No. 09/06

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: www.fao.org/forestry/site/12980/en


PRODUCTS

1. Bamboo leading the way in textile innovations

2. Bamboo planting can slow deforestation

3. Bamboo: 2007 International Bamboo Building Design Competition

4. Bark: Pine bark extract could speed up diabetic ulcer healing

5. Honey: Sugar free honey project

6. Honey source makes no difference

7. Medicinal plants: Call to speed up studies of Chinese medicine

8. Moringa oleifera: Japanese trader develops tea from malunggay leaves

9. Moringa oleifera has multiple healing properties

10. Moringa oleifera: Ugandan moringa farmers stuck with crop

11. Mushrooms: US: mushroom harvest may be strongest in years

12. Shea butter: US couple uses their shea-butter business to build a brighter future for Togo

13. Truffles: Mad about truffles in New Zealand

COUNTRY INFORMATION

14. Afghanistan: Afghan returnees hope for sweet returns from buzzing business

15. Australia: Bush foods find popularity in Aussie stores

16. Bolivia revokes concessions in national parks

17. Brazil: Products from the Amazon become handmade jewels

18. Bulgaria looks to strategic development of key crops

19. Honduras: Ambientalistas auguran perdida de bosque hondureño en 4 años

20. Iran: Export of aromatic, medicinal plants down 9.7%

21. Jamaica: US$16.5 million forest conservation fund launched

22. Kenya: Saving the sandalwood tree

23. Malaysia: Malaysian herbal market worth over US$2bln by 2010

24. Nepal: Nepalese wild honey highly prized and has ecotourism potential

25. Nepal: US pledges $32.8 mn for peace in Nepal

26. Pakistan: Caravan – Forestry Conservation and Development Project

27. Philippines: Bright prospects seen for silkworm industry

28. South Africa: Forests vital for economic growth

29. Vietnam: Rare fragrant wood should be protected

NEWS

30. Biopiracy: FTA paves way for biopiracy

31. Biopiracy: Kenya loses Sh70m to biopirates

32. Marketingmaap: Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Marketing

33. Partenariat pour les Forêts du Bassin du Congo

34. Root rot threatens Virginia's Christmas trees

35. Tourism Cares for Tomorrow - Worldwide Grant Program 2006

36. WWF’s Kathryn Fuller Fellowships 2007-2008

REQUESTS

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

EVENTS

38. Annual Forest Inventory and Analysis Symposium

39. Tools for Conserving Biodiversity Course

40. The vitality of cork oaks and Holm oaks settlements: current situation, state of knowledge and means to implement

41. Advanced Training Workshop on Bamboo Furniture and Weaving

42. Seminario sobre Gestión forestal sostenible y cooperación al desarrollo: Herramientas para el alivio de la pobreza

43. International Training Workshop on Bamboo-based Production and Enterprise Management

LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

44. Wild edible fungi

45. Gratis Book Scheme: Free Books for Developing Countries

46. Field Guide to the Future: Four Ways for Communities to Think Ahead

47. Other publications of interest

48. Web sites and e-zines

MISCELLANEOUS

49. Amber: Ancient amber shows rich Amazon life

50. Chimpanzees: Tool use observed in 2nd group of chimps

51. Tigers: Thousands search for India's tigers

QUICK TIPS AND INFORMATION FOR NWFP-DIGEST-L


PRODUCTS

1. Bamboo leading the way in textile innovations

Source: PR Com, 12 September 2006

Value added performance fabrics are the latest trend in textiles. Jonäno™, a division of Sami Designs, LLC, is concentrating on one particular area of study in high tech fabrics: a new generation of antimicrobial and antibacterial textiles. This technology incorporates built in abilities to fight harmful microbes that cause odour and can lead to infection.

The natural antibacterial properties of bamboo fabric come from an inherent quality of bamboo commonly called “bamboo kun.” Bamboo does not require the use of pesticides due to this natural antifungal antibacterial agent. It is rarely attacked by pests or infected by pathogen. The same natural substance that protects bamboo growing in the field, functions in the spun bamboo fibers.

Bamboo fibers are processed using a patented manufacturing technology of hydro-alkalization. Processed without the addition of caustic additives according to ISO9000 and ISO14000 principals, bamboo hypoallergenic fibers are the ideal alternative for individuals with sensitive skin.

A quantitative antibacterial capability test was performed by the China Industrial Testing Center (CTITC) from 7-11 July 2003. One hundred percent Bamboo Fabric was tested over a 24-hour incubation period with bacterial strain type Staphylococcus aureous. After the 24-hour period the numbers of live bacteria were counted in each sample. The results showed that 100% bamboo fabric exhibits 99.8% antibacterial kill rate.

Studies by the Japan Textile Inspection Association (JTIA) revealed long-term antibacterial efficacy of bamboo fabric. The quantitative test method JISL 1902 was performed using 100% bamboo fabric that had been washed industrially 50 times. Incubation over a 24-hour period with bacterial strain type MRSA Staphylococcus IID 1677 was followed by a count of live bacteria on each sample. Results showed that bamboo fabric showed antibacterial efficacy (greater than) 70% after 50 industrial washings. (Results obtained from Shanghai Tenbro Bamboo Textile Ltd)

For full story, please see: http://www.pr.com/press-release/17523

BACK TO TOP

2. Bamboo planting can slow deforestation

Source: Voice of America, 29 August 2006

Scientists may have found a way to slow deforestation.  Fast growing bamboo can help quickly replenish a forest stripped of timber.

Forests are shrinking globally as people in developing nations seek wood for fuel and more land for farming.  The Worldwatch Institute in Washington says Earth has lost one percent of its woodlands in the past five years, an area about the size of Germany.

Ecologists say the environmental damage is alarming.  Overlogging and failure to replant cause widespread soil erosion and loss of wildlife habitat. 

Deforestation also affects global climate

Experts say the loss of forests will continue unless alternatives to wood are found.

"Most of the forested areas have gone down by 70 to 90 percent, so we need a sustainable form of farming timber," said water specialist, Chin Ong, at the International Center for Research in Agroforestry in Nairobi, Kenya. 

He says one promising substitute for wood is bamboo, a grass with a tree-like appearance.  Some varieties grow more than 25m tall and 20cm thick.

Ong points out that bamboo can be grown all over the world and has advantages over timber.  One is its speedy growth. "You can harvest after three or four years and then every year after that because it is a grass," he explained.  "So when you cut a bamboo down, it will produce another shoot and it is ready for harvest in one or two years.  Whereas if you grow a eucalyptus tree, you need five to 10 years before you can harvest again.  Another reason is that bamboo has a very high water use efficiency, which is double that of any tree species."

Ong says the plants can be an additional cash crop in areas where sugar cane and coffee are already established.  He estimates that in the Lake Victoria region of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, as many as 150 million people can benefit economically.

Plant biologist David Midmore of the Central Queensland University in Australia says bamboo also has environmental benefits. "In Taiwan, bamboo is grown on the hillsides along the edge of the mountains and it is sustainably harvested for its shoots and for its timber, and it is an environmentally friendly species because it is also preventing any erosion," he noted.

Midmore says bamboo shoots are also an important source of nutrition and can withstand harsh climates.

In addition to providing lumber and food, bamboo plants can clean the environment.  Chin Ong is studying how bamboo groves could remove toxins from dirty waters.

Ong says there is an unfulfilled potential for bamboo to protect forests and improve agriculture.

For full story, please see: http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-08-29-voa51.cfm

BACK TO TOP

3. Bamboo: 2007 International Bamboo Building Design Competition

Source: Canadian Architect, 10 August 2006

Bamboo Technologies of Maui has launched the first International Design Competition for Structural Bamboo Buildings. Some of the winning entries will be chosen for manufacture by the world's premier builder of international building code approved bamboo homes.

The competition is open to architects, builders, designers and students anywhere in the world. Registration is online at www.bamboocompetition.com, and the registration deadline is December 31, 2006. The submission deadline is January 15, 2007. Winners will be announced March 15, 2007.

Competition sponsors include Bamboo Technologies, INBAR (International Network of Bamboo and Rattan) and the International Bamboo Foundation. Juries of architects, experts and notable people are being selected for relevant categories.

Awards are $5,000 for overall first prize, $3,000 for second and $2,000 for third. Winning designs have the opportunity to be commercially built by Bamboo Technologies, with royalties paid to the designer.

Bamboo is the next green building evolution, and this giant grass is a renewable, restorative and versatile building material. Structural bamboo has been certified for international building codes, the first time bamboo has ever been code certified.

Now this certified structural bamboo material is available for use by architects and engineers throughout the world. The competition encourages architects to apply their creativity to design new buildings with this ancient building material.

For more information, please visit www.bamboocompetition.com or e-mail info@bamboocompetition.com

For full story, please see: www.canadianarchitect.com/issues/ISArticle.asp?id=59051&issue=08102006&btac=no

BACK TO TOP

4. Bark: Pine bark extract could speed up diabetic ulcer healing

Sources: NutraIngredients.com,France, 6 September 2006 and Genetic Engineering News, USA, 5 September 2006

Untreated diabetic leg ulcers may result in amputations. According to the Center of Disease Control, one out of six diabetics will require an amputation (below the knee) during their lifetime.

A new Italian-German study published in the July journal of Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis shows that Pycnogenol(R) (pic-noj-en-all), a daily supplement of an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, heals leg ulcers in patients who suffer from diabetic leg ulcerations. The most significant findings were patients treated with oral and local Pycnogenol(R) resulting in a 74.4 percent decrease in ulcer size within six weeks.

While results appear promising significantly more research is needed to confirm these results. Indeed, the researchers themselves called for larger, controlled studies to test if the pine bark extract could offer a “safe alternative to existing therapies”.

