No. 10/06

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:

A warm welcome to all new readers and a special thank you to all those who have sent me links to information.


1. Aguaje palm and macaws

2. Aloe soothing Kenyan economy

3. Bushmeat: Gorillas missing link in HIV mystery

4. Bushmeat: Anti-bushmeat campaign goes cinematic

5. Bushmeat: Rebel poachers could wipe out hippos in Congo park

6. Chestnuts in the USA: What happened to the chestnut?

7. Christmas tree prices set to go through the roof

8. Mastic: Beauty secrets from Greece

9. Medicinal plants: African plant initiative enters next stage, seeks support

10. Medicinal plants: Rare medicinal plant found after 100 years


11. Bhutan: Bamboo: an alternative to wood

12. Botswana: Take steps to protect biodiversity

13. Brazil: Bamboo handicraft industry employs 2000 people

14. Brazil: Indigenous Group granted largest tropical forest certification in the world by the Forest Stewardship Council

15. Cameroon's forests offer more than timber

16. China to promote reform of collectively-owned forestry

17. Croatia: Tourism and truffles

18. Cuba: High levels of natural Cuban honey

19. Guatemala: U.S. swaps Guatemalan debt for forest protection

20. India: National Bamboo Mission

21. India’s plant species under threat

22. Nigeria: Sokoto establishes N44m gum arabic plantations

23. Philippines: The Higaonons of Mintapod: weavers of the cloth of peace

24. Rwanda plans to import rhinos to boost tourism

25. Rwandan bamboo study

26. Turkey: Biodiversity conservation builds momentum

27. Uganda: High-value trees face extinction

28. Uganda: Marula trees in Karamoja

29. USA: Higher acorn yield may keep deer in hiding

30. USA: Tribes, Forest Service agree on plant gathering rights

31. Vietnam: Entrepreneurs earn billions off exports of bamboo and rattan

32. Vietnam: Successful bamboo-shoot farmer boosts Lao exchange programme


33. Bioprospecting: Medicines from the rain forests

34. Burkinakarité

35. Donors pledge $3.13 Billion for GEF

36. Healing Harvest Forest Foundation

37. Intact Northern forests worth $250 billion a year, according to study

38. NGOs launch system to monitor deforestation in Amazonia

39. 2007-2008 Kleinhans Fellowship, Rainforest Alliance Research in Tropical Non-Timber Forest Products


40. Call for papers: International Conference of the European Association for South-East Asian Studies (EUROSEAS)

41. Call for contributions of articles: Nature & Faune magazine

42. Call for contributors: II International Meeting of Basket makers “Pinolere 2007”


43. Moringa and other highly nutritious plant resources: International workshop

44. East Africa Workshop on bamboo cultivation and utilization

45. Second International Agarwood Conference

46. 2007 International Symposium on Medicinal and Nutraceutical Plants

47. 10th North American Agroforestry Conference


48. Arabic edition of Healing Hands of Qatar released

49. Strategic Framework for Underutilized Plant Species Research and Development

50. "Voices from the Forest"

51. Other publications of interest

52. Web sites and e-zines


53. Kenyan Nobel Prize Winner launches campaign to plant one billion trees in 2007

54. Tigers: China to release rare tigers to shrinking forests



1. Aguaje palm and macaws

Source: innovations report, Bad Homburg, Germany, 26 October 2006

Macaws, the largest members of the parrot family, have seen their numbers decline in recent decades, and that trend is continuing today. Dr. Don Brightsmith, a bird specialist at Texas A&M University's Schubot Exotic Bird Center is studying ways to make sure macaws will not just be photos in a book one day. Brightsmith says there are 17 species of macaws, and of those, one is extinct, another has become extinct in the wild and seven other species are endangered.

There are several reasons for their declining numbers. The birds are highly prized by the pet trade industry, and they are losing their native habitat due to construction and other factors. Also, some South American natives seek them out either for food or to kill them for their bright feathers.

Brightsmith spent several months recently in the Amazon rain forests of eastern Peru, where he runs a long-term macaw research project. He has learned that one reason the macaw populations are declining is due to the popularity of the Aguaje palm. It's highly-sought after by the local people for its fruit – the nearby city of Iquitos consumes up to 15 tons of the fruit per day. But the tree is also a frequent home to macaws, who nest in it and who also enjoy eating the fruit. "Unfortunately, the locals have discovered that the best way to get the fruit is to chop down the whole tree, and these can grow up to 100 feet high," Brightsmith confirms. "So nesting areas and food sources for macaws are being eliminated."

Other prime macaw nesting grounds are being lost by logging and clearing the land for agriculture, he adds. Brightsmith will return to the area in October and hopes to install collars on numerous macaws and use satellite technology to track their movements and learn more about them.

For full story, please see:


2. Aloe soothing Kenyan economy

Source: News24, South Africa, 22 October 2006

Nakuru - In Kenya's parched, semi-arid northern Rift Valley, a hardy plant long-valued for its natural healing properties is soothing economic burns caused by a killer drought.

Now people are looking to aloe to improve their lives. Aloe, a traditional natural treatment for skin care and burns, is used by pharmaceutical groups throughout the world.

"Food doesn't grow well here, so we grow aloe to buy food," said Elizabeth Komen, who tends an aloe nursery in her backyard about 16km south of the equator. "This is its natural habitat."

The opening last month of Africa's first aloe-processing factory in Baringo district has introduced aloe farming as an alternative for cattle herders and maize farmers struggling to survive the effects of cyclical drought.

Since 2004, the Kenya Forest Research Institute (Kefri) has been training people in Baringo, about 300km northwest of Nairobi, on how to properly harvest the spiky green plant with spongy leaves and medicinal sap.

In the last year, the number of domesticated aloe plants in Baringo has tripled from 300 000 to 900 000, said Kavaka Watai, coordinator for aloe research at Kefri.

At full capacity, the new EU-funded factory can produce 50 000 tonnes of crude aloe gum for export. It will also manufacture a range of aloe-based products such as lotion, soap and shampoo.

In a 2005 EU report, farmers in the northern districts of Kajiado and Samburu identified aloe as a better alternative to wheat and livestock because it can tolerate drought, requires little tending and has a ready market. The report highlighted aloe's "immense value" to the cosmetic and drug industry and its potential to "provide an alternative livelihood, reduce poverty, create jobs, and also reduce illegal aloe trade".

Trade in wild aloe was banned in Kenya in 1978 under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) because the plant was being over-exploited. The Kenya Wildlife Service has developed trade policies which would lift the ban, but the CITES proscription is still largely ignored, Watai said.

An estimated 300 tonnes of aloe bitter gum are exported illegally out of the country each year, making Kenya the second-biggest exporter of aloe in Africa behind South Africa, where aloe exporting is legal.

And, as Kenya makes its official debut in the $80bn legitimate global aloe market, one of its neighbours may be following suit.

In November, Kenyan officials will travel to Uganda to advise President Yoweri Museveni on plans for an aloe processing factory in the northeast district of Karamoja.

Meanwhile, Kenyans are discovering by-products of their new cash crop. The low drone made by thousands of bees can be heard on Jane Chepkonga's eight-hectare aloe farm in Koibatek, where she harvests and sells honey produced in 40 beehives from the nectar of aloe flowers.

Aloe advocates are even predicting the plant will bring peace to a region plagued by conflicts over livestock. Phillip Ngetich, chairperson of aloe cooperative in Baringo, said "thousands and thousands" of cattle in the region died in the most recent drought, leaving desperate herders to fight over what was left. "But if aloe farming can provide an alternative livelihood," he said, "livestock will no longer be their only source of income and cattle rustling will be reduced."

For full story, please see:,,2-11-1447_2018231,00.html


3. Bushmeat: Gorillas missing link in HIV mystery

Source: news service, 8 November 2006

One more reason not to eat our close living relatives. Of the three strains of HIV known to infect humans, we know that two - the one causing the global AIDS epidemic and another that has infected a small number of people in Cameroon - came from a chimpanzee virus called SIV. The source of the third strain, which infects people in western central Africa, was a mystery. Now we know it came from gorillas.

Martine Peeters and colleagues at the University of Montpelier in France have discovered the virus in the droppings of gorillas living in remote forests in Cameroon (Nature, vol 444, p 164). The infected gorillas lived up to 400km apart, so the researchers think it must be a normal or endemic virus in the animals, as SIV is in chimps.

The next mystery is how the gorillas got it. The gorilla virus is descended from the chimp variety, but gorillas are vegetarian and rarely encounter chimps.

There is little mystery about how humans contracted the virus, though: local people picked it up hunting gorillas for food and traditional medicine. That means the virus could yet cross again and create another HIV strain, say the researchers, especially as growing demand for "bushmeat" leads to more hunting.

For full story, please see:


4. Bushmeat: Anti-bushmeat campaign goes cinematic

Source:, South Africa, 13 October 2006

Conservationists in Africa have long fought a losing battle to end the illegal and dangerous trade in bushmeat but one group is now hoping for better results from a cinematic campaign in Kenya.

"Carcasses," a new film that debuted last week, aims to educate rural communities about the devastating consequences to health, wildlife and food security posed by the indiscriminate killing of animals for food. The hour-long short feature, produced by the British-based Born Free Foundation, depicts one such community in Kenya struggling to survive after the wildlife on which it has depended for decades are hunted to extinction. The foundation intends to take the movie on a travelling road show to a dozen villages in rural Kenya in the coming weeks. It hopes the drama and Kiswahili dialogue will register with villagers in a way that dry lectures condemning poaching from stern wildlife rangers or enthusiastic European animal rights activists may have failed.

"Carcasses" also underscores a shift in the focus of many conservation groups from trophy hunting poachers likely to go after rhino and elephant to rural Africans trapping bushmeat animals like monkeys, fowl and hare.

"Most of these communities are doing it for food, but we're starting to see a trend where people are snaring specifically to sell," said Alice Owen, Born Free's regional representative for east Africa.

More than 6 000 snares have been seized from the Kenyan bush since 2000 by Youth for Conservation, an organisation assisting the Born Free Foundation in its anti-bushmeat campaign here. But the snares are being set as fast as they are being removed, Owen said.

The film, which revolves around the trials and tribulations of members of the Taita tribe near Kenya's wildlife-rich Tsavo West National Park, maintains a light tone, but hammers home its message with thinly veiled monologues. "Thousands of animals are being killed to satisfy rural and urban households," a Kenya Wildlife Service officer intones in one scene. "And the villagers seem to think the root cause of the problem is the poachers.

"That is not true, for they are part of the problem," he says.

Owen said an urban audience was key to the foundation's campaign because they unknowingly provide a market for bushmeat. In a 2004 survey it titled "Eating the Unknown," Born Free found that 25 percent of meat sold as "goat" or "beef" in Nairobi butcheries were actually bushmeat and 19 percent contained traces of bushmeat. The report concluded that "unsuspecting customers" are at risk of contracting "not only food poisoning from rancid meat, but dangerous diseases such as anthrax".

For full story, please see:


5. Bushmeat: Rebel poachers could wipe out hippos in Congo park

Source: Reuters, 20 October in ENN News

NAIROBI -- Hippos at a national park in Congo's war-torn east could be wiped out by the end of the year unless action is taken to stop rebel militia slaughtering them for their meat and ivory, conservationists said.

