine, death and destruction follow. Behind the superstition lies some scientific truth, as blooming bamboo triggers an invasion of rats which proceed to eat away food supplies. Rats multiply at a very rapid pace after eating protein-rich seeds that appears soon after bamboo flowering.
Bamboo grows wild in 6,000 sq km of Mizoram's total geographical area of 21,000 sq km with the state, bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar, harvesting 40 percent of India's 80-million-tonne annual bamboo crop.
For full story, please see: http://news.monstersandcritics.com/india/news/article_1231395.php/Snails_rats_wreak_havoc_in_Mizoram
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4. Bamboo in Malaysia: Bamboo music can be added tourism product
Source: Daily Express, Malaysia, 7 December, 2006
Tuaran: Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Karim Bujang said the bamboo music carnival could be promoted as an added tourism product in Sabah, particularly during Visit Malaysia Year 2007. He hoped the Sabah Bamboo Music Orchestra could apply to the Ministry to include the art in next year's tourism calendar.
Launching the Bamboo Music Carnival at Dewan Tun Hamdan in Tamparuli near here Wednesday, he said this was a positive development being initiated by Universiti Sabah Malaysia towards promoting the traditional music of the various ethnic groups in the State utilising the natural resources made from bamboo.
Karim commended the association for promoting traditional bamboo music in primary schools, beginning in Tamparuli, Ranau and Kundasang. This is a commendable effort to preserve traditional music that has been handed down for generations, he said.
At the same time, bamboo musical instruments should be exhibited at the Sri Pelancong premises for tourists and those who might be interested in traditional instruments, he said.
Earlier in her address, association chairperson Jane Thing disclosed that the bamboo music orchestra had been active since its inception in 2000, now with a membership of 200.
She was optimistic that the association would host a much bigger bamboo music festival next year.
For full story, please see: http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=46012
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5. Bamboo: Blonde BT Bamboo for eco-friendly timber flooring
Source: Infolink Architecture & Building - Australia
Bamboo flooring is becoming an increasingly popular choice for many architects, builders and interior designers who are looking for an environmental alternative to timber flooring that is a stylish, hard wearing, pre-finished flooring system.
Natural bamboo flooring is light in colour, yet as hard as traditional darker timbers such as Jarrah and tallowwood. BT Bamboo light sand is a natural blonde colour which complements modern metal, stainless steel, chrome or galvanised iron. It enhances timber furniture and fittings. It looks like beech timber, adding a light glow to your interior. It is ideal for refurbishments to add a light glow to your interior.
BT Bamboo comes pre-finished with a seven coat factory finish, eliminating the need for messy on site coating and waiting for coatings to dry. BT Bamboo can be laid over existing floor surfaces and is manufactured with the strictest quality control and environmental standards.
For full story, please see: http://www.infolink.com.au/articles/6A/0C047C6A.aspx
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6. Frankincense: Goats pose threat to frankincense
Source: Telegraph.co.uk - United Kingdom, 13 December 2006
Africa's frankincense forests are dying, scientists warned yesterday. The fragrant resin given to the infant Jesus by the Three Wise Men comes only from wild trees.
The trade in frankincense once stretched across the ancient world. The hard aromatic gum is still used as incense by the Roman Catholic church, in modern perfumes and in many ceremonies in Arab countries.
Yet ecologists have found that the trees are being over-tapped for their resin and that over-grazing by an expanding population of goats in the Horn of Africa is preventing the survival of the few seedlings that are produced.
Present rates of tapping mean the trees devote their energies to producing resin rather than seeds and threaten the forests' future, according to the December issue of The Journal of Applied Ecology.
Scientists who tested Boswellia papyrifera trees in southern Eritrea found that there was no regeneration. Prof Frans Bongers, of Wageningen University in Holland, one of the study's authors, said: "In the field there were no small trees. All the trees were old. Grazing is the main problem and the reason there is no regeneration."
Nobody knows exactly how long the trees live but the oldest are thought to be 50 years old.
Some villagers were tackling the problem by excluding goats and cattle from the forests for 10 years, because there was no money for fencing. But even a few goats could cause devastation if they get in.
For full story, please see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/12/13/nxmas313.xml
Related story: http://www.yorkshiretoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=55&ArticleID=1929066
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7. Ginseng: China’s Renhuang Pharmaceuticals submits production certificate application for newly developed nutritional supplement
Source: Business Wire (press release), USA, 19 December 2006
HARBIN, China. Renhuang Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a leading provider of natural health care products in the People's Republic of China (PRC), today announced that it has applied for a Production Certificate for its Acanthopanax Healthy Oral Solution.
The new Siberian Ginseng drug should help to further solidify the Company’s leading position within the field of Acanthopanax products and supplements. As the growing middle class in China obtains increased disposable income, their health consciousness is expected to grow rapidly.
Renhuang’s Chairman, Mr. Shaoming Li, commented, “This Oral Solution product is unique, yet based on thousands of years of traditional Chinese medical knowledge. We believe it will help fill a need in the market, and we are happy to develop another product that will provide our customers with a strong healthcare solution while also adding substantial revenue and profit to our company.”
Following the approval for production, Renhuang expects first year revenue from its Acanthopanax Healthy Oral Solution to reach approximately US$4 million with a profit margin of 50%.
For full story, please see: http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20061219005212&newsLang=en
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8. Mushrooms: Medicinal side of mushrooms
Source: New Straits Times, Malaysia, 19 December 2006
THE world of fungi is a fascinating subject for mushroom expert Malcolm Clark. “There are these remarkable creatures living in dirty, dark and damp places. Mushrooms need a great immune system to survive.” In other words, they develop remarkable compounds for survival and these have been discovered to be medicinal.
Clark is the chairman of Gourmet Mushrooms Inc in California and founder of Mycology Research Laboratories. He and William Ahern, co-founder of MRL, were in Kuala Lumpur recently to give a talk on Mushroom Nutrition: Clinical Applications to members of the Malaysian Society for Complementary Therapies, organised by Bio-Life Marketing.
Medicine from mushrooms is easily recognisable as penicillin, streptomycin and other major antibiotics. “All the ‘mycin’ part is usually a fungus,” said Clark, “It’s also in an anti-rejection drug used in organ transplant. Every year in California people get poisoned by mushrooms they pick which destroy the liver. They can take several other mushrooms to heal them.”
While all mushrooms are fungi and not all fungi are mushrooms, they are vital to human existence. “If all fungi die tomorrow, we will follow two weeks later,” said Clark. “They help break down material which helps create part of our atmosphere.”
More recently the exciting news about medicinal mushroom products is that they have been gaining a role in cancer therapy, and are increasingly used as adjunct nutrition for immuno-compromised patients. This is due to the long-chain polysaccharides found in mushrooms which have been shown to be potent boost to the immune system.
“There’s a cancer drug made from shiitake mushrooms that has FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval. The drug, Lentinan, is used as an adjunct to chemotherapy. It’s non-invasive with chemotherapy. A Japanese corporation has been selling it for 15 years now.”
While culinary mushrooms are sold to high-end restaurants, medicinal mushrooms go through the Mycology Research Laboratories which has identified some 40 varieties of them. “We have a huge library of cultures and we are identifying their various properties. Among these are Coriolus, cordyceps, Reishi (ling zhi) and Maitake.”
Even more fascinating is Clark’s expedition to the Himalayas in Nepal to look for Cordyceps sinensis. “The true cordyceps is rare. When I was in Singapore three years ago I discovered that several of the cordyceps sold there were fakes.”
Clark went on to research cordyceps under a Japanese doctor, Shinya Yoshii, and journeyed up the Himalayas with him and other Japanese researchers. Clark collected 12 samples up at 4,877m. “The Nepalese have been using cordyceps for hundreds of years and have been selling them to Chinese traders who took them to China.”
