No. 07/06

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

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


PRODUCTS
1. Bushmeat: Researchers in Africa warn about bushmeat
2. Bushmeat: Gorillas on the menu in meat trade
3. Camu camu: new Peruvian export hit
4. Cork: WWF calls on winemakers to choose cork
5. Cork: Alcan turns screw on cork
6. Edible insects: dung beetles in Thailand
7. Honey in Australia: Tasmanian beekeepers aim to protect leatherwood honey industry
8. Honey in Japan: Designation of locust trees as dangerous species threatens honey industry
9. Maple syrup rules prove sticky
10. Medicinal plants in Canada: Native plants picked for info
11. Medicinal plants for cancer cure found in Indian forests
12. Resin: Indonesia and China to maintain resin price at over U$900 per ton
13. Sandalwood in Australia: Marsupial may help save southern sandalwood
14. Seabuckthorn: Indage to feed on seabuckthorn
15. Shea butter: Another foreign exchange earner

COUNTRY INFORMATION
16. Bangladesh: Bamboo shoots becoming too costly to dish up
17. Benin: GEF to help Benin in forest management
18. Brazil: Local fishermen key to protection of Atlantic forest habitat|
19. China launches international project on herbal medicine
20. Ghana: Oxford University partners Forestry Commission on biodiversity research
21. Ghana: Women declared most affected by mining activities
22. Laos: Forest-based ecotourism
23. Nigeria loses N210bn annually due to roots, cereals decline
24. USA: Thieves strip bark in Daniel Boone National Forest
25. Vietnam: Tasty herb nourishes, cures, and turns tide of war

NEWS
26. Forestry photo contest
27. Mushroom and berry pickers violating border with Belarus
28. Powerpoints of UNEP's Atlas released for educational purposes
29. Scientists want global body to conserve biodiversity
30. The Future of Tropical Forests
31. UNESCO advises on herb use in S African countries

REQUESTS
32. Request for help: A study of the moss harvest from Scotland's forests
33. Call for data collection activity on biodiversity in the EECCA region
34. Call for Proposals for APFED Showcase Programme

EVENTS AND COURSES
35. International Training Workshop on Bamboo Industrial Processing Technologies and Machines
36. International conference on managing forests for poverty reduction: Capturing opportunities in forest harvesting and wood processing for the benefit of the poor
37. Introduction to Community Forestry: Innovative Ideas, Practices and Methodologies - International Training Course
38. Tools for Conserving Biodiversity Course
39. Our woods: Wild and working
40. International Congress – A Global Vision of Forestry in the 21st Century

LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES
41. Indexes of Non-wood News
42. Other publications of interest
43. Web sites and e-zines

MISCELLANEOUS
44. Gorillas: Socializing helped ebola wipe out gorillas
45. Insect diversity in rainforests results from plant biodiversity
46. Pandas: China giant panda sanctuary put on UN Heritage List
47. Tigers: 11 tiger reserves in India have lost forest cover

QUICK TIPS AND INFORMATION FOR NWFP-DIGEST-L


PRODUCTS

1. Bushmeat: Researchers in Africa warn about bushmeat

Source: United Press International, USA, 16 July 2006

Researchers in the African nation of Cameroon are trying to stop the spread of viruses by educating villagers on the meat they cook.

The researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore are studying blood from monkeys, in an attempt to find viruses that could conceivably jump from apes to humans, The Baltimore Sun reported. The goal is to find emerging diseases and stop them from spreading around the world.

Cameroon is not far from west-central Africa, where, decades ago, chimpanzees are believed to have planted the seeds for the AIDS pandemic.

Monkey meat, or "bushmeat" is a common and popular fare in the west African forest. Researchers have been warning villagers not to cook the meat if they have a wound on their hand. Also, it is advised not to sling dead monkeys over one's back, as blood can be transferable if the person has cuts or scrapes.

Although many have been compliant with the researchers, some are not worried and say that disease has never been a problem.

For full story, please see: http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/view.php?StoryID=20060716-095341-8176r

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2. Bushmeat: Gorillas on the menu in meat trade

Source: Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia, 7 July 2006

Chimpanzees and gorillas are finding their way on to dinner tables in western Europe and the US, an investigation has found.

The investigation, by a biologist from the University of California at Berkeley, has discovered that primates, including the great apes, make up nearly a third of the illegal trade in African bushmeat.

Justin Brashares recruited 15 volunteers, all expatriates from west Africa, to visit clandestine meat markets in London, Paris, Brussels, New York, Chicago, Montreal and Toronto.

They discovered that just over 6 000kg of bushmeat moves through the seven markets each month. Prof Brashares believes this could be an underestimate. "I have 27 records of chimpanzee and gorilla parts being sold in the markets."

Guenon monkeys and baboons were a big part of the trade. Also sold were small antelopes called duikers, as well as rodents, reptiles and birds.

Bushmeat was often smuggled in from Africa concealed beneath legal shipments of smoked or dried fish. The investigation, published in New Scientist, has confirmed long-running rumours of such an illegal market.

Glyn Davies, director of conservation at the Zoological Society of London, said bushmeat traders were occasionally arrested in London. "The bushmeat trade is huge and supports thousands of people in Africa," he said.

African governments needed to be made aware of the millions of dollars spent on the parallel economy of the bushmeat trade.

International demand for bushmeat was not driven by need, Prof Brashares pointed out. "It's part of what is clearly a luxury trade," he said. "They could go and buy a filet mignon in London for what they're paying for a baboon."

For full story, please see: www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,19705588%255E663,00.html

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3. Camu camu: new Peruvian export hit

Source: Living in Peru, Peru, 12 July 2006

Peru doubled its export revenues in 2005 with respect to 2001, selling its products internationally for US$14 billion. Although this number was pushed by the stars of Peruvian products like asparagus, citrus fruits and minerals, there are some "new kids on the block": fish, Andean anchovies, cutivos, cookies, flowers and the camu camu.

Camu camu (Mycaria dubia) is a bush that grows in black water rivers, especially in those abandoned courses called "cochas", ecosystems of great social and economic importance for the Amazonian jungle of Peru. The fruit contains powerful phytochemicals with health benefits.

The camu-camu fruit is approximately 2 centimeters in diameter and has a purplish red skin with a yellow pulp. Camu camu fruit contains 30 to 60 times more Vitamin C than an orange.

The fruit has also a surprising range of medicinal effects. In joint studies it was demonstrated that camu camu flesh has a great antioxidant power and contains chemical compounds with antidepressant properties. In order of potency, Camu camu is listed second in effectiveness. Some have been able to gradually wean themselves off of their anti-depression prescription medication (such as Zoloft and Prozac) under medical supervision and substitute camu camu powder with no relapse into depression

For full story, please see: http://www.livinginperu.com/news/2112

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4. Cork: WWF calls on winemakers to choose cork

Source: decanter.com, London, UK, 13 July 2006

The World Wildlife Fund has called on the wine industry to 'choose cork' in order to save the environment.

In a leaflet entitled 'Cork Screwed? Environmental and economic impacts of the cork stoppers market' the WWF argues for the preservation of the US$329m cork industry.

It predicts that by 2015, 95% of wine bottles will be closed with alternatives to cork. Annual cork production will go down from 300,000 tonnes to 19,500 tonnes.

'There is a risk that the Western Mediterranean cork oak landscapes will face an economic crisis, an increase in poverty, an intensification of forest fires, a loss of irreplaceable biodiversity…' the leaflet says.

27,500 industrial jobs and 35,000 forestry jobs would disappear. At present the cork industries of Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Italy, Tunisia and France maintain 2.7m hectares of land and provide income sources for 100,000 people.

Cork forests also support 'endangered species such as the Iberian lynx, the Iberian imperial eagle and the barbary deer'.

Cork, the WWF says, has a wide variety of uses, from clothes to insulation, 'and even rocket technology', but bottle stoppers represent 70% of the total market value.

The onus to save the cork business is laid on the wine industry. It needs to 'demonstrate its corporate responsibility by considering the environmental and socioeconomic values of cork – by choosing cork and promoting its use'.

It also needs to seriously address the issue of cork taint – TCA – and traceability.

'WWF believes that industries offer added value to their consumers while working for nature,' the leaflet concludes. Whether this will have any effect is a moot point, as more and more wine producers turn away from cork in favour of closures that offer less chance of taint.

Andrew Jefford, who has written extensively on the subject, said, 'The industry will always take quality control as the most important issue. Producers will go for screwcap regardless of the environmental considerations if they think it is the best closure.'

He added, 'While red wine producers are still very uncertain that screwcaps are the future, for short-term storage wines cork has already lost the battle. No amount of environmental pleading will change that.'

For full story, please see: http://www.decanter.com/news/88860.html

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5. Cork: Alcan turns screw on cork

Source: Advertiser Adelaide, Australia, 5 July 2006

THE competition for cork closures in wine bottles became a lot tougher yesterday with the opening of the first Stelvin screw cap plant in Australia.

The $20 million factory at Adelaide's Dudley Park has been predicted to produce 180 million Stelvin closures a year for the Australian and New Zealand markets.

Alcan Packaging general manager Claude Dagescy said his company believed 40 per cent of the Australian wine market was already using the screw cap. "Within two to three years we should be able to reach 55-60 per cent of the wine market because things are moving very quickly," Mr Dagescy said. "It is growing particularly quickly with red wines due to the reliability and attractiveness of the product." Hundreds of Australian wine companies from large to small were already using Stelvin screw caps.