Experts say more than 400 hippos have been killed by Mai Mai fighters in the last two weeks in Virunga National Park, which once boasted Africa's greatest concentration of the beasts. `The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) said a recent survey found less than 900 hippos remaining in the remote jungle park, compared with 22,000 recorded there in 1988.

"If the killing continues at its current rate, ZSL field workers fear there will be no hippos left in many parts of the national park by Christmas," ZSL said in a report seen by Reuters on Friday. So many had been killed, it said, that hippo meat was now sold illegally in local markets for as little as $0.20 per kilo.

ZSL, which has worked in the park for five years, said the rebels were also killing buffalo and elephants -- and had attacked game rangers and their families.

"This is one of the biggest challenges the park rangers have had to face since the war," said Lyndsay Gale, the charity's Bushmeat and Forests Conservation Programme Coordinator.

ZSL appealed for funds to boost ranger salaries -- which it already contributes to -- and for extra anti-poaching training.

Virunga, on Democratic Republic of Congo's border with Rwanda, is Africa's oldest national park and once boasted the highest density of large mammals in the world. But in the last 10 years it has also been at the heart of two wars, during which poaching spiralled out of control and a plethora of national armies and rebel groups fought over territory and natural resources.

For full story, please see:


6. Chestnuts in the USA: What happened to the chestnut?

Source: Bureau of Forestry Tiadaghton State Forest, Williamsport Sun-Gazette, USA, 5 November 2006

The American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was once the most important hardwood tree in our Eastern forests. It thrived from Maine to Georgia, often making up 33 percent of the forest. In the Appalachian Mountains, the ridges were nearly pure chestnut. During the summer, the chestnut trees were covered with long, creamy flowers, which made the mountains look as though they were covered with snow.

In the virgin forest, American chestnut trees typically were 4 to 5 feet in diameter, 80 to 130 feet in height and upward of 600 years old. Many specimens were 8 to 10 feet in diameter, and legendary accounts persist of trees bigger.

The hallmark of the American chestnut was, of course, the chestnut. The nuts were prized for their flavour, and though not as large as their European or Asian relatives, demand was extremely high. Railroad cars loaded full from the “inner” mountainous regions were transported east to New York City, Boston and other major cities for the holidays. Street vendors sold them freshly roasted, and they were a traditional ingredient for stuffing that holiday goose or turkey. Unlike their very close relatives, the oaks and beeches, chestnut trees usually produced banner crops every year, and they were counted on by many families as a major cash crop.

The wildlife of the early Eastern forest cherished the trees’ nuts as well. Black bears, deer, squirrels, wild turkey and even the once tremendous flocks of passenger pigeons all benefited from the heavy nut crop.

In addition to the commercial and survival value the nuts produced, the American chestnut tree was one of the more desirable hardwood timber species.

All of those wonderful features, for man and wildlife alike, would soon come to a crashing halt, in what many regarded as the greatest single loss in the history of eastern North American forests. The discovery of dying American chestnut trees at The Bronx Zoo in New York City in 1904 signalled the beginning of a horrific epidemic. Symptoms included wilting leaves, large cankers with rupturing bark, sprouts below the cankered area and, shortly thereafter, death of the tree’s trunk and upper limbs.

The blight that decimated the American chestnut trees was discovered to be caused by a fungus, accidentally brought to the United States around 1900 on Asian chestnut tree nursery stock. The chestnut blight fungus is native to Asia, where it usually does not cause severe damage on Chinese and Japanese chestnuts. However, the American chestnut had little resistance to the fungus.

The fungus enters the trees through any wound in which the spores are deposited and germinate. The fungus grows, penetrates the bark and outer wood tissues and causes their death. This area of affected bark, called a canker, eventually girdles the tree, and all parts of the tree above that point die. Root systems usually survive the death of the stem and new sprouts are produced. However, being genetically identical to the killed parent, the sprouts have little resistance to the blight and also are girdled eventually, time and time again.

This process of killing and resprouting continues throughout Pennsylvania today. Some of these sprouts can grow to become small trees, but inevitably succumb to the fungus.

Plant biologists throughout the United States have been working on a cure for chestnut blight fungus almost since it was discovered, to no avail. However, recent technology with plant genetics has produced some optimistic results that indicate a cure may be within reach.

For full story, please see:


7. Christmas tree prices set to go through the roof

Source: Kent News, UK, 10 November 2006

Christmas trees are set to rocket in price after a Euro subsidy was pulled from farmers who grow Britain's most popular tree.

The subsidy, given to Danish farmers who grow the ever-popular Nordmann fir, was withdrawn by European Union chiefs this year - meaning the number of Nordmann fir trees coming into the UK this year have plummeted from around one million last year to only 150,000 this year.

The price of the tree - which is a firm favourite in the UK because it does not shed its needles easily - is set to rise from between £20 and £25 to more than £35.

The good news, however, according to the British Christmas Tree Growers' Association (BCTGA), is people will instead buy Christmas trees grown in Britain. Many of the British-grown trees, however, are known to shed their needles much earlier that the Nordmann fir - which made it such a popular choice among the British public

For full story, please see:

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8. Mastic: Beauty secrets from Greece

Source: Edmonton Journal, Canada, 17 October 2006

Dia Scoufaras is selling a line of facial creams, body lotions, shampoos and soaps that contain an ingredient found only on the Greek Island of Chios: mastic. It is a resin that comes from the mastic tree and is the key component in the creams produced in Greece by Sodis Laboratories. Scoufaras is the first retailer to introduce the products to Quebec.

"Greeks have been using mastic for thousands of years," Scoufaras said. "And the ancient Romans would import mastic wood from Greece and dip it into the resinous oil from the tree. They used it as a toothpick and toothpaste."

Scoufaras and her husband visited Sodis Laboratories, the family-run company founded in 1955 that turned Chios's ancient crop into a contemporary product. In addition to being anti-bacterial, mastic is also an anti-fungal agent and was used in ancient times to quell ulcerous stomachs and reduce dental plaque.

The Sodis products also contain a few other homegrown Greek ingredients, including red wine for its anti-oxidant properties and olive oil as an emollient. "They also contain herbs and wild flowers that grow on Chios," Scoufaras said.

For full story, please see:


9. Medicinal plants: African plant initiative enters next stage, seeks support

Source:, France, 17 October 2006

A major project to boost standards in African medicinal plants and spur European trade has yielded its first results, but more support is sought to ensure its long-term survival.

Professor Kobus Eloff, chairman of the board of The Association for African Medicinal Plant Standards (AAMPS), told that 29.8 percent of the world's plant species originate from sub-Saharan Africa, yet they account for less than 5 percent of the medicinal plant market in Europe.

While European supplement and herbal product manufacturers are eager to innovate and introduce new products to the marketplace, they are operating in a tough regulatory environment. More than ever there is a need to demonstrate quality, efficacy and safety in the interests of consumer protection and for the reputation of the industry at large.

Thus, the aim of AAMPS is to develop and promote quality assurance and trading standards. Prof Eloff said that the plant profiles are intended “to encourage trade in medicinal plants, and encourage job creation across Africa.” To date, the first 28 of 53 profiles have been drawn up, but Prof Eloff said that funding issues are standing in the way of completion and publication.

The plan to compile an African Pharmacopoeia was first announced in 2005. In May of that year a meeting of African herbal medicine experts from 14 countries was held, at which AAMPS was formed and the most important African plants were discussed. At a meeting held three weeks ago AAMPS board members discussed continuing funding in order to publish a first edition of the database in hard form – print and CDRom.

Prof Kobus said that the association is also seeking more industry partners. In the area of quality assurance, one key initiative planned is the establishment of regional accredited laboratories. The model would be that growers and exporters would pay a percentage of export revenue on raw material that receives accreditation.

Denzil Philips, technical advisor to AAMPS, told that figures for the African medicinal plants market are notoriously inaccurate. However he said that in the German herbal medicines market African Geranium (Umckaloabo) and Devils Claw are in the top 20 most popular products, with combined sales of well over €20m. Other key African sourced products are Rioobos and Honeybush teas, and Prunus africana (all with multi million dollar sales), as well as Griffonia, Centella asiatica and Kigelia. In skin care, Shea Butter is a hugely popular ingredient.

Drawing up the profiles involves asking two fundamental questions: What are the plants used for?; and what work has been done already?

The first step is to bring together all the information published on a particular plant to date. This information is evaluated for probably safety and efficacy, and any gaps in the knowledge are identified. This can help researchers to pinpoint areas for future funding applications.

The profiles can also help ensure that the right part of a plant is used, through HDLC (high density liquid chromatography) of the extract, and an infrared scan of the powder.

For more information, please visit

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10. Medicinal plants: Rare medicinal plant found after 100 years

Source: Daily News & Analysis, India, 5 November 2006

A rare medicinal plant, which was believed to be extinct, has been rediscovered after 115 years by a team of botanists in Arunachal Pradesh's Upper Subansiri district, India

Begonia tessaricarpa, last seen in 1890, was found growing in the wild in Upper Subansiri and Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh by Kumar Ambrish and M Amadudin, scientists of the Botanical Survey India (BSI). This species is still surviving in a few pockets of Arunachal Pradesh and was found growing in damp rocky crevices," said Ambarish, who reported his discovery in the peer review journal Current Science.

Known to local Adi and Tagin tribes as "Buckuchurbu" and "Rebe" respectively, the plant is used by them to treat stomach aches and dehydration.

The plant was first mentioned by British botanist C B Clarke in 1879 and again in 1890, but had not been reported since then. No specimen of it was found deposited in the BSI herbaria, he said.

The plant is eaten raw and cooked by local tribes for its "delicious sour taste". The tribals make a chutney with its leaves and stem and consume it to treat stomach pain and dehydration.

The plant's juice is used as ward of leeches by the tribes.

The flowers of the plant have four petals -- two large and two smaller -- that makes them look attractive.

Ambrish has taken the plant to the greenhouse in the BSI's Itanagar office for nurturing and detailed studies.

The species is listed under the intermediate category in the Red Data Book, which mentions endangered plants in immediate need of conservation.

For full story, please see:



11. Bhutan: Bamboo: an alternative to wood

Source: Kuensel, Bhutan, 16 October 2006

Bhutan has one of the highest per capita consumption of fuelwood in the world. The demand for fuelwood is about 505,000 cubic metres annually while the production is about 127,741 cubic metres according to forestry officials.

The demand for commercial timber had also increased from 35,595 cubic metres in 1996 to 65,538 cubic metres in 2002. Wood is used mainly in house construction, furniture, flag posts, firewood, paper-making and for cremation.

The pressure on the forests is therefore enormous and will continue to grow with increasing population and more development activities.

Using bamboo as an alternative to wood wherever possible could considerably reduce the pressure on the forests say officials of Forestry Development Corporation Limited (FDCL).

“Bamboo is a fast growing grass that can be harvested in a very short span of three to five years in comparison to timber that takes 20 to 80 years,” said managing director of FDCL, Karma Dukpa. “Harvesting does not kill the bamboo plant.” “In terms of sustaining the environment, bamboo absorbs relatively more carbon-dioxide, releases 35 percent more oxygen and multiplies faster than trees”.

Bamboo cultivation, FDCL officials say, would also create employment and generate income for rural communities.

Bamboo and cane products comprise between 70 to 80 percent of the income for residents of Bjoka village and between 20 to 30 percent for the Phankhar and Ngangla farmers.