Known as dong chong xia cao, cordyceps is also known as the caterpillar fungus. “It lives on the larvae of the moth above 2,743m in the Himalayas.” At 4,877m, the air is very thin. I tried eating cordyceps and it helped my breathing. Now there is scientific evidence that cordyceps helps asthma. It prevents asthmatic flux of the alveoli,” said Clark.
The cordyceps specimens were brought back to the Californian lab to extract living tissue for products. “This has been my company policy. We don’t buy cultures from other organisations or research companies as in many cases the cultures would have suffered and their biological properties decreased.”
Clark shared some fascinating information about mok yee or wood ear fungus (not a mushroom). “Research done in the US showed that people who ate in Chinese restaurants often did not suffer blood clotting problems. It was from eating mok yee.”
Ahern, who has a deep interest in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and is extensively involved in the European pharmaceutical industry, spoke on the medical and therapeutic uses of the various mushrooms.
Mushroom nutrition, as in the Coriolus versicolor, helps in fighting off viruses with cancer links, such as in the Human Herpes Virus-8, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Epstein-Barr Virus and Hepatitis B Virus. Clinical research by the Mycology Research Laboratories in the UK has indicated the strong factor of mushroom nutrition in immune modulation, hormonal balance, detoxification and as an antioxidant.
While mushroom nutrition is not a substitute for cancer treatment such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery, it is adjunct nutrition that complements their use. It helps to restore the healthy functioning of the patient’s immune system.
Cordyceps sinensis has its medical and therapeutic uses in respiratory health (asthma) and physical endurance, renal, cardiovascular and reproductive health, cirrhosis of the liver, as well as in cancer. It also helps those who wish to conceive by increasing the fertility of both the male and female.
The Reishi or lingzhi mushroom helps those with hay fever, is a tonic for the elderly and is an anti-ageing aid.
Maitake is an immune stimulant and has also been used in diabetic patients to control blood sugar levels.
For full story, please see: www.nst.com.my/Current_News/nst/Tuesday/Features/20061218154644/Article/index_html
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9. Nuts: World's hazelnut producers to found a union
Source: New Anatolian, Turkey, 5 December 2006
Özer Akbaşlı, chairman of the Chamber of Agriculture in the northern city of Giresun, announced that efforts to establish a "World Hazelnut Producers' Union" were underway, enabling the producers to have a voice in the global hazelnut market.
Akbaşlı stated that hazelnut producers were aggrieved as world's hazelnut prices were determined by the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC) Foundation's meetings held prior to each season and producers' opinions regarding the price fixation were not asked.
Akbaşlı stressed that all producers were affected negatively by the low prices in the market and therefore they had decided to establish a union in order to eliminate the grievances.
Noting that they had cooperated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the issue, Akbaşlı said they prepared a statute and invited representatives from hazelnut producer countries such as Spain, France, Greece, Italy, USA, Azerbaijan and Georgia to hold meetings in İstanbul, Ankara, Trabzon and Giresun within next three weeks.
Akbaşlı declared that the new union's headquarters would be in Giresun.
Underscoring that they would carry out activities regarding hazelnut producers all over the world, Akbasli stressed that they were also planning to protest against the negativities producers had been facing at a demonstration to be held in Brussels next January or February.
For full story, please see: http://www.thenewanatolian.com/tna-19228.html
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10. Sandalwood: Stamps smelling sweet
From: Economic Times, India, 14 December 2006
MUMBAI: India Post on Thursday released its new series of perfumed stamps. The perfumed stamp on “Sandalwood” is of Rs 15 denomination and is printed at Government of India Security Press at Nasik. It is 29 x 39 mm and its fragrance will last for over a year.
“I am sure that Indian fragrances can be a continuing theme for stamp issues in the coming years,” said Dayanidhi Maran, Minister of Communications & Information Technology while releasing the stamps. Dr. Shakeel Ahmad, Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology, who was also present, said that the stamp would be a hit not only with the existing philatelists but also among the general public.
For full story, please see: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/811194.cms
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11. Bolivia: Indígenas buscan patentar sabidurías
Fuente: El Nuevo Día, La Paz, 8 de noviembre de 2006
Los pueblos indígenas del país empezaron a diseñar políticas para patentar la medicina tradicional, toda vez que Bolivia pierde al año cerca de 650 millones de dólares por no contar con lineamientos sobre el uso y consumo de las plantas medicinales.
Por esa razón, 20 organizaciones sociales y de pueblos indígenas de tierras altas participaron entre el lunes y ayer del “Seminario taller Construcción de Indicadores sobre conocimientos tradicionales de los pueblos indígenas y originarios de Bolivia”.
El representante del Viceministerio de Biodiversidad Recursos Forestales y Medio Ambiente, Alberto Rodríguez, indicó que en el país no existe una ley sobre el conocimiento tradicional de los pueblos indígenas.
Rodríguez precisó que, según un estudio de la Coordinadora de Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica (que incluye a Brasil, Perú, Bolivia y Ecuador), se estableció en 1998 que 1.300 millones de dólares son perdidos por el robo de las empresas farmacéuticas extranjeras a los pueblos indígenas que practican la medicina tradicional.
En esta área, Bolivia tiene plantas como la aguasca (analgésica), quinina (anestesiológica) y la avanta (para la lesmaniasis), entre otras, sostuvo Rodríguez.
Rodríguez indicó que un primer paso será definir políticas de participación directa.
For full story, please see: http://www.el-nuevodia.com/versiones/20061108_006913/nota_262_354217.htm
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12. Borneo rain forest yields new species
Source: AP in Toronto Star, Canada, 19 December 2006
GENEVA–Scientists have discovered at least 52 new species of animals and plants on the southeast Asian island of Borneo since 2005, the World Wildlife Fund said today.
"The more we look the more we find," said Stuart Chapman, WWF International co-ordinator for the study of the "Heart of Borneo," a 220,000-square-kilometre rain forest in the centre of the island where several of the new species were found. "These discoveries reaffirm Borneo's position as one of the most important centres of biodiversity in the world," Chapman added.
Much of Borneo, which is shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and the sultanate of Brunei, is covered by one of the world's last rain forests. However, half of the forest cover has been lost due to widespread logging.
The discoveries bring the total number of species newly identified on the island to more than 400 since 1996, according to WWF.
The discoveries further highlight the need to conserve the habitat and species of Borneo, where the rain forest is threatened by rubber, palm oil and pulp production, WWF said.
"The remote and inaccessible forests in the Heart of Borneo are one of the world's final frontiers for science, and many new species continue to be discovered here," said Chapman.
For full story, please see: http://www.thestar.com/News/article/162843
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13. Brazil: Ingredients from the forest, in boxes and on shelves
Source: O Estado de S.Paulo, 30 November 2006
In February, Friends of the Earth will host another Forest Market to sell native foods and discuss current Brazilian cuisine.
Have you ever tried honey vinegar from the Caatinga or the honey itself made by one of the 230 native bee species? How about a bit of wild rice from the Pantanal or Brazilnut oil, palm or buriti oil? There is a myriad of products that come from Brazilian raw material that is, as yet, still little known or exploited commercially. To change this situation, one of the projects run by the NGO Friends of the Earth - Brazilian Amazonia is the Sustainable Businesses Service Bureau, which provides support to the development of forest and community based products.
A sampling of what Brazilian forests have to offer and that should soon arrive on store shelves will be available for sale during the period from 2-11 February 2007, when the Forest Market will take place, inspired by last year's festival at Oca, with displays of products and recipes prepared by renowned chefs. This time the event will be held at the Paulistano Municipal Market, and the theme will be the sale of handicraft and foods, among them sweets, preserves and pulps from fruits found in different Brazilian biomes, including Amazonia, Cerrado (Savannah) and Caatinga, as well as flours made from cassava, Brazil nut and baru, jussara and peach palm hearts from managed groves, honey, jams and liquors.