Mr Dagescy said he believed the market for cork would decline to about 30 to 40 per cent. "The decision to establish a production facility here means increased flexibility, timeliness and customer service through local production. It also symbolises confidence in the long-term future of the Australian wine industry." The new plant employs 40 people and would move to 65 when it reaches full production.

For full story, please see: www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,19686542%255E913,00.html

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6. Edible insects: dung beetles in Thailand

Source: Bangkok Post – Thailand, 10 July 2006

Ancient Egyptians revered the dung beetle, believing a divine scarab rotated the world like a giant dung ball, but in rural Thailand, the insect has traditionally been valued for its more mundane uses, primarily as a culinary delicacy.

Thai farmers in the past were known to stake claims to buffalo droppings as their private property to protect the valuable beetles burrowing away inside, making dung balls and, ultimately, baby dung beetles.

Dung beetles are best eaten as pupae, their inactive state when they have stopped being larvae munching on the inside of their dung balls, or as adults, after they have been purged in water for a few hours.

With the advent of mass tourism in Thailand, dead dung beetles have become a popular souvenir item, sold to foreigners on the streets of Bangkok and other major cities for as much as 400 baht (nearly US$10).

Unfortunately, this excellent source of protein (100 grams of dung beetle has 17.2 grams of protein) and extra income for Thai farmers is swiftly disappearing, according to Leela Kayikananta, a senior scientist and expert on "commercial insects" at Thailand's Forestry Department.

For the past three years, Leela has been devoting her time to understanding the life cycle of the Heliocopris bucephalus Fabricius, Thailand's biggest dung beetle. "There are 237 dung-beetle species in Thailand, but this one is the biggest and most beautiful and most popular as a souvenir," Leela said. The "kudjee yak," or giant beetle, can grow up to 57mm and has a life cycle of nearly 20 months.

Although no scientific studies have been conducted on the declining numbers of the giant dung beetle, rural communities said they are getting harder to find in the wild.

To reverse the trend, or at least stop farmers from hunting the giant dung beetle to extinction in the wild, Leela has studied the insect's breeding and reproduction cycle and written an instruction manual on how to successfully raise dung beetles in captivity as a sideline for farmers or rural entrepreneurs.

"Actually, they are very easy to raise," she said, "Anyone who owns a buffalo can easily raise dung beetles." Owners of cows and elephants can also profit from Leela's dung-beetle-farming techniques. All that's necessary is an enclosed pen, mosquito screens to keep the beetles inside and plenty of fresh dung. "During the first three months, you need to put fresh dung into the pen every five days, but after that, once a week suffices," the manual advises. Leela said she is fielding 60 telephone calls a day from eager dung-beetle farmers since publishing her brochure.

Animal-protection groups in Thailand are supportive of dung-beetle farming and other insect-raising efforts as a means of protecting bugs in the wild while satisfying local tastebuds.

"Cricket raising has become a real big cottage industry in Thailand," said William Schaedla, an entomologist who works at WildAid, a wildlife-protection group devoted to cracking down on illegal traffic in protected species.

Fried crickets, like dung beetles, are deemed a delicacy in rural communities, as are bamboo caterpillars, red ants and a host of other insects.

Schaedla noted that for dung beetles, there is also a growing Internet market in the souvenir and pet trade. Dead dung beetles from Thailand sell for about 25 dollars on eBay, and there is a huge market for pet beetles in Japan.

The trade in insects is remarkably unregulated as long as they aren't classified as pests.

There are 13 Thai insect species protected under Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and nearly all of these are butterflies or moths.

"There is almost zero protection for invertebrates under CITES," noted Schaedla, who sees loss of habitat and the widespread use of pesticides as a much bigger threat to Thailand's insect population than exotic culinary tastes and the souvenir market.

For full story, please see: www.bangkokpost.com/breaking_news/breakingnews.php?id=108164

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7. Honey in Australia: Tasmanian beekeepers aim to protect leatherwood honey industry

Source: ABC Regional Online – Australia, 7 July 2006

Tasmanian beekeepers are moving to secure the state's unique leatherwood honey industry with international legal protection for the leatherwood name.

The plans for an appellation scheme have been discussed today at the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association annual conference in Launceston.

Chairman Julian Wolfhagen says leatherwood honey is recognised world-wide as a unique wild product, and the new scheme will protect it from rip-offs

"It's feasible it might be misused. Someone could buy bulk honey, buy a drum of leatherwood and then mix it with something else and market it as leatherwood and price it," he said. "So it's a way of protecting unique intellectual property that belongs to Tasmania."

For full story, please see: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200607/s1681404.htm

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8. Honey in Japan: Designation of locust trees as dangerous species threatens honey industry

Source: Mainichi Daily News – Japan, 18 July 2006

Beekeepers are worried that locust trees, famous for their flowers that produce high-quality honey, may be designated as a harmful alien species that threaten the habitat of local trees under a newly enacted law, industry sources said.

Japan Beekeeping Association (JBA) Senior Managing Director Katsutoshi Tanioku has expressed grave concern that the designation of the tree under the law concerning alien species could deal a fatal blow to the industry. "If designated, it could force more than half of the beekeepers in the country to give up their livelihoods."

Locust trees are a broadleaf tree that come from North America and were introduced into Japan during the early Meiji Era.

About half of the 2,311 tons of honey produced in Japan in 2004 were taken from flowers on locust trees. In particular, beekeepers in eastern Japan rely heavily on locust trees for their production of honey.

However, the Environment Ministry listed locust trees on a list of dangerous species in August last year on the grounds that the tree is highly prolific and could endanger the habitats of Japanese trees.

The government's working group on harmful species is considering designating more animals and plants as alien species, including black bass fish, under the law that was enacted in June last year. Beekeepers are concerned that locust trees may be included in the group.

The law prohibits anyone to grow the designated alien species and urges that the designated species be removed. "It hasn't been decided whether it will be designated as a harmful alien species. Even if it is designated, it's legally nonbinding," an Environment Ministry official said.

However, the environment division of the Niigata Prefectural Government said that it will cut down locust trees if they are designated as harmful alien species under the law.

For full story, please see: http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/news/20060718p2a00m0na006000c.html

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9. Maple syrup rules prove sticky

Source: The Union Leader, Manchester, NH, USA, 19 July 2006

New Hampshire would be unable to guard the purity of its maple syrup under federal legislation that has passed the House and is now in the Senate, the state’s top agriculture official and a consumer organization warned yesterday.

The legislation — the National Uniformity for Food Act — would effectively block states from controlling what goes into food produced or sold in the state, said New Hampshire Agriculture Commissioner Stephen Taylor.

But a representative of the food and agriculture industry disputed Taylor’s interpretation of the bill.

The Granite State has laws on the books governing several food products, including honey, dairy, cider vinegar and maple syrup. New Hampshire law requires that anything labelled “New Hampshire maple syrup” be derived entirely from maple-tree sap and have nothing added to it. “If our law gets pre-empted, you could put corn syrup in it for all I know,” Taylor said. “It’s just outrageous.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest lists New Hampshire’s maple syrup law as one of 200 state food laws across the country that are threatened by the Uniformity bill.

The Food and Drug Administration allows salt, chemical preservatives and anti-foaming agents in maple syrup, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

But a supporter of the Uniformity legislation said it would not affect New Hampshire maple syrup. “That is completely irrelevant to the bill,” said Stuart Pape, a lawyer representing a coalition of agriculture and food producers. The 12-year-old Nutrition Labeling and Education Act already sets standards of identity for all sorts of packaged food, such as maple syrup. But New Hampshire maple syrup is exempt from that law, Pape said. The legislation is an attempt to put the same labels on food sold across the country, Pape said.

A Senate committee hearing on the bill has been scheduled for July 27.

For full story, please see: http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx

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10. Medicinal plants in Canada: Native plants picked for info

Source: Ottawa Sun, Ontario, Canada, 13 July 2006

Moose Creek -- Canada's Natives have always known there was good medicine in many native plant species.

Now aboriginal representatives will work with South Nation Conservation and other partners to prepare a "Naturalized Knowledge Systems Ethnobotany Inventory," the first comprehensive medicinal plant catalogue in Ontario. Today, the Ontario Trillium Foundation will present a cheque for $147,000 to fund the two-year project.

For full story, please see: http://ottsun.canoe.ca/News/OttawaAndRegion/2006/07/13/1681957-sun.html

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11. Medicinal plants for cancer cure found in Indian forests

Source: Southern News, Karnataka, India, 15 July 2006

In what could be good news for those suffering from ovarian and colon cancer, a team of forestry scientists have found ‘Mappia foetida’ species in Uttara Kannada district with high content of camptothecin (CPT), used in the treatment of the killer diseases.

The rare medicinal tree has been identified to be the richest source of CPT and its derivatives, the world’s most sought after plant-based bio-molecules to treat cancer, said team leader Dr R Vasudeva, a faculty in the College of Forestry here.

Earlier, it was derived from a Chinese tree called ‘camptotheca’. However, as the percentage of CPT content was too low, it became necessary to identify an alternative and rich source of the group of Alkaloids, he said.