Horphag Research, manufacturers of Pycnogenol, has been very active in sponsoring and supporting studies into the potential health benefits of the pine bark extract. The extract has been claimed to have beneficial effects on a wide range of medical conditions from diabetes to asthma. It has also been proposed to boost male fertility and improve the memory of mice.

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

For full story, please see: www.nutraingredients.com/news/ng.asp?n=70355-horphag-research-pycnogenol-diabetes and www.genengnews.com/news/bnitem.aspx?name=5444446

BACK TO TOP

5. Honey: Sugar free honey project

Source: India eNews.com, India, 28 August 2006

In an effort to motivate beekeepers to produce sugar-free herbal honey, the government has introduced a new eco-friendly beekeeping system in Himachal Pradesh (India). The National Horticulture Board (NHB) has sent 5,000 beekeeping boxes along with the bees to the state, to be distributed in 10 of 12 districts in the next year, an official said.

These bees will be fed on the stevia herbal plant leaves that are said to produce sugar free honey. The plant is also considered a natural sweetener and attracts bees.

These leaves will come in handy both during the dry winter countryside and the rainy season when the bees are unable to fly out in search of food.

In the lean season, the hungry bees are normally fed sugar by beekeepers, resulting in production of poor quality honey. Stevia will change this practice.

Sugar free honey is much in demand by diabetics and those who do not wish to gain weight but at the same time want to enjoy the taste of honey.

It is also said to reduce cravings for sugar and fat besides being helpful in controlling blood sugar and high blood pressure.

An official said the project was sent to NHB by the Himachal Organic Association (HOA) to popularise healthy sugar-free honey.

‘Eventually the state government plans to procure some 100,000 beekeeping boxes to produce herbal honey,’ said a government official.

For full story, please see: http://indiaenews.com/2006-08/20142-honey-project-himachal.htm

BACK TO TOP

6. Honey source makes no difference

Source: The Tide, Nigeria, 3 September 2006

It has been discovered that notwithstanding the source, all honey is the same. A new study shows that the effect of honey on blood sugar level is the same no matter what the source is – tupeto, clover, buckwheat and cotton honeys had virtually identical glycemic indexes, Dr. Mark Kern and Jenifer Llana Ischayela report.

The glycemic index of a food is a measure of how quickly it causes blood sugar to rise. High carbohydrate, low fibre foods such as white bread or bananas have a high glycenic melea while high fibre foods containing complex, carbohydrates, including most vegetables, have a low glycemic index.

There is some evidence that the fructose-to-glucose ratio contained in honey may affect its glycemic index, as can its floral source, declares, Kern and Ischayet in the August Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

In their investigations, the researchers, from the San Diego Stak University, California tested the blood sugar levels of 12 healthy adults before and after they had eaten one of four different varieties of honey produced in the United States. The National Honey Board helped fund the study

For full story, please see: http://www.thetidenews.com/article.aspx?qrDate=09/03/2006&qrTitle=Honey%20source%20makes%20no%20difference&qrColumn=KALEIDOSCOPE

BACK TO TOP

7. Medicinal plants: Call to speed up studies of Chinese medicine

Source: SciDev.Net, 23 August 2006

[Modern research on traditional Chinese medicines should skip studies of the molecules involved and proceed directly to clinical trials on human subjects, argues a senior medical researcher.

Tang Jinling, a professor of epidemiology and public health at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, says many traditional remedies have already been proven safe because they have been used for generations. He outlined his reasoning in an article published last week (18 August) in the British Medical Journal.

There is growing scientific interest in assessing whether traditional remedies represent genuinely effective cures. Research in this field tends to follow the Western model, which first identifies the active chemicals in herbal remedies, and then tests their safety and efficiency in cells and animals. Only after these stages have been completed are the chemicals given to people in clinical trials.

But this approach could waste a lot of time and money, says Tang. He points out that some traditional medicines may prove to be useless, wasting the preceding basic research.

Such studies are already complicated by the fact that many traditional remedies are composed of a variety of plant extracts, unlike Western medicines that usually contain a single, pharmaceutically active molecule.

Tang says research should start with the Western model's phase-II clinical trial, in which scientists assess the efficiency — rather than just the safety — of a drug in patients randomly selected to receive it. He says that testing traditional medicines in people before identifying the remedies' chemical constituents or giving them to animals should present no ethical concerns. "These medicines have been used for thousands of years," Tang says in the article. "Whether tested or not, they will continue to be used in places where traditional Chinese medicine is officially recognised."

Shi Renbing, a professor at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine who studies the chemistry of traditional Chinese medicines, says Tang's proposal is very practical. Research on the molecular structure of chemicals in herbal remedies might help scientists publish academic papers, but it delays the identification and application of effective remedies in clinical settings, Shi told SciDev.Net.

For full story, please see: http://www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=3064&language=1

BACK TO TOP

8. Moringa oleifera: Japanese trader develops tea from malunggay leaves

Source: Sun.Star, Philippines, 16 September 2006

A Japanese businessman has discovered the medicinal value of the malunggay (Moringa oleifera or kamunggay in Cebuano) plant and has developed a tea that he claims can cure many human diseases.

Businessman Mitsuo Shoji said Moringa tea, which is in the form of soluble powder made of pure malunggay leaves, is “rich in antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals.”

“Malunggay is one of the most underestimated plants, (yet) it is one of the most nutritional (and) is also known as a miracle vegetable,” Shoji said.

The tea is the product of 30 years of research, which began after Shoji read a passage in the Bible about a “tree that cures all diseases.”

He said he searched for that plant or tree, studying different kinds of medicinal fauna in the Philippines. He did not expect it to be the malunggay, which can be found in many parts of the Philippines and other tropical areas, as he had assumed that the biblical tree would be hard to find.

He decided to develop a tea out of the plant “to help many people” suffering from different ailments. In fact, Shoji said malunggay can be a treatment for scurvy, asthma, ear ache and headaches. It also improves eyesight and digestion, cleanses wounds and facilitates bowel movement. He said lactating mothers are often advised to consume soup with malunggay leaves to produce more milk that is rich in calcium. He added that other scientifically proven effects of malunggay includes anti-aging, anti-ulcer, anti-tumour and other diuretic properties, as well as also decreasing cholesterol, blood sugar, body fat and blood pressure.

For full story, please see: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/ceb/2006/09/16/bus/japanese.trader.develops.tea.from.malunggay.leaves.html

BACK TO TOP

9. Moringa oleifera has multiple healing properties

Source: Daily News, Botswana, 14 September 2006

The Moringa oleifera tree can save millions of lives around the world because of its high nutritional and medicinal properties. Every part of the tree is valuable as it is said to have beneficial properties that can cure various ailments. For instance, its leaves can cure high blood pressure, diabetes, diarrhoea and fever.

Dr Jean Baptiste Nduwayezu, Moringa Project Coordinator for the Southern African Region, said research had also shown that consumption of fresh Moringa leaves and dry leaf powder increases milk production of breast-feeding mothers and improves babies’ health. Nduwayezu said Moringa oleifera seeds, which have properties like olive oil, are also used in water purification and provide edible oils. Moringa seed oil is also used in lubrication, soaps and cosmetics and as a remedy for prostate cancer and bladder troubles, gout and skin diseases, among other functions.

Nduwayezu, however, warned that consumption of Moringa roots in powder form in excess could be toxic. High dosages could result in cardiac arrest or paralysis.

The public has, therefore, been advised not to buy Moringa root powder from street vendors.

He said recent reports from Francistown and Gaborone showed that some people were now selling the powder from Moringa roots in different dosages. Nduwayezu said whilst scientists were working hard to find some other alternative ways of improving health conditions as well as alleviating rural poverty through the growing of Moringa oleifera, there is increasing evidence that some people have started sending the wrong message about Moringa to consumers.

Some unscrupulous elements were making huge profits by selling the wrong products. Recently, a young man living in Gaborone came to my office with nice packets labelled Moringa Tea Leaves in his effort to look for a market for his products. When I opened one packet to see the contents and compare it with my own sample of Moringa leaf powder, I found a yellow powder full of fibres, which is a good indication that the so-called Moringa leaf powder was from ground roots or stems of any tree or shrub species, Nduwayezu said.

He said research must first be exhausted and the findings on how best the plant could be used made public. He said the public should be educated on the proper usage of the Moringa given its importance and potential hazards. Let those who want to use Moringa do so with full knowledge and, in an ideal situation, the users will plant it for themselves than risk by buying from other people.

He said there was a need for the establishment of a farmers association to be responsible for setting standards, testing and approving Moringa products.

For full story, please see: www.gov.bw/cgi-bin/news.cgi?d=20060914&i=Moringa_has_multiple_healing_properties

BACK TO TOP

10. Moringa oleifera: Ugandan moringa farmers stuck with crop

Source: The Monitor (Kampala), 4 September 2006

Moringa farmers in Tororo district are stuck with the crop and blame the government for failing to get them market after encouraging them to grow it.

Mzee Desterio Etyang Ongwali of Opedede Zone in Osukuru sub-county is one of the many farmers in the district who are stuck with the crop and says he regrets why he took up growing such a crop.

Ongwali said the President Yoweri Museveni’s theory of encouraging citizens to grow crops with more cash value like moringa was thought to be good at the time, but has now failed because there is no market. "My moringa farm is just like a model farm in the district. It has even attracted many foreigners, but none of them has provided a solution," he said.

It is hoped that the government will find a solution for the many frustrated farmers if they are to be encouraged to grow crops they are not familiar with in future.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200609050319.html

BACK TO TOP

11. Mushrooms: US: mushroom harvest may be strongest in years

Source: FreshPlaza, Netherlands, 13 September 2006

An early and apparently strong harvest of matsutake mushrooms got under way Monday in Central Oregon, but some mushroom hunters have been cited already for illegal hunting.