'Our objective is to make it so that communities can use their forests to do good business and lose interest in destroying the goose that lays the golden egg', says Roberto Smeraldi, director of the NGO. 'As a historian and as a connoisseur, I perceive the lack of awareness of what we have and are. We have products within our biodiversity that are unique, are part of the heritage of our country and often with great potential for accessing domestic and foreign markets. It's important that we add value to these products.'
In order to do so, the NGO supports a culture of working in cooperatives and maintaining processing standards. "We need to specify our own terroir and make it so the products arrive to the consumer, to industry and to chefs. One cannot talk of regional cuisine without linking this to products from the area', says Smeraldi. 'Nowadays niches have greater potential for having their worth appreciated. We need to invest, create DNA, label it and advertise it. I am convinced that Brazil can renew its cuisine, arrive at a philosophy of taste. And I can only see this happening in the diversity of these ingredients, which act as a stimulus to creativity.'
Consumers must be somewhat more curious and let go of preconceived notions in order to bring on this shift in Brazilian gastronomy. 'Look for socioenvironmental certification on the labels. Check where it came from, origin, productive chain of the product. Get to know native ingredients and seasons they can be found fresh.'
The Service Bureau's website (http://negocios.amazonia.org.br/), for example, can be used to find a number of different projects supported by the NGO.
For full story, please see: http://www.amazonia.org.br/english/noticias/noticia.cfm?id=228109
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14. Brazil: Project by Kayapó in the Baú Indigenous Land receives FSC and IBD certifications
Source: Amazonia.org.br, 13 December 2006 (in Amazon News)
This Wednesday (12/13), Kayapó tribesmen of the Baú Indigenous Land received the FSC label and organic certification from IBD for their Brazil nut oil production. The region is in southeastern Pará and has become the largest tropical forest management area in the world, with 1.5 million hectares. To Roberto Smeraldi, Director of Friends of the Earth - Brazilian Amazonia, it is clear that one can break away from the logic of development based on forest conversion, providing economic viability to indigenous lands, without which these populations end up relinquishing their culture.
Kayapó indigenous leaders who came to the event took the opportunity to publicize their oil, which was sold in 2005 to a major cosmetics company and for which buyers are already interested in the next harvest. The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label affirms that production is managed according to criteria of sustainability, promoting economic development together with social justice and environmental preservation. The IBD certificate assures that a minimum of outside inputs have been used, valuing methods of agriculture (collecting, in this case) that recover, maintain and promote ecological harmony.
The Kayapó received assistance from the Sustainable Businesses Service Bureau - a project by Friends of the Earth - to prepare a collection, processing and sales control model for their oil. Indigenist Carmem Figueiredo, who coordinated discussions regarding management at the Do Baú Indigenous Land, said that the certificate is just one instrument within a sustainable business strategy. According to Ana Yang, Executive-Secretary at FSC, although a challenge, it ensures that activities in the forest will be sustainable, in addition to generating income to traditional communities by bringing them closer to industry, which is increasingly interested in products of this type.
The President of the Brazilian Association of Personal Hygiene, Perfumes and Cosmetics Industry (Abihpec), João Carlos Basílio, spoke of a market trend for body and hygiene products using raw material from Brazilian forests. "But productive chains must be well-structured, for there to be an assured constant supply." Structuring production and establishing planning is part of the management plan required by FSC.
Chief Koe-i Kayapó, of the Baú Indigenous Land, highlighted that companies have much to gain working with indigenous peoples, and took advantage of the occasion to ask for collaboration in obtaining certification in three other areas of the ethnic group: Menkragmoti, Kapoto/Jarina and Pykany. Chief Ytunti, of the Menkragmoti Indigenous Land, said that they are seeking partners and are open to negotiation. Abihpec placed itself at the disposal of the Kayapó to provide support in obtaining equipment and facilities necessary for producing products of enhanced quality. "We intend to contribute so that these other areas can also obtain certification", said João Carlos.
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15. China: HK enforces new law to protect endangered species
Source: Xinhua, China, www.chinaview.cn 1 December 2006
HONG KONG. The Protection of Endangered Species of Animals & Plants Ordinance which comes into force Friday will extend protection to more endangered species such as humphead wrasse, certain freshwater turtles and agarwood, a spokesman for Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department said Friday.
The spokesman said the new ordinance replaced the Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance, ensuring full compliance of Hong Kong's control regime with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). "Under the repealed ordinance, control of international trade in medicines made from endangered species did not fully meet the CITES requirements," the spokesman explained.
For full story, please see: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-12/01/content_5419598.htm
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16. Ghana: Significance of forest reserves
Source: Daily Graphic, Ghana, 6 December 2006
The Ankasa Conservation Area, now an ecotourism facility located in the Jomoro District of the Western Region, covers a total land area of 508 square kilometres and it was gazetted in 1976. It is believed that about 24,000 settler farmers live along the conservation area. The area is said to be the most significantly protected area in the country because of its high biological diversity. It is home to the forest elephant, the bango and some other West African primates, including the chimpanzee, 600 butterfly species, over 800 vascular plants, as well as a long list of birds.
Its conservation should, therefore, be of paramount interest. However, the major threat to the survival of the Ankasa Conservation Area is the pressure arising from the increasing human population living along the area. This has led to a major change in land use, with its attendant depletion and degradation of natural resources, especially wildlife, both on and off the reserve.
The integrity of the Ankasa Conservation Area, in the long term, will depend on empowering the local people who live with the resource by giving them the necessary support to be able to manage natural resources in their locality.
A physical demonstration of this much-needed support is the assistance from the French Embassy small grants programme for the construction of a Biodiversity Training Centre at Amokwaw near the conservation area to educate farmers to integrate the management of wildlife into their farming systems. The centre, which cost 15,000 euros, will teach the farmers simple technologies to reduce post-harvest losses, as well as alternative livelihood activities such as grasscutter rearing, snail farming, bee keeping, as well as fish farming.
It will also facilitate the treatment and preservation and also enhancement of value to crops, animal products and other non-timber forest products and serve as a link to demonstration sites for new technologies in agriculture, energy and small-scale industries.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Amokwaw Community Resource Management Area (CREMA) Biodiversity Training Centre, the acting Executive Director of the Wildlife Division, Mr Alex Akwoviah, said there was a global trend to move away from strict regulatory conservation to adopt conservation approaches which recognised the role of rural communities in the conservation of wildlife.
He further explained that one of the strategies which the Wildlife Division had adopted to give practical meaning to the 1994 Forest and Wildlife Policy was the establishment of CREMAs in communities close to protected areas.
“The CREMA approach provides a mechanism by which a financial incentive is created for farmers to use and manage natural resources on a sustainable basis by devolving ownership and management authority for wildlife outside protected areas, with its accompanying rights and responsibilities, to organised and defined communities by the Wildlife Division,” he explained.
Mr Akwoviah said people would manage wildlife and other resources if they were provided with sufficient incentives to do so.
For full story, please see: http://www.graphicghana.info/article.asp?artid=14736
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17. India: Forest Bill 2006 – Protecting forests and people's rights
Source: The Hindu, 20 December 2006
The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill, 2006 adopted by the Lok Sabha is a landmark legislation that seeks to empower traditional forest-dwelling communities by giving them security of tenure, access to minor forest produce, and a big stake in the preservation of natural spaces. Over the years, the political consensus on the need for such a law has grown stronger because of the perverse manner in which conservation laws, notably the Forest Conservation Act 1980, are being implemented.