“Traditionally, bamboo is used as a fuelwood and the best option is to convert it into charcoal. In China bamboo is used as a source of charcoal production”, said Gyem Tshering, Deputy Managing Director of FDCL.

The corporation has started bamboo plantation on 15 hectares of land in the east to provide back up service and training for the farmers to come up with bamboo products.

There are also plans to introduce bamboo charcoal. This is expected to reduce consumption of firewood for bukharis, funerals and mass cooking in the armed forces and institutions.

The fibre of bamboo could also be introduced to the papermaking units in Bhutan, which still rely heavily on the Daphne plant and tree pulp, said an official of FDCL.

With a proper technology, bamboo could also be considered to replace wooden floorings and steel rods in the current construction boom in Bhutan. In other countries, modern companies are attempting to popularise bamboo flooring and are already substituting steel reinforcing rods with bamboo in concrete construction.

Developing the local bamboo industry can highly contribute to a reduction in Bhutan’s wood consumption.

For full story, please see:


12. Botswana: Take steps to protect biodiversity

Source: Republic of Botswana - Gaberones, Botswana, 8 November 2006

Deliberate steps must be taken to protect biodiversity, habitants and ecosystems in order to efficiently manage vegetation resources within the Okavango Delta said Forestry and Range Resources Director Dr Keoagile Molapong when officially opening a seminar on Rare and Endangered Plants of the Okavango Delta Ramsar Site in Maun on Monday. Measures must be taken to maintain biodiversity, diversity on lands and in waters that have already been disturbed, and if necessary to restore lost species to their former habitats, he said.

Dr Molapong said the recently completed consultancy on Rare and Endangered Plant Species had highlighted a number of threats, which were contributing to a decline in plant populations in the Ramsar Site.

The consultants have cautioned that in the short term the main threat to the Red Data Listed plant species within the Okavango Delta Ramsar Site boundaries are habitat conversion and destruction by developments associated with human settlements such as livestock and arable farming outside and encroaching into protected areas, Dr Molapong said.

The study further revealed that Red Data Listed species had been saved from the threat of human activity due to inaccessibility of some of the areas where they occurred within the Ramsar Site. They have been protected by the current networks of protected areas in the form of game Reserves, Wildlife Management Areas and Concession Areas, he said.

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Representative Dr Paul Smith said seed banking was the minimum measure that could be undertaken to ensure there was no loss of plant diversity. He said the human population had increased by two fold over the last 40 years, adding that UN predicts a 50 per cent increase over the next 25 years. Over the last 400 years the extinction of 654 plant species had been recorded, most in the last 100 years. He said this rate was at least 70 percent faster than expected from geological record, adding that 10-30 percent plant species were threatened in the world.

The workshop was organised by the Department of Forestry and Range Resources in collaboration with Ecosurv Environmental Consultants and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and was intended to sensitise different stakeholders on the need for plant conservation within the Ramsar site.

For full story, please see:


13. Brazil: Bamboo handicraft industry employs 2000 people

Source:, India. 30 October 2006

A project titled ‘Development of the Cycle of Bamboo in Brazil’, coordinated by Bambuzeria Cruzeiro do Sul has provided employment and livelihood to more than 2,000 people, who now receive over a minimum wage per month. At the moment, at least 30 cooperatives of producers are working with the raw material, producing from coat hangers to Japanese style fences.

Brazil has native varieties of Bamboo locally named carnauba, cana-brava, taboca, taquara, taquari and taquaracu, which are still little explored for handicraft.

Work with bamboo started in 1981, when Company Director Lucio Ventania started researching natural fibres in the country and their application in handicraft. After initial research and insertion into the world of handicraft, in 1999 Ventania established Bamcrus, which in two years became a civil society organization of public interest (OSCIP), a non-profit organization with national scope, and started coordinating the Project for Development of the Bamboo Cycle in Brazil.

Another group Bambuzeria Amazonia, set up by residents of quilombola in September last year, is working in the northern Brazilian state of Amapa, with specialization in production of coat hangers.

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14. Brazil: Indigenous Group granted largest tropical forest certification in the world by the Forest Stewardship Council

Source: Rainforest Alliance, 3 November 2006 (in ENN News)

The Rainforest Alliance has granted Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification to 3.7 million acres of rainforest in the central Amazon owned and managed by a group of Kayapó indigenous people in Brazil. It is the largest area of tropical forest to receive FSC certification in the world.

The Kayapó of the Bau Indigenous Territory, who sell the Brazil nuts they harvest on their lands, are currently the only indigenous group in Brazil with FSC-certified forestlands. They received the certificate from the Rainforest Alliance in collaboration with our partner organization in Brazil, the Institute for Agricultural and Forestry Management and Certification (Instituto de Manejo e Certificaçäo Florestal e Agrícola or IMAFLORA).

This certification means that these 3.7 million acres of Amazon forestland will be sustainably managed, balancing the need for income from Brazil nut harvesting with biodiversity conservation and water and soil protection. Brazil now takes the lead as the Latin American country with the most FSC-certified forestlands, totalling about 12.4 million acres (6.7 million acres in natural forest and 5.7 million acres in plantations).

"This is not only the largest FSC tropical forest certification in the world but also the largest forest managed by indigenous people in the FSC system," said Richard Donovan, chief of forestry at the Rainforest Alliance. "It is an important global benchmark as indigenous groups in many countries are increasing their influence over the quality of forest management."

To earn FSC/Rainforest Alliance certification, the Kayapó met a rigorous set of environmental and social standards. They also received organic certification for Brazil nut production after meeting the standards of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements in a joint assessment with the Instituto Biodinâmico de Botucatu, an organic certifier in Brazil.

"By seeking certification, the Kayapó indigenous community is showing that they are serious about forest conservation and management," said Patricia Cota Gomes, coordinator of certification of forestry communities at IMAFLORA.

Some 10,000 square miles of the Amazon, which is one of the Earth's most sensitive and biologically diverse ecosystems, are destroyed annually.

In a region rife with land-tenure conflicts that have resulted in violence, rampant illegal logging and environmental disputes, the Kayapó have been defending their forestlands in the state of Pará for decades and were committed to finding a way to manage them sustainably.

The certification will also help control development along BR 163, a 1,094-mile controversial highway that runs through the Brazilian Amazon. The government has paved part and plans on paving all of the road to open up access to the region. Critics are concerned this will increase deforestation and make the area more vulnerable to exploitation.

In the face of such developments, responsible forest management is key so the Kayapó can preserve the land and its rich biodiversity.

A team from IMAFLORA conducted the certification audits and will conduct audits annually to ensure the forest management meets FSC/Rainforest Alliance standards.

The team included specialists in community forestry certification, organic production, indigenous affairs and the Kayapó language. The team members were sensitive to local customs and beliefs, social organization and the close relationship between the community and the forest’s resources.

For more information, please contact:

Gretchen Ruethling, E-mail: or visit


15. Cameroon's forests offer more than timber

Source: Voice of America, USA, 6 November 2006

Eric Wirsy is an extension officer at the Limbe Botanic Gardens, in the Southwest Province of Cameroon. He described NTFPs to VOA Africa Service reporter Angel Tabe: “Non-Timber Forest Products are forest vegetables, animals, mushrooms, medicinal plants, a variety…that do not constitute the timber used in construction work.”

Wirsy says lumber companies focus only on commercial timber exploitation, leaving the impression that forests are solely for that. But NTFPs are significant, serving as a life wire and sustaining entire lives among local populations who get their food and medicines from where these products grow most naturally.

“For the local population, the forest is not just the timber, because their livelihood depends on the vegetables like the eru, which has a very high and social economic value in Cameroon…then small animals like snails, cane rats…high sources of protein for them...medicinal plants like Prunus Africana and a host of others. Some of them are exported.”

But some NTFPs are disappearing due to overuse leading to efforts to cultivate them. Examples are the Gnetum, commonly known as eru, and forest snails. “A survey identified some [NTFPs] that are disappearing in southwestern Cameroon like eru…. So we initiated domestication and small-holder farmers are cultivating [it], in their backyards.”

Wirsy tells of local interest in the domestication of NTFPs but cites major setbacks. One of the biggest challenges of the botanic gardens is its transformation to a semi-autonomous institution. “Without this transformation, he adds, the institution cannot benefit from funds from foreign donors. Asked what could possibly be holding up this positive transition, Wirsy simply says, “It’s a political problem, above me.”

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16. China to promote reform of collectively-owned forestry

Source: People’s Daily Online, 26/8/06 (Community Forestry E-news 2006.08)

According to the State Forestry Administration (SFA), China will promote the reform of its collectively-owned forestry system this year to facilitate the development of forestry and provide more benefits for farmers.

The reform aims to transfer more operational rights from local governments and local forestry administrations to farmers. Farmers will become forestry operators, signing long-term operating contracts with the government. Ownership of the forests will remain with the government.

Trial reforms conducted in southeastern Fujian and central Jiangxi provinces have spurred farmers’ commitment to forestry operations, with a large increase in yearly plantation area of trees, and enhancement of their income.

The reform is believed to greatly benefit the forest dependent farmers and contribute to the country’s poverty-lifting project.

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17. Croatia: Tourism and truffles

Source:, South Africa, 26 October 2006

It's 5am in a cold autumn mist shrouding the Motovun woods in the heart of the Istria peninsula. Milena Labinjan and her two dogs have just started their daily shift in search of Istria's 'treasure' and one of the rarest and most expensive foods in the world — the white truffle.

"It is rather exhausting physically and mentally for both people and dogs. On average, you walk 15 to 20 kilometres daily," says the 54-year-old. Trained dogs, which can smell truffles from a distance of up to 50 metres, can be compared to marathon runners as they strain their lungs for hours.

Like most inhabitants in the area, Milena leads her dogs on the truffle hunt twice a day, for several hours at a time, into the 1100-hectare forest lying at the foot of the picturesque town of Motovun.

The team has to take advantage of their window of opportunity between mid-September and the end of January, when the white truffles are in season, sparking a kind of fever among locals for the gastronomic delight.

The Motovun woods, consisting mainly of oak and ash trees, are the main habitat in Istria for the uncultivable fungus.

Truffles are found at an average five to 20 centimetres below the ground near trees, with which they live in symbiosis. As they evaporate they let off an odour, which lasts for only a certain period of time that cannot be predicted, and can be detected by well-trained dogs and experienced 'hunters'.

The white truffle — Tuber magnatum Pico — known for its strong and specific aroma and taste is the most valuable species. Besides Istria, it can also notably be found in Italy and southern France.

Connoisseurs say white truffles are best when fresh, for example grated onto pasta, while the black variety, which is not as expensive and can also be found in the area in both winter and summer, is excellent with scrambled eggs. Truffles can also be found in a range of products such as cheese, butter, sauces or olive oil.

The price of white truffle depends on its size and shape. It varies from €200 per kilo for those truffles lighter than 10 grams to €1200/kg for those weighing more than 20 grams. The cost of those weighing more than 100 grams — dubbed 'Jokers' — is negotiated directly with buyers.

Locals, for whom collecting of truffles is usually a side income, say on average they find around a few dozen grams daily. During the season they earn around €600 monthly, close to an average salary in Croatia.