Permits to harvest matsutake mushrooms for commercial purposes went on sale Monday on the Deschutes, Fremont-Winema, Umpqua and Willamette national forests. The permit is valid on all four national forests until the season ends Nov. 11. It is required for anyone picking the mushrooms for commercial purposes.

Matsutake mushrooms appear to be sprouting early this year in Oregon and California national forests, officials said.

Forest Service officials believe this year's matsutake harvest will also yield quantities not seen since the early 1990s, according to Pete Peterson, a Deschutes National Forest special forest products coordinator. But prices will be affected by many factors influenced by a global market, he said.

For full story, please see: http://www.freshplaza.com/2006/13sep/2_us_mushroom.htm

BACK TO TOP

12. Shea butter: US couple uses their shea-butter business to build a brighter future for Togo

Source: Seattle PI.com, USA, 7 September 2006

The nuts of the wild shea tree of West Africa produce a rich butter prized for cooking, cosmetics and healing. As a boy in Togo, Olowo-n'djo Tchala spent hours gathering them to pay for clothing and school supplies. Now when Tchala scoops shea nuts into his hand, he sees an opportunity to help free Togo -- perhaps all of Africa -- from entrenched poverty.

At Steamboat Island, a rural community near Olympia, Tchala and his wife, Rose Hyde, oversee the production of fair-trade shea-butter lotions, creams and soaps, bound for retailers such as Whole Foods in Seattle.

Their bottling and distribution plant, about the size of a triple garage, belies the phenomenal growth of what quickly has become an international operation. In its first three years, Alaffia Sustainable Skin Care -- named for a greeting in central Togo -- has pumped an estimated $400,000 into Togo's economy.

Tchala and Hyde earmark 10 percent of sales to development projects in the tiny West African nation: furnishing schools, planting trees in deforested areas and trying to reduce a maternal death rate that claims one in 16 women -- including one of Tchala's sisters.

Degrees in hand, they set about producing handmade, all-natural shea butter -- both in bulk and as finished lotions and creams -- for the growing world market. Alaffia products are sold throughout the U.S. and in Hong Kong, South Africa, Taiwan, Japan, Trinidad and elsewhere.

Shea butter was an apt choice for their venture. For centuries Togo's women have overseen the demanding, 12-step process that turns the rough, brown nuts into a silky butter used there for everything from skin salve to umbilical-cord cleanser. "A woman in the central part of Togo sometimes can't get married unless she knows how to make shea butter," Tchala said.

Alaffia's shea-butter cooperative in Sokode, central Togo, provides good-paying jobs and monthly medical checkups to 80 workers.

Hand-crafting shea butter is not for the faint of heart. Co-op workers shell, dry and crush the nuts into a thick paste, then add clean water and hand whip the concoction for up to three hours to separate the oils. Another round of stirring causes the oils to crystalize into shea butter, which cools into waxy, pale-gold chunks that are shipped to Steamboat Island. There, Tchala and Hyde oversee six workers. The small crew liquefies the butter in heated barrels, stirs in other natural ingredients such as baobab and lemon grass, then hand-bottles the products, which retail for about $10 to $14.

The co-op's shea butter keeps flowing, softening the world's complexion and smoothing the way for the people of Togo.

For full story, please see: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/lifestyle/284046_sheabutter07.html?source=mypi

BACK TO TOP

13. Truffles: Mad about truffles in New Zealand

Source: Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand, 8 September 2006

Waipara truffle grower Gareth Renowden is confident the delicacy will become a big export earner for New Zealand.

Renowden has established a truffiere on the steep and stunning terrain of North Canterbury's Waipara Gorge. He is convinced truffle farming has a huge future in New Zealand and that the product will one day sit alongside other boutique agricultural enterprises and become an important export earner. "In the next 10 to 20 years, truffle farming will be in the position to create a multimillion-dollar export industry."

There are few truffle experts in the world, but Renowden, the New Zealand Truffle Association president, is fast becoming recognised as knowledgeable about the edible fungi that can command up to $NZ3500 a kg. This is despite his 0.5ha truffle enterprise being in its infancy and that it has so far yielded only one black truffle after nine years. He quickly does the maths and says a hectare of land with a conservative yield of 20kg could make $60,000.

Renowden says truffles are a high-value product not vulnerable to the commodity market because they are at the top end of the hospitality industry and that the industry is in its early stages here.

However, those who have entered it have proved quality truffles can be grown and harvested in New Zealand. There is a huge market in the northern hemisphere just waiting to be tapped because the southern hemisphere could produce truffles outside the northern season, he says. "We know the challenge is to grow enough to be able to meet demand. I think the industry is going to start to take off big time within the next five to 10 years."

All New Zealand growers had to do was to produce enough not only to satisfy the local market, but also to get quality fresh truffles to northern hemisphere chefs. One bad truffle sent to a top chef could spell disaster, he says. "But we cannot even supply the local demand yet, let alone the international demand."

Big plantations are being planted in Australia, but rather than seeing them as competition, he says the two countries are working together to develop the industry, and set up quality-control standards and a marketing infrastructure, to protect the international market potential.

For full story, please see: http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3790928a3600,00.html

BACK TO TOP

COUNTRY INFORMATION

14. Afghanistan: Afghan returnees hope for sweet returns from buzzing business

Source: UNHCR, 5 September (in Reuters)

BEHSUD, Afghanistan – If there's one area in Afghanistan's patriarchal society where females are valued highly, it is beekeeping. That seems apt considering that the female bee dominates the hive – a fact which may have surprised some 30 male students listening intently to a recent lecture by agronomist Abdullah Ahad Qarashi in this eastern district.

"Male bees are only good for producing the next generation. We need more female bees, especially queen bees, because they do all the work," explained Qarashi, whose audience ranged from children to old men. The class members were among 150 Afghans – 90 men and 60 women – who are learning about beekeeping after returning from Pakistan to Behsud in Nangarhar province.

The six-month course by the Society for Afghan Development and Assistance Technology is one of the income-generating activities funded by the UN refugee agency to help returnees settle back in their place of origin after years in exile. Lectures are held in an orange grove, with morning sessions reserved for female students and the afternoons for males. Even under the strict Taliban regime, beekeeping was one of the few jobs deemed acceptable for women because it could be practised in a home compound.

The honey business has a long tradition in Afghanistan, with the first honey bees thought to originate in the region. Since the late 1970s, wars and droughts have depleted the flowers that bees need to produce honey. But today, there is hope for beekeepers in Nangarhar province. Fed by the resurgent Kabul River, the area's lush vegetation provides abundant forage for bees, while equipment is easily made locally.

When the lessons end in December, the beehives will be distributed to the returnees so that they can continue the project. "Beekeeping is now our profession. We'll start from one box and keep growing more," said Nabi, adding that they would pool their resources and share the income.

A similar honey-making project is being held in neighbouring Laghman province, where returnees have started to harvest and sell their produce.

In addition to beekeeping, other income-generating projects funded by UNHCR in Afghanistan include fish farming, sewing and pasta-making for returnee women, as well as broom making and basket-weaving for blind returnees. All projects are community based and benefit other residents in areas of return.

More than 4.6 million Afghans have returned home since UNHCR started assisting repatriation in 2002, mostly from neighbouring Pakistan and Iran.

For full story, please see: www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/UNHCR/6e0a848dae207d1977676624d333e827.htm

BACK TO TOP

15. Australia: Bush foods find popularity in Aussie stores

Source: National Geographic News, 14 September 2006

In Australia, urban restaurants today are more likely to offer dishes like low-fat kangaroo, perhaps served on a bed of warrigal greens with a berry jus of lilly pillies. These so-called bush foods were once found only in outback towns like Alice Springs, where tourists might try a bit of native tucker.

But more recently, indigenous foods have left the bush for more visible spots in city restaurants and supermarkets.

As Australia's appetite for indigenous foods has grown, so have the business opportunities for isolated Aboriginal communities.

In 1986 Juliegh and Ian Robins set up what is now the country's largest native herbs and spices company, Robins Foods. The former chefs wanted to bring new tastes and flavours into mainstream Australian cooking and also help rural Aboriginal communities create their own businesses.

The company is now partnered with one of Australia's best-known food brands, Ward McKenzie, to bring native foods, such as kakadu plums, wattle seeds (which, when roasted, have hints of coffee, hazelnut, and chocolate flavours), and bush tomatoes, to a wider market.

The partnership means indigenous food products now sit on the shelves of one of the country's major supermarket chains alongside more traditional herbs, spices, marinades, and chutneys.

New research by the Australian Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation suggests the partnership could signal a growing interest in indigenous foods. The report found that 27 native foods—such as crocodiles, emus, kangaroos, possums, essential oils, nuts, wild herbs, and native fruits and vegetables—add half a billion dollars (U.S.) to the economy each year.

The market share is still small. Indigenous foods claim just 2.2 percent Australia's total farm production. And only game birds, kangaroos, macadamia nuts, Asian vegetables, tropical fruits, and olives gross more than 23 million dollars (U.S.) a year as individual commodities.

But the study suggests that native foods could have added social and environmental benefits. Harvesting wild game like feral pigs and camels, for example, could reduce environmental damage caused by the non-native species, the authors write.

Robins says that as more people acquire a taste for bush foods—such as peach-like quandongs, pear-shaped riberries, wild limes, and mountain pepper—more indigenous communities will be able to establish businesses that allow them to remain on their ancestral lands. "In 30 years' time we want to make sure that Aboriginal people have a real role in the industry," Robins said.

To help guarantee a steady supply chain for indigenous food products, Robins Foods' created Indigenous Australian Foods, a nonprofit company made up of Aboriginal members. The nonprofit sells products from eight Aboriginal companies representing 300 communities, many of them located more a hundred miles from any town. "If [Aboriginal communities] aren't linked into a market, they haven't got a hope," Robins said. "Even though it's culturally and intellectually their knowledge, it wouldn't take long for [their market share] to be taken away. Twenty years down the track, it's too late for them to come back in."