The United Progressive Alliance Government has acted to redress the grievances of tribal communities declared encroachers in their own traditional lands. The new law, an electoral promise of the UPA and one for which the Left parties campaigned actively, will provide heritable but not alienable or transferable tenures for Scheduled Tribes and other forest dwellers if they have occupied the lands (up to a maximum of four hectares per family or community) for three generations from 1930, with December 13, 2005 as the cut-off date. The beneficiaries will be primarily identified by gram sabhas, and they can lawfully extract minor forest produce to pursue their low-consumption lifestyle but with hunting specifically ruled out.
The Bill to provide forest rights has come at the end of a long and polarising national debate on how to reconcile the needs of the traditional occupants of forests and the imperative of preserving the rich biodiversity and wildlife of the land. The legislation recognises the inviolate status of national parks and sanctuaries; the caveat is that transparent and democratic resettlement of the communities must precede this privileging of nature. Scientific evidence makes it clear that full habitat protection is essential for charismatic species such as tigers and elephants, which sit at the apex of the ecosystem, to survive. It is also vital for containing and eventually resolving conflicts between tribal forest dwellers and wild animals.
International conservation efforts today are highly cognisant of tribal concerns and rely on well-funded, inclusive resettlement measures. This science-mediated approach is working well in some Indian forests (Karnataka is an example). Tribal folk are wholeheartedly partnering in such schemes. The Forest Rights Bill goes a long way towards meeting tribal aspirations; it can be improved through some fine-tuned amendments like the ones to be proposed in the Rajya Sabha. These deal with appropriate access to water bodies and fish, wood for fuel, forest-compatible transport such as handcarts and bicycles, a stronger role for gram sabhas in decision-making committees, and clearer guidelines for identification of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
For full story, please see: http://southasia.oneworld.net/article/view/143959/1/1893
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A French-based timber company, Groupe Rougier, is in the country to explore the possibility of investing in the forestry sector of the Liberian economy.
The Chairman of the Groupe Rougier, Mr. Francis Rougier who visited Monrovia last week to meet with representatives of the government of Liberia, the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), the National Investment Commission, donors, private Institutions and NGOs involved in forestry activities in Liberia, said his company has a long-term vision for sustainable forest management in Liberia.
"Being a long-term commitment, our vision allows the Rougier Group to make ambitious investments in forest, industry, training, and social activities by carrying out very thorough forestry management programs", the Group's Press Statement affirming the assertions of Mr. Rougier said here yesterday.
The statement said that while the Groupe Rougier was in the country to do business, it would be part of its corporate responsibility to invest in the Liberian peace process while taking active part in the welfare and safety of employees and residents of the operational areas.
"Researchers and engineers will ensure training in forest botany, NTFP inventory, social services, workers' safety, and health. It will also relate to the conflict-resolution techniques, essential to avoid possible drifts and mutual misunderstandings with local populations in the working areas", the company's statement emphasized.
Indicating its preparedness to cooperate with the legal framework for concessionaire investment in Liberia, and the October 2006 National Forestry Reform Law, the statement said, the Groupe Rougier was prepared to contribute to the economic and social development of the local communities.
The Groupe Rougier, which had a turnover of US$195M in 2005 alone, currently has a total employment of 2,600 in separate operations in three African countries including Gabon, Cameroon, and Congo.
For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200612081121.html
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19. Malaysia: EU says Malaysia must focus more on preserving tribal people in rainforests
Source: Associated Press, 14 December 2006 (in ENN News)
Malaysia must focus more on preserving the tribal communities living in its rainforests than on sustainable logging, the EU's envoy to Malaysia has said.
"The living conditions of the indigenous people need improvement with full respect to their cultural habits and traditions," Thierry Rommel said in a speech posted on a Web site run by the European Union.
He is scheduled to deliver the speech on Friday in Sarawak state on Borneo Island, where much of the land is covered by one of the world's last remaining rainforests that environmentalists worry are being cut down by loggers.
Rommel noted that the focus in the past has been on sustainable forest production. Nonetheless, the social and environmental values of the forest and its dwellers are critical and cannot be ignored, he said in the speech to be delivered to a joint EU-United Nations forests program discussion.
The EU is providing Malaysia with a euro 900,000 (US$1.18 million) grant to promote tropical forest management. Of the 130 such projects funded by the EU in Asia, 20 are in Malaysia, Rommel said.
The funds are set aside for the "preservation of indigenous traditions and cultures and forest conservation," Rommel said.
Environmental groups say several plant and animal species in Borneo are critically endangered because of development and land clearing for palm oil estates. Indigenous tribes are also in danger of losing land and hunting grounds because of forest clearing, they say.
The national news agency, Bernama, reported earlier this week that Malaysia intends to fly in an EU delegation to Sarawak in January to "showcase its sustainable logging system" and to prove that its timber for export was legal.
Malaysia wants to clinch an agreement that could possibly allow more timber into the EU once it verifies the timber has not been sourced illegally. Malaysia exports around 2 billion ringgit (US$564.33 million) of timber annually, Bernama said.
Rommel said the EU would prefer if indigenous communities were more involved in timber production decisions.
"Local communities are no obstacle to economic growth, rather they can help ensure growth is sustainable," he added. "The living conditions of the indigenous people need improvement with full respect to their cultural habits and traditions."
The Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund has accused the government of ignoring the rights of the indigenous Penan tribe, who have blockaded logging roads in Sarawak.
Plantation Industries Minister Peter Chin said his ministry planned to take the EU delegation to the blockades, according to Bernama.
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20. New Zealand: Maori claim flora, fauna ownership
Source: TVNZ, 11 December 2006.
The fight for New Zealand's native flora and fauna is hotting up with six Maori tribes taking a claim for ownership to the Waitangi Tribunal. Scientists and researchers are concerned that will restrict their research on native plants.
Presently those who clone, cultivate and make products from native trees and shrubs have commercial and intellectual property rights to their creations. They reap the profits, but if the Maori tribes have their way, that may all change.
"They have concerns that their traditional knowledge, their Mataoranga Maori is being misused by commercial operators for in some cases culturally inappropriate and offensive uses," says Maui Soloman, Wai 262 Claimants counsel.
Te Rarawa, Ngati Kuri, Ngati Wai, Ngati Porou, Ngati Kahungungu and Ngati Koata want exclusive rights and undisturbed ownership of all biological resources in New Zealand, including all flora and fauna. And they want protection of all Maori customary practices and knowledge associated with flora and fauna.
Maori representatives say they don't want to restrict research. "The claimants are saying that if people want to use their knowledge and have access to these resources then they should discuss it with their treaty partner, and Maori are a treaty partner of the Crown," says Soloman.
Some researchers are worried by the treaty claim. They say if successful they could lose the ability to plan, develop and innovate. "I think that we're rallying for the tribunal's consideration for the need for certainty whatever or however achieved," says Dr Rick Pridmore of the Association of Crown Research Institutes.
Over the next two weeks dozens of scientists and Crown Research Institute staff will be putting their cases to retain as much control as they can over research with New Zealand's animals and plants.
The tribunal has until next May to make its recommendations to the government.
For full story, please see: http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/488120/925453
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21. Nigeria boosts research into traditional medicine
Source: SciDev.Net, 6 December 2006
The Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo launched a new committee on traditional medicine in Abuja, Nigeria yesterday (5 December), urging it to set up a training and research institute in the field.
The high profile committee, which will help to develop, promote and commercialise traditional medicine (TM) products, could help Nigeria earn at least US$1 billion over its first ten years, Obasanjo said.
Recently the Nigerian government has taken major steps to boost research into TM in an effort to preserve the country's indigenous medical knowledge. This includes commissioning a book, released in September, which collects 1,050 research efforts by Nigerian scientists, published in 1,020 international journals since 1972.