Dr Vasudeva said that scientists from the College of Forestry and University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, had jointly conducted a survey and chemical profiling of different population of ‘Mappia foetida’ in the entire western ghats and concluded that natural plants found in Uttara Kannada had the highest content of CPT (0.7 percent, which was several times more than the other known sources).

Besides, analysis of different tissue samples proved that the stem and bark of the tree have the highest concentration of CPT. He lamented that the tree, commonly known as ‘stinking tree’ due to the bad smell during flowering season, was being over exploited.

As the active ingredient was present in the wood, essentially the entire tree was chopped off. Export of dry wood chips from Mumbai Port alone had recorded a sharp increase from 54 tonnes in 1994 to 760 tonnes in recent years.

Holding the increasing demand for the tree’s twigs and extracts responsible for the dwindling of the species natural population, he said, citing a World Bank survey, that while the twigs fetched Rs 15-20 per kg, the processed extract was sold by multinational pharmaceutical companies for US $15,000 per kg in the global market.

Fearing the destruction of more than 25 percent of the natural population in recent years, scientists have evolved protocols to make CPT harvest sustainable. According to Dr Vasudeva, once the high-CPT-yielding trees were identified from the natural population, it could be grown as captive plantations using standardised growing techniques in the wastelands of the Malnad region.

It could be a perennial component of agro-forestry systems, as it was neither fit for grazing nor for use as timber or firewood because of its bad odour. Its good sprouting ability could help farmers harvest periodically once every two years, besides earning them additional income.

For full story, please see:

www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IEK20060715021159&Page=K&Title=Southern+News+-+Karnataka&Topic=0

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12. Resin: Indonesia and China to maintain resin price at over U$900 per ton

Source: Antara News, Indonesia, 10 July 2006

Indonesia and China have agreed to maintain their resin price in the world market at over US$900 per ton, the chief of state-owned forestry company Perhutani said here Monday.

Transtoto Handadhari, Perhutani president director, said the company had represented Indonesia during a meeting with Ni Rulin, deputy chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Li Bin, president of Chinese forest products company CFNA, in Guang Zhou last week. “He said that they had also agreed to the need for the two sides to collaborate in boosting trade in the commodity.

"This collaboration is needed to maintain the price of resin at an advantageous level," he said adding that the two sides also agreed to hold regular meetings.

China is currently the world`s biggest resin producer with a production of about 640,000 tons per annum, of which some 50 percent is exported.

"The price of Chinese resin fell in May 2006 to US$840 per ton from the previous price of US$1,300 per ton," he said.

China has various species of pine trees which produce latex for resin, and has `merkusii` species of pine forest in Hainan province, a pine species also owned by Indonesia, Handadhari said. But the resin production of this species was small, namely only 1,000 tons per annum.

He said that China was glad to establish contact with Indonesia, which was the second world`s biggest resin producer.

The Perhutani delegation also met with a resin producer from Germany, Tell Her, in Guang Zhao. Tell Her was trying to ask a lower price from Indonesia because it had imported China`s resin at a price of US$825 per ton. "We maintain that the price should be above the US$900 per ton level on ground that there were still many buyers who are ready to import the commodity at a price of US$950 per tons," he said.

Tell Her has been a pioneer resin importer in Europe since the 1990s and used to get an import allocation of about 10,000 tons per annum, but now it has only some 3,500 tons yearly.

For full story, please see: http://www.antara.co.id/en/seenws/?id=16011

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13. Sandalwood in Australia: Marsupial may help save southern sandalwood

Source: ABC Regional Online, Australia. 28 June 2006

New research shows a tiny marsupial could hold the key to the regeneration of sandalwood.

Sandalwood grows across Western Australia, but the Forest Products Commission says the tree struggles to sustain itself naturally in the southern half of the state.

It was long believed the woylie, a small marsupial, helped in the regrowth of sandalwood by burying its seeds in other areas, but the animals have been driven to near extinction by foxes and feral cats.

The commission's Grant Pronk says a joint project with Murdoch University has found out how the woylies spread the seeds. He says efforts are now under way to copy the marsupial's seed technique and bring their numbers up. "We actually have our contractors imitating woylies where they'll take seed, fresh sandalwood seed and actually place it in the ground at the same depth, without that activity there's been very little regeneration," he said.

For full story, please see: http://abc.net.au/news/items/200606/1673661.htm?southwestwa

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14. Seabuckthorn: Indage to feed on seabuckthorn

Source: Daily News & Analysis, Mumbai, India, 18 July 2006

Seabuckthorn is a wonder fruit found in the cool climes of Ladakh. But, more importantly, it is emerging as a Rs 5,000-crore global industry, with China as the market leader.

The Rs 650-crore Indage Group, with interests in wines and hotels, which bought over the flagship Leh Berry drinks brand from Ladakh Foods last year, is looking to leverage this fruit to enter the food and beverages and cosmetics segment.

An investment of Rs 100 crore has been lined up over the next couple of years, according to M S Dhanota, president, Seabuckthorn Indage.

The key ingredient in the Leh Berry drink is seabuckthorn and the entire expansion strategy is linked to it.

For full story, please see: http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1042408

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15. Shea butter: Another foreign exchange earner

Source: Daily Graphic, Ghana, 5 July 2006

African shea nut trees are fast becoming an essential ingredient for the American cosmetics industry as the product is very rich in vitamin and is also a natural moisturiser. The United States annually imports more than 500 tonnes of shea butter from Africa for the cosmetic industry alone.

Shea butter is found in lip balms, shampoos, anti-wrinkle creams and other products carried by trendy retailers such as Origins, Bath & Body Works and L’Occitaine. In fact, many of the big cosmetic companies have product lines using shea butter.

Shea butter is processed from shea nut grown and harvested in managed parklands in about 16 countries in the sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to Uganda in East Africa.

Shea nut is a natural resource found only in these regions of Africa. Shea butter is obtained by processing the shea nuts using one of the following methods: Traditional, which involves the roasting, grinding, kneading, boiling and stirring. This method is highly labour intensive and it is the method used by our rural women producers; and Mechanical, which involves mechanisation, is more efficient and labour-saving. Mechanical is also with the use of chemicals such as hexane to give a better yield.

The shea nuts, when processed well, yield about 38 percent to 45 percent butter, depending on the method of production.

Shea butter has a wide array of commercial uses in cosmetic soaps, pharmaceuticals and tanning, to mention just a few, and its commercial importance has increased dramatically over the past six years.

Its potential could parallel cocoa and any other cash produce in export earnings, especially in Ghana. Hence, the name “liquid gold” in some circles.

The potential for shea butter, in the areas where the trees grow, to provide economic benefit for the rural poor has been identified by international NGOs, the USAID and other development agencies.

This has led to the promotion of a number of initiatives to take maximum advantage of this potential. These initiatives, however, need co-ordination in order to have maximum impact on the communities.

This resource has been neglected in Ghana for years and continues to be neglected relative to the cocoa or palm industries.

Shea butter has a high percentage of unsaponifiables, which include chemicals with known bio-active healing properties, including a number of anti-oxidants such as Tocopherols (Vitamin E) and Carotenoids (precursors to Vitamins A).

In comparison to cocoa butter, shea butter has a healing fraction of three to 12 per cent as compared to one to three per cent in cocoa butter.

Shea butter is also an excellent moisturiser and emollient. Traditionally across West-East Africa, it has been used as a moisturiser to treat dry cracked skin, as massage oil for colds and sore muscles, and a host of minor skin problems.

Internationally, shea butter has become important because of its therapeutic properties for the skin. It can act as a mild ultra-violet barrier, protecting skin from the sun.

It has regenerative and anti-wrinkle properties and is used in bath, beauty and body care products such as soaps, creams and lotions.

It also has a wide application for the pharmaceutical industry, such as suppositories. The growth rate of use of shea butter in just the US market has been estimated at over 25 percent per annum and continues to grow.

Demand for vegetable fat and natural products in the Western world has grown significantly in recent years, particularly with recent consumer trends moving against: Edible “trans-fats” and the use of petroleum products, personal care products.

The use of shea butter for the formulation of cocoa butter equivalents (CBEs) and improves (CBIs) has also recently been standardised at five per cent in products labelled as chocolates in the European Union - although an ongoing study provides little evidence that this directive has had any appreciable effect on demand for shea which has increased by 300 per cent in 12 years.

It is also used in confectioneries and margarines due to the presence of the high melting point stearin fraction.

Hitherto, major stake players in the cocoa industry believed that shea butter could be a threat to their industry and its importance was downplayed. However, it is the belief that cocoa and shea butter can exist side-by-side and even complement each other.

For full story, please see: http://www.graphicghana.info/article.asp?artid=12886

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COUNTRY INFORMATION

16. Bangladesh: Bamboo shoots becoming too costly to dish up

Source: The Daily Star - Dhaka, Bangladesh, 17 July 2006

Bamboo, a valuable forest resource, is shrinking in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHR) due to indiscriminate cutting of shoots despite a ban on its extraction from June to September.

Besides production of exportable fancy items, scientists in Japan have produced high quality fabric by processing bamboo. A Japanese firm has undertaken such a project in Bangladesh.

But the valuable forest resource is being destroyed as it is extracted in a massive scale, mainly in the rainy season, for use as a vegetable. It is a favourite item not only to the indigenous people now but also to Bangalees in the hills.