For full story, please see: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/09/060914-australia-food.html

BACK TO TOP

16. Bolivia revokes concessions in national parks

Source: Reuters (in ENN News), 29 August 2006

LAJA, Bolivia — Bolivian President Evo Morales stepped up his nationalization campaign Saturday by announcing the withdrawal of energy and forestry concessions inside some 20 national parks.

"Here and now, this is the beginning of the nationalization of our natural resources," he told about 100 Indian peasants in Laja, a community 680 miles north of La Paz located within Madidi National Park.

"We have to defend our wood and other natural resources," Morales said. "You all must be the forest rangers."

"About 20 national parks will once again be run (entirely) by the state," said Erland Flores of the National Service of Protected Areas.
For full story, please see: http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=11150

BACK TO TOP

17. Brazil: Products from the Amazon become handmade jewels

Source: ANBA, Brazil, 30 August 2006

Artisans from the North of Brazil are transforming products like seeds, shells and fruit pits in bio-jewels. The pieces, which receive fine finishing, but are made from products of the forest, are sold in the internal and external markets.

With talent and creativity, artisan Jander Cabral transforms seeds, shells and pits, rustic raw materials of the Amazon forest, into jewels with fine finishing. They are the so-called bio-jewels, which have a high added value as they join in necklaces, bracelets, rings or earrings, the indigenous handicraft art and the precision of jewellery art.

From the city of Autazes, in the Northern Brazilian state of Amazonas, Jander Cabral reveals that the bio-jewels have reached the foreign market. The artisan does monthly business with buyers in Switzerland, the United States and England. In Brazil, according to Cabral, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, in the southeast of the country, and Brasilia, in the midwest, are the cities most interested in this kind of product. "Since I started dedicating myself to the production of bio-jewels, I have never managed to stock up since the demand is too big," says the artisan.

The main products used by Jander Cabral in the production of bio-jewels are seeds of jarina, the ivory-nut palm, known as vegetable ivory. He also uses coconut shells, Brazil nuts, tucumã (Astrocaryum aculeatum) and calabash, but the ivory-nut palm is preferred because as well as its use in necklaces and bracelets, it is possible to transform it into miniatures of manatees, toads, the pink river dolphin, amongst other animals.

According to Jander Cabral, the jarina seed is removed from a common palm in the western region of Amazonas state, in northern Brazil, far, however, from state capital Manaus.

But the bio-jewels are pretty close to the customers in Manaus. This is because the artisan, in partnership with the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae) in the state of Amazonas, is going to release a new collection of bio-jewels during the III Amazon International Fair (Fiam 2006), from the 30th of August to 2nd September, in Manaus. The new collection counts on about 500 pieces, with prices varying between R$ 20 to R$ 150 (about US$ 9 to US$ 70).

To the coordinator at the Sebrae Programme for Handicrafts in Amazonas, Clarice Maquiné Nunes, launching Jander's new collection during the Fiam 2006 will show the public the innovative potential of Amazonas handicraft. Currently there aren't any approximated statistics of the number of artisans working with the product. "The bio-jewel initially pleases women, but it impresses anyone interested in exotic and sophisticated jewels."

For full story, please see:: http://www.anba.com.br/ingles/noticia.php?id=12188

BACK TO TOP

18. Bulgaria looks to strategic development of key crops

Source: Sofia Echo, Bulgaria, 18 September 2006

The Government unveiled details of its strategy to keep Bulgaria’s place in the lucrative medicinal plants sector. “The Government’s strategy for the development of the medicinal plants sub-sector in Bulgarian agriculture aims to ensure the country’s market position in the field of medicinal plants and thus to encourage the economy and employment,” according to an official statement.

The strategy was drawn up by representatives of state institutions in co-operation with the Bulgarian Association of Herb and Mushroom Gatherers and research institutes and with the financial and technical assistance of the German Technical Cooperation.

The strategy was to be drafted because of the constant increase in the consumption of plant raw materials for the purposes of cosmetics, the food processing industry and the pharmaceutical industry in Bulgaria as well as on the world scale.

From 2002 to 2005, the annual trade in medicinal plants on the European market increased from $7 billion to $9 billion. Similar growth is expected in Asia, Japan and North America.

The sub-sector has good prospects on the international market.

According to the Government, Bulgaria is the biggest exporter of herbs in Europe and is ranked fifth or sixth in the world. Production totals 17 000 tons, with exports accounting for between 10 000 and 15 000 tons in recent years. The export of herbs includes 150 different plants.

“The shortcomings in the sub-sector of medicinal plants in Bulgaria are related to the cultivation, the lack of cooperation within the sub-sector, the lack of an accessible system for market information, funding problems, insufficient training,” the Government statement said.

The strategy addresses these shortcomings through measures to improve sectoral policy, related to the access of stakeholders to national and European funding schemes, amendment to the procedure for the registration of agricultural producers, encouragement of research in the sector of medicinal plants.

The cultivation of medicinal plants will be assisted by the Agriculture State Fund and the Ministry of Environment and Water, according to the strategy.

The authorities will introduce EU requirements for plant protection products.

“Good practices are about to be introduced in the whole production process, as well as the establishment of the system for market information, the increase in the share of training in medicinal plants in the curriculum of agricultural universities,” the statement said.

For full story, please see: http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/bulgarias-agriculture-in-transition/id_17598/catid_23

BACK TO TOP

19. Honduras: Ambientalistas auguran perdida de bosque hondureño en 4 años

Source: Radio América, Honduras

Ambientalistas nacionales auguraron la perdida del bosque hondureño en cuatro años, se informó a la prensa.

Los estudiosos basan su preedición en la tala de los bosques, que a su juicio se ha acrecentado en los últimos años; a esto adherido la falta de interés de las autoridades gubernamentales por realizar un sistema efectivo de reforestación y protección de los recursos renovables, aseguraron.

Al respecto el gerente de la Corporación Hondureña de Desarrollo Forestal (COHDEFOR) Ramón Álvarez, desmintió la predicción, ya manifestó que el Gobierno efectúa esfuerzos por mantener los recursos y endurecer penas en contra de los depredadores.

En Honduras se ha presentado en los últimos años una disminución de las áreas boscosas del territorio, esto según los expertos por descuido en ejecutar programas que garanticen la renovación de los elementos naturales.

For full story, please see: http://www.radioamerica.hn/noticiadeldia.asp?noti=1028

BACK TO TOP

20. Iran: Export of aromatic, medicinal plants down 9.7%

Source: MehrNews.com, Tehran, Iran, 3 September 2006

Some 6,997 tons of aromatic and medicinal plants, valued at $36.37 million, were exported from Iran in the first four months of the current Iranian year (March 21-July 22).

This showed a 9.7% decrease in terms of weight compared to the corresponding period last year. Italy, Taiwan, the UAE, Pakistan, and Germany were the main importers of these plants in the said period. Saffron ($27.5 million), caraway ($2.52 million), tobacco ($1.95 million), liquorice, and coriander accounted for the lion’s share of the exported volume.

For full story, please see: http://www.mehrnews.ir/en/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=375118

BACK TO TOP

21. Jamaica: US$16.5 million forest conservation fund launched

Source: Jamaica Information Service, 20 September 2006

The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands has taken another initiative to protect and manage the island's forest reserves and national parks, by launching a US$16.5 million Forest Conservation Fund (FCF).

Speaking at the launching ceremony today (September 19), Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke, said the move was particularly urgent in light of the intense pressure that Jamaica's forests were under, despite the consistent effort of the local Forestry Department. "The Government of the United States has demonstrated its interest in protecting tropical forests in developing countries by creating the Tropical Forest Conservation Fund", and in like manner, "the Government of Jamaica is demonstrating its commitment to preserving the island's forest resources by launching the Jamaica Forest Conservation Fund".

He pointed out that although the Government was the guarantor of the fund, no direct monetary gain would accrue to the administration, as it would be absorbed in various conservation projects across the island.

The Fund, which would be administered under the Jamaica Forest Conservation Act, would target the Cockpit Country Forest Reserve, the Blue and John Crow Mountains Forest Reserve and National Park, the inland portions of the Negril Protected Area, the forested areas of the Dolphin Head Mountains as well as the Rio Minho, Rio Cobre and Black River Watersheds.

The FCF is the result of a 2004 debt-for-nature swap agreement between the Nature Conservancy and the Jamaican and United States of America governments, and will result in the cancelling of some US$16.5 million in Jamaican debt to the United States.

Under the agreement, the US Government will cancel some US$6.5 million of Jamaica's debt to them. This amount, along with its requisite payment from the Government of Jamaica, will be kept in Jamaica in the Fund and will reach an accumulated total of US$16.5 over the next 20 years.

Deputy Chief of Missions of the US, James Heg, in his remarks, said the Fund satisfied two important factors, which are debt servicing and the protection of tropical forest cover. "Jamaica contains unique species of birds and plants. The island enjoys a rich biological and cultural heritage that needs to be preserved for future generations to enjoy," he emphasized.

For full story, please see: www.jis.gov.jm/justice/html/20060919T090000-0500_10069_JIS_US_16_5_MILLION_FOREST_CONSERVATION_FUND_LAUNCHED.asp

BACK TO TOP

22. Kenya: Saving the sandalwood tree

Source: The East African (Nairobi), 5 September 2006

Residents of Majani village in Laikipia District of Kenya's Rift Valley Province recently noticed that sandalwood, a tree that is known locally as Muthirioni, was being uprooted and taken away at night. Even those in private farms were not being spared. The residents later learnt it was because of a huge demand for its products - the bark, stem and seeds - in India. Smugglers working with some residents were buying the wood at Ksh3/kg.