The president expressed his desire to increase Nigeria's "negligible" contribution to the global US$60 billion TM market, according to the official news agency Nigeria Direct.
The agency also reported that a national policy on traditional medicine will be ready by June 2007.
According to Turner Isoun, Nigeria's science and technology minister, indigenous medical knowledge and healing arts are facing extinction.
Eighty-five per cent of Nigerians use and consult traditional medicine for healthcare, social and psychological benefits, he said, adding that the book will help bridge the gap between science and TM.
Emmanuel Oni Idigbe, head of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, said the work will help make TM more trusted in orthodox medicine and solve the long-standing problem of poor dosage.
Nigerian researchers have spent much effort on the systematic identification, scientific evaluation and validation of Nigeria's medicinal aromatic plants, healing arts and systems. Extracts from plants and animals from diverse parts of Nigeria have been found to be useful for treating diseases such as malaria, diabetes, epileptic lesions, dementia, sickle cell disorders and inflammation.
In Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Zambia, herbal medicines are the first line of treatment for 60 percent of children with high fever from malaria, according to the World Health Organization.
Funded by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, the book is called 'Abstracts of Published Research Findings on Nigeria Medicinal Plants and Traditional Medicine Practice'.
For full story, please see: http://www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=3267&language=1
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22. Pakistan: Chitral fast losing forests
Source: The News, Pakistan, 18 December 2006
A satellite image shows that only 4.7 per cent area of Chitral is covered with forest and the situation is becoming more dangerous with every passing day. In the southern valley, deforestation coupled with overgrazing is seriously threatening the very existence of life here. There are also private claimants to the ownership of different sections of forest. This exacerbates the already high pressure on the existing forest from outside as well as from within the district.
In northern Chitral, the situation is becoming more dangerous as the people cannot afford to buy fuelwood at the current rate of Rs 120 per 50 kg in Chitral town and transport it to faraway areas. The dealers are not abiding by the rate fixed by the government and scarcity makes the people pay exorbitant rates.
The poor have now started to cut the fruit trees to meet their energy requirements, this situation seems to lead to extinction of the rare quality of apricots and apples in addition to pushing the population further down the poverty line.
The poorest section of the community is now increasingly uprooting the non-wood bushes and herbal plants such as artemisla and others. This process will ultimately deprive Chitral of the precious biodiversity its mountains contain.
The masses have appealed to the authorities concerned to urgently provide alternative source of energy for the people of Chitral before it is too late and before this beautiful land becomes a mountain desert.
They also demanded that gas filling facilities maybe established at different locations at affordable rates so that the remaining forest, vegetation, non-wood bushes and medicinal plants are saved from extinction.
For full story, please see: http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=36043
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23. United States: Wreaths – Holiday circles of life
Source: Longview Daily News, USA, 10 December 2006
The simple wreath, hung on a door or entranceway, is arguable the most popular and classic outdoor decoration this time of year.
Timber companies in the Northwest sell millions of pounds of evergreen boughs each year, most of it harvested from noble firs at high elevations, which are long-lasting and not as prickly as other boughs. "The vast majority of noble fir boughs are used in the manufacture of circular wreaths," according to a 2002 report by the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University.
Weyerhaeuser grows more Christmas-bound boughs than any other landowner in the world, according to story from The Daily News archives. Companies that harvest boughs apply to Weyerhaeuser for permits that allow employees called "cutters" to gather the greens.
Minnesota, another leading state in the production of holiday wreaths, estimates total annual sales of $20 million, according to a marketing analysis on the state's Non-timber Forest Products Web site.
For full story, please see: http://www.tdn.com/articles/2006/12/10/this_day/news04.txt
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24. United States: Bioprospecting – Mining our national parks one gene at a time
Source: AlterNet, 28 November 2006 (in BIO-IPR, 20.12.06)
The National Parks Service is considering a proposal to allow private companies to own the genetic resources of plants and animals in our parks.
The National Park Service (NPS) is quietly taking public comment through Dec. 15 on a proposal to allow private companies to "bioprospect" in our national parks -- to commercially mine, not the mineral riches of a park, but the genetic resources of plants, animals, and microorganisms in territories specifically set aside for stewardship in the public trust.
The proposal is contained in a Sept. 15, 2006, court-ordered Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), an outgrowth of a lawsuit over a similar 1997 proposal at Yellowstone National Park during the Clinton administration. Steady privatization has been under way at the Park Service for more than 20 years, but the requirement that the NPS actually study the effects of bioprospecting seemed to shelve this particular bad idea.
Seven years later, the EIS appears, laying out three options that would cover not just Yellowstone but all parks. The document, subtly entitled "Benefits-Sharing," reads less like an environmental study and more like a sales pitch for its preferred choice, "option B," to allow commercial bioprospecting but require "benefits-sharing" agreements and potentially some degree of public disclosure of those agreements. (Or, potentially, not.)
The other two choices the public is to comment on are option A, to do nothing -- thus allowing bioprospecting without so-called benefit-sharing; and option C, which is to only allow this genetic mining for "non-commercial or public interest research." Not exploiting our parks' genetic treasures at all is not even listed as an option in the document.
In the global south, home to much of the world's genetic diversity, this battle has already been underway for decades. In a process reminiscent of Columbus, transnational corporations have been using Western courts and laws to patent genetic codes and plant and animal life that existed long before any humans were around to "discover" them or own their "rights." The struggle against such legal chicanery has often been led by indigenous peoples who've relied upon the riches of their environments for millennia without the assistance of lawyers or scientists (or shareholders). Suddenly, they've been told they no longer have the right to use those riches -- or, worse, they can use them, for a price, paid to distant companies with no truly legitimate claim to their use.
This, in the south, is referred to as "biopiracy," and it seems like an appropriate term to start using in America as well. National Parks, beginning with Yellowstone (whose geothermal features were instrumental in both the park's original founding and the commercial appeal of "bioprospecting"), were set aside as lands to be owned and used by the public. Their early stewardship, beginning with Yellowstone, was specifically intended by Congress to exclude high-value heritage lands from the rapacious development of much of the surrounding West. We are the owners of these lands -- but their resources are now apparently for sale, in ways large and small, without the permission or even knowledge of the rightful owners. That's piracy.
The Park Service will, and has, argued that in a time of scarce public funding, commercial opportunities such as this can bring in valuable revenue to help preserve the park system. But what point is preserving a public park system whose parts can all be privately claimed? More to the point, these resources are not the federal government's to sell: They belong to all of us. And most especially to the point, there are some things that simply shouldn't be for sale. Life is an obvious one. It's one thing to sell chickens; it's another to sell the exclusive rights to Gallus gallus. The only difference here is size.
For full story, please see: http://www.alternet.org/envirohealth/44654/
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In order to support effective differentiation of BioTrade products in target markets, and back companies' policies on sustainable sourcing and corporate social responsibility, the UNCTAD BioTrade Initiative is supporting the development of a BioTrade verification system. As part of this activity, a review of the main existing certification schemes has shown that none completely covers the issues addressed by BioTrade. This has led to the proposal of a system that draws on the lessons learned by existing verification and certification schemes, one that is innovative and specific to BioTrade.
The BioTrade verification system will offer companies a system of verification for activities carried out in accordance with the BioTrade Principles and Criteria (P&C) for particular products. The verification can be used in business-to-business relations and can provide third-party backing for companies when reporting to shareholders and social/ecological accounting initiatives.
The Union for Ethical BioTrade (http://www.uebt.ch ) is being established to administer the BioTrade verification system. Members of this Union commit to gradual compliance with the BioTrade Principles and Criteria and this needs to be verified.
The first products to be considered by the UEBT are native natural ingredients which readers may use in their goods and products. This makes them potentially important stakeholders in this process which is being promoted widely to be participative, democratic, neutral and legitimate.