Some 2500 people are believed to be involved in truffle business in Istria, while around 1000 search for them daily, in a tradition started back in the 1930s, when the region was part of Italy. Many complain that currently there are too many truffle hunters. Some five to six tons of truffles — of which 90 percent are the white truffles — are collected in Istria each year while two decades ago the figure was almost double. Around 70 percent of them are exported, mainly to Italy.

Istria uses truffles to lure tourists that flock mainly to the Adriatic coast, which is about a 30-minute drive away. "The region is becoming recognized for truffles, which is our goal as they are rare in Europe," said the head of the tourist board in Buzet, proclaimed the 'City of Truffles'. Apart from enjoying specialty truffle dishes, tourists are offered the experience of real truffle hunting, can attend show-cooking and learn all about the precious fungus.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, Istria is also home to the biggest truffle to have been discovered — a white one weighing 1.31kg which was served at a local dinner for 100 guests in 1999.

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18. Cuba: High levels of natural Cuban honey

Source: Prensa Latina, Cuba, 6 November 2006

Taking advantage of the providential rains this year favouring flowering, beekeepers of eastern Cuba s Guantanamo Province have produced 83 tons of environmentally friendly honey so far. That result has far exceeded the plans and the difficult situation last year caused by the severe drought that flayed the central and eastern provinces and seriously damaging that production.

That situation has been left behind and, according to the experts, levels of ecological honey are expected to surpass 100 tons.

Guantanamo was the region where the environmental management for that product began. The process excludes the use of chemical substances but demands a rigorous technological discipline, requirements rewarded with the high prices on the international market.

In Cuba, the production of honey through natural procedures meets the regulations set by the international organisms entitled to endorse those products.

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19. Guatemala: U.S. swaps Guatemalan debt for forest protection

Source: Reuters, 3 October 2006 (in ENN News)

The United States will forgive about 20 percent of the $122 million debt owed by Guatemala so the money can be used to protect threatened plants and wildlife, the government said Monday.

The deal is the largest amount of debt forgiven under the 1998 Tropical Forest Conservation Act, which allows debt owed to the United States to be invested in protecting the environment.

Over $24 million will be set aside to sponsor conservation projects over the next 15 years in Guatemala's rain forests, mangrove reserves and volcanic mountain chains.

In recent years, Guatemala's national parks have been threatened by slash-and-burn agriculture and land grabs. Some scantily patrolled protected areas have also been taken over by illegal traffickers smuggling drugs, immigrants and looted artefacts across the porous border with Mexico.

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20. India: National Bamboo Mission

Source: The Hindu, India, 28 October 2006

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on Friday approved the launch of a new, centrally-sponsored National Bamboo Mission (NBM), to be implemented at a cost of Rs. 568.23 crore. The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC) will implement the Mission, with 100 per cent assistance from the Centre, including an outlay of Rs. 91.37 crore for the current financial year. The CCEA also gave "in principle" approval to continue the Mission during the XIth Five Year Plan period, beginning April 2007.

The Mission aims to cover 1.76 lakh hectare area under bamboo plantation activities over a period of five years. Presently, 8.96 million hectare forest area of the country contains bamboo, equivalent to 12.8 percent of the forest cover.

It also envisages employment generation of 50.4 million man-days of work by plantation works alone and of about 9.7 lakh man-days in the nursery sector.

About 505 nurseries and three tissue culture laboratories will be established to produce sufficient planting material.

The other important objectives of the Mission are to increase the coverage of area under bamboo in potential areas with appropriate varieties to enhance yields; to promote marketing of bamboo and bamboo-based handicrafts; to establish convergence and synergy among stake-holders for development of bamboo and to promote, develop and disseminate technologies; and to generate employment opportunities for skilled and unskilled persons, especially unemployed youths.

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21. India’s plant species under threat

Source: The Hindu, India, 3 November 2006

Around 15 percent of the country's plant wealth is under threat and this poses a major concern to the eco-system, an academic said on Thursday. North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) Vice-Chancellor Pramod Tandon said here that plant species are dwindling because of economic exploitation, floods, deforestation and the building of dams.

The country contributed 49,000 plant species to the world, and 33.5 percent of these were endemic and 15 percent under threat and only seven per cent under conservation.

He said 70 to 80 per cent of plants contributed to healthcare because of their medicinal properties. India annually exported flowers worth US$64 million.

Tandon was speaking at the inauguration of a national symposium here on issues and challenges for conserving plants and the eco-system in India.

NEHU's Dean of the School of Life Sciences said the threat to plant resources was on the increase and knowing the challenges would help scientists take up remedial measures and make recommendations to planners.

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22. Nigeria: Sokoto establishes N44m gum arabic plantations

Source: The Tide - Port Harcourt, Niger Delta, Nigeria, 31 October 2006

The Permanent Secretary, Sokoto State Ministry of Forestry and Animal Health, Dr Buhari Kware, says the 300 hectares Gum Arabic plantations established last year were flourishing. The N44.6 million plantations were established in the three senatorial zones. “The trees are not dead.

He said the plantations were set up in Marnona, Gidan Madi and Kambama and said: “Each senatorial zone has 100 hectares.” The projects, he said, were economic investments for the future as they were expected to generate income because the plants attracted good international prices.

The government this year approved N2 million for maintenance work on the three plantations, including weeding, watering and fencing, he said.

He said one million assorted tree seedlings had been raised and distributed to local governments, individuals and corporate bodies for planting.

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23. Philippines: The Higaonons of Mintapod: weavers of the cloth of peace

Source: Minda News, Philippines, 8 October 2006

IMPASUGONG, Bukidnon. An elderly Higaonon woman stands before a loom where dyed lanot or abaca fibers have been arranged, ready for weaving into a textile called hinabol. She then applies beeswax to the warp threads using a wooden stick called dalahot. The beeswax would prevent the breakage of threads during weaving.

It takes a weaver like her several days to finish a piece of hinabol or woven hemp. Each time she produces a foot-long fabric, she has to roll it up so that she can continue weaving the remaining warp threads on the loom. And to think that the process described above is just one of many steps involved in making hinabol, from the planting and harvesting of abaca to the extraction of fiber and selection of threads, and until the actual weaving itself.

Like any other indigenous tradition, hinabol weaving plays an integral role in the culture of the Higaonons of Mintapod, a village nestled in the foot slopes of Mount Kimangkil in barangay Hagpa, Impasugong town in Bukidnon. Far from being just an economic undertaking, it embodies the tribe’s spirituality and ways of defining certain social relations, including gender roles.

According to Luisa Pantaon, who was given the title Nay Gul-anan (respected leader) after she got married, hinabol is traditionally given as a gift to visitors. “We also offer hinabol during weddings, dumalongdong, other important Higaonon gatherings, and when resolving conflicts,” she narrates in Binukid. Dumalongdong is the highest ritual of the Higaonons. “Hinabol may also be used in lieu of a bride price. The giving of hinabol is important so that the bride will not be cursed,” Nay Gul-anan adds.

Nobody, however, could exactly tell how long the Higaonons have practiced hinabol weaving as an expression of indigenous culture. But a part of one of the looms in Mintapod’s weaving house gives a hint. Called hasanghasang, it is claimed to be about 500 years old and is said to have been passed on to at least eight generations of weavers.

But before this centuries-old hasanghasang which the Higaonons consider a heritage piece, there was Bae Annak, the first known weaver of hinabol. She used poklas, a loom strapped to the waist. Later, Nay Gul-anan recalls, Bae Maulay and Datu Liwagay brought home from neighbouring Didi-anon a handloom called hablanan, which is easier to use. They also brought home a dye called ilalama as well as abaca planting materials.

Bae Maulay and Datu Liwagay were also the ones who propagated abaca in Mintapod and surrounding areas, giving rise to a tradition that has now become a source of economic sustenance for the tribe. At present, the hinabol is not just a cultural treasure but also a commercial item. It is being made into kamuyot (bags), placemats and other household or office articles, most of which display the weavers’ subtle effort to blend art and culture with function.

Yet, despite the added purpose of hinabol weaving as a livelihood endeavour, the Higaonons have never discarded the deep cultural roots of this unique artistry. Everything from planting to weaving has remained true to tradition. The old taboos and rituals continue to be observed throughout the whole cycle of planting and caring for the abaca, of harvesting and extracting, and of selecting the finest fibers and weaving them.

The men do the planting and harvesting of abaca. After harvesting, they perform seven other tasks, culminating with poghag-ot or stripping to separate the pulp from the fiber. Some abaca-producing communities in Bukidnon are now using stripping machines. But the Higaonons of Mintapod still use the traditional hag-otan, a contraption where a machete is securely attached to a T-shaped wooden frame.

The rest of the process after stripping, from the bundling (pulonon) and softening (pagluntay) of fiber to weaving, is a task solely for women.

The Higaonons trace their existing hinabol designs to Bae Annak, the first weaver. One of these designs is tangkulo which is dyed with the traditional red, black, yellow and violet colours. It is based on another design called binudbod and may only be used for the handkerchief of a datu (chieftain). Wearing hinabol with this design means that one is a tribal warrior or has conducted a tampuda (tribal peace gathering)

But the Higaonons will always remember and retain the significance of hinabol as a cloth of peace. "For us Higaonons, hinabol is kalandang (peace) because it is traditionally used in resolving conflicts within our tribes and communities. Today, it is still the symbol of peace because it helps us in our livelihoods and the peaceful development of our communities," Nay Gul-anan says. "Hinabol has a big role in our tribe and culture and in our efforts to conserve the forest," she adds.

Meanwhile, the local government of Impasugong has formalized its support to the Higaonon weavers by passing an ordinance declaring the hinabol a cloth of peace.

A NGO, the Non-Timber Forest Products-Task Force, has also given marketing assistance to the Higaonons through product exhibitions in Manila and other activities that would help promote the product.


24. Rwanda plans to import rhinos to boost tourism

Source: Reuters, 27.9.06 (in ENN News)

Rwanda, home to a third of the world's mountain gorillas, plans to import up to 20 rhinos over the next 15 years to draw more tourists to the tiny central African country, a tourism official said on Tuesday.

Fidel Ruzigandekwe, director of the wildlife agency in the Office of Tourism and National Parks, said talks had already started between Rwanda and officials from Kenya and South Africa -- both possible suppliers for the rhinos.

He said the animals would be introduced to the eastern Akagera national park where a game ranger recently spotted a rhino despite previous reports of the animal's extinction in the park, also home to zebras, giraffes and elephants.

Tourism has become Rwanda's third source of foreign income, with most visitors heading straight for the mountain gorillas who inhabit misty rain forests near smouldering volcanoes.

There are only about 700 mountain gorillas left in the world, with one third living in Rwanda.

Some 45,000 tourists visited Rwanda last year earning the country $10 million in foreign exchange, with $100 million targeted by 2010.


25. Rwandan bamboo study

Source: The New Times, Kigali, 31 October 2006

The Chinese International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) will next month begin working on a feasibility study on bamboo resources in Rwanda.

Dubbed Production to Consumption Study (PCS), the study will entirely be sponsored by INBAR, as a sign of concrete collaboration with the Rwanda Private Sector Federation (RPSF). The Secretary General of RPSF, Emmanuel Hategeka, confirmed the study, saying that the development was reached at during his visit to Dr. Coosje Hoogendoorn, the Director General of INBAR.