“We had to act quickly to save it from disappearing from the neighbouring Lariak forest," said Norman Gichuhi, the secretary of Lariak Conservancy. In collaboration with other stakeholders, members of Laikipia Conservancy have been trying to stop the illegal harvesting of the tree.

Sandalwood, which was originally found in India and Australia, is a small evergreen tree that grows up to 4 metres high in Kenya and up to 20 metres in India. It sometimes attains 2.4 metres in diameter. Its bark is dark brown, reddish, dark gray or nearly black in younger trees.

"The bark when boiled produces a dark coloured solution which was used to flavour tea. It was also used together with other herbs for cleaning blood. For others, the boiled product was given to women after giving birth to boost their appetite," remembers Joseph Thuita, a resident of Majani village. Another elder, Charles Ndun'gu, says; "The wood of sandal tree was sold in many markets in Central Kenya just before independence. It was boiled and used as tea and some people said it lifted their mood." After Kenya gained independence, sandalwood products were abandoned as better branded and packed products hit the market.

In India, however, the tree's products have attained sacred status. When harvested, the stem, which is known as heartwood, is ground and its steam distilled into oils for use in manufacturing cosmetics, soaps, candles, medicines and perfumes. The wood yields between four and 10 percent oil when distilled.

The heartwood scent is used in sacred ceremonies and to purify holy places. Incense sticks from the wood are burned in temples and houses. The oils and paste is used to treat skin diseases such as infectious sores, ulcers, acne and rashes.

The tree also acts as a disinfectant and a sedative. It is reputed to be useful in improving blood circulation, digestive, respiratory and nervous systems.

Due to the rising demands of sandalwood products, the tree is considered endangered in India, which is why smugglers have found East Africa an easy source of its products.

The Kenyan government has banned harvesting of the tree, but the lure of quick money has forced people to target isolated forests and bushes where it is found.

"We informed the government when local self-help groups reported the disappearance of the tree," said Martin Mwangi, a programme officer at Tree is Life Project, a Nyahururu based NGO working with self-help groups in the district. Members of the group resolved to work closely with the government and other organisations to stem the smuggling.

Lariak Conservancy, which was created by residents, aims at conserving Lariak forest, one of the few remaining in the area. The conservancy is made up of user groups from the five locations in Ol Ng'arua division that surround the forest.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200609051034.html

BACK TO TOP

23. Malaysia: Malaysian herbal market worth over US$2bln by 2010

Source: People's Daily Online, China, 13 September 2006

The local herbal market in Malaysia is expected to reach 8 billion ringgit (US$2.16 billion) by 2010, Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sothinathan Sinna Gaundar said Tuesday. The herbal market, which is currently worth 3.8 billion ringgit (US$1.03 billion), is anticipated to grow with an annual growth rate of between 15 and 20 percent.

Sothinathan said that the government has identified medicinal plants as huge potential assets which will generate economic growth for the country.

The deputy minister urged researchers, academicians and industry operators to grab the opportunity by stepping up their research and development activities to produce new medicines and market them worldwide.

According to a World Bank report, the international herbal medicine market is expected to reach US$5 trillion in 2050 with an annual growth rate of between 10 and 20 percent.

For full story, please see: http://english.people.com.cn/200609/13/eng20060913_302302.html

BACK TO TOP

24. Nepal: Nepalese wild honey highly prized and has ecotourism potential

Source: OhmyNews International, South Korea, 14 September 2006

Cliff bees have become important to ecotourism

In recent years, honey hunters and the tradition of honey hunting in Nepal have become famous all over the world. National Geographic and some other television channels related to wildlife are playing vital roles in this respect.

The International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is working for the conservation and development of honeybees in Nepal.

Owing to human activity, however, this tradition is now threatened. To save the indigenous honeybees and the honey hunting tradition, some nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are merging their concerns and coordinating with local Nepalese.

We are talking here about cliff (wild) honeybees, for which central Nepal is famous. There are hundreds of honeycombs hanging over dozens of foothills. Local people are encouraged to preserve honey hunting traditions and honeybee nests. Apis laboriosa honeybees are generally known as cliff bees.

Experts have also designated Nepal as a honey-hunting destination for tourists. This tradition can thus be considered nowadays as part of Nepal's ecotourism, and programs to develop awareness of this are being held as well.

Experts believe that such a component of ecotourism could provide a route out of poverty, with tourists being charged to view and take part in honey hunting. An ICIMOD report says that tourists who come to Nepal in a group are paying $250-$1500 to experience one honey-hunting event. It is said that locals should be made responsible for preserving the honeybees and their nests and for their management as well.

Lal Kumar Shrestha, program officer of the Annapurna Beekeeping and Environment Promotion Center (ABEPC), says that the Kaski district in central Nepal is very famous for cliff bees and honey hunting. Taprang, Sikles, Landruk, Lumle, Ghandruk, Chhomrong, and Ghachok of Kaski are other major areas for honey hunting.

The use of modern technology to hunt honey and inexperienced hunters are the major threats to the cliff bees and the preservation of their nests.

A fire is lit at the base of the cliff to smoke the bees out. After dispersing them from their hive, honey hunters cut out the combs. To approach the combs, hunters use a rope ladder whose upper ends are securely fastened to a tree above the cliff.

Honey hunters use wooden or iron sickles to cut the honeycombs and a basket to hold the pieces as they are lowered. When full, the basket is lowered down to the base of the cliff. Apis laboriosa's honey, which is especially sought after in spring, is in high demand on the international market. It is said that people are ready to pay up to $15 per kg.

Ownership of the cliffs and Apis laboriosa colonies in most of Nepal were once reserved collectively for locals. According to a report prepared by Farooq Ahmad, Surendra R. Joshi, and Min B. Gurung, the cliff ownership system is changing, and government control has been strengthened with the help of the 1992 Forest Act. There is a call to amend this act and return the cliffs to the communities for the better preservation of the bees and their nests.

For full story, please see: http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?at_code=359722&no=317125&rel_no=1

BACK TO TOP

25. Nepal: US pledges $32.8 mn for peace in Nepal

Source: Times of India, 28 Aug, 2006

KATHMANDU: The four-day visit to Nepal by a US congressional delegation winded up on Monday with an assistance of $32.8 million for peace, good governance and health projects.

The grant is part of a total US development assistance package worth $45 million for 2006 and would be used for projects to be implemented in cooperation with NGOs, INGOs, private firms and individuals.

About one-third of the grant -- $10.6 million - has been earmarked to address the immediate impact of the decade-old Maoist insurgency and the ongoing peace processes.

It aims to give vulnerable groups a voice at the community level, protect livelihoods of the poor through public works and the production and marketing of high-value agriculture and non-timber forest products.

For full story, please see: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1932871.cms

BACK TO TOP

26. Pakistan: Caravan – Forestry Conservation and Development Project

Source: Community Forestry E-news 2006.08

CARAVAN, a regional Northwest Frontier Province-based Pakistani NGO, is implementing a Forestry Conservation and Development Project (FDCP) in upper Swat in Northern Pakistan with the objectives to introduce a community-based mechanism for sustainable forest resources, eliminate timber mafia and promote Non Timber Forest Products as an economic alternative for poor communities.

The organization had a breakthrough when three clusters of grassroots level community organizations formed valley conservation and protection committees and a multi-stakeholders forum called Kohistan Integrated Development Forum (KIDF) to facilitate and monitor the overall conservation, protection, and development of the forest resources in the area.

KIDF has entered an agreement with forest department local officials to collaborate in developing forest resources and has also assisted in the establishment of a joint community and forest department checkpoints to fight timber smuggling.

Read reports about FDCP at http://www.caravan-swat.org/

BACK TO TOP

27. Philippines: Bright prospects seen for silkworm industry

Source: Visayan Daily Star, Philippines, 24 August 2006

Ichiro Miyashita and Asahiko Mihara of the Japanese House of Representatives yesterday said the silk industry of Negros Occidental has a great potential as long as it continuous to produce good quality products.

Mihara said they were in Negros to look into the work of Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural, Advancement (OISCA) in the province, which they support. He also said the market for silk is very big. "In Japan we only have a little more than 2,000 farmers producing silk," he said. "So we import silk from China and Vietnam, and the Philippines can compete against them," he added.

OISCA in Negros Occidental, headed by Shigemi Watanabe, has trained farmers to plant mulberry trees and grow silkworms for the production of silk at their factory in Bago City.

Yesterday Gov. Marañon turned over P2 million to Watanabe, which is a loan from the Negros Occidental provincial government to 200 farmers engaged in planting mulberry trees and growing silk worms. He said last year the provincial government also had an allocation for loans to 100 other farmers.

For full story, please see: www.visayandailystar.com/2006/August/24/businessnews2.htm

BACK TO TOP

28. South Africa: Forests vital for economic growth

Source: BuaNews (Tshwane), 6 September 2006

Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, Lindiwe Hendricks, says forests and trees play an important role in rural, economic development and in sustaining the livelihoods of the poor.

Speaking during Arbor Week celebrations in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday, Ms Hendricks said Government needed to do more to create jobs and to help uplift people, especially those from rural areas, through trees and forestry.

Themed "Plant a Tree - Grow our Future" this year's Arbor Week highlights the value of trees in ensuring sustainable economic development and how trees and forests contribute towards creating a better life for all.

She said expanding forests created employment and business opportunities, as well as actively contributed towards the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa.

"However, trees and forests take many years to grow so an investment today will yield rewards for our children - like we nurture our children, we need to nurture our trees and forests to protect them, particularly against damage from fires," she advised.

The Eastern Cape is a region that has been recognised as being of national importance in the future development of the forestry sector. In this regard, the minister called on leaders, government officials and communities to work together in making this potential a reality and a success.