Thus we would greatly appreciate comments from readers on the "Verification Framework for Native Natural Ingredients".
How to participate
The first phase of consultation has already been completed, and comments collected during this phase have been incorporated into the second draft of the document. This second phase of consultation is open from 22 November through till the 21 January 2007 (60 days).
We invite readers to register at http://www.eclspace.org , through the 'Member Login' link at the top of the page. They will be taken through the registration and consultation process, giving them the chance to provide input into the development of this international standard.
Participants will be asked to give 2 names to support their registration application. These do not have to be members of the ECL Space and can be anyone who knows enough about a participant to validate their registration. As soon as an application has been entered the participant may begin.
Once in the member area, a click on the "UEBT Verification Framework for Ingredients" link at the top of the page will ask participants to:
* download the second draft of the standard
* introduce comments in the grey boxes provided
* upload the document with the comments through the site (using the "post reply" button)
If you have any questions or encounter any problems, please do not hesitate to contact:
The Ethical Certification and Labelling Authentication Project
International Environment House II
Chemin de Balexert 6-9
CH-1219 Châtelaine - Geneva
Telephone: +41 21 728 1387
Fax: +41 21 728 1324
Mobile: +41 78 637 0585
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The European Commission is supporting two international MSc programmes in forestry under the Erasmus Mundus scheme. Both programmes are two-year integrated Masters Courses provided by European university consortia:
- SUTROFOR (Sustainable Tropical Forestry): The overall objective is to qualify graduates to deal with the challenges in contemporary tropical forestry - sustainable tropical forestry management is becoming increasingly complex due to improved knowledge and a growing demand for products and services.
- SUFONAMA (Sustainable Forest and Nature Management): The overall objective is to qualify graduates to deal with the challenges of modern natural resources management in Europe and other temperate regions, that is, sustainable management of forests and nature areas in an integrated landscape context.
Full descriptions of the two Erasmus Mundus MSc programmes, inclusive of application procedure and forms, are found on: www.sutrofor.net or www.sufonama.net
There are fifty scholarships available: each of € 42,000 (€ 21,000 annually for two years).
Application deadline for non-EU students is 1 February 2007, for EU students 17 August 2007.
For more information, please contact:
Carsten Smith Olsen
SUTROFOR Director (www.sutrofor.net)
Associate Professor, PhD
Danish Centre for Forest, Landscape and Planning
The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University
1958 Frederiksberg C
Tel. +45 3528 1763
Fax +45 3528 1508
e-mail : email@example.com
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27. Mantiqueira Corridor: A new biodiversity corridor for the Atlantic Forest
Source: CEPF E-News, December 2006
In an important step toward establishing a new biodiversity conservation corridor in the state of Minas Gerais, the Brazilian town of Extrema recently became the first of 42 municipalities to implement a comprehensive sustainable management action plan.
An overarching management strategy for the new 1.1 million-hectare Mantiqueira Corridor will link five protected areas and protect forest fragments that fall within the state, connecting them with the larger Serra do Mar Corridor in the Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot.
Conservation group Associação Valor Natural has worked with local partners to create maps detailing forest fragments, environmental impacts, and socioeconomic activity.
As part of a wider participatory planning program, they are also organizing five seminars for government officials, councillors, and community representatives to help them develop conservation action plans for the remaining 41 municipalities that will form the basis of the corridor’s overall management strategy.
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is supporting Valor Natural’s work under its strategic direction of stimulating landscape management initiatives led by civil society in the Central and Serra do Mar corridors.
“The planning process has really helped to energize local people and get them involved in conservation from the bottom up,” Extrema Environment Secretary Paulo Henrique Pereira said. “Our challenge now is to sustain that commitment for implementing the plan.”
CEPF support for Valor Natural is also helping the town of Extrema plan the first payment for ecosystem services scheme to take place in the Mantiqueira Corridor. Extrema will pay landowners to help restore the Jaguari River watershed, a key source of water for the state of São Paulo’s metropolitan area.
For more information:
Contact Claudia Costa, executive director, Valor Natural
Visit http://www.planosdiretores.com.br/ for information on Brazilian conservation action plans in Portuguese.
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28. Two-thirds of Congo Basin forests could disappear
Source: Reuters, 15 December 2006 (in ENN News)
Two-thirds of the forests in the Congo River Basin could disappear within 50 years if logging and mineral exploitation continues at current rates, environmental group WWF said in a report.
The Congo Basin, the world's second largest tropical forest after the Amazon, loses some 3.7 million acres a year to agriculture, logging, road development, oil exploitation and mining, WWF's Central African regional office (CARPO) said in a report published late on Thursday.
"Tropical forest is vanishing at a rate of 5 percent a decade, wrecking habitats and releasing 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, which is a fifth of global greenhouse emissions," CARPO director Laurent Somé said in the report.
About 400 mammal species live in the Congo Basin, including the world's largest populations of lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and forest elephants, all under threat as their habitat is destroyed.
More than 655 bird species fly under its dense canopy and over 10,000 plant species take root in the forest floor, many of them unique to the region and containing medicinal properties.
"The region is blanketed by a patchwork quilt of logging concessions. While the logging itself is usually selective and does little damage, the associated roads, infrastructure and migration degrade surrounding landscape and result in massive wildlife depletion," the report said.
As well as endangered wildlife, central African forests also harbour vast reserves of minerals which still remain to be tapped and experts say there is a huge potential for the generation of hydroelectric power.
But clearing for agriculture and mining for diamonds and coltan -- a compound found in electronic goods including mobile phones -- are already destroying large parts of the Congo Basin's 470 million acres (200 million hectares) each year.
Parrots, crocodiles and lizards are also hunted for trophies, fetishes and the pet trade, while elephants are still poached extensively for their meat and ivory.
The forests are also home to the pygmies, traditional hunter-gatherers known for their singing, drumming and dancing in honour of the 'Jengi' or the Spirit of the Forest. The pygmies, too, with their almost mystical knowledge of the forest and its wildlife, must be protected, WWF said.
The environmental group has been working in the Congo Basin for more than two decades, creating millions of acres of protected areas, sometimes across borders, introducing sustainable forest management plans and raising awareness.
One of the plans to make logging sustainable involves certifying certain areas as viable for timber firms. Dutch lumber company Wijma became the first firm in the region to operate in such a concession covering 45,000 acres in January.
The Congo Basin covers Democratic Republic of Congo, most of Congo Republic, the southeastern reaches of Cameroon, southern Central African Republic, Gabon and mainland Equatorial Guinea.
WWF is looking for 300,000 more acres to be certified in Congo Republic in the months ahead.
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29. World Intellectual Property Organization seeking to protect products made from traditional resources
Source: Voice of America, Geneva, 14 December 2006.
Pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars from top-selling drugs. But, the communities that harbour the traditional knowledge and genetic resources from which these drugs are made, reap few benefits. The World Intellectual Property Organization, which oversees patents, trademarks and copyrights, has been working for the past five years to reach an agreement that would help spread the wealth from products stemming from traditional resources.
The Amazon jungle, the forests in Africa and Asia contain many hidden treasures. Their plants, trees, and herbs provide the basis for most of the world's disease-fighting drugs and many of its cosmetic and beautifying remedies. For example, penicillin has been saving millions of peoples' lives for decades. The anti-cancer drug Taxol and the anti-malaria drug extracted from the Chinese herbal plant, Artemisin offer hope to many.
"There is quite a substantial and well documented appropriation of traditional knowledge, especially in the area of traditional medicine-what is generally called bio-prospecting," explains Usman Sarki, a minister in the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to Geneva. He says people go into the African forests in search of medicinal plants, which are then taken out of the continent and brought to Western and other countries.