INBAR is known for developing rural livelihoods, environment and businesses worldwide through bamboo and rattan. Rattan is a plant with long thin stems used for making woven furniture and bamboo is a tropical plant with light-brown stems also used for making furniture among a multitude of other things.

Hategeka said he visited INBAR showrooms in Beijing and was amazed with the wealth that can be made out of bamboo and rattan, using very affordable technology. "The visit saw Rwanda, through RPSF literally join a network of 34 INBAR countries," Hategeka said. The country thus became the first African country to join and benefit from INBAR.

He disclosed that he agreed with Hoogendoorn to link RPSF to the huge Chinese market once bamboo business gains ground in Rwanda. "The challenge will then be upon us to satisfy the huge (1.3billion people) Chinese market,” he said

After the study, INBAR will also provide technical capacity to RPSF members who would have chosen to partner with Chinese in bamboo business.

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26. Turkey: Biodiversity conservation builds momentum

Source: Hotspots E-News, Summer 2006

Often known as the “cradle of civilizations”, Turkey stretches across two major continents and includes three biodiversity hotspots within its boundaries: the Irano-Anatolian Hotspot, Caucasus Hotspot and Mediterranean Hotspot. Given its high levels of species richness and endemism, Turkey is a clear global priority for biodiversity conservation.

Doğa Derneği (DD) is a leading Turkish NGO whose mission is to protect Turkey’s threatened species and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), through a national grassroots network.

To effectively target conservation action on the ground within Turkey’s biodiversity hotspots, DD has just completed the identification of 305 KBAs in the country. This inventory of globally important sites for biodiversity conservation will be published in Turkish as “Turkey’s Key Biodiversity Areas” later this year, representing the first national KBA directory in the world. This book will be a unique reference publication for national and international stakeholders in conserving site-level priorities in Turkey. It will help promote the concept of KBAs and the Natura 2000 Network (European areas of special concern) both nationally and globally and will serve as a model for other countries.

The 305 KBAs cover 21,226,681 hectares (about 27% of Turkey's total surface area) and 85% of these lack a formal protection status. DD is now taking action in 15 KBAs across the Irano-Anatolian, Caucasus and Mediterranean hotspots in collaboration with local authorities, universities and local NGOs.

In addition, DD is working to establish a Zero Extinction Fund, in collaboration with the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Forestry and UNDP Turkey, and with the support of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and media sponsors CNN-TURK TV and ATLAS magazine. This initiative, to be directed at AZE sites in Turkey (the highest priority KBAs), aims to raise the financial support needed to implement ten urgent projects to halt biodiversity loss in Turkey by 2010.

Finally, DD, in partnership with the Georgian Center for the Conservation of Wildlife (GCCW) and the CI Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, has just started a new project in the Caucasus hotspot entitled “Enhancing conservation in the West Lesser Caucasus through transboundary cooperation and establishing a training programme on KBA conservation”.


27. Uganda: High-value trees face extinction

Source: The Monitor (Kampala), 18 September 2006

THE District Secretary for Production and Natural Resources, Mr Richard Nyakaana, has expressed fear that if the government does not consider encouraging people to plant the indigenous high-value tree species, they will suffer extinction.

He said if tree species like mahogany, mvule, musizi, elgon olive and codia are not planted, getting good trees for timber, charcoal and medicine will be a big problem in future. Such trees in Itwara, Butebe and Nyakigumba forest reserves in Kabarole district had been cut down for human settlement, farming and charcoal burning.

He said that if the problem is not given urgent attention, the future generation would find no trees, especially those used as herbs.

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28. Uganda: Marula trees in Karamoja

Source: New Vision, Uganda, 27 October 2006

KARAMOJA region is endowed with the marula tree whose fruit is used in the manufacture of the popular Amarula liquor, a scientist has discovered. Ben Chikamai from FAO’s coordinating network for gums and resins found recently that the tree grew wild in karamoja.

The chief executive officer of the Kara-moja private sector development centre, Jimmy Lomakol, said Chikamai could not believe his eyes when he saw huge marula trees in different parts of Karamoja. “He told me that Karamoja was sitting on a goldmine and that the region has a rare species of the marula trees that grow to towering heights, well above those found in South Africa,” Lomakol said. He said Chikamai had been contracted to study the viability of gum Arabic, another tree species whose sap is used in the manufacture of soft drinks.

He said the marula tree was locally known in Karamoja as ‘ekajikai’ while in Teso it is called ‘ejikai’.

“I had grown knowing the tree and only used to enjoy eating its fruit, unaware that it was a raw material for such a popular drink,” Lomakol said. He said samples of the tree had grown wild at Nakapiripirit district headquarters and that many more were lined up along the Nakapiripirit-Moroto and the Moroto-Iriiri-Katakwi roads. “In the wilderness they just grow like any other ordinary tree. The fruits are eaten while goats enjoy eating the leaves,” Lomakol said.

Chikamai met President Yoweri Museveni at Soroti State Lodge on September 22, where they discussed the possibility of establishing an Aloe vera boiling plant in Karamoja.

Museveni talked about his meeting with Chikamai and Timothy Lolem when he met the district leaders from Karamoja in Moroto. “We are working on gum Arabica. A team is here. We are supporting it. We have agreed to set up a factory,” Museveni told leaders from the districts of Nakapiripirit, Moroto, Kotido, Abim and Kaabong.

He said Lolem had formed a cooperative society to harvest and process tamarind fruit juice.

Lomakol, whose organisation worked closely with FAO in identifying the locations of the gum Arabica and Aloe secundiflora, said they had embarked on the fast tracking for the exploration and exploitation of the high value natural plants.

He said a team from the regional centre for mapping of resources for development in Africa had also started the satellite mapping of gum Arabica in Karamoja. He said the exercise was aimed at establishing the quantity, quality and locations of gum Arabica. “The quantity in Karamoja is already enough to start production,” Lomakol said.

He said the Kenya government had licensed two factories for Aloe secundiflora, a sisal-like plant whose sap is used to make medicine.

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29. USA: Higher acorn yield may keep deer in hiding

Source: Columbia Missourian, USA, 1 November 2006

Acorn production is up across southern Missouri for the second year in a row. Hunters, be warned: Well-fed deer may stick to the forests this fall and winter, making them as elusive as they were last year.

Across the state, red oaks produced about 2 percent more acorns in 2006 than in 2005, while white oaks produced about 9 percent more, according to an oak mast survey released last week by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The term “mast” refers to the nuts and fruits, produced by trees that are eaten by animals. It includes acorns, hickory nuts, walnuts and maple seeds.

In 2005, red oaks produced about 33 percent more acorns than in 2004, while white oaks produced about 30 percent more.

Statewide increases in red and white oak acorn production are important for both wildlife researchers and hunters. David Gwaze, a resource scientist for the Conservation Department, said researchers predict an increase in reproduction rates among deer and other wildlife because those animals will have a greater supply of food this fall and winter.

On the other hand, Gwaze said, hunters may have more difficulty finding deer because the animals won’t need to leave the forest regularly to find food.

Such an increase in acorn production over two consecutive years is rare, Gwaze said. The last time such an increase took place was 1986.

It’s impossible to predict mast yield from one year to the next, and scientists have a number of theories as to why it changes, said Tim French, central region forestry supervisor for the department. One theory holds that trees produce higher quantities of mast in some years because of stress that results from drought-like conditions, French said. Missouri has experienced those kinds of conditions for the past two years. Some trees may be genetically predisposed to producing more acorns, he said, while the fertility of the soil could also be important. But French said that right now, no one theory is better than another.

Many kinds of wildlife rely on mast for food, said Mike Schroer, the department’s central region wildlife supervisor. “It really runs from small mammals up through big birds and the turkeys,” he said.

Schroer said increased breeding among wildlife wouldn’t be immediately seen unless there is a harsh winter. In the case of a harsh winter combined with a large supply of acorns, Schroer said, animals will have good fat reserves that will sustain them until spring, when they should be able to produce more offspring. Last year’s winter was mild, he said, but he hasn’t heard forecasts for this year.

The 2006 Conservation Department study, released last week, was conducted beginning in early September. The Conservation Department has been performing this kind of research since 1959.

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30. USA: Tribes, Forest Service agree on plant gathering rights

Source: Associated Press via mLive, November 1, 2006

With smoke from ceremonial pipes swirling upward, representatives of the federal government and four American Indian tribes sealed an agreement Monday guaranteeing tribal members access to national forests to gather plants.

The agreement covers the Huron-Manistee National Forests in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula and the Hiawatha National Forest in the Upper Peninsula.

Reaching the deal with the U.S. Forest Service were the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. They are among tribes affected by an 1836 treaty that ceded a huge swath of western and northern Michigan to the United States with the understanding that tribal citizens would retain access for hunting, fishing and gathering.

Differing interpretations of the access provisions have sparked clashes and court battles between tribal members and non-Indians, particularly during the 1960s and 1970s.

Forest Service officials and tribal leaders said the agreement is similar to one reached in the late 1990s between the federal agency and tribes in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's western Upper Peninsula.

The pact deals with activities such as logging, cutting firewood, taking plants for medicinal or ceremonial uses, and collecting maple sap, ginseng and conifer boughs. It enables tribal members in some cases to obtain waivers from fees and length-of-stay requirements at national forest campgrounds.

It doesn't grant tribal members new rights or privileges but clarifies in writing what they can do. It recognizes the tribes' authority to regulate plant gathering activities by their members but promises their rules will closely resemble those of the Forest Service.

Both sides agreed to cooperate on resolving disagreements and protecting natural resources in the forests.

Jimmie Mitchell, natural resources director for the Little River Band, said tribal members have tended to gather plants secretly. "We've always been wary because we don't want to be encroaching on some else's law," he said. "This opens it up so we don't have to do these things in fear."

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31. Vietnam: Entrepreneurs earn billions off exports of bamboo and rattan

Source: Viet Nam News, Vietnam, 7 October 2006

HA TAY — Skilled and young craftsmen from Luu Thuong Village in Phu Tuc Commune have become billionaires from exporting bamboo and rattan products to American, Japanese and Australian markets.

Tran Xuan Yen, who hails from the Luu Thuong Village, a traditional handicraft centre, is one amongst the many young craftsmen who have profited from the tradition which has created thousands of jobs and raised revenues worth billions of dong.

Initially working as an employee, Yen learned the sophisticated skills required to weave bamboo baskets of various types. After marriage, he set up the Yen-Ngan Company specialising in weaving baskets made from guot (a kind of wild grass available around the village). The company, which was renamed Nhat Anh Company in 2005, prospered from exporting rattan and guot-made products to the Japanese, American and Australian markets, where it became popular for its designs and reasonable prices.

The company now employs 40 regular labourers and thousands of working-age people in the village who make products under contracts for a salary ranging from VND600,000 to VND2 million each.

According to estimates, the village has an estimated 20 young entrepreneurs like Yen who sell handicraft products in cities including Ha Noi and Hai Phong.

Like Yen, Nguyen Van Ngoc, who runs the Phu Ngoc Company, was a farmer 10 years ago and earned his living from farming and breeding livestock. Ngoc, who realised the potential of rattan and bamboo products, shifted to handicrafts and now has a prosperous and modern business, which even boasts a website that gathers product and market information. The company, which employs over 100 skilled workers, produces quality products that can compete with similar products from bigger enterprises in the cities.