A recent study confirmed that the province had the potential to support at least 100 000 hectares (ha) of new plantation forestry. This is to be developed over a 10 to 20 year period and will require close collaboration among three spheres of government, traditional leaders, and communities. "This province has a wealth of indigenous forest resources, high in biodiversity. My department is making a concerted effort to make the benefits of forests and trees accessible to all our people," she added.

Another initiative underway in the provincial sector is the Participatory Forest Management Programme. This initiative involves local people, including women and the youth in the management of their natural resources.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200609060727.html

BACK TO TOP

29. Vietnam: Rare fragrant wood should be protected

Source: Thanh Nien Daily, Vietnam, 6 September 2006

The uncontrolled purchase of some of the most expensive fragrant wood in the world - agarwood (Aquilaria crassna) in central Vietnam demonstrates the need to conserve the valuable commodity.

Ba To moutain town in central Quang Ngai province has seen hundreds of people arrive in recent days to buy agarwood, called ky nam in Vietnamese, discovered by local lumberjacks. However, as ky nam is banned for sale in Vietnam, most deals take place secretly and local residents sell the precious wood at low prices because they did not know about its real value.

At Tot village, 1kg of ky nam sold for only VND2 million (US$124.8) in the first days but its price later rose to VND10 million, then VND100 million and VND200 million ($12,488).

After transporting ky nam from the village, traders offered VND700 million ($43,709) per kg.

Stored by many as an asset, the wood is revered for its medicinal properties and aromatic essence.

Some traders said in sales abroad, mostly to Taiwan, Vietnamese agarwood would be 1.5 or two times higher than the domestic sales.

Those who find the precious wood in the forest must remain hidden to avoid the detection of forest rangers as they transport the wood for sale.

The current situation suggests the government should regulate the trade to improve the value of the precious wood on the world market, and control what commodities are left in the forest to make it a sustainable industry

Since the country has already organized many auctions on recovered antiques, diamonds and bird’s nests (an Asian delicacy), perhaps agar could also be controlled through the auction process.

For full story, please see: http://www.thanhniennews.com/commentaries/?catid=11&newsid=19739

BACK TO TOP

NEWS

30. Biopiracy: FTA paves way for biopiracy

Source: Latin America Press, 15 August 2006

Indigenous communities and environmentalists call it biopiracy; international pharmaceutical companies and academic researchers call it bioprospecting. Whatever one chooses to call it, the Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Central America and the Dominican Republic (CAFTA) has opened the door to foreign ownership of the right to exploit the region's abundant and diverse tropical flora.

Under the intellectual-property provisions of CAFTA, the US has forced legislation in member countries that potentially legalizes patenting the biological resources of the region to the benefit of pharmaceutical and agroindustrial companies.

These institutions can now seek plants with properties previously unknown to them, and then legally claim ownership of the processes to which they are put. These rights completely ignore the prior use and even dependence of these plants by local and indigenous communities, which may have been using them for centuries and consider them part of their heritage.

These researchers and companies arrogate the biodiversity of underdeveloped countries to themselves, as well as the knowledge of its use, a trend that has come to be called biopiracy. It goes on under a virtual blackout by the media and is publicized almost exclusively only by some scientists and environmental organizations.

This arrangement puts those vulnerable to dispossession of their ancestral knowledge at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to protecting their rights.

The director of the Technical Biodiversity Office of the National Council of Protected Areas in Guatemala, Fernando García Barrios, explained, "The governments of Central America do not create the administrative and legal mechanisms for their genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge." What is needed, he says, is a "common, coordinated regional regimen that supports regional and national initiatives" on questions of intellectual property and access to these resources and knowledge bases.

For full story, please see: http://tinyurl.com/n66dn

BACK TO TOP

31. Biopiracy: Kenya loses Sh70m to biopirates

Source: Kenya Times, 29 August 2006

It now emerges that Rift Valley residents have, in the last two years, lost more than Sh70 million to western piracy targeting indigenous plants. This follows revelations that the detergent behind the faded jeans’ fashion industry is derived from an indigenous plant that was pirated from the Rift Valley’s caustic lakes.

International press now have bared how British scientists from Leicester University worked with US firm Genencor to patent-utilise without consent, a microbe that lives in the caustic lakes of Kenya’s Rift Valley.

It was discovered that when jeans are washed with the “stolen” microbe it results in the production of an enzyme that fades the indigo dye thus giving them a natural faded look.

According to market monitoring research in the fashion industry, it is estimated that for the last one year, the company has made more than $1m (Sh73 million) in sales to detergent makers and textile firms. The revelation now depicts that it is not just in the world of medicine and horticulture where the Western multinationals have raked in obscene profits through pirating Africa’s rich flora, but the exploitative vice has now permeated the fashion industry.

This form of new thievery of Africa’s resources falls under the category of biopiracy. The US-based Edmonds Institute recently published a report listing more than 30 example of western medical, horticultural and cosmetic products it alleged had been ‘pirated’ from Africa.

Beth Burrows, president of the Edmonds Institute, a non-profit body specialising in education about intellectual property rights, in an interview said: ‘Times have changed. It is no longer acceptable for the great white explorer to trawl across Africa or South America taking what they want for their own commercial benefit. It is no more than a new form of colonial pillaging. As there are internationally recognised rights for oil, so there should be for indigenous plants and knowledge.’

For full story, please see: http://www.timesnews.co.ke/29aug06/business/buns1.html

BACK TO TOP

32. Marketingmaap: Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Marketing

From: Pankaj Oudhia, Founder, Marketingmaap, pankajoudhia@rediffmail.com

The purpose of this group is to provide a forum to herb sellers and herb buyers at international level. It will give opportunity to members to post their trade inquiries and get potential markets around the globe. This group will also discuss the problems of herb trading.

For subscription send request to: marketingmaap-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.in. Please send your complete address and contact details with the request.

http://in.groups.yahoo.com/group/marketingmaap/

BACK TO TOP

33. Partenariat pour les Forêts du Bassin du Congo

Source : Christophe.BESACIER, Christophe.BESACIER@diplomatie.gouv.fr

Le Partenariat pour les Forêts du Bassin du Congo (PFBC) est une association regroupant une trentaine d’organisations gouvernementales et non gouvernementales. Il a été créé en septembre 2002, au Sommet mondial sur le développement durable (Johannesburg, Afrique du Sud).

Le PFBC a pour objectifs d'améliorer la communication entre ses membres et la coordination entre leurs projets, programmes et politiques afin de promouvoir une gestion durable des forêts du Bassin du Congo et d'améliorer la qualité de vie des habitants de la région.

Pour plus d’information : www.cbfp.org (site WEB du PFBC)

BACK TO TOP

34. Root rot threatens Virginia's Christmas trees

Source: Associated Press, 10 September 2006 (in Daily Press, USA)

ROANOKE, Va. Experts say that phytophthora root rot, a nasty condition is killing Fraser firs – the most popular Christmas tree species – across southwest Virginia and leaving soil unsuitable for the trees for up to 20 years. At Virginia Tech, scientists are hoping a long-term study can figure out how root rot works.

Christmas trees are grown across the New River Valley, though Floyd and Grayson counties are the leading area producers.

Increasingly they're meeting with the water mould, so-called because it spreads more rapidly in wet weather and heavy clay soils. The mould is gradual but potent. It typically begins by yellowing the needles of Fraser firs, producing a condition tree growers call "off colour." Soon the tree will drop its brown needles and die, leaving only a bare-bones frame of branches.

It's the biggest challenge facing regional growers today, Dan Young, president of the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers, told the association's convention last month in Blacksburg. For full story, please see: http://www.dailypress.com/news/local/virginia/dp-va--christmastreerot0910sep10,0,4784463.story?coll=dp-headlines-virginia

BACK TO TOP

35. Tourism Cares for Tomorrow - Worldwide Grant Program 2006

Source: Forestry Funding News Alert # 12 (August 2006)

Tourism Cares for Tomorrow is the tourism industry's non-profit organization, exists to preserve, conserve, and promote the responsible use of our world's natural, cultural, and historic treasures and to support education and research to help secure the positive future of travel and tourism worldwide.

As part of its mission, Tourism Cares for Tomorrow distributes charitable grants to worthy tourism-related non-profit organizations worldwide.

Tourism Cares for Tomorrow considers projects or programs with either or both of the following goals:

    1) Projects that protect, restore, or conserve sites of exceptional cultural, historic, or natural significance; and

    2) Programs that educate local host communities and the travelling public about conservation and preservation of sites.

Preference will be given to applicants that are able to leverage Tourism Cares for Tomorrow's grant funding to provide increased philanthropic support through vehicles such as matching grants or challenge grants; are endorsed by the local, regional, or national tourism office; and demonstrate strong support from the local community.

Tourism Cares for Tomorrow's grant-making goals for 2006 call for a balanced distribution to U.S. and non-U.S. recipients. Grant recipients must be classified as non-profit and tax-exempt under section 501(c) (3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code or, in the case of non-U.S. organizations, must function as the equivalent. Historically, grant amounts have ranged between $10,000 and $20,000. However, based on merit and availability of funds, some grants of up to $100,000 will also be considered. The next round of 2006 grant application has a deadline of November 1, 2006.

For more information, please visit: www.tourismcaresfortomorrow.org/TourismCares/What+We+Do/Grants/Worldwide+Grant+Program/

BACK TO TOP

36. WWF’s Kathryn Fuller Fellowships 2007-2008

Source: Forestry Funding News Alert # 12 (August 2006)

World Wildlife Fund is announcing the opening of its 2007-2008 Kathryn Fuller Fellowship competition. Two post-doctoral fellowships will be awarded for a two year period to individuals with outstanding research proposals that are of fundamental and immediate importance to global biodiversity conservation.

Fuller Fellows can be based at any institution, including at World Wildlife Fund, and will co-advised by one academic and one WWF mentor. Fellows are provided a stipend of $50,000 per year, as well as a $15,000 annual research allowance.