"And, laboratories develop them and extract active ingredients and make useful drugs out of them without actually disclosing where this came from, without actually plowing back benefits into the community where they obtained these medicinal plants," he explained.
Sarki says developing countries are trying to curb this illegal appropriation of traditional knowledge. "So we African countries, supported by many other developing countries and indigenous communities are saying that we need new rights…so that they can now have a legal protection of their traditional knowledge," he said.
"With traditional knowledge, I think it is very appropriate that we find means of recognizing the contribution to humanity of traditional knowledge systems," added Francis Gurry, deputy director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Gurry, says traditional culture, folklore and medicines have enriched humanity. But, finding an international solution to protecting traditional knowledge is very complex. "There is a collective creativity," Gurry said. "And, for that reason, it is very difficult to know at what point the knowledge came into existence."
The intellectual property rights system awards patents and copyrights to recognized holders of inventions, of books and recordings. This same system is difficult to apply to traditional knowledge because the legal holder of the right usually cannot be identified. It might be a tribe or another traditional community.
Developing nations want a legally binding international treaty to protect traditional knowledge. Industrialized countries oppose this.
Johnson Ole Kaunga is a Masai from Kenya. He is part of a group called IMPACT that represents herder's rights. He says industrialized governments benefit from exploiting genetic resources. So, it would be against their interests to enact an international binding instrument. He says Masai has become a worldwide brand name. While others profit from their heritage, he says the Masai do not.
"The Masai want to share their heritage with others. So, the most important thing is it should not be a negative exploitation," he explained. "It should be a shared resource for all."
Kaunga says he has little faith in national legislation because governments often manipulate their laws against their own people.
The World Intellectual Property Organization says it is in the interest of those that use traditional knowledge to eventually strike a deal. It says pharmaceutical companies invest billions of dollars in research. They do not want to find themselves in a situation of legal uncertainty when they have a successful result. This alone, it says, is reason enough for them to reach an accord that will provide them with the legal framework they need and, at the same time, will recompense the holders of traditional knowledge.
For full story, please see: http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-12-14-voa8.cfm
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We are seeking applicants for the 2007 summer certificate course in Sustainable Environmental Management at the University of California, Berkeley. The 2007 summer course brochure and application in MS Word and as a pdf may be downloaded from the web site Welcome Page, see Quick Links: http://nature.berkeley.edu/BeahrsELP.
Applications must be received no later than February 1, 2007
For more information, please contact:
Robin Marsh & David Zilberman
Co-Directors, Beahrs ELP
or Leslie Correll, Program Representative, Beahrs ELP
Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program
Center for Sustainable Resource Development
College of Natural Resources
4 Giannini Hall #3100
University of California Berkeley, CA USA 94720-3100
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31. Request for assistance: Santalum album plantations in Australia
From: R.T. Somaiya, firstname.lastname@example.org
We are a group of five scientists carrying out research on oil content and also heartwood portion in Santalum album of plantation origin. Australia is foremost today in this field and we would like feedback on formation of heartwood and its oil content in plantations existing in Kununurra region.
Since we are working on how to increase these based on Ancient Indian Techniques any feedback on their status in modern plantations will be universally useful hence our request.
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32. Request for assistance: bamboo jersey suppliers
From: Antonella Troja, Rome, email@example.com
I am planning to start an eco-fashion line, with Naturally Grown and Organic Fabrics.
My first organic fibre will be Bamboo, so I am trying to contact bamboo fabric suppliers, but it's not easy to find trusted ones.
I am looking for "bamboo jersey", 100% bamboo or blended with Certified Organic Cotton.
If you can provide me information, please contact me at the following email address:
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Partnerships in SustainableForest Resource Management: Learning from Latin America Edited by Mirjam A.F. Ros-Tonen in collaboration with Heleen van den Hombergh and Annelies Zoomers
Publisher: Brill, Leiden/Boston
ISBN 90 04 15339 X / 978 9004153 39 4
Number of pages: xvi, 336 pp.
This bookbrings together experiences with a rich variety of sustainable forest and tree resource management partnerships in various countries in Latin America – Trinidad, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guyana, Brazil and Ecuador. The authors reflect on the scope, objectives, institutional organisation and benefits of partnerships, on the actors involved and excluded, and on the hindrances associated with overcoming cultural differences, institutional barriers, power imbalances and diverging interests. The question that runs as a common thread through this book is whether, and under what conditions, partnerships for sustainable forest and resource management can contribute to pro-poor, socially just and environmentally-friendly forest governance. By presenting the lessons learned from a wide range of partnerships, this book is a valuable resource for students, scholars and practitioners dealing with new governance forms in forest and natural resource management.
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34. Other publications of interest
From: FAO’s NWFP Programme
Lindsey, P.A., Alexander, R., Frank, L.G., Mathieson, A., and Romañach, S.S. 2006. Potential of trophy hunting to create incentives for wildlife conservation in Africa where alternative wildlife-based land uses may not be viable. Anim. Conserv. 9(3):283-291.
Ninan, K. N. 2006. The economics of biodiversity conservation. Valuation in TropicalForest Ecosystems. Earthscan. ISBN: 1844073645
Placing an economic value on biodiversity is seen by many as the best and perhaps only successful way of preserving it while also protecting livelihoods. This is the most comprehensive examination of valuation ever conducted, focusing on one of the world's top eight biodiversity 'hotspots', with principles widely applicability across the world.
Oudhia, Pankaj n.d. Tree Bark and Medicinal Weeds Cure the Injuries of Sharp Weapons. http://www.ecoport.org/perl/ecoport15.pl?SearchType=earticleView&earticleId=690
Peck, J.E. 2006. Regrowth of understory epiphytic bryophytes 10 years after simulated commercial moss harvest. Canadian Journal of Forest Research; 36(7): 1749-1757
Commercial moss harvest is the predominant disturbance for understorey epiphytic bryophyte mats in the Pacific Northwest, yet the rate and dynamics of regrowth of this NTFP are unknown. The first long-term evaluation of cover and species richness regrowth following simulated commercial moss harvest from understorey vine maple (Acer circinatum) shrub stems is reported. Stems harvested of moss on six sites in the Oregon Coast Range (USA) in 1994 were examined for species composition and relative abundance of regrowth over the course of a decade. Percent cover increased 5.1%/year, averaging only 51% cover in year 10. Forty percent of the total cover in year 10 was attributable to encroachment from adjacent undisturbed mats and 14% to reestablished litterfall. Shortly after harvest, many taxa established on the newly available habitat, such that species richness surpassed preharvest levels by year 3. In the absence of competitive exclusion even by year 10, species richness continued to exceed preharvest levels by two taxa. Vegetative cover regrowth may require 20 years and volume recovery even longer. Commercial moss harvest should be managed on rotations of several decades, and patchy harvest methods should be encouraged over complete strip harvesting to ensure moss regeneration and promote bryophyte diversity.
Russell Smith,-J; Karunaratne, N.S. & Ranjith-Mahindapala. 2006. Rapid inventory of wild medicinal plant populations in Sri Lanka. Biological-Conservation; 132(1): 22-32
Sustainable use of wild populations of medicinal plants (as with other NTFP) requires robust assessment of the distribution and abundance of target species. Long-term population dynamics datasets are typically unavailable in many developing countries, and then perhaps only for one to few high profile taxa. Given the scale and urgency of sustainability issues, one-off inventories provide the only realistic means for assessing the population status and harvest potential of assemblages of target resource species. Quantitative examples of such assessments are very rare, and limited in scale. As part of a national programme focusing on developing sustainable usage of medicinal plants in five biogeographically representative Medicinal Plant Conservation Areas (MPCAs) in Sri Lanka, we describe the rapid appraisal methodology developed for, and substantive results derived from, a resource inventory undertaken at respective MPCAs to provide: (a) baseline assessment of the distributions, associated population structures and densities, and ecological requirements of medicinal plant species; and (b) an informed basis for ongoing in situ conservation, management, and harvest sustainability of defined priority medicinal plant species.