Large quantities of bamboo shoots are also finding their way to big cities like Dhaka and Chittagong, where soup prepared with it are served in hotels and restaurants.

According to Forest and Agriculture Extension Department (AED) officials, at least Tk 1.5 crore bamboo shoots are extracted from forests in CHT during the monsoon, which, if full grown, could produce Tk 15 crore bamboos.

The shoots are sold as vegetable in all the 230 small and big markets in 25 upazilas in CHT. In Khagrachhari alone, there are over 100 such markets where at least 10,000 kilograms of bamboo shoots are sold per day, they said. Large quantities of bamboo shoots on sale at markets in Mohazonpara, Babuchhara, Modhupur, Laxmichhari, Mohalchhari, Ramgour, Pankhiyapara, Dighinala, Merung, Golabari Turning and Sarirbarbazar in khagrachhari district. These were being sold at Tk 10 to Tk 12 per kg.

An indigenous women, said, “Bamboo shoot is traditionally our favourite food. It will be hard for us to obey if government makes any law to stop its use as a food item”; another buyer, who bought 3kg of bamboo shoots for Tk 30 at Mudhupur Bazar in the Sader upazila, said that it is a delicious food and no-one can stop its consumption.

Khagrachhari AED Deputy Director Abul Kalam Azad said, bamboo worth over Tk 50 crore could be produced if their shoots were not used as vegetable. The consumption is increasing day by day with the rise in population and some day the Karnaphuli paper mill will face serious crisis of bamboo, its main raw material, he said.

District Forest Officer Shah-e-Alam said indiscriminate extraction of bamboo shoots should be stopped to help growth of the natural resource. Mere law cannot stop its use as a vegetable. It needs a massive awareness campaign alongside diversified and more profitable use of bamboo, he said.

For full story, please see: http://www.thedailystar.net/2006/07/17/d60717070389.htm

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17. Benin: GEF to help Benin in forest management

Source: Angola Press, 5 July 2006

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has agreed to grant Benin $6 million to finance a management programme for forests and adjacent land resources.

The project will also help promote the involvement of grassroots community organisations to enable the continuity of the contribution of forest resources to the welfare of local populations, the World Bank said in a statement here Monday.

The project covers 16 forest reserves and will help Benin to overcome obstacles to the integrated management of its forest ecosystems and riverbanks lands, it notes.

Fourteen of the targeted forests are natural listed forests and while the two others are located in firewood production areas.

For full story, please see: http://www.angolapress-angop.ao/noticia-e.asp?ID=453450

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18. Brazil: Local fishermen key to protection of Atlantic forest habitat

Source: CEPF E-News, July 2006

Brazil's protected area agency recently declared a new 100,000-ha reserve in the north-eastern state of Bahia that will secure a sustainable future for the area’s threatened species and the approximately 2,300 families who live there.

Local NGO Instituto de Conservação de Ambientes Litorâneos da Mata Atlântica (Ecotuba) has been working in the area with the agency ( Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis), community representatives, local businesses, and other organizations to help establish the reserve with support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).

CEPF has supported the project as part of its strategic direction of improving management of existing and future public protected areas through targeted civil society efforts in the Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot.

The Reserva Extrativista Marinha de Canavieiras links vital marine, mangrove, and coastal forest habitats, forming an important part of the hotspot’s protected area network. The reserve is also home to growing populations of endangered loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) sea turtles.

Ecotuba approached the Associação de Marisqueiros de Canavieiras, a local fishermen's association, in 2001 and suggested the idea of an “extractive” reserve where local people would have limited access to fishing and other natural resources, enabling them to preserve their livelihoods while also conserving their habitat.

Ecotuba previously received two small grants from the Institutional Strengthening Program in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, which is supported by CEPF and managed in the Central biodiversity conservation corridor by the Instituto de Estudos Sócioambientais do Sul da Bahia.

“Support from CEPF over the last five years helped us grow as an organization and contributed to a solution to these complex interrelated problems that benefits the whole ecosystem – including the people who live here,” Ecotuba’s Anders Schmidt said.

For more information, please contact Anders Schmidt, marine biologist, Ecotuba at ecotuba@ig.com.br.

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19. China launches international project on herbal medicine

Source: SciDev.Net Weekly Update: 3-10 July 2006

China, the world's main producer of traditional and herbal medicines, has launched an international project to modernise the sector.

Yesterday (4 July) the Ministry of Science and Technology pledged an initial 100 million yuan (US$12.5 million) for projects that focus on developing new treatments for diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS.

It is the first time that China has initiated a multinational research project of this kind, which it hopes will provide an opportunity to boost health research in developing nations.

Jin Xiaoming, a senior ministry official says it is likely that China will launch research on artemisinin — a herbal medicine regarded as the best treatment for malaria — with African countries such as Kenya and South Africa.

The scheme has already attracted countries including the United States, Japan and Singapore, says Shang Yong, vice minister of science and technology.

The first 50 programmes, which will be selected by the ministry and matched with international partners, are due to start by the end of the year.

China hopes the project will help increase its share of the global market for traditional medicines.

Until now, traditional medicine's entry into global markets has been hampered by a lack of consensus in how to measure its efficacy. Thus the project will also include efforts to develop international standards for traditional remedies.

"It is much cheaper to develop a new herbal medicine than a Western one," says Shang. "So our programmes will have a strong appeal for transnational companies."

Such companies will be able to express their wish to participate through their embassy or their home country's science administration. Shang added that companies, rather than colleges or research institutes, would play the major role in each programme, with an aim to "foster domestic pharmacists".

Chinese drug companies will gain extra funding and access to advanced facilities in developed nations to help them develop their traditional medicines.

For full story, please see: www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=2956&language=1

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20. Ghana: Oxford University partners Forestry Commission on biodiversity research

Source: Accra Daily Mail - Accra, Ghana. 18 July 2006

Oxford University in the United Kingdom and the Forestry Commission (FC) of Ghana are to embark on a novel US$3 million biodiversity project which, among others, is to enhance Ghana's competitiveness in eco-tourism as well as update the nation's medicinal plant heritage.

The project, which is to be funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), would enable lead researchers at Oxford University to delve into Ghana's flora and fauna, and other bio-medicinal resources and how these resources could engender development. Also to be involved in the project is the forest research think tank in Ghana, the Forest Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG).

The Oxford collaborative research project, which is the first such scheme in Africa, would use cranes and canopies; from these platforms researchers would collect vital information on plants and animals in pristine habitation and codify the findings.

The platforms could also be used commercially by fee-paying ecotourists, who would be able to experience the intricacies of nature.

A special aspect of the project would be the creation of a biodiversity bank, which will be an inventory of all that have been observed by the researchers to serve as a guideline on how the findings could be used to sustain Ghana's agricultural base.

The project would also help improve knowledge of the distribution and status of rare, threatened and endemic species through targeted surveys to better focus conservation measures. Ghana's forest cover has depleted from 8.2 million hectares at the beginning of the century to the current 1.7 million hectares.

The project will also help conserve the Atiwa and Apedwa forests, which are sources to the Densu and Birim rivers, the two important water sources in the region.

For full story, please see: http://www.accra-mail.com/mailnews.asp?id=17393

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21. Ghana: Women declared most affected by mining activities

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra), 10 July 2006

Participants at a three-day sensitization workshop on gender dimensions of mining impacts have observed that women were the most affected people whenever mining companies deprived the communities of their livelihoods.

This is because aside the compensation paid for physical property destroyed, other social, natural, human and financial assets that the mining activities destroy, which are always ignored have more relevance to women.

The participants buttressed their observation with the fact that majority of Ghanaian women were into agriculture, which implied that their very survival depended on tilling the land and that depriving the women of farmlands bring untold hardships on them and their families, adding that women were mostly responsible for collection of foodstuffs, non-timber forest products as well as fetching of water.

The workshop, organized and funded by Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) and Rights and Voice Initiative (RAVI) respectively was also aimed at fashioning out strategies of work, increase voice of women in community struggle and advocacy.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200607101206.html

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22. Laos: Forest-based ecotourism

From: Adrian Whiteman, Forest Economics Service, FAO, adrian.whiteman@fao.org

The current and potential contribution of forest-based ecotourism to poverty alleviation in Laos will shortly be published as a working paper by FAO’s Forest Products and Economics Division.

This report presents the results of a small survey of visitors to Laos. The aim of the survey was to estimate the total and potential number of visitors to rural ecotourism sites in the country, their interests and activities during visits, their expenditure during visits and the contribution that this expenditure might make to rural incomes and poverty alleviation.

The results suggest that a total of 81,000 people may visit rural ecotourism sites in Laos each year. They make around 154,000 visits (or 226,000 visitor days) and spend a total of US$ 14.2 million during their visits. The contribution of this expenditure to rural income is difficult to assess, but it is suggested that around half (US$ 7.1 million) might benefit people living in rural areas. This would be equal to 0.4 percent of total rural income at the national level. However, the number of ecotourism sites is currently quite small, suggesting that this expenditure accounts for a considerably greater proportion of rural income in those areas.

Ecotourism appeals to a very specific type of visitor to Laos. The typical visitor to an ecotourism site is a student or young professional, coming on holiday from a developed country for one to two weeks and travelling with friends or colleagues. Many ecotourists make most of their own travel arrangements to get to Laos, but 60 percent of visitors to ecotourism sites use a tour company or travel agent to arrange their visits. Thus, these companies play an important role in the development of ecotourism in the country.