Applicants should have received a doctorate degree between January 2002 and January 2007. The deadline for applications is November 15, 2006. Offers will be made in the spring of 2007, with fellowships to begin in the fall of 2007.

For more information, application guidelines and application forms please contact:

WWF Kathryn Fuller Fellowships

Tel: +1 202 778 9742

E-mail: fuller.fellowship@wwfus.org

Web: http://www.worldwildlife.org/sfn

BACK TO TOP

REQUESTS

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

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

We are actively seeking contributions on any aspect of NWFP for inclusion in the next issue of Non-wood News. We are particularly interested in receiving information from NGOs on their work with NWFP, as well as any NWFP research results and abstracts from Ph.D. candidates.

Contributions can be in French, Spanish or English and should be no longer than 500 words.

Previous issues of Non-wood News are available from the NWFP home page: www.fao.org/forestry/FOP/FOPW/NWFP/nwfp-e.stm

Contributions should be sent to non-wood-news@fao.org by 30 September 2006

BACK TO TOP

EVENTS

38. Annual Forest Inventory and Analysis Symposium

16-19 October 2006

Monterey, California, USA.

For more information, please contact:

Ronald E. McRoberts

USDA Forest Service

1992 Folwell Avenue

St. Paul, Minnesota 55038

USA

Email: rmcroberts@fs.fed.us.

http://www.fia.fs.fed.us/symposium/

BACK TO TOP

39. Tools for Conserving Biodiversity Course

17-29 October 2006

Laikipia, Kenya

For more information please contact:

Melissa Bellman at bellmanm@si.edu

or visit www.si.edu/simab

BACK TO TOP

40. The vitality of cork oaks and Holm oaks settlements: current situation, state of knowledge and means to implement

25-27 October 2006.

Evora, Portugal

This meeting is being organized by the Directorate-General of the Forest Resources (DGRF) of Portugal in collaboration with the International Association for Mediterranean Forests, the Agronomic higher institute of Lisbon and the WWF MedPo.

The objective of this meeting is to give a progress report on the causes of the deterioration of these settlements in the Mediterranean countries, for then establishing actions and research orientations to be followed for better including/understanding and solving the problems of deterioration. Proposals will be made in this direction, with an aim of setting up later on a program financed by international funds.

For more information, please contact:

Denys Poulet

Project manager

Association Internationale Forêts Méditerranéennes (International Association for Mediterranean Forests)

14, rue Louis Astouin

13002 MARSEILLE

France

Tel: +33 (0)4 91 90 76 70

Fax: +33 (0)4 91 90 71 62

email: denys.poulet@aifm.org

http://www.aifm.org or http://www.recoforme.net/eng

BACK TO TOP

41. Advanced Training Workshop on Bamboo Furniture and Weaving

6 November-19 December 2006

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Organizers: Chinese Ministry of Commerce, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, Ethiopian Government

Course Content: Bamboo furniture and handicraft making

The workshop will include lectures, practice sessions, field visits and information exchange.

This workshop is mainly focused on Ethiopian participants. If other international organizations/participants are interested in participating in the workshop, please contact:

Dr. Fu Jinhe
Email: jfu@inbar.int
Tel.: +86-10-6470 6161 ext.208
Fax: +86-10-6470 2166

BACK TO TOP

42. Seminario sobre Gestión forestal sostenible y cooperación al desarrollo: Herramientas para el alivio de la pobreza

20-24 November 2006.

Spain

For more information, please contact:

Sergio de Miguel Magaña

Centro Tecnológico Forestal de Cataluña (CTFC)

Pujada del Seminari, s/n

25280 Solsona (Spain)
Tel. +34 973 481 752
Fax. +34 973 481 392
email: sergio.demiguel@ctfc.es or formacio@ctfc.es

Web: http://www.ctfc.es/coopfor.

BACK TO TOP

43. International Training Workshop on Bamboo-based Production and Enterprise Management

20-29 November 2006

Kudal, Maharashtra State, India

The International Network for Bamboo and Rattan and the Centre for Indian Bamboo Resource & Technology are jointly organizing a workshop which aims to impart knowledge and skill sets to people involved in the bamboo sector, in the fields of production and processing, and to enable them to experience "productivity" as an imperative to sustain and develop enterprises. The objective is to produce skilled entrepreneurs, who are knowledgeable in the nuances of bamboo-based production, by providing theoretical and practical training. The workshop will also emphasize the training of trainers.

Topics for the training would broadly include products development, enterprise management, process flow technique, etc.

For more information, see www.inbar.int/news/news76.htm

or contact:

Mr. T.P. Subramony

Resident Manager

INBAR-South Asia Regional Office
I-4, Jangpura-B

New Delhi 110 014, India;

Tel: +91 (11) 2437 4800, 2437 4801 & 2437 4803 (Direct)

Fax: +91 (11) 2437 4802

www.inbar.int or www.cibart.org

BACK TO TOP

LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

44. Wild edible fungi

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Wild edible Fungi, no. 17 in FAO’s NWFP publication series, has now been translated into French.

Copies of this publication – “Champignons comestibles sauvages. Vue d’ensemble sur leurs utilisations et leur importance pour les populations” – can be purchased from FAO’s Sales and Marketing Group at publications-sales@fao.org.

An electronic version is available from FAO’s NWFP home page at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/y5489f/y5489f00.htm

BACK TO TOP

45. Gratis Book Scheme: Free Books for Developing Countries

Source: Forestry Funding News Alert # 12 (August 2006)

The nhbs.com bookstore has joined with Blackwell Publishing, Cambridge University Press, and Oxford University Press to provide free ecology and conservation books to individuals or libraries outside Western Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan who otherwise would be unable to afford them. The British Ecological Society is paying for the postage.

Following the generosity of the publishers the following books are available.

1) The Conservation Handbook. W.J. Sutherland. Blackwell publications. 250 copies are available.

2) Ecology: From Individuals to Ecosystems. M. Begon, J.L. Harper, and C.R. Townsend. Blackwell publications. 200 copies of the fourth edition of this textbook are available.

3) Wildlife Ecology, Conservation and Management. Blackwell publications. A. Sinclair, J. Fryxell, and G. Caughley. 200 copies of the latest edition of this classic are available.

4) Bird Ecology and Conservation: A Handbook of Techniques. Edited by W.J. Sutherland, I. Newton, and R.E. Green. Oxford University Press. 300 copies already have been distributed. An additional 100 copies are available.

5) Conservation Education and Outreach Techniques. S. Jacobson, M.D. McDuff, and M.C. Monroe. Oxford University Press. To be published in early 2007. 200 copies are available.

6) Ecological Census Techniques. Edited by W.J. Sutherland, Cambridge University Press. 200 copies of the second edition are available.

These books can be ordered by completing the form available at the link on the bottom right of the home page of the nhbs.com bookstore ( http://www.nhbs.com ) and can be completed either for yourself, if eligible, or to recommend someone else. This scheme is not available for those who have moved to the region to work or for those from the region who are currently working elsewhere (e.g., graduate study in Western Europe).

BACK TO TOP

46. Field Guide to the Future: Four Ways for Communities to Think Ahead

From: Sandra J. Velarde-Pajares, s.velarde@cgiar.org

Evans, Kristen; Velarde, Sandra J.; Prieto, Rocio P.; Rao, Sheila N.; Sertzen, Sandra; Davila, Karina and de Jong, Wil. 2006 Field Guide to the Future: Four Ways for Communities to Think Ahead. Edited by Elena Bennett and Monika Zurek, Foreword by Doris Capistrano
This field guide is a practical, step-by-step manual describing methods that can help communities think ahead and prepare for changes in their environment and natural resources. These four methods are: Scenarios, Visioning, Pathways and Projections.

"Field Guide to the Future" is for communities who depend on natural resources and all of us who work with them. The authors have collaborated with communities in the management of forests, land, and water in many parts of the world, but particularly in tropical forest margins. In this manual they share their experiences and lessons learned about methods that can help communities prepare for the future.

"Field Guide to the Future" is a collaborative effort between the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the ASB system-wide program of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Secretariat of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA).

To request your copy, please email Sandra Velarde at: s.velarde@cgiar.org.

Spanish and French translations will be available later this year. Please contact Sandra if you are interested in receiving them.

For more information, please contact:

Sandra J. Velarde-Pajares, MSc.
Programme Associate and Acting Global Coordinator
Alternatives to Slash-and-Burn Programme (ASB)
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
PO Box 30677, 00100 GPO

Nairobi, Kenya
Email: s.velarde@cgiar.org

http://www.asb.cgiar.org

BACK TO TOP

47.Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Albrechtsen, L., Fa, J.E., Barry, B., and Macdonald, D.W. 2005. Contrasts in availability and consumption of animal protein in Bioko Island, West Africa: the role of bushmeat. Environ. Conserv. 32(4):340-348.

Bonacic, C., Feber, R.E., and Macdonald, D.W. 2006. Capture of the vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) for sustainable use: animal welfare implications. Biol. Conserv. 129(4):543-550.

Cayuela, L., Golicher, D.J., and Rey-Benayas, J.M. 2006. The extent, distribution, and fragmentation of vanishing montane cloud forest in the Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. Biotropica 38(4):544-554.

Cernea, M. 2006. Population displacement inside protected areas: a redefinition of concepts in conservation policies. Policy Matters 14, 8-26

Chapman, C.A., Lawes, M.J., and Eeley, H.A.C. 2006. What hope for African primate diversity? Afr. J. Ecol. 44(2):116-133.

Crookes, D.J., Ankudey, N., and Milner-Gulland, E.J. 2005. The value of a long-term bushmeat market dataset as an indicator of system dynamics. Environ. Conserv. 32(4):333-339.

Delang, C.O. 2005. Economic valuation of non-marketed wild edible plants in Thailand. Environ. Conserv. 32(4):285-287.