According to Pham Tuan Da, Chairman of the Phu Tuc Commune’s People’s Committee, these enterprises have created stable jobs for thousands of local people and increased the communal revenue.

To preserve their traditional crafts and develop their prestigious brands, Luu Thuong’s handicraft producers are still looking for capital and other supports from local authorities and relevant agencies.

A comprehensive strategy has now been mooted for finding stable markets, establishing business relations with domestic and foreign partners, expanding the scale of production, sustainable development of raw materials, and streamlining the value added tax payment procedure.

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32. Vietnam: Successful bamboo-shoot farmer boosts Lao exchange programme

Source: Viet Nam News, Vietnam, 28 October 2006

After successfully growing bamboo shoots over large tracts in Viet Nam, a farmer from the northern Ha Tay Province is now helping neighbouring Laos prosper from growing the in-demand vegetable.

Ha Tay’s Ta Van Tien, who received an invitation from the Lao Ambassador to Viet Nam, is now helping Lao farmers grow bamboo shoots on a 100ha-area, and has signed a contract with a Vientiane-based enterprise to develop the same over an area of 2,000ha.

Earlier, Ta Van Tien, 62, from Song Phuong Commune of Dan Phuong District, had also taught at a technology transfer course on growing bamboo shoots organised by the Viet Nam Farmers’ Association. A self-taught farmer, Tien became the director of the Dan Tu Ltd. Co, which earns a revenue of hundreds of million from producing various bamboo shoot saplings and exporting handicraft products.

At present, Tien grows bamboo shoots in a region of over 3.9ha, provides saplings and guides enterprises in Nghe An, Thanh Hoa, and Quang Binh provinces as well as in Ha Noi’s outlying districts, for an annual profit of VND300 million.

Tien also helps many local farmers grow bamboo shoots by providing free saplings and technology and has plans to set up a bamboo shoot processing factory that can process 50-100 tonnes in his village in the future.

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33. Bioprospecting: Medicines from the rain forests

Source: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne – UK, 2 November 2006

A University spin-out company which has developed the world's fastest drug profiling system has joined forces with a Brazilian company to seek new medicines from the South American rain forests.

At a time when the number of new drugs in the world's development pipeline has dwindled, the University's drug discovery company e-Therapeutics has formed a partnership with Brazilian company Grupo TCI to establish a joint research facility close to the Amazonian and Atlantic rain forests, to start testing substances from the millions of plants in the most diverse ecosystem on the planet.

New drugs are being sought for tropical diseases which occur in Brazil, such as hepatitis C, Chagas disease and Leishmaniasis. There is also a possibility that medicines can be identified to combat many other diseases, such as drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis and even virus infections like avian flu.

In a separate deal, e-Therapeutics is joining forces with CURA, a pharmaceutical consortium backed by the Brazilian Government, which is establishing a cluster of drug discovery, development and marketing industries in North East Brazil. This will give e-Therapeutics a base from which to access to Brazilian pharmaceutical companies.

e-Therapeutics was spun out of Newcastle University in 2003 by Professor Malcolm Young, who developed new 'systems biology' techniques which can accurately predict the biological effect of any substance on any human tissue and on pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses. He attracted more than £10m research funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and other organisations to turn his ideas into practice.

Professor Young demonstrated the effectiveness of its technology by correctly predicting the effects of known drugs, such as 103 known antibiotics. But it also uncovered unknown antibiotics, which are now entering drug development.

Professor Young, who is now Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Development), said: 'This is a fantastic opportunity to investigate Brazil's colossal biodiversity with our cutting edge technology. There is enormous potential for drug discovery in the rain forests, where there are millions of plant species, many of which produce bioactive chemicals.'

For full story, please see:


34. Burkinakarité

Source: Africa News, Haarlem, Noord Holland, Netherlands, 18 October

Burkinakarité is a union of women associations dedicated to shea butter production and commercialization in Bobo Dioulasso in Burkina Faso (West Africa). This initiative won the Dutch BID Challenge 2005.
Shea trees grow exclusively in the Sahel region of Africa. They are wild trees which take up to 15 years to produce their first nuts. Production varies a lot according to the amount of rain that fell the prior year, but on average one tree will produce between 12 and 15 kg of dry nuts per tree per harvest. It can produce for over 100 years.

Burkinakarité sells raw shea butter produced traditionally by the women of the union.

For more information, please contact:

BP 3492
Bobo Dioulasso
Burkina Faso

Fax: +226 20 98 11 14


For full story, please see:


35. Donors pledge $3.13 Billion for GEF

Source: CEPF E-News, September 2006

The Global Environment Facility (GEF)—the world’s largest environmental funding body and a Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) donor partner—received a record financial boost in August with donor countries agreeing to contribute $3.13 billion for environmental projects during the next four years.

While the combined funds represent the largest replenishment for the GEF to date, they fall far short of the global need. The total also represents only approximately five weeks of net profit for a large oil business, according to U.N. Environment Programme Executive Director Achim Steiner.


36. Healing Harvest Forest Foundation

From: Jason Rutledge, President, BOD, HHFF,

Healing Harvest Forest Foundation held our annual public educational event, “Biological Woodsmen’s Week” during the week of 23-28 October 2006, in Scottsville, Virginia, USA.

Biological Woodsmen are the graduates of the training programs promoted by the foundation. This training takes place through an eight week apprenticeship served with a proven practitioner/mentor that is a member of the founding group of biological woodsmen known as the Healing Harvest Forestry Coalition. These individuals practice restorative forestry through the use of “worst first” single tree selection and modern draft horse powered techniques. “Worst first” is determined through a selection method we call Nature’s Tree Marking Paint which is a system of visible indictors of poor performance by individual trees, based up three categories of damaged, diseased and inferior species.

This is a community based restorative forestry approach that is a part of our “treeroots” movement. This is a bottom up change in natural resource management by empowering the ground level workers in the skills of how to practice restorative forestry and the ethics of why to work this way.

Healing Harvest Forest Foundation is a non-profit, 501c3 tax exempt organization that exists as a public charity working for the public good. Any questions about our work are welcome, please contact us at:

Jason Rutledge

Healing Harvest Forest Foundation

8014 Bear Ridge Road

Copper Hill, Va. 24079, 540-651-6355




37. Intact Northern forests worth $250 billion a year, according to study

Source: Reuters, 27.9.06 (in ENN News)

Forests in northern nations such as Russia and Canada are worth $250 billion a year because of services they provide by purifying water or soaking up greenhouse gases, a researcher said on Tuesday.

Mark Anielski, an ecological economist based in Edmonton, Canada, urged governments to follow suit and place value on natural services rather than go on treating them as free. "We only realise what nature is worth when it's gone," he told Reuters of a study he presented to a forestry congress in Canada about the value of forests in Alaska, Russia, the Nordic nations and Canada.

It estimated that services provided by intact forests in filtering water and waste, providing habitats for animals and plants, capturing greenhouse gases and attracting tourists were worth about $250 billion a year. He said his estimates ranged from $145-$300 billion. "This natural capital should be in the balance sheets of nations," he said.

Such valuations would help preserve forests, for instance, and discourage logging of trees that were not replaced by new plantings. Trees store carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming, as they grow.

The study estimated that environmental services provided by Canada's forests alone were worth about 93 billion Canadian dollars (US$83 billion) a year and that each hectare of forest was worth 160 Canadian dollars (US$143.4). "If these ecosystem services were counted in Canada, they would amount to roughly 9 percent of GDP," he said. Countries including Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Greece and Algeria have annual gross domestic product (GDP) of around $250 billion.

Under conventional accounting, governments can spur short-term GDP growth by axing forests for building materials or pulp. The valuations suggested by Anielski would show up longer-term risks, ranging from erosion to loss of habitats.

Other scientists are also trying to put values on natural services, ranging from mangroves to peat marshes.

Anielski said forests could also help to counter global warming, widely blamed on a build-up of heat-trapping gases emitted by burning fossil fuels in factories, power plants and cars. "The forests and peatlands store an estimated 67 billion tonnes of carbon in Canada alone," he said, adding this was almost eight times the amount of carbon produced by human activities worldwide in 2000.


38. NGOs launch system to monitor deforestation in Amazonia

Source:, 11 September 2006 (in Amazon News)

A new system for monitoring deforestation in Amazonia is operational in Mato Grosso. The Deforestation Alert System (SAD), which was launched with the intention to extend its operations throughout the regions in Legal Amazonia, utilizes satellite images to monitor deforestation sites. The new technology will enable a monthly calculation of the area deforested and will be used to sound alerts so that deforestation can be contained while it is underway.

The program was developed by two NGOs: the Institute of Man and the Environment (Imazon) in collaboration with the Life Center Institute (ICV) and will work alongside two governmental deforestation measurement projects: Prodes and Deter, both created by the National Space Research Institute (Inpe).

SAD programmers state that it is able to provide data on a regular basis. The system that is in use in Mato Grosso uses the same images as Deter, yet processes them differently. It is able to increase accuracy and control range. While Deter provides visualization of deforestations larger than 20 ha, SAD can detect deforestation of around five hectares. The program also provides an estimate of where clear-cutting of the forest tends to occur and emits warnings. Deforestation detection using satellites fast enough to contribute to inspection operations contributes towards avoiding new deforestation.

Imazon hopes that the entire Amazon region will be covered by the end of this year. This will be possible if the institute receives funding. The next state where the system is to be deployed is Pará.

Mato Grosso Today a report was published with an analysis of the situation of the State in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006. SAD images and the state government's Rural Property Licensing System (SLAPR) data were matched in order to perform the survey. SLAPR provides satellite-georeferenced registration of ranches in the state and their legal reserves. The SAD figures for this period are 6,086 km2 of deforestation, approximately near the 5,450 km2 measured by Deter.

For full story, please see:


39. 2007-2008 Kleinhans Fellowship, Rainforest Alliance Research in Tropical Non-Timber Forest Products

From: Deanna Newsom,

The Kleinhans Fellowship supports research to better understand and improve the benefits of non-timber forest product (NTFP) harvest and marketing on rural livelihoods and tropical forest ecosystems. A successful application will outline the need for research, its potential applications and its likely impact on local communities and forest ecosystems.

Examples of potential research topics include:

• the development of new markets for NTFPs, and/or the expansion of existing markets;

• the development of Best Management Practices for commercial NTFPs;

• the impacts of NTFP harvests and/or their commercialization on rural livelihoods, biodiversity or land tenure; and

• means of integrating NTFP harvests and timber forest management.

Geographic Focus:

The Kleinhans Fellowship research area is restricted to Latin America.


Applications for any tropical forest type in Latin America are eligible. The successful applicant will have a master's degree in forestry, ecology, botany, environmental science or an appropriate related field. Doctoral candidates or post-doctoral researchers are preferred. Applicants may substitute relevant experience for degrees.

Award Amount:

The fellowship provides a grant of $15,000 (US) per year, for two years. Please note that the Fellowship will not subsidize academic tuition and fees, nor will it cover costs of purchasing transport vehicles, or unnecessary or unreasonable equipment.