The quality of the natural environment is an important consideration for visitors choosing to come to Laos on holiday and visitors to ecotourism sites expressed a high level of satisfaction with the quality of their visits. This reputation for quality is a strength that can be built upon in future ecotourism development and marketing strategies.

The survey indicated that the total potential market for ecotourism in Laos could be up to six times greater than the current size of the market. In particular, there is considerable scope to increase the number of visitors to ecotourism sites from neighbouring countries (especially Thailand). Other than their country of origin, potential visitors have the same socio-economic profile and interests as current visitors. Furthermore, the types of visits that they would like to make are the same as those currently offered by tour companies and travel agents. These are additional strengths that can be used to assist with future development.

The one main barrier to expansion appears to be the lack of information about ecotourism in Laos. Tour companies, travel agents and personal recommendation are currently very effective at turning a general interest in ecotourism into a visit to a specific site, but there is a lack of more general information about the possibilities for ecotourism in the country. Thus, it is suggested that marketing should be improved and should focus on increasing general awareness about ecotourism. Traditional media (books, newspapers and magazines) are the most common source of information about ecotourism in Laos, but increased promotion through the internet and local hotel staff should be considered. It is also suggested that promotion of ecotourism in neighbouring countries should not be neglected, as there is considerable potential for growth in this part of the market.

Due to the very small sample size in this survey, the estimates presented above are not very precise. This report makes a number of suggestions about how this information could be improved in the future. Another source of imprecision is the definition of ecotourism. The figures presented here are much lower than similar figures presented in national tourism statistics, but it is believed that they represent a more restrictive definition of ecotourism (i.e. rural or forest-based ecotourism) that is more useful for the purpose of this study.

For more information, please contact:

Adrian Whiteman
Senior Forestry Officer (Economic Analysis)
Forest Products and Economics Division
Forestry Department
FAO
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39-0657055055
e-mail: adrian.whiteman@fao.org

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23. Nigeria loses N210bn annually due to roots, cereals decline

Source: Vanguard, Lagos, Nigeria. 14 July 2006

A survey conducted by the African Institute for Applied Economics (AIAE), has revealed that the country loses N210 billion (about US$1.57 billion) annually to decline of roots and tubers, cereals, and pulses annually. According to the Institute’s Executive Director, Prof. Eric Eboh, this has been the trend for the past 10 years (1995- 2004), representing nearly 3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These losses, the findings revealed, are highly significant, given that the total federal capital budget in 2004 was N350 billion (about US$2.6 billion). 

“While there is no hard data available to assess the exact magnitudes, the cost of deforestation and losses of NTFPs in the last five decades are at least N120 billion ($0.8 billion) per year, or 1.7 per cent of GDP in 2003, if losses of NTFPs are in proportion to forest and woodland losses. 

This is roughly the size of the federal budget for health and education in 2004 (N153 billion or $1.1 billion),” the report said.

Findings also revealed that deforestation is also impacting fuel wood supply.  Real fuelwood prices in various parts of the country have doubled in the last two decades due to increased collection and transportation costs.  This is estimated to have an economic cost of at least N45 billion or US$0.3 billion per year.  This cost can be viewed as being included in the above NTFP losses of N120 billion ($0.8 billion) per year.

If Nigeria loses its remaining forest resources, the economic cost will be substantially higher than the current losses.

Not only would the current non-wood forest products and timber revenues be lost, but also a considerable part of the fuel wood supply.  If the population  currently depending on fuel wood for cooking were to switch to kerosene, the annual cost would be on the order of N650-980 billion ($4.8-7.3 billion) per year.

This amount, in addition to the non-wood forest products and timber values foregone, is equivalent to 9-14 percent of current GDP prices, the present value of  annual cost of yield losses from 1985-2003 is at least N135 billion per year, or 1.9 per cent of 2003 GDP.

Overall, poor management and degradation of crop land, rangeland degradation, and forest losses and degradation is costing at least N465 billion per year, at least 6.4 percent of GDP in 2003.  This is just the direct cost and does not include the economic multiplier effects and dynamic gains of increased rural incomes that would have prevailed in the absence of degradation and poor management, “much of these significant losses can be avoided if arable land, rangelands and forests are managed in a sustainable manner to guarantee long-term productivity and income,” the reports concluded.

For full story, please see: http://www.vanguardngr.com/articles/2002/business/july06/14072006/b614072006.html

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24. USA: Thieves strip bark in Daniel Boone National Forest

Source: AP in WCPO, Cincinnati, USA, 16 July 2006

Federal forest officials say thieves are taking the bark off slippery elm trees in the Daniel Boone National Forest (Kentucky) to use it for medical purposes. The bark is sold as a remedy for coughs, gastrointestinal ailments and skin irritations.

Six people have been arrested in the park this summer for allegedly stealing the bark.

For full story, please see: http://www.wcpo.com/news/2006/local/07/16/slippery_elm.html

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25. Vietnam: Tasty herb nourishes, cures, and turns tide of war

Source: Huu Ngoc, Viet Nam News - Hanoi, Vietnam, 16 July 2006

Ngai cuu (Artemisia vulgaris L.) is a plant that holds a secure place in Viet Nam’s medical and culinary traditions.

Most commonly, ngai cuu is valued for its blood enriching property. That’s why it is consumed almost daily, with eggs in the form of an omelette, or with pork or ca diec, a species of freshwater fish, in a refreshing soup for torrid summer days. Boiled ngai cuu sprinkled with salt is also a popular dish. More expensive is the ngai cuu that features in restaurant menus, as in ga tan (stewed chicken) or lau ga (chicken hotchpotch).

Ngai cuu, a perennial plant, grows wild in Asia and Europe. In Viet Nam, it is one of 16 medicinal plants – the culture of which is encouraged by the Health Ministry. The leaves, usually picked during the Festival of the Tet Doan Ngo (the 5th Day of the 5th Moon) are for use fresh or dried.

Ngai cuu is specially used for women and as a measure against stillbirth. It is also prescribed for dysentery, vomiting, colic, rheumatism, neuralgia, headache and many more ailments.

Frequent use of ngai cuu infusions is good for the skin, and hot compresses or steam baths using this herb are very effective against lumbago.

One variety of ngai cuu, moxa (Artemisia moxa), is commonly used in acupuncture. A stick of rolled dried leaves is used instead of the customary metal needle. It is burned over the points on the body corresponding to the ailing organs inside that need to be activated.

For full story, please see: http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=01TRA160706

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NEWS

26. Forestry photo contest

Source: FAO INFOSYLVA 2006-15

The Forestry Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is launching a photo contest to recognize the beauty of forests and the people who use them.

Photos will be evaluated according to how well they depict forests and trees and their place in people’s lives, conceptually and artistically. A panel of foresters and photographers will select the best 20 photos for display at an international conference on forests, the 18th session of the FAO Committee on Forestry, in March 2007. One of the photographers among the top 20 winners will be invited to attend. Selected photos will be published on the FAO Forestry Web site and in Unasylva, FAO’s international journal of forestry.

Entrants should submit their photos by 31 October 2006. Entrants must own full copyright to pictures submitted, which they must be able to certify, if requested. Photos submitted to the contest are not returnable. Submissions received cannot be acknowledged. Winners will be informed and announced on the FAO Forestry Web site in December 2006. The competition is not open to FAO staff or family members.

Each entrant can submit a maximum of three photos. The photos may be black and white or colour. Digitally manipulated photos are acceptable. Please provide the following information in the email body, the CD-ROM, DVD or on the back of the photo: name of entrant; citizenship; photo caption or description; and email address.

Please send photos via email not larger than 4 MB, in CD-ROM or DVD, or in print by mail to Cheemin Kwon, FONL, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. Also complete the participation form, stating you accept the rules and procedures of the FAO forestry photo contest, and return with your photo submission.

For full story, please see: www.fao.org/forestry/site/35225/en

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27. Mushroom and berry pickers violating border with Belarus

Source: 5tv.com, Kyiv, Ukraine, 11 July 2006

More than 700 Ukrainians have been caught at the Belarusian border in the past two weeks. They are primarily people residing near the border who cross the heavily forested border in search of berries and mushrooms.

Border guards complained that the villagers return to their favourite mushroom and berry-picking spots even after being warned not to do so. On Monday alone, 150 adults and 70 children were caught illegally traversing the border between Ukraine and Belarus.

For full story, please see: http://5tv.com.ua/eng/newsline/184/0/28077/

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28. Powerpoints of UNEP's Atlas released for educational purposes

Source: Gyde Lund, Forest Information Services, gyde@comcast.net

One Planet, Many People: Atlas of Our Changing Environment provides a comprehensive, visual presentation of scientifically verifiable information about changes in the global environment, shown through state-of-the-art remote sensing technology. 

A collection of 405 Powerpoint slides divided into Regional and Thematic sets covering 11 contemporary and dynamic themes – Introduction to the Planet, People and Planet, Atmosphere, Coastal Areas, Urban Areas, Water and Lakes, Forests, Cropland, Grassland, Tundra and Polar Areas and Extreme Events – and 6 geographical regions – Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, North America and Polar Regions – can now be downloaded free of charge at www.na.unep.net/OnePlanetManyPeople/powerpoints.html.