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35. Web sites and e-zines
From: FAO’s NWFP Programme
Forests of New Guinea
An interesting flash presentation on the forests of New Guinea is available from the WWF Web site.
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36. Ebola has killed 5,000 gorillas, study suggests
Source: Reuters, 8 December 2006 (in ENN News)
WASHINGTON -- The Ebola virus may have killed more than 5,000 gorillas in West Africa -- enough to send them into extinction if people continue to hunt them, too, researchers said Thursday.
The virus is spreading from one group of the already endangered animals to another, the international team of experts report in this week's issue of the journal Science. And it appears to be spreading faster than it is among humans.
"The Zaire strain of Ebola virus killed about 5,000 gorillas in our study area alone," primatologist Magdalena Bermejo of the University of Barcelona in Spain and at the Programme for Conservation and Rational Utilization of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa and colleagues wrote.
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is one of the most virulent viruses ever seen, killing between 50 percent and 90 percent of victims. The World Health Organization says that it killed 1,200 people infected between its discovery in 1976 and 2004. The virus is transmitted by direct contact with blood, organs or other bodily fluids. There is no cure or good treatment, although several groups are working on vaccines.
Several experts have noted that chimpanzees and gorillas are also killed by the virus, and suspect that people may have caught it from infected apes -- perhaps when hunting them. But it was not clear whether the gorillas were infecting one another, or being repeatedly infected and re-infected by another species of animal, perhaps a bat.
Bermejo's team had been studying a group of western gorillas in the Lossi Sanctuary in northwest Republic of Congo. "By 2002 we had identified 10 social groups with 143 individuals," they wrote.
Their report supports a study published in July that showed gorillas were spreading the virus within their social groups. "Our work is complementary to that -- we have shown it is spreading between groups," said Peter Walsh, an ecologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, who worked on the study.
Walsh said gorilla groups share territories, often eating fruit from the same tree, although at different times. Feces from a sick gorilla could easily infect other gorillas. Gorillas and chimpanzees also touch and handle the bodies of other apes when they find them -- something known to transmit Ebola between humans.
"The issue here is that there is a certain amount of work that needs to be done to take these vaccines that already exist and put them into gorillas," Walsh said. "The price tag on that is a couple of million bucks." He hopes a rich donor will take up the cause.
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37. FAO takes a new integrated approach to information gathering on natural resources: Bringing information closer to reality and relevant to policy
Source: FAO INFOSYLVA 2006-23
Rome, 28 November 2006 - From simple gathering of information on forests separately from all other natural resources, FAO is taking a new step forward and monitoring the management, uses and users of natural resources and their trends using an integrated approach. FAO is simultaneously monitoring all aspects of natural resources be it agriculture, forestry, fisheries, livestock or wildlife, to build knowledge about the real environmental and socio-economic situations on the ground, making information closer to reality and relevant to policy makers, FAO said today.
"In the real world, forests do not exist independently of the people who use and manage them. And forestry does not exist independently of other natural resources. For proper policy making on natural resources, it is therefore imperative that information on the state, management and use of natural resources is gathered in an integrated manner," said Peter Holmgren, Chief of Forest Resources Development at FAO.
"Information on natural resources must be developed in a very sophisticated and credible way. At the same time, it must be very simplified when packaged for policy makers," said Ola Ullsten, former prime minister of Sweden.
To help bring information on natural resources closer to the reality on the ground and relevant to policy makers, about 35 prominent inventory and policy experts have gathered today in Rome at FAO for three days to discuss how monitoring should be designed to best serve the needs of policy negotiations.
For the vast majority of countries, the lack of quality information and the reliance on only satellite remote sensing that provides shallow and incomplete data, has hitherto impeded policy makers from making informed decisions on natural resources. This has led to deforestation, huge emissions of carbon into the atmosphere, loss of biological diversity, desertification and poor livelihoods in rural areas.
New, reliable and in-depth information about natural resources and their management will help decision makers verify statements on situations and trends, enabling them to make integrated policies at the international, national and local levels, FAO said.
"Many countries are now moving from satellite remote sensing only towards systematic field inventories of all natural resources concerned. This will help gather more reliable information, but the challenge is to make the monitoring efforts cost-efficient as field work is expensive," said Holmgren.
FAO is therefore helping countries to collect data on the biophysical and sociological variables to draw conclusions on the relations of each natural resource to each other and to monitor their management through the generation of quality information. The expert meeting is an attempt to find a breakthrough in policy demand driven monitoring of natural resources.
According to the Director of Forestry in the Philippines, the recent national forest resources inventory in the Philippines carried out with FAO support using the new integrated approach, has greatly improved the understanding of local forest uses and users, even if the sample was only three hundred surveyed sites. FAO has completed, is carrying out or plans similar projects in Bangladesh, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, Honduras, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Uganda, Uruguay, Vietnam, Zambia, the Near East and West Africa.
For the first time also, FAO is supporting an integrated land use assessment in Zambia and Kenya, making it more cost effective to monitor natural resources. An integrated approach improves inter-sectoral analyses of land use and potentially helps develop integrated land use policies. It also facilitates inter-sectoral dialogue for policy harmonization between agriculture and forestry, which benefits in the first place the poor rural people.
"Currently, the demand is larger than what we can handle. However, the growing network of experts on forest resources monitoring, and the increased awareness of the need for quality information are promising for the future," said Holmgren, referring also to the recent climate change negotiations where the need for monitoring of deforestation was highlighted.
Web site link: FAO support to national forest resources monitoring: www.fao.org/forestry/site/24672/en
For full story, please see: http://www.fao.org/forestry/newsroom/en/news/108780/highlight_110469en.html
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38. South Africa moves to restrict canned hunting
Source: Reuters, 15 December 2006 (in ENN News)
South Africa has unveiled draft laws that crack down on hunting predators bred in captivity but activists on Thursday criticised the moves against "canned hunting" as inadequate.
South Africa, which boasts a wide array of wild life, has come under fire from activists who say officials have moved too slowly to stop the hunting of hand-raised animals that have lost their fear of humans.
The draft regulations block the hunting of large predators in a controlled environment, as well as while they are under the influence of immobilizing or tranquilizing agents.
The regulations were released earlier this week and are expected to come into effect in March 2007. They follow three years of talks between the state, wildlife industry and animal groups, which produced recommendations by a panel of experts.
"There is strong merit for it to be phased in because it has far-reaching implications for the hunting industry. It can't just be implemented," said Crispian Olver, former environmental affairs director-general and chairman of the expert panel.
However, some animal welfare groups, such as SanWild Wildlife Trust and the Born Free Foundation, said the move did not go far enough. They said of particular concern was a six-month period of acclimatisation for animals released on game ranches before they can be hunted. "The government is playing with words. It says it has banned canned hunting but in reality the legislation says predators released onto farms can be hunted after six months," said Louise Joubert, a founder trustee of the SanWild Wildlife Trust. "What is going to happen to a hand-reared lion, used to humans for almost seven years, how is it going to react when the hunters approach? It certainly isn't going to expect a rifle to be shot."
The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PAHSA) estimates the revenue generated from so-called canned hunting could be in excess of 2.5 billion rand ($356.9 million) annually, with top money paid for the "big five" -- lions, leopards, buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros. According to British-based Born Free Foundation, there are now more than 3,000 lions held in South African captive breeding facilities, compared to 300 in 1997.
The Foundation lists South Africa and North America as the two countries where canned hunting flourishes, with South Africa clinching top spot for the highest number of canned lion and elephant scalps.
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