Applicants are required to submit their completed application by email to:

Deanna Newsom at

or by regular mail to:

Kleinhans Fellowship 2007-2008

Rainforest Alliance

665 Broadway, Suite 500

New York, NY 10012


For more information regarding the fellowship, including information on selection criteria and the application format, please visit:

**Applications due by December 31, 2006**

Rainforest Alliance homepage:

Kleinhans Fellowship homepage:



40. Call for papers: International Conference of the European Association for South-East Asian Studies (EUROSEAS)

From: Dario Novellino (

Dr. Simon Platten and I would like to extend an invitation to give a paper at the International Conference of the European Association for South-East Asian Studies (EUROSEAS). The panel will be open to both young and senior scholars, and the participation of Southeast Asian colleagues is particularly welcomed. The conference website will be launched very soon and properly announced.


Euroseas International Conference

12-15 September, 2007

University of Naples, Italy

SESSION TITLE: New interactions, exchanges and experimentation of genetic resources amongst small scale societies in Southeast Asia

Co-organizers: NOVELLINO Dario and PLATTEN J. Simon, *Department of Anthropology, University of Kent, UK.

In Southeast Asia, population pressure and environmental transformations continue to represent an important factor of change for small-scale societies. By and large, semi-nomadic groups are diversifying their livelihood options with an emphasis towards more stable forms of agriculture and various strategies for livestock rearing. On other occasions, due to progressive desertification and the recurrence of environmental disasters, communities of farmers have increased their use of non-domestic resources, often engaging in food procurement activities (e.g. honey gathering) that are not customary to their groups.

As niches of specializations become more permeable to diversification, social relations, traditional institutions, mobility patterns and ethnobiological relations are also subject to re-organization. On the one hand, modernization followed by globalization, has altered traditional endogenous movements, exchanges and transmission of plant and animal resources. On the other, the introduction and exchanges of imported genetic resources has also created new conditions for local populations to open to the global flow and negotiate freely with outside forces. Often, the knowledge of introduced breeds and landraces has ingeniously been transformed by local communities, or added as an overlay to pre-existing ways of managing and interacting with the environment. In some cases, this has been orchestrated by cultivators themselves and has resulted in a strengthened expression of local identity and community cohesion within the market economy. However, where socio-political circumstances were unfavourable, the introduction of commercial breeds of animals (e.g. imported pigs and cows) and plants (e.g. rubber, oil palm) have created a distinctive cultural space controlled by lobbies and elites. As a result, imported breeds, bearing no relationship to the local ecology, have contributed to plundering peoples’ territories, undermining the corporate basis of community life.

Overall, experimentation of plant and animal related knowledge has co-evolved within the context of complementary modes of food procurement. More importantly, through the movement of people, plants and animals, cosmological views, socio-economic and political organizations, ecological knowledge, representations of land and identity, forms of ownership and land management systems have been extended well beyond the medium of their local environment and engage with ever widening circles of knowledge that are, eventually, global. Generally speaking, the introduction of new species and breeds respond to both global and locally situated dynamics, and its localization via peoples’ exchanges makes it the subject of constant re-working.

Today, many indigenous plants and animal breeds are at risk due to national agricultural policies. So called ‘improved breeds’ bring with them ideas and strategies for the accumulation of wealth and prestige, hence fostering patterns of inequality. On a parallel level, international treaties such as the UN Convention on Biological Diversity push for the conservation of genetic resources in “the surroundings where they have developed their distinct properties” (article 8). Overlapping agenda, and new political and economic developments occurring across the region provides a rich context in which to examine emerging patterns of peoples/plants and animal interactions.

We seek to explore the many facets of this process, by bringing together a collection of case studies focusing on the exchange, experimentation and transmission of plant/animal resources and knowledge by indigenous societies and rural communities in contemporary Southeast Asia.


Interested authors should send a title and abstract for consideration to the panel’s co-organizers no later than 1 December 2006. Deadline for completed paper: 1 April 2007.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Dario Novellino ( and Dr. Simon Platten (


41. Call for contributions of articles: Nature & Faune magazine

Source: The Editorial Board, Nature & Faune Magazine,

The Forestry departmental group at the FAO Regional Office for Africa invites you to submit articles or news you may have to Nature & Faune magazine.

As the next edition will have the theme ‘Human-Wildlife Conflicts’, articles and news items from the field relative to this topic are of particular interest to Nature & Faune.

We would be delighted to receive articles, news items or any other information on “Human-Wildlife Conflicts” in particular and on any other item you would want to share with the magazine.

For more information, please contact:

Nature & Faune Magazine

FAO Regional Office for Africa

Forestry Departmental Group

PO Box GP 1628, Accra, Ghana

Fax: (+233-21) 7010943

e-mail: or or


42. Call for contributors: II International Meeting of Basket makers “Pinolere 2007”

From: Rafael C. Gómez León,

We are organising the II International Meeting of Basket makers “Pinolere 2007 from 31 August to 2 September 2007 in Tenerife, Canary Islands where we wish to emphasize basketry from the Palm tree, in any form or expression of popular art.

We would like to contact people (basket makers), groups, institutions, museums etc. that could contribute to this project, especially those around the Mediterranean basin.

We are also interested in contacting museums, institutions and groups that are carrying out some activity for the recuperation, diffusion and promotion etc. of work done with palm or other plant fibres associated with the art of basket making and that are of interest or who have travelling exhibitions on this particular material.

For more information, please contact:

Rafael C. Gómez León

Technical Director of the Asociación « Pinolere. Proyecto Cultural”

Calle Alzados Guanches s/n, Pinolere 38310, La Orotava, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.

Telephones: (034) 922 336 733 (museum) (034) 922 322 678

Fax : (034) 922 325 590

e-mail:, or or



43. Moringa and other highly nutritious plant resources: International workshop

Accra, Ghana

16-18 November 2006

The moringa tree is becoming more and more popular throughout the world with regard to the very high potential of its leaves, which are particularly rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals, for human nutrition.

The workshop will focus on key issues for the development of the use of moringa leaves:

    • leaf production systems as a cash crop;

    • use of moringa for medically controlled nutritional recovery;

    • use of moringa and other leafy vegetables to prevent malnutrition;

    • market development of dietary supplements based on leafy vegetables in Africa; and

    • efficient communication about moringa potential and ways to promote it.

For more information, please contact:

Armelle de Saint Sauveur

Scientific Director, Moringanews


211 rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine

75011 Paris, FRANCE
Fax: +33 (0)1 40 09 04 79
E-mail: or

or Mélanie Broin, communication and press relations, Moringanews.



44. East Africa Workshop on bamboo cultivation and utilization

4-16 December 2006

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Organizers: Chinese Ministry of Commerce, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), FeMSEDA, etc.

Course Content:

• Bamboo cultivation and bamboo forest management, utilization

• Bamboo resource

• Bamboo resource in the world/ Africa/China

• Bamboo morphology

• Bamboo growth:

    o Monopodial bamboo

    o Sympodial bamboo

• Bamboo flowering and bearing

• Bamboo silviculture/cultivation:

• Plantation management and harvest

• Bamboo gardening

• Bamboo for eco-tourism

• Bamboo environmental functions

• Bamboo handicraft

• Bamboo charcoal

• Bamboo industrial development

• Bamboo for livelihood and poverty mitigation

Selected Ethiopian participants by the government are free. Others should cover the costs.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Fu Jinhe, INBAR
Tel.: +86-10-6470 6161 ext.208
Fax: +86-10-6470 2166


45. Second International Agarwood Conference

4-11 March 2007


This conference will follow up on the experience and the feedback of the hugely successful First International Agarwood Conference, held in Vietnam in November 2003.

The entire event will be organized along similar lines with two days of presentations in Bangkok, an optional excursion to agarwood shops in Bangkok and travel to the countryside, and conduct field trips to agarwood plantations and an agarwood oil processing unit. We will then travel to Koh Chang, a tropical island and home of natural [extremely endangered] Aquilaria.

The Conference will conclude with a day-long workshop on Koh Chang and an extra day for informal discussions. Excluding travel this will be a full, one week event. The number of participants will be limited. The formal conference part will include oral presentations and poster presentations.

The Conference will focus more strongly on sustainable production, commerce and trade, while continuing to place emphasis on conservation, research and development issues.

Ecology and Biology of Aquilaria and Gyrinops

    • Conservation & sustainability

    • Genetics / Phylogeny of agarwood producing species

Aquilaria and Gyrinops production and management

    • Nursery production

    • Plantations

Agarwood Biology and Production

    • Certification & legislation / Certification & trade / Certification & genetic research

    • Agarwood markets and marketing

    • Medicinal (and traditional) uses of agarwood – (traditional and new markets)

    • Agarwood chemistry /Terpenoids chemistry

Cultivated Agarwood

    • Agarwood (inducement) production technology

    • International cooperation

    • Quality assessment and grading

For more information, please contact:

The Rainforest Project Foundation (TRP), Netherlands

Damrak 68

1012 LM Amsterdam

The Netherlands

Fax +31 (20) 624-0588



46. 2007 International Symposium on Medicinal and Nutraceutical Plants

19–23 March 2007

Macon, Georgia, USA

This symposium is designed to bring together medicinal / nutraceutical plants workers and researchers/scientists representing university/academic, government, and private sector laboratories working with various aspects of medicinal / nutraceutical (medicinal and aromatics, herbs, spices, and fruits and vegetables with health benefits) plants research in temperate, subtropical and tropical climates. It is expected that the 2007 MANP Symposium participants will come from various developed countries with advanced research programs, as well as from the developing countries around the globe with a wealth of diverse medicinal and nutraceutical plants species.

This Symposium encourages all those people associated with medicinal/nutraceutical plants production, research and marketing to come together for meaningful discussions and networking on contemporary innovations and developments. Participants will benefit from researchers who are active in the development of biotechnology tools for medicinal and nutraceutical plant species in temperate and tropical areas and those endeavouring a host of other horticultural species having health benefits. This is truly an under-researched and highly diversified group of economically important botanical species that receive only a limited attention in major discipline-based conferences due mainly to limited participation by the specialty plant scientists/researchers. Sessions devoted to market and regulatory issues, research and production, biotechnology and plants improvement, phytochemicals and bioactivity evaluation, and consumer acceptance certainly recognize this symposium as unique in its scope of interest.

Areas to be covered include:

1. Ethnobotany, Bioprospecting, and Conservation of Medicinal and Nutraceutical Plants

2. Biotechnology of Applications in Medicinal and Nutraceutical Plants

3. Medicinal Plants Based Industries: Challenges and Opportunities

4. Regulatory Issues for Plant Medicines: Familiarizing with Regional and Global Levels

5. Current Trends in Research on Nutraceutical Plants

6. Botanical Medicines and the Woman Health

7. Plant Based Biomedical Research: Reports on Current Status

8. Potential and Future of Medicinal / Nutraceutical Plants Research

9. Production, Pre- / Post-Harvest Technology, and Marketing of Medicinal Plants

This symposium will also provide a platform for discussing the increasing global trend of using botanical medicines.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Anand K. Yadav

Symposium Convener

Agricultural Research Station

The Fort Valley State University

Telephone +1-478 - 825 - 6830

Fax Phone 4+1-78 - 825 - 6376



47. 10th North American Agroforestry Conference

10-13 June 2007

Université Laval in Québec City, Canada

The conference title is: “When Trees and Crops Get Together, Economic Opportunities and Environmental Benefits from Agroforestry”. It is being sponsored by the Association for Temperate Agroforestry (AFTA).