This presentation of environmental hotspots and issues is based primarily on satellite imagery taken over 30 years showing how human actions and geophysical activities have changed various parts of the world. Examples include the shrinking ice in the Arctic, melting glaciers, growth of cities like Las Vegas, forest loss in the Amazon, and the decline of the Aral Sea and Lake Chad. 

Satellite images found in the 334-page hard-bound Atlas are packaged in this Powerpoint presentation format to facilitate the use of imagery by environmental policy makers, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, academics, teachers and citizens interested in using this material to visually demonstrate the changes resulting from natural processes and human-induced activities.

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29. Scientists want global body to conserve biodiversity

Source: Reuters (in ENN Media), 20 July 2006

Scientists warned on Wednesday that the world is on the brink of a major biodiversity crisis and called for the creation of an international body to advise governments on how to protect the planet's ecosystems.

"All the scientific evidence points to the fact that whatever measure of vulnerability you take, whether it is local populations, species or ecosystem, we know that the rate at which we are altering them now is faster than it has been in the past," Georgina Mace said in an interview.

Mace, director of science at the Institute of Zoology in London, is one of 19 scientists from 13 countries who signed a declaration published in the journal Nature explaining why an intergovernmental body is needed. They said that although all aspects of biodiversity are in decline and many species are likely to become extinct this century, the crisis is not given the weight and importance it merits in public and private decision making.

The new panel would address policy-related issues and get the best consensus on what the scientific opinion really is. The experts suggested that a single global body similar to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) could speak for the biodiversity science world.

The scientists and experts from countries ranging from China, Chile and Canada to South Africa, Germany and the United States suggested that the panel should be independent, transparent and include input from governments, NGOs and the private sector.

They suggested the group be funded by governments and that it should generate information about trends in biodiversity and future changes so targets for action can be set.

The scientists said French President Jacques Chirac had supported the idea at an international conference in January 2005. "The French government is currently funding a consultation process to assess the need, scope and possible models for an international mechanism of scientific expertise on biodiversity," they said in the statement. The consultations are expected to produce recommendations within 18 months.

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30. The Future of Tropical Forests

Source: Biological Conservation Newsletter (BCN), July 2006 - Issue No. 259

Tropical rainforests are among the most species rich regions of the world. If current deforestation and habitat loss continues, a mass extinction of forest species is predicted in these areas. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute scientist S. Joseph Wright and Helene Muller-Landau from the University of Minnesota have recently conducted a survey of human population trends and forest cover.

Wright and Muller-Landau use present-day relationships between forest cover and population density and United Nations population projections to predict future forest cover for tropical African, American and Asian countries. United Nations population projections generally predict that human population growth rates will decline and that urbanization will intensify. Wright and Muller-Landau predict future forest cover using both an optimistic scenario based on rural populations alone and a pessimistic scenario based on total (rural plus urban) populations.

Continental trends suggest that deforestation will decrease and a larger area will remain forested in the Americas where population growth is slowing most rapidly and urbanization continues to increase. The outlook is not as optimistic in Asia and Africa. Asian forests are already quite diminished and populations are growing at a higher rate. In Africa, however, population growth overall and particularly in rural areas continues to increase, and net deforestation is expected to continue.

This research suggests that global deforestation will decrease, regeneration of forested areas will increase and a mass extinction of rainforest species can be avoided. Wright and Muller-Landau hope their research will stimulate more sophisticated predictions of future forest cover. In the meantime, further research is needed to establish the threat to individual species and determine which global, regional or local factors may influence these threats. This research will improve the ability to evaluate and manage human influences on forest species.

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31. UNESCO advises on herb use in S African countries

Source: People's Daily Online - Beijing, China, 11 July 2006

The Harare-based UNESCO southern African regional office on Monday launched a campaign to promote application of herb among the public in southern Africa due to HIV/ AIDS and high cost of medicines.

The campaign details the effectiveness of some herb as immune boosters and natural antibiotics, the office said, adding that there had been a surge in the use of herb worldwide largely because of the HIV and Aids pandemic. Apart from Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia will also be covered.

Moringa, lemon grass, comfrey, garden mint, African potato, ginger and garlic had been identified as the most commonly used in the region as well as many parts of the world, the office said.

Moringa (Moringa oleifera), which is very popular among those infected with HIV/ AIDS, is known for killing bacteria and destroying germs. It also improves the immune system and builds up the body's defence system against opportunistic infections, it said. Zimbabwe has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the world, at 20 percent. About 3000 people die each week from AIDS related illnesses and about one million children have been orphaned by the pandemic.

For full story, please see: http://english.people.com.cn/200607/11/eng20060711_281907.html

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REQUESTS

32. Request for help: A study of the moss harvest from Scotland's forests

From: Samantha Staddon, s0566090@sms.ed.ac.uk

I am conducting research into the harvesting of mosses, primarily from conifer plantations, as a non-timber forest product in Scotland. I aim to document the extent of harvesting activities and to estimate the value of the harvest and trade.

I am keen to hear about any similar experiences in other countries too. If you have any information which you think may be useful I would be really grateful if you could get in touch on s0566090@sms.ed.ac.uk

Many thanks.

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33. Call for data collection activity on biodiversity in the EECCA region

Source: CENN INFO (Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN)), 7 July 2006

I would like to invite you to provide some input into an ongoing data collection activity on biodiversity in the EECCA region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Ukraine).

The European Centre for Nature Conservation (ECNC) has been asked by the European Environment Agency to compile data and information for their upcoming 'Belgrade Assessment'. This is the main pan-European report on Europe's Environment, which will be presented to the 'Environment for Europe' ministerial conference in Belgrade in 2007.

May I ask you to let me know whether you have access to or know of any national or EECCA-wide information that fits the indicators below:

1. Invasive alien species

1.1 cumulative numbers of alien species since 1900

1.2 Worst invasive species in your country by taxonomic group and/or by ecosystem (if you have already provide this to the EEA than you can ignore this one)

1.3 Action in your national strategy to deal with Alien invasive species

2. Ecosystem diversity

2.1 % of habitats affected by acidification, eutrophication, climate change, urbanisation and/or desertification

3. Agriculture

3.1 trends in intensification/extensification of agricultural land

3.2 share of agricultural land under nature protection

3.3 share of agricultural land under agri-environment measures

3.4 share of agricultural land/production under organic farming

3.5 share of agricultural land regarded as of high-nature value

We would appreciate any kind of information in line with the above topics (web sites, reports, databases, case studies), as this will form the basis for the storylines that will build up the chapter on EECCA biodiversity.

For more information, please contact:

Agnes Bruszik, Project Manager
ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation
Address: European House for Biodiversity and Sustainability
PO Box 90154, 5000 LG Tilburg,
The Netherlands
Tel.: +31-13-5944949;
Fax: +31-13-5944945
email: bruszik@ecnc.org;
www: www.ecnc.org

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34. Call for Proposals for APFED Showcase Programme

Source: Megumi Kido (IGES) on the Forest Policy Info Mailing List, 13 July 2006

The Asia-Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED) Secretariat is pleased to announce that it has launched a programme entitled "APFED Innovation Showcase for Sustainable Development (the Showcase Programme)" with the aim of promoting sustainable development within the Asia-Pacific region.

Grants of up to US$30,000 will be provided for design, smooth implementation of innovative ideas, project design improvement, and disseminating of the lessons learned.

The knowledge and lessons gained from the Showcase Projects are to be shared through the publicly-accessible APFED-database.

Application deadline: 15 August 2006

For further details please visit: http://www.iges.or.jp/en/apfed/showcase/

or contact:

APFED Secretariat
(c/o Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES))
E-mail: apfed@iges.or.jp
Fax: +81-46-855-3809
URL: www.iges.or.jp/

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EVENTS AND COURSES

35. International Training Workshop on Bamboo Industrial Processing Technologies and Machines

6-20 September 2006
Zhejiang, P. R. China

This workshop is being organized by the China Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) and the International Farm Forestry Training Center (INFORTRACE).

Bamboo is a non-timber evergreen plant that is mainly distributed in sub-tropical and tropical zones. It is widely distributed, grows fast, and has a high regenerating rate. Once planted, bamboo have new shoots every year and can usually be harvested for culm purposes in the third and following years according to certain rates; bamboo plantations can, therefore, bring annual profits to its manager.

In addition, bamboo is a desirable plant for sustainable management, has important direct and indirect economic and ecological benefits such as providing food (shoots), housing, furniture, artisan products and soil and water conservation. The above characteristics make bamboo an important non-timber forest resource for most developing countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Moreover, certain characteristics of bamboo are similar to wood, which make it an ideal substitute of timber for many kinds of products. Bamboo can play an important role in the reduction of timber consumption, environmental and forest protection, poverty alleviation and sustainable development of rural economy.

Bamboo industrial processing and utilization has become the universal trend of bamboo development in the world. In China, especially in South China, the bamboo industry is one of the most important rural industry, playing an important role in the modernization and economic development of the rural area. In 2004, the bamboo industry production value of China reached US$5.63 billion. This workshop introduces the industrial processing and machineries of bamboo products, including: toothpicks, skewers, curtains, mats, furniture, various panels (flooring, cement molding board, decorative board, fiber board, etc.), handicrafts, charcoal and shoot, etc.