Dudley, Nigel; Schlaepfer, Rodolphe; Jeanrenaud, Jean-Paul; Jackson, William and Stolton, Sue. 2006. Assessing forests at a landscape scale. Earthscan. ISBN: 1844072789

Fa, J.E., Seymour, S., Dupain, J., Amin, R., Albrechtsen, L., and Macdonald, D. 2006. Getting to grips with the magnitude of exploitation: bushmeat in the Cross-Sanaga rivers region, Nigeria and Cameroon. Biol. Conserv. 129(4):497-510.

Hunter, C., and Shaw, J. 2005. Applying the ecological footprint to ecotourism scenarios. Environ. Conserv. 32(4):294-304.

Kelatwang, S., and Garzuglia, M. 2006. Changes in forest area in Africa 1990-2005. Int. For. Rev. 8(1):21-30.

Latif, A. and Shinwari, Z.K. 2005. Non-timber forest products in Pakistan can help in poverty alleviation. Science Technology and Development (Pakistan). (Jan-Mar 2005). v. 24(1) p. 38-46.

Forest resources directly contribute to the livelihood of 90% of the people living in extreme poverty. Local people rely on their indigenous knowledge for collection, processing, packing, drying, marketing and consumption of various Non- Timber Forest Products (NTFPs). The most important NTFPs produced in Pakistan are, honey, morels, fruits and nuts, vegetables, condiments and spices, mazri-palm, silk cocoon, and many others. In the present study we report 131 species of NTFPs. About 34% of local people are dependent on NTFPs for income generation. These products, after collection and processing, are sold to the middleman who then sells into the main market due to unscientific processing. More than 65% of the product is wasted on the way to the main market. There are numerous problems, like lack of awareness about collection and processing of various products, among local collectors. Extensive research is needed to study market- trends and monopolies, wastage and unsustainability during different steps of processing, as well as government's attitude towards NTFPs etc. More studies should be conducted, through bottom-up approach, for proper planning, better means of production, sustainable income through sustainable utilization, training and capacity-building of related personnel as well as the community, for conservation of different forest resources. Although medicinal plants represent a major chunk of NTFPs, but as we already had published review of medicinal plants potential in poverty alleviation (Shinwari et al. 2003), hence these are excluded in the present study.

Leimgruber, P., Kelly, D.S., Steininger, M.K., Brunner, J., Müller, T., and Songer, M. 2005. Forest cover change patterns in Myanmar (Burma) 1990-2000. Environ. Conserv. 32(4):356-364.

Lwanga, J.S. 2006. The influence of forest variation and possible effects of poaching on duiker abundance at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda. Afr. J. Ecol. 44(2):209-218.

Nyahongo, J.W., East, M.L., Mturi, F.A., and Hofer, H. 2005. Benefits and costs of illegal grazing and hunting in the Serengeti ecosystem. Environ. Conserv. 32(4):326-332.

Polansky, Cecilia. 2006. Guide to low-cost practical forest resources inventory in the context of participatory management of dry tropical forests of Africa. www.geocities.com/ccp4treez/PptyInvManualPage.html

Participatory forest inventory reports: www.geocities.com/ccp4treez/PptyInvReportsPage.html

Tchatat, M. and Ndoye, Ousseynou. 2006. A study of non-timber forest products in Central Africa: reality and prospects. Bois et Forêts Des Tropiques, N° 289 (3).

NTFPs are important for Central African populations because of their close links with the forest environment. This study highlights the remarkable range of NTFPs associated with the rich biodiversity of the Congo Basin’s forests. NTFPs are well known to local communities because they have been using them for a long time. Access to these resources is generally governed by customary laws, which are often in contradiction with official regulations in the different countries. Threats to NTFPs arise from two main causes: commercial exploitation of the resources themselves and industrial timber exploitation. This paper offers solutions that would take all the different stakeholders and NTFPs into account in forest management plans.

Abstract also available in French and Spanish: http://bft.cirad.fr/pdf/res289.pdf

UNEP. 2006. Africa's Lakes: Atlas of Our Changing Environment.

The Atlas and high resolution images of all of the 'before and after' satellite images can be found at http://na.unep.net/AfricaLakes/. Hard copies of this publication are available on order from EarthPrint.com - UNEP's online bookstore at: http://www.earthprint.com.

BACK TO TOP

48. Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission Web site

The Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC) is one of six FAO Regional Forestry Commissions that cover the world's major geographic regions. The APFC, is a forum for advising and taking action on key forestry issues. It focuses on issues pertinent to Asia and the Pacific, a region characterized by its diversity and rapid changes.

www.fao.org/forestry/site/33592/en

The Size Of Our World

www.rense.com/general72/size.htm

United Nations Forum on Forests

www.un.org/esa/forests/

BACK TO TOP

MISCELLANEOUS

49. Amber: Ancient amber shows rich Amazon life

Source: Agençe France-Presse in ABC Science Online, Australia, 29.8.06

Insects that became trapped in tree resin between 12 and 15 million years ago show that Amazonia hosted an astonishingly rich variety of life, French researchers say.

The resin, which hardened into glass-like amber, has yielded at least 13 previously unidentified species of insects, three species of mites as well as more than 30 new species of algae, lichen and other microorganisms.

A team led by Dr Pierre-Olivier Antoine at the University of Toulouse publishes the research online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Fossilised insects and microorganisms are extremely rare, as they do not have a tough internal skeleton like, for instance, dinosaurs, early birds or hominids. As a result, these tiny fossils only turn up in exceptional finds, embedded in amber or in fine-grain chalky deposits.

About 100 fragments of amber, totalling around 500 grams have been recovered from the site and are still being analysed.

The team, from France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), says that some of the specimens are so extraordinarily preserved that some cells appear to be undamaged. If so, there are hopes that enough DNA may be recovered from them to build a family tree of their genetic lineage, the CNRS says.

For full story, please see: http://abc.net.au/science/news/ancient/AncientRepublish_1726920.htm

BACK TO TOP

50. Chimpanzees: Tool use observed in 2nd group of chimps

Source: Los Angeles Times, 26 August 2006

The discovery of tool use among chimps (chimpanzees using rocks as hammers to break open tough-shelled nuts) in the Ebo forest in Cameroon, separated from their cousins in Ivory Coast by the "information barrier" of the river, suggests that the skill was invented independently in each place, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Current Biology.

Previous research had found that kind of tool use only in chimps 1,000 miles away, across the wide N'Zo-Sassandra River in Ivory Coast. Researchers thought the behaviour was either a genetic trait or maybe a learned skill passed from one generation to another.

Lead author Bethan J. Morgan, a postdoctoral researcher from the San Diego Zoo, and senior research assistant Ekwoge E. Abwe reported seeing three adult chimps breaking coula nuts with quartz stones.

Morgan said the discovery pointed out how little might be known about the chimp subspecies Pan troglodytes vellerosus even as it is in danger of extinction by "bushmeat" poachers.

She said she hoped the find would spark new interest in preservation among environmentalists and African nations. Although the chimp is on a protected list in Cameroon and neighbouring Nigeria, poaching is rampant.

Interaction between researchers and hunters has not been pleasant. One group, Morgan said, threatened to burn down the researchers' camp.

For full story, please see: http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-chimps26aug26,0,1384382.story?coll=la-story-footer

BACK TO TOP

51. Tigers: Thousands search for India's tigers

Source: Reuters, 28 August 2006 (in ENN)

Tens of thousands of forest workers are fanning out across India's jungles and national parks to count the country's endangered tigers, officials said on Friday.

The exercise involves 88,000 forest workers who have been given designated areas in various wildlife sanctuaries.

India has half the world's surviving tigers, but conservationists say the country is losing the battle to save the big cats. There were about 40,000 tigers in India a century ago, but decades of poaching have cut their number to 3,700.

Concerns have again risen after a sharp decline in the number of the tiger population was reported -- with one national park near New Delhi saying last year it had no tigers left.

Earlier tiger counts had been done solely by spotting their pugmarks but conservationists said that method was faulty, mainly due to varying soil and weather conditions.

The new method involves actual sightings of the animal apart from spotting and capturing on camera their pugmarks and faeces. DNA sampling will also be used.

"The (new) methodology is a basket of all published techniques put together for application," said Y.V. Jhala of the Wildlife Institute of India.

Conservationists have in the past expressed reservations over the accuracy of government figures on tiger populations.

For full story, please see: http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=11145

BACK TO TOP

QUICK TIPS AND INFORMATION FOR NWFP-DIGEST-L

This list is for information related to any aspect of non-wood forest products.

Cross-postings related to non-wood forest products are welcome.

Information on this mailing list can be reproduced and distributed freely as long as they are cited.

Contributions are edited primarily for formatting purposes. Diverse views and materials relevant to NWFPs are encouraged. Submissions usually appear in the next issue. Issues are bi-monthly on average.

To join the list, please send an e-mail to: mailserv@mailserv.fao.org with the message:

subscribe NWFP-Digest-L

To make a contribution once on the list, please send an e-mail to the following address: NWFP-Digest-L@mailserv.fao.org

To unsubscribe, please send an e-mail to: mailserv@mailserv.fao.org

with the message:

unsubscribe NWFP-Digest-L

For technical help or questions contact NWFP-Digest-L@mailserv.fao.org

Your information is secure--We will never sell, give or distribute your address or subscription information to any third party.

The designations employed and the presentation of materials in the NWFP-Digest-L do not necessarily imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

NWFP-Digest-L Sponsor:

Non-Wood Forest Products Programme

Forestry Department

FAO

Viale delle Terme di Caracalla

00100 Rome, Italy

Fax: +39-06-570-55618

Web site NWFP programme: www.fao.org/forestry/foris/webview/fop/index.jsp?siteId=2301&langId=1

last updated:  Friday, August 28, 2009