The intent of the conference is to stimulate the development and the adoption of sustainable rural land management practices centered on the integration of trees into the landscape. Riparian buffers with trees, windbreaks and shelterbelts, silvopastoral systems, intercropping systems, and forest farming systems will be the main practices discussed during the conference. Target participants belong to all spheres of the advising, teaching and research sectors, whether with private companies, advisory groups, municipalities, government departments, educational institutions or research centres specializing in the fields of agriculture, forestry, environment and land-use planning.

The conference organizers are interested in oral and poster presentations that update current and emerging knowledge on temperate agroforestry practices as well as presentations related to the socioeconomic, political and environmental aspects of agroforestry. Papers focusing on practical examples of agroforestry practices and on technology transfers to producers are particularly welcome.

The abstract submission deadline is 15 November 2006:

More information on the Conference can be found at or by sending an e-mail to:



48. Arabic edition of Healing Hands of Qatar released

Source: The Peninsula, Qatar, 8 November 2006

DOHA. The first Arabic-language edition of the book, Healing Hands of Qatar and the second edition in English were recently released by the author, Dr Fay Gotting. The book is a journey through the history of medicine and healthcare in Qatar.

One entire chapter is dedicated to medicinal plants of Qatar. Gotting attended field trips with the Botany Department of Qatar University as part of her research. She is the longest serving member of the Qatar Natural History Group, and the President of the Qatar Horticultural Society.

For full story, please see:


49. Strategic Framework for Underutilized Plant Species Research and Development

From: Jaenicke, Hannah (IWMI)

The International Centre for Underutilised Crops and the Global Facilitation Unit for Underutilized Species are happy to announce the publication of the “Strategic Framework for Underutilized Plant Species Research and Development with special reference to Asia and the Pacific, and to Sub-Saharan Africa”.

This framework is the product of a global electronic consultation and two regional workshops earlier in 2006 organised by ICUC, GFU and IPGRI. It reviews current activities, provides examples of success and emphasizes the need to improve resource mobilization in support of underutilized plant species research and development, including urgent work to collect baseline information and formulate meaningful indicators to guide future action. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the development of this document!

You can download the document from:


For a printed copy (available from mid-November), please contact Sushilla Rajamanie (

For more information, please contact:

Dr Hannah Jaenicke


International Centre for Underutilised Crops (ICUC)

P.O.Box 2075


Sri Lanka

Tel: +94-11-2787404 ext. 3307

Fax: +94-11-2786854



50. "Voices from the Forest"

From: Aloisa Zamora-Santos, Information Management Officer, NTFP-EP

Voices from the Forest is the NTFP Exchange Programme's bulletin. Now published twice yearly, it highlights success stories in the field and the NTFP-EP's programmes, activities and pressing issues related to NTFPs in the region. Available online and now in print.

The latest issue of Voices from the Forest is available in pdf from:

For more information, please contact:

(Ms) Aloisa Zamora-Santos, Information Management Officer

Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme for South and Southeast Asia

92-A Masikap Extension, Barangay Central, Diliman

Quezon City 1101 The Philippines
Telefax: +63 2 4262757



51. Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Blundell, A.G., and Mascia, M.B. 2006. Data on wildlife trade. Conserv. Biol. 20(3):598-599.

Cardillo, M. 2006. Disappearing forests and biodiversity loss: which areas should we protect? Int. For. Rev. 8(2):251-255.

de Merode, E., and Cowlishaw, G. 2006. Species protection, the changing informal economy, and the politics of access to the bushmeat trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Conserv. Biol. 20(4):1262-1271.

Dudley N and Stolton S. 2006. Edible Non Timber Forest Products: Harmonising FSC and IFOAM Certification, ISEAL, Oxford, UK.

Gondard, H., Romane, F., Regina, I.S., and Leonardi, S. 2006. Forest management and plant species diversity in chestnut stands of three Mediterranean areas. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(4):1129-1142

Kathe, W. and Gallia, E. 2006. International Standard for Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ISSC-MAP).Study on Implementation Strategies and Opportunities for Pilot Implementation

Kolongo, T.S.D., Decocq, G., Yao, C.Y.A., Blom, E.C., and Van Rompaey, R.S.A.R. 2006. Plant species diversity in the southern part of the Taï National Park (Côte d'Ivoire). Biodivers. Conserv. 15(7):2123-2142.

Laurance, W.F., Croes, B.M., Tchignoumba, L., Lahm, S.A., Alonso, A., Lee, M.E., Campbell, P., and Ondzeano, C. 2006. Impacts of roads and hunting on central African rainforest mammals. Conserv. Biol. 20(4):1251-1261.

Leaman, D.J., Schippmann, U., Klingenstein, F., Honnef, S. and Pätzold, B. 2006. ISSC-MAP: International Standard for Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. Paper submitted to the 1st IFOAM International Conference on Organic Wild Production. Teslic, Bosnia and Herzegovina. 3-4 May 2006.

Ling, S., and Milner-Gulland, E.J. 2006. Assessment of the sustainability of bushmeat hunting based on dynamic bioeconomic models. Conserv. Biol. 20(4):1294-1299.

Niskanen, A. (ed.). 2006. Issues affecting enterprise development in the forest sector in Europe. University of Joensuu, Faculty of Forestry, Research Notes 169. 406 p. ISSN 1235-7421, ISBN 952-458-851-X (printed publication), ISBN 952-458-852-8 (Electronic publication).

The publication discusses the problems and possible solutions to forest-based entrepreneurship in small-scale forestry, wood processing and non-wood forest products and services.

The results of the second phase of the COST Action E30 ‘Economic integration of urban consumers’ demand and rural forestry production’ are presented.

The publication is available as an electronic publication on:

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) planning—documentation, goals, indicators, collaboration, decisions, context, organization, participants, communication, incentives, design, and resources; (2) implementation—training, safety, fieldwork, sampling, data, and quality; and (3) follow through—analysis, 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.

Salvador, S. and Patzold. B. 2005. International Standard for Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ISSC-MAP). Minutes of the 2nd Expert Workshop on the Isle of Vilm, 2-6 December 2005.

Schippmann, U, Leaman, D., and Cunningham, A.B. (in press). A comparison of cultivation and wild collection of medicinal and aromatic plants under sustainability aspects. In: Bogers, R., (Ed.).Proceedings, Frontis Workshop on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants.

Wageningen, The Netherlands, 17-20 April 2005.

te Velde, Dirk Willem; Rushton, Jonathan; Schreckenberg, Kathrin; Marshall, Elaine; Edouard, Fabrice; Newton, Adrian and Arancibia, Erik. 2006. Entrepreneurship in value chains of non-timber forest products. Forest Policy and Economics Volume 8, Issue 7.

Entrepreneurship and innovation by actors in the market for non-timber forest products (NTFPs) cannot be fully understood without a proper understanding of the position and behaviour of actors in the value chain of NTFPs. This paper places the market for NTFPs in the emerging literature on value chains which has, so far, lacked a detailed analysis of NTFPs. Our analysis reveals that certain key entrepreneurs are a driving force of success throughout several NTFP value chains in both Bolivia and Mexico. Where market information is scarce, e.g. where producers are distant from consumers, key entrepreneurs often govern entire value chains.

We argue that certain entrepreneurs are key to spreading success throughout the value chains of selected NTFPs offsetting potential negative consequences such as exploitation of more upstream actors (e.g. collectors and processors) in the value chains. Typical examples include the shopkeeper/organisation in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, who sources woven palm products from and supports several producers, and the entrepreneur in Mexico who established links between mushroom pickers in rural communities and brokers and consumers in Japan. Rather than criticising the monopolistic position of individuals, it is important to understand how the activity of key entrepreneurs can be supported in spreading successful commercialisation further and where necessary control negative impacts of their role. Our analysis indicates that policies to support commercialisation of the case study NTFPs would also need to be tailored to each value chain.

Totland, O., Nielsen, A., Bjerknes, A.L., and Ohlson, M. 2006. Effects of an exotic plant and habitat disturbance on pollinator visitation and reproduction in a boreal forest herb. Am. J. Bot. 93(6):868-873.

Wenban-Smith, Matthew. 2006. Combining organic and FSC certification of non-timber forest products. Reducing costs, increasing options. Dovetail Partners, Inc. USA

Organic and FSC programs generally run side by side, reflecting the often separate worlds of agriculture and forest management. In the case of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) however they overlap. This report provides background about both programs; information from recent research into potential collaboration between the two; and suggestions for future efforts to increase the uptake and benefits of combined FSC and organic certification of non-timber forest products.

Available at: or

World Bank. 2006. Strengthening Forest Law Enforcement and Governance. Addressing a Systemic Constraint to Sustainable Development. Report No. 36638-GLB.


52. Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Finnish forests is a gateway to Finnish forests and its forest sector and highlights the importance of forests for Finland.

Frame – Knowledge sharing for the Natural Resources Community

Available in English, French and Spanish.



53. Kenyan Nobel Prize Winner launches campaign to plant one billion trees in 2007

Source: Associated Press, 8 November 2006 (in ENN News)

A Kenyan environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner called on people around the world to plant 1 billion trees in the next year, saying Wednesday the effort is a way ordinary citizens can fight global warming.

Wangari Maathai, who in 2004 became the first black African woman to win a Nobel in any category, urged participants to ensure the trees thrive long after they are planted.

"It's one thing to plant a tree, it's another to make it survive," said Maathai, who founded Kenya's Green Party in 1987 and focused on planting trees to address the wood fuel crisis here.

Maathai said the campaign is meant to inspire ordinary citizens to help the environment. "This something that anybody can do," Maathai said Wednesday at the U.N. conference on climate change, which has drawn delegates from more than 100 countries to Kenya.

The tree-planting project, organized by the United Nations Environment Program, shows that "action does not need to be confined to the corridors of the negotiation halls," said Achem Steiner, UNEP's executive director.

The project calls on participants _ including individuals, schools and governments _ to sign up on UNEP's Web site and register the trees they planted.

For full story, please see:


54. Tigers: China to release rare tigers to shrinking forests

Source: Reuters, 26.9.06 (in ENN)

China will train 620 endangered Siberian tigers to survive in the wild as part of a controversial effort to return them to the country's shrinking northeast forests, state media reported on Monday.

The captive-bred tigers would be taken from enclosures in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, to a 15-hectare (37-acre) fenced patch of forest near the mountainous border with North Korea, Liu Dan, an official with the Siberian Tiger Artificial Propagation Base, told Xinhua news agency. Liu said trial release of 12 tigers four years ago was promising -- though ten of those tigers were now back in captivity.

But other experts said the plan was doomed unless the forests of northeast China were better protected from logging and human encroachment.

"Increased human activities, such as highway construction, have turned tiger habitats into isolated islands," Sun Haiyi, deputy chief of the Heilongjiang Provincial Institute Wildlife, told Xinhua, adding that such isolation led to dangerous in-breeding. "I think right now it would be more meaningful to spend money on cultivating an environment where Siberian tigers can flourish."

Tigers needed dense vegetation rich in prey, such as deer and wild boar, Sun said.

The world's tigers are at a record low, numbering an estimated 5,000-7,000, down from more than 100,000 in the 19th century.

The Siberian tiger, native to northern China, southern Russia and parts of North Korea, is on the brink of extinction in the wild, decimated by hunting and loss of habitat, and scientists believe only a few hundred now live outside captivity.

For full story, please see:



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last updated:  Monday, August 24, 2009