The workshop’s main courses will include:

1) A general introduction to China's bamboo industrial development

2) The impact of bamboo industry to sustainable rural development

3) Processing techniques and machines for bamboo products: tooth picks, skewers, curtain, mats, panels (flooring, decorative board, cement molding board, fiber board, etc.), furniture and shoots, etc.

4) Bamboo processing machines

5) Bamboo preservation technologies

6) The supply chain of bamboo industry

Tuition at the workshop is US$ 350.00 per person. Participants from developing countries can be exempt from the tuition.

Participants who would like to give a presentation during the workshop are required to send their presentation to us by email before 10 August 2006.

Application should be completed and returned by 31 July 2006.

For more information, please contact.

International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR)
Coordinator: Zhu Zhaohua, Jin Wei
Tel: 86-10-64706161 ext. 209
Fax: 86-10-64703166
Email: zhzhu@inbar.int or Wjin@inbar.int

or

International Farm Forestry Training Center (INFORTRACE)
Coordinator: Jiang Chunqian
Address: INFORTRACE,
Chinese Academy of Forestry,
Beijing 100091,
P. R. China
Tel: 86-10-62889094
Fax: 86-10-62888345
Email: jiangchq@forestry.ac.cn

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36. International conference on managing forests for poverty reduction: Capturing opportunities in forest harvesting and wood processing for the benefit of the poor

2-6 October 2006
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

For more information, please contact:

Patrick Durst
Senior Forestry Officer
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Phra Atit Road 39, Bangkok
10200 Thailand
Tel: + 66-2-697-4000
Fax: + 66-2-697-4445
Email: patrick.durst@fao.org
See: http://www.apfcweb.org/events/events_workshops.html

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37. Introduction to Community Forestry: Innovative Ideas, Practices and Methodologies - International Training Course

9-20 October 2006
Kathmandu, Nepal

RECOFTC and ForestAction have collaborated to design a training program that will identify and analyse key community forestry concepts, practices and methodologies. The training will take place in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, taking advantage of 30 years of experience in Community Forestry in Nepal.

The course will cover 6 main topics:

What is community forestry? The basic principles and processes

• Setting the context and exploring the basic ‘building-blocks’ of community forestry with a focus on participation (what, why and how) and linking forests, people and livelihoods

Community forestry throughout Asia and its continuum

• Sharing experiences of community forestry and exploring the continuum of approaches to community-based forest management

Policies, institutions and practice

• Policy incentives and disincentives that influence on-ground outcomes

• Reflective practices of community forestry processes

• The Nepalese experience with community forestry, and other country examples and cases will be explored

Livelihoods and enterprises

• Who is involved, why, what are the benefits and what enterprises are being developed?

Tenure, equity and conflict

• Access to, and conflict over, forest resources and how this impacts on equitable outcomes for those most in need

Scaling-up. Landscape level approaches

• This topic will explore issues of scaling-up from both a biophysical and a community perspective

For more information, please contact:

Peter Stephen at RECOFTC on contact@recoftc.org
Tel: (66-2) 940-5700 Ext.1234
or visit: www.recoftc.org/site/fileadmin/docs/training/2006_Training/Training/3_TR_5_intro_community_foresty.pdf

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38. Tools for Conserving Biodiversity Course

17-29 October 2006
Mpala, Laikipia, Kenya

This course presents a full range of tools used in conservation biology. It has been specially designed for early career conservation managers and researchers to gain an understanding of tools, protocols, and methodologies currently available. The course includes lectures given by Smithsonian and local instructors as well as fieldwork. This course will serve as the foundation for future in-depth training courses on specific topics.

The cost is US$2,750 and it includes course fees, room and board, and materials. The course is limited to 20 participants and applications will be taken on a first come first serve basis.

The application deadline is 7 August 2006.

For more information please contact Melissa Bellman at bellmanm@si.edu or visit website: www.si.edu/simab

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39. OUR WOODS: WILD AND WORKING

25-29 October 2006
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

National Convention of the Society of American Foresters.

For more information, please visit the Society’s Web site: www.safnet.org/natcon-06.

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40. International Congress – A Global Vision of Forestry in the 21st Century

30 September-3 October 2007
Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, Canada

On the occasion of its Centennial Celebrations in 2007, the Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, has taken up a challenge to develop a comprehensive Global Vision of Forestry in the 21st Century. The Congress organisers would like to have inputs from every one who is concerned with the future state of our global forests, environment, and society.

The organisers aim to bring invited speakers, poster presenters, and participants from all interested groups such as policy makers, forest managers, judges and legal experts, Aboriginal people, scientists, and forestry experts from forest industry, and international and non-government organizations.

The congress discussions will be organised under the following 3 themes and 8 sub-themes:

1. Global Challenges, Responsibilities and Leadership in Forestry:

1.1 Challenges and Responsibilities of Political Leadership and Governance Structures

1.2 Challenges and Responsibilities of Constitutional, Legal and Policy Experts.

1.3 Challenges and Responsibilities of the Business Community

1.4 Challenges and Responsibilities of Civil Society

2. Frontiers of Science and a Healthy and Diverse Forest Environment

2.1 The Forest Environment, its Diversity and Productivity, and Scientific Challenges

2.2 Human Health and the Forest

3. Cultures, Markets and Sustainable Societies

3.1 Markets and Sustainable Societies

3.2 Culture, Ethics, and Sustainable Societies

The First Announcement and Call for Abstracts is available at the university’s website: http://www.forestry.utoronto.ca/centennial/int_congress.htm

The last date for submission of abstracts is 30 November 2006.

For more information, please contact:

Prof. Shashi Kant
Chair, Organising Committee
Faculty of Forestry
University of Toronto
33 Willcocks Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5S 3B3
Phone: 416-978-6196
Fax: 416-978-3834
http://www.forestry.utoronto.ca/ac_staff/current/kant.htm

or

Dr. Shashi Kant
Faculty of Forestry
University of Toronto
33 Willcocks Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5S 3B3
Phone: 416-978-6196
Fax: 416-978-3834
http://www.forestry.utoronto.ca/ac_staff/current/kant.htm

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LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

41. Indexes of Non-wood News

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme ( non-wood-news@fao.org)

Since its first issue in March 1994, Non-Wood News has focused on highlighting the importance of NWFP and promoting all aspects of non-wood forest products (NWFPs). Through its global coverage, it has sought to raise awareness among policy makers and other readers about the multiplicity of NWFPs and the opportunities that they can offer, as well as the vital role they play in forest-dependent communities.

Over the years, Non-Wood News has included articles, publications and readers’ contributions on a variety of NWFPs (bamboo, medicinal plants, mushrooms, rattan, shellac, etc), their uses (e.g. in energy drinks and cosmetics, or as dyes, fabrics, fodder and shelter), their economic benefits (NWFP trade takes place in local, national and global markets) and their links to other key issues, such as the bushmeat crisis and biodiversity conservation, as well as traditional knowledge, bioprospecting and benefit-sharing.

Non-Wood News has, therefore, collected a wealth of information since its inception. In an effort to manage this knowledge and facilitate its use and retrieval, the first 12 issues of Non-Wood News have now been indexed. These indexes are available in two volumes: the first covering issues 1 to 6, with its companion volume covering issues 7 to 12. These volumes and all issues of Non-Wood News (available now in pdf and html) can be accessed from the NWFP home page at www.fao.org/forestry/site/6367/en.

We hope these new information tools will be of benefit to our readers and to everyone researching the multifaceted world of NWFP.

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42.Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Bani, L., Massimino, D., Bottoni, L., and Massa, R. 2006. A multiscale method for selecting indicator species and priority conservation areas: a case study for broadleaved forests in Lombardy, Italy. Conserv. Biol. 20(2):512-526.

Barlow, J., and Peres, C.A. 2006. Effects of single and recurrent wildfires on fruit production and large vertebrate abundance in a central Amazonian forest. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(3):985-1012.

Bouare, O. 2006. A policy tool for establishing a balance between wildlife habitat preservation and the use of natural resources by rural people in South Africa. Afr. J. Ecol. 44(1):95-101.

Colfer, C.J.P.; Sheil, D.; Kishi, M. 2006. Forests and human health: assessing the evidence. Bogor, Indonesia, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). ISBN: 979-24-4648-6

This study has two central concerns: the state of human health in forests, and the causal links between forests and human health. Within this framework, we consider four issues related to tropical forests and human health. First, we discuss forest foods, emphasizing the forest as a food-producing habitat, human dependence on forest foods, the nutritional contributions of such foods, and nutrition-related problems that affect forest peoples. Our second topic is disease and other health problems. In addition to the major problems—HIV/AIDS, malaria, Ebola and mercury poisoning—we address some 20 other tropical diseases and health problems related to forests. The third topic is medicinal products. We review the biophysical properties of medicinal species and consider related indigenous knowledge, human uses of medicinal forest products, the serious threats to forest sustainability, and the roles of traditional healers, with a discussion of the benefits of forest medicines and conflicts over their distribution. Our fourth and final topic is the cultural interpretations of human health found among forest peoples, including holistic world views that impinge on health and indigenous knowledge. The Occasional Paper concludes with some observations about the current state of our knowledge, its utility and shortcomings, and our suggestions for future research.

http://www.cifor.cgiar.org/publications/pdf_files/OccPapers/OP-45.pdf

Da Cunha, L.V.F.C., and De Albuquerque, U.P. 2006. Quantitative ethnobotany in an Atlantic forest fragment of north-eastern Brazil - implications to conservation. Environ. Monit. Assess. 114(1-3):1-25.

Dogan, H.M., and Dogan, M. 2006. A new approach to diversity indices - modeling and mapping plant biodiversity of Nallihan (A3-Ankara/Turkey) forest ecosystem in frame of geographic information systems. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(3):855-878.

Egli, S., Peter, M., Buser, C., Stahel, W., and Ayer, F. 2006. Mushroom picking does not impair future harvests - results of a long-term study in Switzerland. Biol. Conserv. 129(2):271-276.

Elevitch, Craig. R. 2006. Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands: Their Culture, Environment, and Use. Permanent Agriculture Resources. ISBN: 0970254458

For more information, please see: http://www.traditionaltree.org/ttbook.html

Lewu, F.B., Grierson, D.S., and Afolayan, A.J. 2006. The leaves of Pelargonium sidoides may substitute for its roots in the treatment of bacterial infections. Biol. Conserv. 128(4):582-584

Lund, H. Gyde. 2006. Guide for Classifying Lands for Greenhouse Gas Inventories. Journal of Forestry 104 (4): 211-216(6) (Abstract). http://saf.publisher.ingentaconnect.com/content/saf/jof/2006/00000104/00000004/art00008

Macleod, R., Ewing, S.K., Herzog, S.K., Bryce, R., Evans, K.L., and Maccormick, A. 2005. First ornithological inventory and conservation assessment for the yungas forests of the Cordilleras Cocapata and Mosetenes, Cochabamba, Bolivia. Bird Conserv. Int. 15(4):361-382.

Mani, S., and Parthasarathy, N. 2005. Biodiversity assessment of trees in five inland tropical dry evergreen forests of peninsular India. Syst. Biodivers. 3(1):1-12.

Miles, L., Newton, A.C., DeFries, R.S., Ravilious, C., May, I., Blyth, S., Kapos, V., and Gordon, J.E. 2006. A global overview of the conservation status of tropical dry forests. J. Biogeogr. 33(3):491-505.

Muller, S., Jerôme, C., and Mahevas, T. 2006. Habitat assessment, phytosociology and conservation of the Tunbridge Filmy-fern Hymenophyllum tunbrigense (L) Sm. in its isolated locations in the Vosges Mountains. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(3):1027-1041.

Nations, J.D. 2006. The Maya Tropical Forest: People, Parks, and Ancient Cities. University of Texas Press. Austin, Texas. 352 pp.

Nielsen, M.R. 2006. Importance, cause and effect of bushmeat hunting in the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania: implications for community based wildlife management. Biol. Conserv. 128(4):509-516.

Ohara, M., Tomimatsu, H., Takada, T., and Kawano, S. 2006. Importance of life history studies for conservation of fragmented populations: a case study of the understory herb, Trillium camschatcense. Plant Species Biol. 21(1):1-12.

Peck, J.E. 2006. Towards sustainable commercial moss harvest in the Pacific Northwest of North America. Biol. Conserv. 128(3):289-297.

Sheil, D., Puri, R., Wan, M., Basuki, I., van Heist, M., Liswanti, N., Rukmiyati, Rachmatika, I., and Samsoedin, I. 2006. Recognizing local people's priorities for tropical forest biodiversity. Ambio 35(1):17-24.

Solowey, Elaine M. 2006. Supping at God’s Table. A handbook for the domestication of wild trees for food and fodder. Biblio Books. ISBN 09785565-1-8.

Indigenous fruit and nut trees are an undervalued resource, ignored and neglected for many years by the scientific and economic powers but often a mainstay and a lifesaver for those with no money. The fact that these plants are used and needed by some of the world’s poorest people is enough reason to study, promote and preserve Indigenous Fruit Trees.

Trauernicht, C., Ticktin, T., and Herrera, G.L. 2006. Cultivation of non-timber forest products alters understory light availability in a humid tropical forest in Mexico. Biotropica 38(3):428-436.

Tyler, Stephen R. (ed.) 2006. Communities, livelihoods and natural resources - Action Research and Policy Change in Asia. ITDG Publishing. ISBN 1853396389.

This book synthesizes results from a seven-year program of applied research on community-based approaches to natural resource management in Asia. The eleven case studies featured illustrate how local innovations in participatory natural resource management can strengthen livelihoods, build capacity for local governance, and spark policy change. The lessons are derived from the application of a participatory action research framework that engaged resource users, local governments, and researchers in collaborative learning. They illustrate practical innovations to strengthen livelihoods through improved collective resource management practices and broader technology choices.

To order a copy, go to http://www.developmentbookshop.com/detail.aspx?ID=940

Wiegmann, S.M., and Waller, D.M. 2006. Fifty years of change in northern upland forest understories: identity and traits of "winner" and "loser" plant species. Biol. Conserv. 129(1):109-123.

Wright, S.J., and Muller-Landau, H.C. 2006. The future of tropical forest species. Biotropica 38(3):287-301.

Zhou, W., and Chen, B.K. 2006. Biodiversity of Bitahai Nature Reserve in Yunnan Province, China. Biodivers. Conserv. 15(3):839-853.

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43. Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Celebrating Wildflowers

This site is dedicated to the enjoyment of the thousands of wildflowers growing on the USA’s national forests and grasslands, and to educating the public about the many values of native plants.

http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/

The CIDA Forestry Advisers Network (CFAN)

CFAN has posted a new feature on its website. Deforestation: Tropical Forests in Decline – examines the extent of deforestation in developing countries, its causes and consequences, and prospect of more sustainable land use alternatives. Comments and suggestions are invited.

www.rcfa-cfan.org/english/index.issues.html

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MISCELLANEOUS

44. Gorillas: Socializing helped ebola wipe out gorillas

Source: Reuters, 11 July 2006 (in ENN Media)

Social contact helped the Ebola virus virtually wipe out a population of gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo, French researchers reported Monday.

A 2004 outbreak of the virus, which also kills people, killed 97 percent of gorillas who lived in groups and 77 percent of solitary males, Damien Caillaud and colleagues from the University of Montpellier and the University of Rennes in France reported.

Overall, it wiped out 95 percent of the gorilla population within a year, they reported in the journal Current Biology.

The study shows that the deadly virus spreads directly from gorilla to gorilla and does not necessarily depend on a still-unidentified third species of animal, perhaps a bat that can transmit the virus without getting ill from it.

It also may shed light on how early humans evolved, they suggested. The findings may show that pre-humans were slow to live in large social groups because disease outbreaks could wipe out those who did.

Ebola hemorrhagic fever is one of the most virulent viruses ever seen, killing between 50 percent and 90 percent of victims. The World Health Organization says about 1,850 people have been infected and 1,200 have died since the Ebola virus was discovered in 1976.

WHO and other experts say people probably start outbreaks when they hunt and butcher chimpanzees. The virus is transmitted in blood, tissue and other fluids.

Caillaud's team said Ebola is a serious threat to the survival of endangered gorillas and chimpanzees, along with hunting and the destruction of the forests they live in.

The researchers documented one outbreak of Ebola and its effects on gorillas and people in Odzala-Kokoua National Park.

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45. Insect diversity in rainforests results from plant biodiversity

Source: mongabay.com, 18 July 2006

The high diversity of leaf-eating insect species in tropical forests results from the large number of plant species that exist in these ecosystems, according to new research published in the current issue of the journal Science.

“Understanding the drivers of the high diversity in tropical forests has been a major question since Darwin and Wallace visited tropical forests -- and even before,” wrote co-author Scott Miller of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, “We found that higher tropical tree diversity explains why there are more leaf-eating insects in tropical than in temperate forests.

For full story, please see: http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0718-stri.html

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46. Pandas: China giant panda sanctuary put on UN Heritage List

Source: Reuters (in ENN Media, 13 July 2006)

A bamboo-covered mountainous sanctuary in China which houses nearly a third of the world's last remaining giant pandas was on Wednesday added to the U.N. World Heritage List.

The United Nations Environmental, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage committee, meeting in Lithuania's capital Vilnius, said the rare bears must be protected.

"The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuary in China, which covers more than 2 million acres and is home to over 30 percent of the world's endangered giant pandas, was inscribed on the World Heritage List on Wednesday," a UNESCO official said. "It is the largest remaining contiguous habitat of the giant panda and the most important captive breeding ground for the animal," added the official.

The prestigious listing obliges authorities to protect the natural habitat. Chinese conservationists praised the decision as a step towards protecting the shy symbols of China's disappearing wilderness. "To protect an animal is not just putting it living in the zoo, but keeping it alive in its home," Lu Zhi, a professor at Peking University who specializes in pandas, told China's official Xinhua news agency.

For full story, please see: http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=10857

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47. Tigers: 11 tiger reserves in India have lost forest cover

Source: The Hindu, India, 10 July 2006

There has been a decrease in forest cover in 11 of the 28 tiger reserves in the country while five reserves have shown an increase in the same. The forest cover in the remaining 12 has remained unchanged, according to a report, "Forest Cover in Tiger Reserves of India — Status and Changes'', brought out by the Forest Survey of India and Directorate of Project Tiger.

For full story, please see: http://www.hindu.com/2006/07/10/stories/2006071016271500.htm

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last updated:  Friday, August 28, 2009